Yesterday and Today by Fender and Gretsch

Yesterday & Today by Fender and Gretsch

Gretsch is experiencing somewhat of a revival, and although owned by Fender it is still managed by Fred Gretsch. Most all Gretsch instruments are made in Asia under the watchful eye of the owner. I hope Fender allows Gretsch to prosper. This company makes wonderful guitars.

Guild Guitars in Westerly Rhode Island

Guild was purchased by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation in 1995.  In late 2001, Fender decided to move all Guild production to its factory in Corona, California.

To ease the burden on Corona facility, which had only made electric guitars up to this point, and was now transitioning into making archtop and acoustic guitars, Guild’s Westerly Rhode Island factory artisans and workers prepared guitar ‘kits’ that they shipped to Corona.

These kits were near-complete production guitars that only needed finishing and final assembly before being sent to retailers. After this Westerly closed up the shop, leaving its employees without jobs.

Worker at the Tacoma Factory

Guild production in Corona was short-lived, as Fender acquired the assets of Washington-based Tacoma Guitar Company in 2004, and moved all American Guild acoustic production to Tacoma, Washington.

In a few short years Fender discontinued production of US-made Guild electric guitars completely. In 2008 manufacturing of US made Guild guitars was moved to the Kaman, New Hartford Connecticut facility, the same factory that for years has built Ovation Guitars.

Recently the following information was released to the news:

“Ovation Guitars that are made-in-the-USA, will cease production, as parent company Fender Musical Instruments announced on April 23, 2014.

Citing “current market conditions and insufficient volume levels,” Fender officials released a statement saying production would cease in New Hartford, Connecticut by June, displacing 46 employees. The company’s Fender and Guild lines of acoustic guitars, which are also crafted at the Connecticut site, “will transition to other facilities at a later date,” continued the statement. Ovation guitars, however, will continue to be built outside the U.S.; the brand has production locations in China, South Korea and Indonesia.”

In my opinion, this is very sad news.

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Mark Addy