Fender layoffs

I can’t say I’m surprised, having seen this happening in the tech industry as of late, but it’s still a bummer. The music industry has really had some rough years between covid shutdowns, parts availability/shipping time, etc and economy.

Hey My son-in-law bought a Fender at Costco. I came with a strap, tuner and an extra set of strings all for a hundred bucks. I expected it to sound cheap/tinny, but to my surprise, the sound was good. After the first strum, I immediately offer him $200, then $300 and he declined.
I did some research and found that only about one in ten had a great sound and the rest poor. I made a mistake of saying I was going to get one. Well along comes father’s day and my girls sent it along. The sound is very poor. The tuner was useless and I will never use the strings. Maybe quality control was the demise of the company??? BTW my soninlaw never ended up playing guitar. ha ha

Not very surprising. These big companies run on a perpetual growth model, and eventually it hits saturation and everything starts falling apart. They buy up all these smaller companies thinking they can link them together and can’t keep up with their own growth. You end up with a massive company that has no direction and too many players to be able to work together. Cut back, get back to basics, and start the growth cycle again.


How long before Boz Digital Labs gobbles up Waves, Izotope and Slate and you’re wandering rudderless,
heartlessly tossing hard working Vietnamese sweatshop workers to the side in an effort to keep all of your materialistic possessions ?

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At this rate, a long time. I’d rather grow my own sweatshops from scratch.


I very nearly spit my coffee while laughing at that one! lol

Seriously though, I’m so glad you’ve been able to keep that gig going and hopefully you’re as busy as you want to be!

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I think you could literally say that about the whole economy, both national and global. The key question is whether it’s an accident or on purpose. :wink:

The thing I don’t get is how the ‘big boys’ like Gibson continue to have such quality issues? These are not limited to their low-end offerings either. There are tons of complaints about build and finish quality on multi-thousand dollar instruments. Meanwhile the startups keep upping their quality while keeping their pricing in check. Instead of improving their quality, the old blood continues to churn out endless ‘signature’ models at ridiculous prices.

I haven’t heard as many horror stories about Fender, but still, there seem to be a lot of complaints against the Squier’s. Can’t they produce a decent guitar for a reasonable amount of mondey? I wouldn’t pay almost $600 for a Squier when I know I can get a low-end PRS for just a tad more. The reputation of the import PRS is much better than any Squier.

I bought a MIJ Fender Stratocaster back in the late 80’s for about $325.00 new. Now you can’t even touch a real Fender Strat for under $800… and most are a lot higher than that. At that point there are so many other options in the price range with superior reputation (PRS, Solar, Schecter, etc.) These companies seem to be determined to strangle themselves out of business.


The big difference in these companies (and I’m generalizing) is that you’re comparing those owned and operated by attorneys and accountants (that are concerned with numbers and bottom lines) to those still largely owned by their original founders (or family) that believe in their product.
My guess is that companies like Gibson will likely become the Sears of guitars. Sears was the Amazon of earlier generations. It would seem absurd years ago to think they would become what they are today. It’ll happen to Gibson and it will likely happen to Amazon some day. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say at some point the Gibson name/license will ultimately become the property of another manufacturer, simply for the name and licenses, patents, etc.

I get that difference… what I don’t get is how these supposedly smart people continue to do things that are chipping away their reputations which is also eating away at their bottom line. How do they not understand that if they made a great guitar at an affordable price while leveraging what’s left of their brand name prestige, they would sell a crap-ton more guitars. It’s the shortsightedness that continues to astound. Gibson has already proven that they would rather litigate than innovate… so I guess that sums up their midset.

I agree!

The same could be said of politicians, and all big corporations. They are either short-sighted, idiots, or psychopaths. They only seem to destroy what they are given stewardship over.

The psychology ‘experts’ have estimated that psychopaths/sociopaths account for between 3-10% of the population (maybe it has increased over time?). And these are the people that ruthlessly pursue power and control over others. They have no empathy or care and concern for either their employees or their customers (or electorate). They suck the blood from their victims and leave an empty corpse, much like a vampire. Once you realize this, it’s not that surprising. There was even a book that describes this in detail:

Sad to hear this event.
Fender is an institution. And whatever they are going through, I am hoping that they can turn things around and get back on track.
And if the observation is correct on 1 of ten as good product, then it is a very easy thing to correct.
They must have other big issues to deal with, they needed young blood to get in the mix and introduce innovation. But in my humble opinion, they just need to get back to basics and really improve quality first. I love my electric Fenders!!!
As the Beatles said “Get Back”.

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Fender may have closed the Corona factory but apparently they are doing well otherwise

"Despite having to close factories in March and April 2020, Fender finished the year on a high of $700 million. Nearly 17% more than what was achieved in 2019. This success can be partially attributed to the new Fender Play App, through which the company ran special promotions in 2020.

There was also the release of their new American Professional II series guitars in October 2020. These became a quick favorite amongst customers and brought in several sales at the tail end of 2020 for Fender."

Just guessing but probably most of these sales are to beginners and young people who aren’t as quality conscious as more experienced players, and guitars made in other countries probably have a higher profit margin than guitars made in California. As always, let the buyer beware.


Great additional info, ingolee!
Love Fender.

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Very important point. I think Gibson is suffering due to unrealistic expectations from their buyers. Is it possible to make hundreds of perfect $5000 Les Pauls when the buyers look at wood grain and finish under a microscope?

Fender is realistic and smart with their marketing. Unless you are buying a signature model, where you expect to pay more,the design, fit and finish is pretty darned good, and the price tiers give you choices. Hopefully the $800 customer doesn’t expect the DNA test a Les Paul buyer apparently does. That same buyer will still think he got screwed when he has to change a string in two years.

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