The buzz throughout the Guitar Industry is what is the definition of 'MADE IN THE USA'. I feel it is important to address this issue with Schecter Custom shop dealers, current owners or anyone contemplating the purchase of a new USA Production or Masterworks instrument.
This is due to a recent article by the respected editor of The Music Trades, Brian Majeski. Here is an excerpt from that article:
"PENNSYLVANIA'S OFFICIAL TOURISM WEBSITE lists the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth as a "must see" destination, encouraging visitors to "experience the intrigue and excitement as highly skilled craftspeople transform wood into music." Watching firsthand the complex process that turns rough lumber into beautiful guitars, the thousands who visit each year leave with a deep appreciation of the instrument maker's art. An exceptional factory, a manufacturing tradition dating back to 1833, and credit for creating the modern flat top acoustic guitar are reasons Martin is a genuine American institution. Yet, as of this year, the company no longer labels the guitars that leave its Nazareth plant as "Made In USA." A reasonable person might ask, "how is this possible?" The answer lies with a poorly drafted California statute and the aggressive lawyers who exploit it.
California's Unfair Competition statute states that for an item to be designated "Made in the USA," "any article, unit, or part thereof," has to be "entirely or substantially made, manufactured, or produced" in the U.S. The California Supreme Court has interpreted this rule to mean that a "Made in the USA" designation requires that 100% of every piece of every part in a product must be made in one of the 50 states."
Until this statute is either amended or revoked, I feel it is important to address this issue with Schecter Custom shop dealers, current owners or anyone contemplating the purchase of a new USA Production or Masterworks instrument.
First and foremost your guitar starts here in our Sun Valley, CA facility as a block of wood and a neck blank.
Nothing is farmed in from abroad to be routed, painted and assembled. NOTHING.
To be 100% transparent, since we don't have a forest out back, we do purchase the highest quality tone woods from around the world. Canadian hard rock maple comes from our northern neighbor, Honduran Mahogany comes from Honduras, Australian Lacewood from Down Under and Indian Rosewood comes from India, not Indiana J. Our guitars start with solid hand selected hardwood billets sourced world wide for their specific tone and cosmetic properties. Our Maple neck blanks are harvested from the eastern United States as well as the cold regions of Canada for their stability and figure. All of our wood exotic and domestic is painstakingly researched for proper documentation and origin. We only deal with reputable and quality vendors with the highest standards and a long-standing history. This is lumber in its raw form just passed the harvest point and tempered. From here it is further seasoned, milled and turned into a beautiful "toneful" instrument one guitar at a time in our Southern California Facility by a hand picked team of craftsmen.
We also either manufacture or source from around the globe the highest quality components for our Custom Shop instruments. Here is a partial list:
- Neck plate / control cavity plate- cut, powder-coated and engraved in Sun Valley, CA
- Frets - material (imported from Germany) cut and installed in Sun Valley, CA
- Vintage Tremolo and PT Bridge- Gotoh (Japan)
- Floyd Rose tremolo (Germany and Korean parts)
- HipShot Bridges (USA)
- Schecter/HipShot locking tuners (So. Korea)
- TonePros Bridge/Stop Tail (So. Korea)
- GraphTech nuts (Canada)
- 3-way / 5-way Pickup 'Slider' Selectors (USA)
- 3-way Pickup toggle (Japan)
- Strings- USA
- Pickups- Schecter, EMG and Seymour Duncan (made in the USA from domestic and imported parts)
Due to our limited production (35-45 guitars per month) we purchase incidental parts (knobs / jack plates / screws /etc) from domestic suppliers like Stewart MacDonald, AllParts, and WD Music. These parts originate in Taiwan, Korea, Mexico and PRC.
Our instruments are also finished (painted) in our in-house facility utilizing materials and procedures that meet or exceed California's strict guidelines.
To conclude this, I begrudgingly have decided to modify our designations on our Custom Shop instruments. Simply put, in this extremely litigious state that we are located, I can't risk an overzealous (ie: ambulance chasing) attorney to use the ultra-vagueness of this statute(Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17533.7.) to drag us into a ridiculous legal matter. Instead of littering your custom instrument with what seems to be the busy but 'safe' verbiage of 'Made in the USA from Domestic and Imported Material', I have decided to replace the HANDCRAFTED in SUN VALLEY, CA USA with the below inscription:
This bothers me beyond words, but I like to think our customers are smarter than the average bear. If you are ever in the Los Angeles area and would like to visit our Custom Shop where these player’s instruments are built from the ground up with "Domestic and Imported Parts" please contact us so we can show you around!
I also invite you to join me in contacting your elected officials to voice your displeasure over this entire matter.
Schecter Guitar Research
Here is a link to a related article: