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Martin picks Mexico for guitar work
The Express-Times ^ | Wednesday, February 04, 2004 | ANTHONY SALAMONE

Posted on 02/04/2004 2:39:17 PM PST by Willie Green

For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.

'Least expensive' DXM to be assembled in foreign plant; no jobs cut in Nazareth.

U. NAZARETH TWP. -- C.F. Martin & Co. Inc. -- more commonly known as Martin Guitar -- boasts it has been crafting its trademark instruments in the United States.

That's about to change.

The company plans to ship production of its DXM series to its plant in Navojoa, Mexico, later this year, CEO Chris Martin said Tuesday.

"It's going to be labeled 'assembled in Mexico,'" Martin said of the guitar line.

Some 50 workers at the company's facility in Upper Nazareth Township who make the DXM model will be assigned to work on other products, Martin said. The transformation is expected to happen in the fall.

"Change is difficult, and we decided to make this change ourselves," said Martin. "It's better than having something uglier being forced upon us."

At least one worker said the company is turning its back on its made-in-America business legacy -- a point echoed by the head of the area chamber of commerce.

Martin said a combination of rising operating costs and greater competition in guitar-making overseas forced the decision.

The company, which recently celebrated a milestone by making its 1 millionth guitar, employs about 200 people in Mexico out of a total work force of 800 employees. Workers in Navajoa turn out strings, mandolins and smaller guitars known as "Backpackers."

Martin has operated in Mexico sine the early 1990s, when the North America Free Trade Agreement took effect.

Martin admitted it took a while to alleviate fears about any layoffs for employees in Nazareth.

He insisted the move would not result in job cuts, and he expects the company will see an increase in orders this year after lagging sales during 2003.

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said Martin officials brought in Mexican workers last fall to learn how to craft full-size guitars. He said company supervisors misled employees about whether the guitars would wind up being made in Mexico.

Martin described the DXM model as one of the "least expensive, lowest parts" of its guitar line. The worker, however, said DXM production helped carry the company during last year's sales decline, because it's a quality alternative to more expensive Martin brands.

The employee said workers have taken the news hard.

"We hate to see the Martin name made in Mexico, really hate to see that," he added. "It's just a very sad day."

On its Web site, the Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce lists the community as being home to Martin Guitar.

"Needless to say Martin and Nazareth are synonymous," said Bill Brackbill, who is chamber president.

Brackbill said the decision by Martin is symptomatic of a greater concern -- local jobs being shipped overseas.

"Outsourcing to foreign companies seems to be a standard of business today," Brackbill said. "I think someone has to take the bull by the horns and just work with businesses to keep those jobs in the United States."

Martin said companies in today's global business environment can strike a satisfactory balance and keep jobs despite economic and competitive pressures.

"The critical point here is we made a commitment to our co-workers to keep them here in Nazareth," Martin said.

 Anthony Salamone can be reached at 610-258-7171, Ext. 3603, or by e-mail at tsalamone@express-times.com.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Mexico
KEYWORDS: globalism; guitars; manufacturing; mexico; nafta; thebusheconomy; trade
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1 posted on 02/04/2004 2:39:18 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
I play a Fender Nashville Telecaster that was assembled in Mexico. Has two Tex-Mex pickups in it, too. The sound? Like buttah! Just wait until I MIDI-fy my dobro!
2 posted on 02/04/2004 2:41:28 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: Willie Green
Good old NAFTA!!!!!!!
3 posted on 02/04/2004 2:42:04 PM PST by Mears
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To: Huck
I have a 77' Les Paul Custom, a 79' Strat and an 89' Strat.

All proudly made in the good ole USA. Everytime a strum one, I can thank the great craftmanship of Americans.

4 posted on 02/04/2004 2:48:04 PM PST by lormand (Dead people vote DemocRAT)
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To: Willie Green
Yeah, the DXM line is kind of like the impressionist artwork of Martin guitars...from a distance they look nice, but up close they looks resemble (in both appearance and feel) a fake-wood kitchen counter.

