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Thread: Why Korea?

  1. #1
    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    Why Korea?

    Why cant someone who already has a facility with tools and employees in the US make an affordable entry level guitar? Why do they have to outsource it to another country? I realize all the "other" makers do it, but being "different" from all the others is what started my attraction to PRS guitars. Please dont think I'm knocking the SE line (i've owned one in the past) I think they're really well made, I just dont understand "why" they have to be made outside the US. I for one wish PRS and it's board of directors would have reconsidered that venture. Money does strange things to people.

  2. #2
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    There is no way it could have been done. I mean - show me a single company that produces US made instruments that are ~600 street. They wanted to get quality instruments in the hands of people who couldn't afford US made PRSi and I think did a damn good job. I buy American as much as I can but sometimes it just isn't possible for it to be done and while the keeping the price point where you want. In the end even though the manufacturing is done over seas, the SE models still support a US based company with a fleet of local workers.
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    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    btw.. I was outsource to a non-US company a couple of years ago after 15 years of service. I've since left that company, but at the time, the CEO who made the decision to outsource (6500 of us) was makeing $19 million a year! He got a $13 million bonus for selling us out. So I have a terrible bad taste in my mouth about coorporate greed and outsourcing. How much money does one need? is it ever enough? Paul started out a poor college kid making guitars in his room and built the company into a contender in the guitar world in less than 2 decades (unheard of!) only to turn around and sell out to overseas manufacturing for a quick buck. I dont believe for one minute that these companies "cant" make an affordable US Made guitar.

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    Member RichardJ's Avatar
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    I love my US made guitars but do appreciate that home markets cannot compete with the cheaper labour rates overseas. Economies can be made in materials to balance this but we would soon shout if quality varied significantly. I bought a Gibson Les Paul Studio in the worn finish and it wasn't great out of the box, nothing terminal, but a lack of attention to finishing that I wasn't expecting. I won't knock Korean quality, whilst I do not have an SE I have had a couple of Korean made Ibanez's which have been every bit as good as US production line Fenders (NOT knocking Fender, just saying the Ibanez's were good) I have a Godin Session, made in Quebec, and economies were made with the electronics but the woodwork and hardware are all spot-on.We live within a global marketplace, why not embrace the advantages it gives us. Just my 2c.

  5. #5
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    btw.. I was outsource to a non-US company a couple of years ago after 15 years of service. I've since left that company, but at the time, the CEO who made the decision to outsource (6500 of us) was makeing $19 million a year! He got a $13 million bonus for selling us out. So I have a terrible bad taste in my mouth about coorporate greed and outsourcing. How much money does one need? is it ever enough? Paul started out a poor college kid making guitars in his room and built the company into a contender in the guitar world in less than 2 decades (unheard of!) only to turn around and sell out to overseas manufacturing for a quick buck. I dont believe for one minute that these companies "cant" make an affordable US Made guitar.
    As always I welcome people voicing there opinions on line as it makes for a great and diverse community, but I think you're making some big statements here that a lot will not appreciate that are PURELY your opinion and very one sided.

    Just letting you know that now...
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    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    I agree 100% that Korean manufacturing is Much better than most if not all other overseas manufacturing.

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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    I totally agree with OP. They should be making the SE line in Czech Republic.
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    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by themike View Post
    As always I welcome people voicing there opinions on line as it makes for a great and diverse community, but I think you're making some big statements here that a lot will not appreciate that are PURELY your opinion and very one sided.

    Just letting you know that now...
    I doubt I'm the only one that feels this way. I just dont know where/how the US got to this point. I understand companies are in business to "make money" and maximizing profit margins is part of every coorporation. If you ever get outsourced for cheaper labor so an already rich SOB can get richer you might understand.

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    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    btw.. I was outsource to a non-US company a couple of years ago after 15 years of service. I've since left that company, but at the time, the CEO who made the decision to outsource (6500 of us) was makeing $19 million a year! He got a $13 million bonus for selling us out. So I have a terrible bad taste in my mouth about coorporate greed and outsourcing. How much money does one need? is it ever enough? Paul started out a poor college kid making guitars in his room and built the company into a contender in the guitar world in less than 2 decades (unheard of!) only to turn around and sell out to overseas manufacturing for a quick buck. I dont believe for one minute that these companies "cant" make an affordable US Made guitar.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    I doubt I'm the only one that feels this way. I just dont know where/how the US got to this point. I understand companies are in business to "make money" and maximizing profit margins is part of every coorporation. If you ever get outsourced for cheaper labor so an already rich SOB can get richer you might understand.
    This is very dangerous ground. I sincerely hope that you don't believe that you or anyone else should be in a position to determine how much money is too much money for any individual or company. I would hope that you agree that we should all determine that for ourselves and not have it dictated to us.

