Of Fender Guitars and Uninformed Media

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Of Fender Guitars and Uninformed Media

A cou­ple of days ago, Bre­it­bart pub­lished a story con­cern­ing how, in recent months, some Oreo cookie devo­tees have com­plained the fla­vor has changed, and not for the bet­ter. Said story insin­u­ated the rea­son behind this, if in fact this be truth, is Mon­delez, par­ent com­pany of Nabisco (maker of Oreos) hav­ing moved pro­duc­tion of said sand­wich cookie to a plant in Mex­ico. Maybe the man­u­fac­tur­ing process has cross­bred with Pelon Pelo Rico. But I digress.

The story includes this as part of its case mak­ing effort:

Some com­pa­nies are even will­ing to admit there is a dif­fer­ence in prod­uct qual­ity — Fender offers Stra­to­caster gui­tars made in Mex­ico at a much lower price than their made in Amer­ica prod­uct line — rec­og­niz­ing a dif­fer­ence in qual­ity and materials.

At this point, I am reminded of a moment involv­ing Drew Remenda, for­mer NHL coach who cur­rently works as an ana­lyst for Edmon­ton Oil­ers tele­vised games; pre­vi­ously he spent many years doing the same for the San Jose Sharks. Dur­ing the lat­ter stint, for a cou­ple of sea­sons Remenda hosted an after-​game call-​in radio show. One evening, as a caller was rail­ing against a Sharks player Remenda liked, he had had enough and cut off the caller with a sim­ple state­ment: “You do not know what you are talk­ing about. I do.”

Now, I play gui­tar. While I hardly give Eric Clap­ton any­thing to lose sleep over, I get by. My elec­tric gui­tar brand of choice? Fender. The sound, the feel, the look … love ‘em. As have other true gui­tar leg­ends — the afore­men­tioned Mr. Clap­ton, Jimi Hen­drix, Rory Gal­lagher, Ste­vie Ray Vaughn, and mul­ti­tudes more.

Over the years I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to own a few Fender gui­tars. Some were basic mod­els, some were upper end. Some were made in Fender’s fac­tory in Ense­nada, Baja Cal­i­for­nia. Some were made in Fender’s fac­tory in Corona, Cal­i­for­nia. All had, and have, one uni­fy­ing fac­tor beside the name:

They were all top notch instruments.

The only major dif­fer­ence between Amer­i­can and Mex­i­can mod­els of the Stra­to­caster and Tele­caster is the for­mer hav­ing twenty-​two frets, whereas the Mex­i­can ones bear the tra­di­tional Fender twenty-​one fret neck. They are made from the same kinds of, and qual­ity, wood. Many share iden­ti­cal elec­tron­ics. They have the same design. They work the same way. In short, they are all Fender guitars.

Yes, most of the high end mod­els are made in Corona. There are also high end, superb mod­els made in Ense­nada, some with fea­tures unavail­able on any Amer­i­can made model. And yes, the Mex­i­can mod­els almost always cost less than their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts. Because of lesser qual­ity mate­ri­als used in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process? No. Short­cuts in man­u­fac­tur­ing? No. Poorer over­all qual­ity? No.

Try sig­nif­i­cantly lower labor costs.

That is all.

It is irk­some when some­one pur­port­ing to be a jour­nal­ist, par­tic­u­larly one writ­ing for a site devoted to expos­ing fake news, makes a false assump­tion in order to push a meme. It spreads incor­rect infor­ma­tion. It rein­forces the stereo­type of con­ser­v­a­tive web­sites per­pet­u­at­ing false­hoods and stereo­types. It is an unfunny joke. And it needs to stop. How­ever, as long as par­ti­san hack­ery takes prece­dence over pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ism, it won’t.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some gui­tar to play.

https://youtu.be/Qiw1RoTySIc

A couple of days ago, Breitbart published a story concerning how, in recent months, some Oreo cookie devotees have complained the flavor has changed, and not for the better. Said story insinuated the reason behind this, if in fact this be truth, is Mondelez, parent company of Nabisco (maker of Oreos) having moved production of said sandwich cookie to a plant in Mexico. Maybe the manufacturing process has crossbred with Pelon Pelo Rico. But I digress.

The story includes this as part of its case making effort:

Some companies are even willing to admit there is a difference in product quality — Fender offers Stratocaster guitars made in Mexico at a much lower price than their made in America product line — recognizing a difference in quality and materials.

At this point, I am reminded of a moment involving Drew Remenda, former NHL coach who currently works as an analyst for Edmonton Oilers televised games; previously he spent many years doing the same for the San Jose Sharks. During the latter stint, for a couple of seasons Remenda hosted an after-game call-in radio show. One evening, as a caller was railing against a Sharks player Remenda liked, he had had enough and cut off the caller with a simple statement: “You do not know what you are talking about. I do.”

Now, I play guitar. While I hardly give Eric Clapton anything to lose sleep over, I get by. My electric guitar brand of choice? Fender. The sound, the feel, the look … love ’em. As have other true guitar legends – the aforementioned Mr. Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and multitudes more.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to own a few Fender guitars. Some were basic models, some were upper end. Some were made in Fender’s factory in Ensenada, Baja California. Some were made in Fender’s factory in Corona, California. All had, and have, one unifying factor beside the name:

They were all top notch instruments.

The only major difference between American and Mexican models of the Stratocaster and Telecaster is the former having twenty-two frets, whereas the Mexican ones bear the traditional Fender twenty-one fret neck. They are made from the same kinds of, and quality, wood. Many share identical electronics. They have the same design. They work the same way. In short, they are all Fender guitars.

Yes, most of the high end models are made in Corona. There are also high end, superb models made in Ensenada, some with features unavailable on any American made model. And yes, the Mexican models almost always cost less than their American counterparts. Because of lesser quality materials used in the manufacturing process? No. Shortcuts in manufacturing? No. Poorer overall quality? No.

Try significantly lower labor costs.

That is all.

It is irksome when someone purporting to be a journalist, particularly one writing for a site devoted to exposing fake news, makes a false assumption in order to push a meme. It spreads incorrect information. It reinforces the stereotype of conservative websites perpetuating falsehoods and stereotypes. It is an unfunny joke. And it needs to stop. However, as long as partisan hackery takes precedence over professional journalism, it won’t.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some guitar to play.