The Search For A Good Chinese Guitar Factory: The Good, The Bad, The Wtf?!!

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Tracy74, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    I have owned my own sign business for 10years. I recently purchased a building. I have some extra room (12'x12' room) and possibly room for growth....so I have started a guitar shop!
    I am not only wanting to modify and sell guitars, but I also want to offer my own brand. Why? Well, if I offer other companies guitars my profit is a lot less than if I built my own or sold my own brand.
    This topic is about my discoveries with Chinese guitar companies. You are welcome to share your thoughts or ideas.

    I have order guitars from 3 companies so far and in the process of ordering from a fourth.
    I have received one guitar and waiting on the others.
    Here is the first company that I ordered from....

    Weifang Fei Yang Instrument Co., Limited
    I learned that not all Chinese guitar "companies" are guitar factories. These so called companies are merely brokers. They find the guitar you are looking for and add their cut , collect your PayPal transfer and ship off your guitar.
    This broker sent me what I asked for, but the insides were sad! A hack soldering job! I look like they ripped them out of another guitar and dropped the in my sample. There are at least 3 wires that are cut that go nowhere! Bare wires exposed..sad!
    IMG_7898.JPG IMG_7899.JPG IMG_7900.JPG IMG_7901.JPG IMG_7902.JPG IMG_7903.JPG IMG_7904.JPG

    With shipping this guitar cost me $164. The authentic one goes for $4,500. Anyways, I can rewire, drop new pups in, change the crappy plastic nut,etc(debrand if I want to sell it).... and have a decent guitar. But, as for ordering more to resell..forget about it! The same guitar from an actual China factory is about $50 less ($109 was before shipping)
    I will post when the others arrive.
     
  2. Brendan

    Brendan Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense. Aliexpress looks like it has 100 "shops" pedaling the same output from a handful of factories. They all use the same pictures.
     
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  3. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    That Tele looks really nice. I never understood the John 5 headstock, though.

    That kind of wiring is typical for Chinese. I don't sweat it, because I replace all electronics and wiring anyway. How was the build quality/fit? Fretwork? Neck?
     
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  4. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    That Custom Shop logo looks questionable... Not that it matters.
     
  5. Partscaster

    Partscaster Well-Known Member

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    i read that the Cozart line is from Vietnam and distributed by several folks in
    Mississippi. That Make gets mixed reviews, but very inexpensive and the woodwork options look interesting and beautiful.
    Perhaps another source/nation to consider.

    Get past the middle man distributers, IMO. QC may vary. Find a good asian luthier who oversees a good factory, if thats possible. Interesting models design and good consistency at low prices will spread its own word.
     
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  6. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    I completely agree. Finding an actual factory is not easy (an issue of truth) but I am starting to read the signs better (pricing, pictures, communications/response.
    The other companies I am waiting on are Sonor, Rebon,Aiersi and J&D guitars.

    I contact every company I can... I will try Cozart (if I haven't already)...thanks!


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  7. uwmcscott

    uwmcscott AGF Survivor Champ

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    So what is your plan to make zombie guitars different from the dozens ( maybe hundreds ) of people with the exact same business model? By that I mean bringing guitars here from China and potentially modding/reselling them? Not trying to bust your chops, but the reality is that it seems like everyone and their brother is trying to do the same thing.
     
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  8. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    The build quality was ok. It felt good... to be honest, with the buzzing due to the bad wiring and that this wasn't purchased straight from the factory (double the price) and that it was set up as a clone...I put it to the side and haven't messed with it.. for now.



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  9. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Guest

    This has nothing to do with guitars but I am reminded about the quality of Far East imports. The late Jack Paar once went on TV to tell a story about how he went to a Hong Kong tailor with his favorite suit and he told the guy he wanted an "exact" copy. And he stressed "exact." He said he got the copied suit back and said it was "exactly" like the one he had ... even down to the same small forgotten cigarette burn in the original.

    Well, it was an "exact" copy now wasn't it?
     
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  10. MicahC

    MicahC Well-Known Member

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    ^ lol!
     
  11. MicahC

    MicahC Well-Known Member

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    I have a Chinese "replica guitar" inbound today. I will review in detail w many pics after received and played for a minute.
     
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  12. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    Do it please!