As noted by another poster, Fender does seem to do a good job with it's Mexican-made products. But many a guitarist will tell you there's simply no substitute for an American-made guitar.

5 posted on 02/04/2004 2:48:45 PM PST by sirshackleton
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To: Willie Green
The recovery is producing job growth.
6 posted on 02/04/2004 2:50:42 PM PST by templar
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To: Huck
I've loved Martins since I was 10 yrs old. It has always meant a high standard of quality and craftsmanship and if you think this way, investment quality instrumnets. Last year a buddy of mine told me his wife bought him a Martin for Christmas. My jeolosy was replaced with dissapointment when I played it. It was nice, but the attention to detail wasn't there and the feel was a high average. I felt like Santa died and Brooke Burke put on 70 pounds. This only makes it worse. Martins high end stuff is still great but for my money Taylor guitars are better. .......Never thought I'd say that.
7 posted on 02/04/2004 2:51:44 PM PST by singletrack (.............................................................................. .)
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To: lormand
I don't care who made it. Just care how it sounds, and how it holds up. The Tele is sweeeet. And a great price too.
8 posted on 02/04/2004 2:51:45 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: Huck
When you find the right Fender from a whole wall of Fenders, it might well be Mexican. There is nothing wrong with Mexican workmanship on Fenders. They might be mass-produced, but every instrument is different. Try before you buy.
9 posted on 02/04/2004 2:51:58 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: Huck
I have a few FenderJazz basses. The one made in Mexico is that medium shade of light blue. I took off the pickguard, and replaced the neck with a Precision maple.

This series called DXM is their low-end.

My older brother has a few Martins old and new. Great guitars.

10 posted on 02/04/2004 2:55:28 PM PST by perfect stranger (No tag line text found. ERROR 7c240000-10e36. This application will be terminated.)
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To: singletrack
To tell you the truth, I have been unimpressed by both Martins and Taylors. I am not an expert or anything, just an avid picker who's been playing guitar for over 20 years. I think it may be their price points.

I was shopping for acoustic dreadnoughts in the 1000-2000 dollar range. Fact is, for Taylor, that's their low end stuff. I think maybe you pay too much for the brand name. Taylor has 4000-6000 acoustics, which may be great, but I ain't paying that much for one.

Same with Martins. All I can say is I picked em up and played em and hated em. Laugh if you want, but in the end I got a Tacoma D-18 dreadnought for 900 bucks (it's all american, btw) and I love the sound, the feel, and the customer service at the factory. I love the guitar. It may not have the cache, or the resale value, but my ears liked it better than the expensive brands.

11 posted on 02/04/2004 2:55:46 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: perfect stranger
I replaced the bridge on my Tele. It has the old style round saddles. I like the newer square ones. Other than that, it's stock.
12 posted on 02/04/2004 2:56:30 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: Huck
I also had the action raised quite a bit. High action=great tone baby!
13 posted on 02/04/2004 2:58:50 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: RightWhale
I couldn't put this Tele down. The sound was just what I wanted to hear. I played some expensive guitars too. I tried PRS semi hollows. Gretches. Strats. Lots of models. This tele, for under 500, won my heart. Don't regret it either. Love it.
14 posted on 02/04/2004 3:01:06 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: Huck
Has two Tex-Mex pickups in it, too.

When I bought my Strat I tried every one in the store but didn't plug any of them in. I figure if the dry sound is there, and the pickups are so-so, the pickups can be replaced later. Looking for liveliness above the 12th fret.

15 posted on 02/04/2004 3:03:59 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: Huck
My '78 Jazz is all stock, but I prefer the precision neck so I usually play the Mexi.

Have you heard about this guy?

He makes some great replacement parts for teles. My older bro has a late 50's Tele with this guy's parts all over it. Whatta guitar!!!