    It is with a distinct non-political mind and attitude that I state the following. Class warfare and jealousies will kill any society. The moment we separate out any group or person for 'special' treatment, for good or ill, we disenfranchise them or us or both.

    The solution is way simpler than you might think. Vote with your wallet. If you think any company is just too money-grubbing for your taste, don't buy their product. Even better, set up a competing company and show them how it is done.

    As for the CEO in your example - I think it is likely that he worked fairly hard both in terms of education and work within companies to get where he is. YOU, just like any one of us, had the same opportunity to be where he is. Opportunity knocks on every door. Not everyone answers.

    edit:
    By the Way... The SE line as I understand it is the brainchild of Carlos Santana, not Mr. Smith. Carlos proposed that PRS make an affordable "Student Edition" guitar to enable budding musicians and people who could not afford a U.S. model a really well-made guitar at an affordable price point. The fact that the SE line was introduced to address the needs of poorer students shows just how offensive your attitude towards the SE line truly is.
    Last edited by rugerpc; 04-16-2013 at 10:13 AM.
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  10. #10
    Just a member JustRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    I agree 100% that Korean manufacturing is Much better than most if not all other overseas manufacturing.
    I was surprised at my 1st Experience to learn that all of the SE guitars, even the ones sold in Korea, come to MD for inspection. There was a Nick Catanese having work and refinishing done that would have seemed worth more than the guitar. That may be part of what you see. I was so impressed Ihave only bought PRS since.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    I doubt I'm the only one that feels this way. I just dont know where/how the US got to this point. I understand companies are in business to "make money" and maximizing profit margins is part of every coorporation. If you ever get outsourced for cheaper labor so an already rich SOB can get richer you might understand.
    Think about what goes into a product's creation:

    First, you have to create a factory; that means tools and tooling, electricity, gas, cost of land, cost of building or renting the facility. That cost is far less overseas.

    Next, you have to put trained people in it. That cost is less overseas, too.

    You have to give them materials; raw materials, parts, paint, cases, etc. Even that stuff costs less overseas.

    When these savings are added up, they can be passed along on the product and it can still be profitable. Thus a guitar that is very nice can be sold here at an attractive price point. Even if you took the cost of the employees out of the equation, the other costs are still a very large savings over US production.

    I have to take issue with your assumption that the SEs are being made to make a rich SOB richer. We all know that the guitar business is very difficult. And Paul Smith has said in many interviews that the company had tremendous difficulty during the recent downturn. Consider the possibility that PRS needed those sales of its SE brand not to gouge rich profits, but instead to remain afloat and to be able to produce the magnificent instruments it makes here. And further consider the possibility that those SE sales not only help the company stay afloat, but also help keep PRS' USA workforce gainfully employed!

    As for rich SOBs, you know darn well that Paul Smith is the hardest working man in the guitar business - he's always on the road working and promoting. He's not sitting around in cigar bars with a bunch of other fat cats bragging about his millions.

    By the way, I'm from Detroit, the city that has arguably lost the most as a result of foreign competition and outsourcing. I feel your pain, but I don't agree with you.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 04-16-2013 at 10:15 AM.
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  12. #12
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    First of all I can totally understand your frustration given what happened to you, but there are things to consider...

    PRS could make the SE's in the US and sell them for around what SE's are going for now. Gibson released some US guitars for around that price last year. But guess what? The quality was appalling. Of course, they sold, because they had the 'name' on the headstock. To sell US made SE's for the same street price they are now the quality would suffer massively. Yep, US made but with next to no QC and poorly made parts and make your own guess 'wood'. How's that going to impact on PRS? It would be a disaster. I love PRS but they can't just survive on their name the way Fender and Gibson do. PRS made a name for themselves with quality and in order to sell cheaper guitars for those that can't afford the Maryland made ones, whilst still keeping a certain level of quality then they had to be made overseas.

