Fender just laid off a whole bunch of people.

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
22,805
Monkey Island
I’m on my way to work so I haven’t got a chance to watch the videos. I don’t think the layoffs represent trouble at Fender per se, I think this is fender assuming crash position.
The hand writing’s been on the wall with the advent and focus of their online educational programs. They could see the demographic shift coming and knew that the boon from the lockdowns was an unexpected yet temporary windfall.
Fender is just the first of many who’s going to have to trim the sails (sales?) and throw the ballast overboard because the head winds are already gale force and the horizon is nothing but a long line of dark clouds.

Just an observation from my side of the pond, so to speak.
When I browse the bigger online music shops over here, they will have some Fenders and Gibsons, but the majority of the ads is for guitars from China and Japan, brands I've never even seen mentioned on GT, with specs Fender and Gibson can only dream about, for half the money, more often less.
As I noted in another thread. Asia is a huge up an coming demographic for guitar brands and unfortunately Fender and Gibson already seem to have lost the race before the green lights are out.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,740
Tucson
I’m on my way to work so I haven’t got a chance to watch the videos. I don’t think the layoffs represent trouble at Fender per se, I think this is fender assuming crash position.
The hand writing’s been on the wall with the advent and focus of their online educational programs. They could see the demographic shift coming and knew that the boon from the lockdowns was an unexpected yet temporary windfall.
Fender is just the first of many who’s going to have to trim the sails (sales?) and throw the ballast overboard because the head winds are already gale force and the horizon is nothing but a long line of dark clouds.
I fear that you are, absolutely, and with a great degree of precision, correct.

Change is a strange thing. It seems like a gradual process, but frequently, it seems like there are pinch points where change builds up pressure, then there’s a breakthrough moment where a lot of changes seem to happen all at once.

Flashback to 1980 or so, and we were at one of those points. A lot of change happened and the economy of the intervening years was formed. A lot of products over these years have been nostalgia-based. Harley Davidson, for example, has built their entire business on selling motorcycles that look like motorcycles from the ‘30s through the ‘50s, but actually were much more technologically advanced. IMHO, people buy these, to identify with simpler times. I recall seeing a print ad for Harleys which showed a kitchen table which looked as if it had been a prop in Back to the Future, and the ad copy spoke of a simpler life, and simpler times.

Guitars, as we know them now, are very similar to Harley Davidson motorcycles. Thinking of my collection, the most modern design I own is a Godin classical, and the rest are all designs from the ‘40s (Telecaster) through the mid ‘60s, the newest being my Mustang bass. Guitar manufacturers have served that market for much of the last 40 years. Innovations, such as pointy Super Strats and the Parker Fly were exceptions, but aside from the pointy guitars of the ‘80s, the momentum has been in the favor of nostalgic guitars.

The problem is that anyone old enough to have experienced life in the ‘50s, is approaching retirement age, and retired people are Kryptonite to Marketing Supermen.

There is an analog where this has successfully been overcome. Cadillac made land yachts with huge V-8s which were designed to appeal to successful people, many of whom were middle aged, or older. But the world changed, and successful people began to gravitate towards other types of vehicles. Cadillac beat the odds and survived, by reinventing itself. Cadillac now sells SUVs and performance vehicles; sort of an Americanized BMW. They still have sedans, but now they advertise the acceleration and top speed, as opposed to the flowery talk of luxury that would have been characteristic of Cadillac ad copy, 50 years ago.

I’m afraid that the things meaningful to most of us here, may not be meaningful to future generations. Yes, music is part of being human, but few of us are using medieval instruments today. I don’t like how new music is being made, these days, with quantization of timing, pitch correction, etc. but it’s obvious that things have changed drastically, and the tools of creating music has changed matters more than the difference between a Lute and Eric Clapton’s Strat.

It’s no wonder that the makers are scrambling.
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,529
Winnipeg
One of the vidoes said that "even a Gretsch USA line was killed." Are they talking about a Custom Shop cell, or some future non-CS US-based manufacturing??
at 7:00 in the video in post #95 he says something like, "They were working on a US line of Gretsch guitars, they've cut that, that's not happening."
 

blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,066
Savannah, GA
Just an observation from my side of the pond, so to speak.
When I browse the bigger online music shops over here, they will have some Fenders and Gibsons, but the majority of the ads is for guitars from China and Japan, brands I've never even seen mentioned on GT, with specs Fender and Gibson can only dream about, for half the money, more often less.
As I noted in another thread. Asia is a huge up an coming demographic for guitar brands and unfortunately Fender and Gibson already seem to have lost the race before the green lights are out.
That is fascinating.

In some ways it’s amazing they’ve been able to hold market share for so long. With the Squier line success the writing’s been on the wall for many years now.
I really just believe that every commodity is about to become much more regional as shipping continues to get hammered with rising costs and geopolitical challenges.
The days of cheap imports is drawing to a close.
 

General_Lee

Gretschie
Apr 23, 2022
378
Manitoba, Canada
Fascinating and valuable observations one and all.

Truth is, we're in a helluva dust storm of greed, complacency, confusion, pessimism, political and social turmoil, laziness, entitlement, and short sightedness. That dust is in no danger of settling anytime soon. And that's the upside of the coin. The downside is that there are few, if any real leaders being "grown" by this climate, who are ready, willing, and above all, able to steer so many off-course vessels back into untroubled waters. So much for mixed metaphors.

Personally, I take comfort in the knowledge that despite the gloomy outlook I've just outlined, there are indeed many fine individuals who continue to work with faith, optimism and general good humor, both for us, and among us. We all personally know at least some of them. In time, perhaps not in our time, but in time, its that same contingent of humanity that will return stability and possibility to the world. Then, real progress and real music will enter our lives once again...
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Platinum Member
Dec 27, 2017
6,125
Santa Cruz
I smile when I think about the crazy fact that I got to live my life during the hey day of my two obsessions, guitars and motorcycles.

I got to ride all over the country before it became so heavily populated. I did that on great roads and on great motorcycles.

I got to play guitar and have a band when the guitar was king and the music I listen to and still play was based around the instrument I love most.

Times do change; however, I feel lucky to have grown up when I did.
 
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