16 posted on 02/04/2004 3:05:44 PM PST by perfect stranger (No tag line text found. ERROR 7c240000-10e36. This application will be terminated.)
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To: Huck
I've been itchin' for a tele for years.

Just like Danny Gatton.

17 posted on 02/04/2004 3:11:43 PM PST by lormand (Dead people vote DemocRAT)
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To: lormand
Mine was less than 500 bucks. Money well spent.
18 posted on 02/04/2004 3:13:54 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: Huck
"but my ears liked it better than the expensive brands"

And that's really what its all about. Some of the older Martins have a magical sound. Some sound average. I don't know if it a rule for each model or if much of it is in the hands of the luthier. I have been wanting a Martin for years. I'll get sooo close, and then buy another electric.
Two years ago I went to Madrid and got a sweet flamenco style guitar. Good price, excellent everything. Problem is my right hand. Some on this thread are comparing apples and oranges when comparing electrics to acoustics. The latter is more of an art to create while the former may be easily mass produced. I've seen American strats that were real dogs. Sorry about the long rambling reply, but this is the first guitat related thread I've seen on FR!
19 posted on 02/04/2004 3:17:35 PM PST by bk1000 (error 404- failed to get tag line)
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To: bk1000
Ramble on! I love talking shop. I am about to take the plunge into MIDI, which should be interesting.
20 posted on 02/04/2004 3:21:42 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: Huck

Danny Gatton

Tribute to one of the greatest Tele players the world has ever known.

If you have never heard "Redneck Jazz Explosion" from Danny Gatton, than you don't know what you are missing.

They didn't call him the greatest unknown guitarist for nothing. Tragically, he killed himself in the mid 90's.

21 posted on 02/04/2004 3:23:55 PM PST by lormand (Dead people vote DemocRAT)
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To: Willie Green
My 0-15 was made in 1955.
22 posted on 02/04/2004 3:25:01 PM PST by larryjohnson
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To: lormand
Here's one like mine:


23 posted on 02/04/2004 3:25:47 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: sirshackleton
The MIM Strats are very good. Mine plays very well. Trash the pup's, though and install Seymour-Duncan's or DeMarzio's and you get a real screamer.
24 posted on 02/04/2004 3:40:26 PM PST by banjo joe
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To: Huck
Hey you tele guys...

Don't know how many of you know about www.tdpri.com but it is the world wide home for everything telecaster. Great folks and info, history, discussion, tele nitty gritty, the works...

You will have to register and obey the ground rules (no religion, no politics, no cussin') but the TDP is a great web community of tele stranglers...

tele-bob

25 posted on 02/04/2004 3:41:40 PM PST by telebob
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To: Mr. Mojo
You might be interested in this thread!
26 posted on 02/04/2004 3:57:26 PM PST by NRA2BFree (http://www.angelfire.com/nm2/chainreaction/ValentinesDay.html)
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To: Willie Green; All
This is a welcome thread. Quite frankly politics sucks lately and guitars are a welcome solice. I have 5 guitars but if money were no object...i would have an Olson. At least I would order one as the backlog is years and they are made in America.
27 posted on 02/04/2004 4:19:34 PM PST by Liberty Valance (In Honor and memory of Pfc Cody Orr, Kerrville Texas)
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To: lormand
Danny Gatton could play like no one else. He was amazing!!!
28 posted on 02/04/2004 4:22:55 PM PST by perfect stranger (No tag line text found. ERROR 7c240000-10e36. This application will be terminated.)
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To: perfect stranger
It is amazing how many guitarist (or people who claim to be) have never heard of Danny Gatton.

I first saw him on Austin City Limits. My jaw almost hit the floor.

Perhaps his best recorded performance is "Redneck Jazz Explosion" recorded at the Cellar Door in Washington DC, in 1978.

