Modern Gretsch Guitars

First Gretsch, terrible quality

51

I didn't notice the 007 either. TP nailed it. It is like he's not even trying. Or maybe just needed a quick thrill to see how many earnest posts his trolling could attract before somebody noticed.

Back when he was Thunderball, I stuck to the vintage section, so was unaware of his shenanigans, and to this day don't really know the gold piping story (or care to). My introduction was in the Spiritwalker phase. That thread about his philandering sister was one of the most bizarre things I've ever witnessed online.

52

Like Garth Brooks, BOA did the smashing on offshore instruments. Entirely possible that was a jab at the domestic hippie-folk who not long before were chanting "Ho,Ho,Ho Chi Minh" and beatifying Jimi for burning USA Stratocasters. What does appear certain is that criticism of the human-rights record of MIC Gretsch Electromatics' source country draws a vigorous defense of that nation on the various music fora. Were he so inclined, one might make rather an uncomfortable comparison between that contretemps and the criticism of Harry S Truman's "Operation Paperclip".

53

Yeah. I rabbit-holed a lot of research last night and wrote a too-long thing in response, then decided against giving frivolous, unserious whack-a-mole potshots too much attention, and saw no point in escalating.

But the casual invocation of Chinese slave labor - much less in connection with the ever-popular Bring-in-the-Nazis trick (a comparison which bore no relationship to the topic at hand and is entirely incoherent, as in I don't know what it was intended to prove) - still sticks in my craw.

Because we've seen it so many times before, and it's always just tossed out there - unexamined, unsupported, and assumed - as though everyone knows Chinese products are less expensive because they're made by slaves (or, the associated canard, that "the Chinese" work for starvation wages). I think it's worth examining it.

I wanted to know if there's any documentation - even accusation - about anywhere in the world to support the casual implication that guitars are built by slaves. In a couple hours of reasonably diligent online research, from sources across the socio-political and international spectrum, I can't find it.

• What mostly comes up in searches for "Chinese slave labor" is references to the current situation surrounding forced Uighur labor in the Chinese "autonomous region" of Xinjiang. (If anyone wants it, I can provide links and summaries of the many sources I found.) It appears 83 companies have been accused of making products in which this forced labor plays a role. There are some big names. But since Xinjiang's main business seems to be cotton (the province reportedly produces 20% of the world supply) - and thus textiles - no musical instrument companies are among the brands implicated.

This forced labor is reported as part of China's systematic persecution and repression of the 12 million mostly Muslim Uighurs who make up a little less than half of Xinjiang's population. They've long been under pressure of Han Chinese in-migration (in a pattern familiar from China's posture with Tibet), and there's evidence they're now being ethnically cleansed, if not victims of a slow-mo genocide. That seems to happen with Chinese provinces which consider themselves ethnically and culturally distinct from Han Chinese, and who entertain separatist ambitions.

For the record, I'm against re-education, ethnic cleansing, genocide, forced migration, torture, slavery, racism, sexism, or abuse of minority and vulnerable populations by majorities - whether it happens in China or anywhere else.

• But on the specific topic of slave labor, even the most biased (against China) site I found in my rabbit-holing would only say that a "handful" of factories were suspected of complicity with the state-run Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps which manages the detention/labor camps and organizes that labor force. It doesn't name the factories.

• I also found mention of incidents reported from 2007-2009 of kilns which used the forced labor of children and the mentally handicapped. That's plenty deplorable. It happened regularly in the US a century ago.

• And, of course, there's prison labor. Some Chinese prisoners - both criminal and political - are forced to work in field and factory. It's hard to find reliable, comprehensive information about exactly which factories. It's also hard to find reliable, comprehensive information on the extent of prison labor in the US for agricultural, state, and industrial purposes - but there seems a general acknowledgment on all sides that it's common, especially in commercial, for-profit prisons. Are prisoners, forced to work, slaves? Matter of definition, I guess.

That some Chinese factories (few documented, none in the music biz) have used forced or prison labor is not proof that all do, or even that it's a widespread practice. Despite the fact that it's an ongoing practice, no one would suggest the US economy is based on prison labor. (At least no one in the US. The fact might be used as anti-American propaganda in other countries.)

In none of this am I defending China, nor condemning the US. I'm trying to face the history and the evidence as I can find it. Before I can believe an entire culture's economic growth is built on slave labor, I'm going to have to see more than glib assumptions.

I just can't find documentary support for the overarching implication of that pervasive innuendo - or even accusations, from anywhere in the world, that musical instruments are made with slave labor.

But I certainly don't know everything there is to know about these issues, try not to be too defensive about what I think I know, and remain open to new information.

54

BOA did the smashing on offshore instruments. Entirely possible that was a jab at the domestic hippie-folk who not long before were chanting "Ho,Ho,Ho Chi Minh" and beatifying Jimi for burning USA Stratocasters.

My hat's off to you! Your powers of syncretic confabulation are most impressive. You see deep connections I'd never imagined.

criticism of the human-rights record of MIC Gretsch Electromatics' source country draws a vigorous defense of that nation on the various music fora. Were he so inclined, one might make rather an uncomfortable comparison between that contretemps and the criticism of Harry S Truman's "Operation Paperclip".

You know that cartoon trope where a character's head whips rapidly back and forth in confused befuddlement while a marimba plays a quick trill?