    Money is coming to PRS and indeed, the US from those sales. It keeps American workers - such as those who work in guitar shops - in jobs. people work at the US factory setting up the SE's. They may be giving a few folk in the UK a job if they set up the UK PTC!

    I have no idea what Paul or the other head honchos make and it would be wrong to even discuss it. However, unlike other companies, Paul and the gang have players interests at heart and make guitars for them. Paul wants quality guitars in the hands of the player and he knows there are people, like myself, who can't afford a US one, so the SE line was created to cater for that market. Nothing to do with greed. Quite the opposite infact.

    Right now, if you want a quality guitar at a reasonable price then you have to settle for one built in the Far East. The Koreans are making excellent guitars and we should be grateful they exist.

    But as I said, I can also understand where you're coming from, but in this case I think PRS are doing the right thing.

    It's an international company too, remember.

    If I buy a US made PRS or other brand or a Korean or Mexican or Chinese or Indonesian guitar I've bought foreign. But it was bought at a UK shop and helped pay someones wage that day.
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  13. #13
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post

    As for rich SOBs, you know darn well that Paul Smith is the hardest working man in the guitar business - he's always on the road working and promoting. He's not sitting around in cigar bars with a bunch of other fat cats bragging about his millions.

    By the way, I'm from Detroit, the city that has arguably lost the most as a result of foreign competition and outsourcing. I feel your pain, but I don't agree with you.
    A big +1!!!

    Paul still cares about the player. Not the shareholder or any other crap. Purely about making the best guitar possible and putting it in the hands of players with different levels of cashola in the pocket.
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    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    I totally agree with OP. They should be making the SE line in Czech Republic.
    Albrecht Smuten for 'final tester' in the Czech SE factory with generous compensation and a private parking space!
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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    I heard the new Czech factory will have a private pool on the roof.
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  16. #16
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegarveyblues View Post
    I heard the new Czech factory will have a clothing optional private pool on the roof.
    fixed it for ya....
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  17. #17
    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    First, Thank you all for not flaming me! I didn't really get my thoughts across like I intended. I have much respect for Paul the man and I know he worked his ass off to get to where he is today. The rich SOB i was refering to was my ex-CEO who I would like to have a few minutes alone with. I was trying to use him as a comparison as to how US coorporations couldn't care less about the employees as long as they get theirs. Not saying thats what PRS is doing, but the main reason A LOT of companies go the overseas route. Which is the reason I'm so against outsourcing. My other point was, PRS already has the land, the facility, the employees the materials the knowledge..why be like every other company? I wouldn't be on this site if I didn't love PRS guitars, period. I have 2 US made guitars and 1 US made amp, which for someone like me is a huge accomplishment in itself. I worked hard to be able to afford them and have traded in/up with every instrument I've owned to get to this point (and lost a lot of money in the process). I think PRS makes the best guitars on the planet, I just wish the company could have somehow remained purly American. That is all...

  18. #18
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    Why cant someone who already has a facility with tools and employees in the US make an affordable entry level guitar? Why do they have to outsource it to another country? I realize all the "other" makers do it, but being "different" from all the others is what started my attraction to PRS guitars. Please dont think I'm knocking the SE line (i've owned one in the past) I think they're really well made, I just dont understand "why" they have to be made outside the US. I for one wish PRS and it's board of directors would have reconsidered that venture. Money does strange things to people.
    Go play the low-priced USA-made Gibsons. They suck! I think they save the bucks by skimping on all the finishing touches that make a guitar nice. It amazes me how much hand work goes into building a guitar, and that's where the time (=money) is. You simply can't get the price down past a certain point without making sacrifices.

    You can look at overseas guitar manufacturing as a money grab, but you could also take the idealistic view: enabling high quality at a lower price point means you can include more people into the joy and passion of the brand and playing guitar.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    My other point was, PRS already has the land, the facility, the employees the materials the knowledge..why be like every other company?
    Because all that stuff costs a lot of money in the USA. Labor is easily the biggest expense in building a guitar. You can't get a USA-built PRS down in price enough to compete with the likes of Epiphone, Mexico Fender, Squier, Ibanez, Schecter, etc.
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  20. #20
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    Paul started out a poor college kid making guitars in his room and built the company into a contender in the guitar world in less than 2 decades (unheard of!) only to turn around and sell out to overseas manufacturing for a quick buck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    I have much respect for Paul the man and I know he worked his ass off to get to where he is today.
    Pick one.
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