The lineup includes Buddy Emmons, who is without a doubt, the worlds greatest pedal steel guitarist. My first taste of the recording was "Rock Candy". I did not know who was in the lineup, nor did I have a clue that there was a pedal steel player in it. Buddy Emmons uses (I'm guessing here) a compressor and a leslie or chorus, but it sounds kinda like a B3 organ on acid. I had no idea at the time, that a pedal steel player could play that fast, with precision chops. Perhaps my favorite tracks are "Song of India" and "Coming Home" of which anyone who claims to play guitar will either be inspired or severely depressed after they hear it.

Unbelievable!

29 posted on 02/04/2004 4:33:35 PM PST by lormand (Dead people vote DemocRAT)
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To: Liberty Valance
Chuckling... I bought my Gretsch in 1964, regular utility acoustic.. It's the last guitar I ever bought. Still playing it. The Martins I have tried since are faster and brighter, but the Gretsch has grown old with me like a broken-in pair of shoes.
30 posted on 02/04/2004 4:34:46 PM PST by Gorzaloon (Contents may have settled during shipping, but this tagline contains the stated product weight.)
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To: Liberty Valance
"Quite frankly politics sucks lately and guitars are a welcome solice."

Much Agreed!

Please tell us what kind of guit-boxes you have.

31 posted on 02/04/2004 4:35:01 PM PST by lormand (Dead people vote DemocRAT)
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To: Huck
Guys...buy a high end Takamine....you'll never pick up another Martin or Taylor
32 posted on 02/04/2004 4:38:33 PM PST by Buffettbassman
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To: Owl_Eagle; brityank; Physicist; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; GOPJ; abner; baseballmom; Willie Green; Mo1; ..
Another business leaves Pa.

Martin home page

33 posted on 02/04/2004 4:40:22 PM PST by Tribune7 (Vote Toomey April 27)
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To: Buffettbassman
By the way...a side from my FP460-SC Takamine.. I got a fat strat and a Fender P-J bass. All American made...all pure sweetness!
Did you happen to check out the Ethernet version Gibson line that hit the news lately?

I'll take an analog git ANY DAY..
34 posted on 02/04/2004 4:42:13 PM PST by Buffettbassman
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To: lormand
What kind of guit-boxes? OK
a 66 Gibson, 78 Yamaki, 63 Harmony, 95 Epiphone and a 67 Gibson 4 string tenor guitar. I first learned to play on the 63 Harmony in 1966. It was a second hand Sears Roebuck which I payed $50 for. :o)
35 posted on 02/04/2004 4:47:59 PM PST by Liberty Valance (In Honor and memory of Pfc Cody Orr, Kerrville Texas)
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To: Buffettbassman
I own a Takamine EF-508C. For pluggin' in, it's awesome. Great sound. Feels great in my hands. Love it. But I needed a nice fat dreadnought for pickin' fiddle tunes on. Here's a Tak just like mine


36 posted on 02/04/2004 4:49:10 PM PST by Huck (I was gonna write an opus, but we'll just have to wait and see...)
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To: lormand
have a 77' Les Paul Custom, a 79' Strat and an 89' Strat.

nice

i got a 1961 Gibson SG,Ibanez AX70 and a Fender Tele

the SG is my dad's and the tele is too but there at my disposal for shows

teles are excellent for slide guitar..granted im a crappy slide player

37 posted on 02/04/2004 4:50:17 PM PST by MetalHeadConservative35 (Death To MTV!!! Long Live Heavy Metal!)
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To: banjo joe
I've got a fantastic MIA Tele from the early '90s, as well as a Made in Japan '66 Strat RI and a Made in Japan '69 Thinline Tele RI. Those old MIJs are great guitars for the money. I also have a MIM P-Bass that flat out rumbles. I love Fenders, but the crown jewel of the stable is my Rick 330/12.
38 posted on 02/04/2004 4:52:46 PM PST by sirshackleton
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To: Willie Green
I was afraid your post was going to say the entire operation was leaving Nazareth. Thankfully, the finest instruments will still be made there.