You got me. I hang my hatless head in defeat.

55

Well, that's a half an hour I'll not get back.

56

Yeah. I rabbit-holed a lot of research last night and wrote a too-long thing in response, then decided against giving frivolous, unserious whack-a-mole potshots too much attention, and saw no point in escalating.

But the casual invocation of Chinese slave labor - much less in connection with the ever-popular Bring-in-the-Nazis trick (a comparison which bore no relationship to the topic at hand and is entirely incoherent, as in I don't know what it was intended to prove) - still sticks in my craw.

Because we've seen it so many times before, and it's always just tossed out there - unexamined, unsupported, and assumed - as though everyone knows Chinese products are less expensive because they're made by slaves (or, the associated canard, that "the Chinese" work for starvation wages). I think it's worth examining it.

I wanted to know if there's any documentation - even accusation - about anywhere in the world to support the casual implication that guitars are built by slaves. In a couple hours of reasonably diligent online research, from sources across the socio-political and international spectrum, I can't find it.

• What mostly comes up in searches for "Chinese slave labor" is references to the current situation surrounding forced Uighur labor in the Chinese "autonomous region" of Xinjiang. (If anyone wants it, I can provide links and summaries of the many sources I found.) It appears 83 companies have been accused of making products in which this forced labor plays a role. There are some big names. But since Xinjiang's main business seems to be cotton (the province reportedly produces 20% of the world supply) - and thus textiles - no musical instrument companies are among the brands implicated.

This forced labor is reported as part of China's systematic persecution and repression of the 12 million mostly Muslim Uighurs who make up a little less than half of Xinjiang's population. They've long been under pressure of Han Chinese in-migration (in a pattern familiar from China's posture with Tibet), and there's evidence they're now being ethnically cleansed, if not victims of a slow-mo genocide. That seems to happen with Chinese provinces which consider themselves ethnically and culturally distinct from Han Chinese, and who entertain separatist ambitions.

For the record, I'm against re-education, ethnic cleansing, genocide, forced migration, torture, slavery, racism, sexism, or abuse of minority and vulnerable populations by majorities - whether it happens in China or anywhere else.

• But on the specific topic of slave labor, even the most biased (against China) site I found in my rabbit-holing would only say that a "handful" of factories were suspected of complicity with the state-run Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps which manages the detention/labor camps and organizes that labor force. It doesn't name the factories.

• I also found mention of incidents reported from 2007-2009 of kilns which used the forced labor of children and the mentally handicapped. That's plenty deplorable. It happened regularly in the US a century ago.

• And, of course, there's prison labor. Some Chinese prisoners - both criminal and political - are forced to work in field and factory. It's hard to find reliable, comprehensive information about exactly which factories. It's also hard to find reliable, comprehensive information on the extent of prison labor in the US for agricultural, state, and industrial purposes - but there seems a general acknowledgment on all sides that it's common, especially in commercial, for-profit prisons. Are prisoners, forced to work, slaves? Matter of definition, I guess.

That some Chinese factories (few documented, none in the music biz) have used forced or prison labor is not proof that all do, or even that it's a widespread practice. Despite the fact that it's an ongoing practice, no one would suggest the US economy is based on prison labor. (At least no one in the US. The fact might be used as anti-American propaganda in other countries.)

In none of this am I defending China, nor condemning the US. I'm trying to face the history and the evidence as I can find it. Before I can believe an entire culture's economic growth is built on slave labor, I'm going to have to see more than glib assumptions.

I just can't find documentary support for the overarching implication of that pervasive innuendo - or even accusations, from anywhere in the world, that musical instruments are made with slave labor.

But I certainly don't know everything there is to know about these issues, try not to be too defensive about what I think I know, and remain open to new information.

– Proteus

A most literate and convincing defense of my assertions made upthread. Would that Proteus' superlative command of American English were used to get the bars open and the gigs made more plentiful than domesticated avian dentition!

57

I wonder if we passed the test...or failed.

– Proteus

You took the time to post a novel sized reply to an obvious troll...

58

Yes he did, and this may still end up being the best thread ever!!!

Heck, it's taken the trolls to wake this place back up lately.

59

Actually, looking at my notifications from the Gretsch pages today, it looks like the moderators were busy cleaning up a bit of a mess of postings overnight.

60

It does look better this morning...

61

The 50th Anniversary Epiphone Casino I'm happy to play is an example of an amazing guitar that is made in China. China can build and does build great guitars when they are given the initiative and the directive to build great guitars. Yes they can!

62

Actually, looking at my notifications from the Gretsch pages today, it looks like the moderators were busy cleaning up a bit of a mess of postings overnight.

– Suprdave

There's a book I highly recommend, one of about five I've read, that describes a curve in the road that was so dangerous that they ended up committing a rescue squad crew to be stationed at the curve. The point of the story is that it's more efficient to fix the curve than to constantly clean up the mess.

https://globaleduc.wordpres...

63

The Electromatics are built to budget in every respect. you get what you pay for I guess, I just bought G5622T out of curiosity, but after replacing the bridge, the tuners and working on the nut in order to make it keep tune, I still find it probably needs fret levelling and dressing to be a good playing axe. I'm not spending anymore time on it and it will just remain a knockabout home guitar.

64

The good ones start with a 6 and end with a T. If you buy Chinese, you get Chinese.


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