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  13. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a friend in the sporting goods industry who has a similar story. His company wanted to copy a competitor's hockey gloves so they sent detailed photos and specs to a vendor in China with the same instructions - create an exact duplicate. When they got the copy back, there were a few black marks on the gloves which slightly annoyed them but upon inspecting the originals, they noticed that there were small pen marks in the exact same locations...
     
  14. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    This is a great, valid question! I will answer it in points.

    1. I am a designer/creator.
    -I am creating a brand
    -I hope to create an experience. A product
    that grows the love of guitar playing and
    grows the musician.

    2. These guitars will be for sale in my shop, though I will be advertising them on FB. My
    Goal is not to try to spread my brand around the world, but to offer a great guitar for a fair price at my shop.

    3. Though I am a Schecter/Washburn and possibly G&L dealer....I can make a bigger profit with my own line. Selling another company's guitars gives me profit of around $75 (that is for a $300-$400 guitar). So, I would need to sell 3-4 guitars before I could expand my inventory.

    4. I am required by US companies to buy at least 7 guitars from them...at my cost around $350-$450 for the lower end models. Or $3,500 worth for free shipping. So, I can get my own brand.. 20 to 30 guitars for $3,500! My total profit would be at least $3k!


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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  15. jimytheassassin

    jimytheassassin Well-Known Member

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    So maybe if you're having a guitar "copied" then you have to send gut shots too so they understand how to wire these things down to the last detail.
     
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  16. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I appreciate your candidness...
     
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  17. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    My friend, I am about growing and becoming better...for me and for you. I hope being part of this forum will be just that.

    I want everyone to share with me their thoughts and ideas (not their meanness!) to help me be better.


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  18. Reville Guitars

    Reville Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Just in case anyone is interested...

    There are dozens upon dozens, if not hundreds of factories in Asia ranging from larger scale operations to small shops with just a few staff.

    Side note - yup, they "real" ones are hard to find. Most don't publicly advertise...they don't want individuals emailing them because it isn't what they're after. They want big companies. So it is word of mouth, big trade shows like NAMM, etc.

    As you've found, there's also an equal amount of trading companies, that act like an agent. This can be a good thing to help bridge the gap between the customer and factory, but the majority simply increase costs (they're taking their cut) and add a bunch of miscommunication into the mix because they just don't have it together. You've already seen a few of them rise and fall on this forum...lol. The ones on here have been more on the retail side with their own "brand", but we've used commercial agents ourselves. We've also done direct with the factory...pros and cons to both for sure.

    Keep in mind that if you are ordering a sample from a factory (and they think it is for the purpose of earning your business), that's going to be the handpicked & polished unit of the month - and that's going to be the best you can expect.

    What's more, most of these factories will bring you on hoping you are going to be the next Fender. The truth is, maintaining small accounts who run small batches is not in most factories' interest...it's too expensive. So as a smaller company, it can be hard to find someone who will stay dedicated to continued quality when they don't see $250,000 orders after a year of doing business.

    So the pattern can run something like this - the sample should be a pretty good guitar. (If you get a bad sample, run run run). The first batch order will be pretty good as well, batch two around the same but maybe a few issues, and you'll start to notice more and more things on batch 3. Heck, we noticed the hardware had been swapped out for lesser hardware on one batch, so we told them to ship us all the correct hardware and we swapped it out ourselves. They stop scrapping some of the questionable ones, and cut corners to try and improve their margins, hoping you don't notice.

    So I guess what I'm saying is - if you're looking for a good factory, do look for an excellent sample as at least they are paying attention to this detail. But you'll need a large sample size, across 3+ orders to start to get an idea where quality truly stands.

    To be honest, you gotta really love doing it and putting in the work with your hands once you receive them to make it worth it. :) We keep it going, because it is fun and it something for us to do in our spare time. However, compared to everything else Harrison and I are involved in, this makes pretty much no money, causes most of the headaches, and is the hardest thing to keep going. But we will persevere!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  19. Tracy74

    Tracy74 AGF Dealer AGF Registered Dealer Supporting Member

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    If you have a factory you personally recommend, please pm me the info. If you already have good research, plz share.


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  20. PV 1955

    PV 1955 Well-Known Member

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    That was the "Road Worn" model suit. The "Closet Classic" had moth holes.
     
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