I gave my son my 1969 D-18 for Christmas. He thought it was the best gift ever, and has been playing it exclusively over his other guitars since then.

39 posted on 02/04/2004 4:54:33 PM PST by TroutStalker (Whip me, strip me, tie me, fly me -- catch & release)
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To: Buffettbassman
http://www.tennessean.com/business/archives/04/01/46246982.shtml?Element_ID=46246982
40 posted on 02/04/2004 5:02:06 PM PST by gg188
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To: Huck
Nice choice.Tacomas are great. I was messing with their acoustic bass at the music store the other day and was impressed with the sound and value ( less than $600).I've had Larrame (sp?) guitars come highly recommended but I don't have any personal experience, so you might keep an eye peeled and tell me what you think.I'm playing a 1977 Takamine dreadnaught, one of the lawsuit guitars. The copies were so good that Martin sued and WON. Had the guitar for 25 yrs now and i still love it. Names are nice, but it always comes down to you and the guitar.
41 posted on 02/04/2004 5:05:40 PM PST by singletrack (.............................................................................. .)
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To: lormand
68 Martin D-18 i bought w college scholarship money new for $295 in 1968.

Gibson Custom Shop ES-446 I bought new a few years back. Full hollow body ES about the dimensions of a Les Paul.

Gibson SG Les Paul 61 heritage I bought when I bought the ES 446 (That was when Mars Music was going out of biz.)

I let my '63 pre-CBS Strat go to a pawn shop for a song while I was chasing women in my younger days.

42 posted on 02/04/2004 5:08:36 PM PST by gg188
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To: MetalHeadConservative35
I played Gibson's for more years than I wanna count. I still have the remains of a once screaming Maurauder Custom that need to go to the luthier for rebirth. However, for the better part of the last year I've been playing Godin Guitars on stage. Playing a model LG right now that had some SWEET Seymour Duncan pickups in it and a 2 octave neck.

I still wanna find the perfect LP Studio or a sweet fat SG. But for now, I love this Godin.
43 posted on 02/04/2004 5:14:56 PM PST by TheStickman (If a moron becomes senile how can you tell?)
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To: Willie Green
For Martin's sake, I hope its their lower end guitars being made there. I don't know anyone who would plunk down a wad of cash for Mexican Martin.
44 posted on 02/04/2004 5:19:25 PM PST by Rebelbase ( <a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure put it in your tagline too!)
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To: Willie Green
I missed the first sentence:

'Least expensive' DXM to be assembled in foreign plant

I think thats the one with the composite top, the stuff looks like formica.
45 posted on 02/04/2004 5:20:57 PM PST by Rebelbase ( <a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure put it in your tagline too!)
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To: TroutStalker
I was afraid your post was going to say the entire operation was leaving Nazareth. Thankfully, the finest instruments will still be made there

For the time being.
But 3 years from now?
Maybe 5???

46 posted on 02/04/2004 5:28:55 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: gg188
Good One,

I met the Reps from Martin Guitars at the Philly Guitar show this year. I told them that some of the finest moments I have ever spent is playing great Martin Guitars.

The prices have gone through the roof. But if you spend time and search for one you can get something that you can pass down for 100's of years. I presently own a 000-15s 12 fret piece that cost me 700 bucks used and it is a great guitar to play all day. leave it on a chair, up against the desk, walk by, pick it up and play some more.

The Mexican crap is like a sickness that will never end. The Fenders MIM are nothing that I would ever buy, But then you might and be pleased. I have been in Nazereth and have always been proud to own a Martin guitar. I bought a brand new Gibson Advanced Jumbo that I had to get picked out for me by a rep, to insure that it was Perfect, and it is. The Case was made in Canada, of course I called them and complained.

The Fender Custom Shop Vibroking is hand wired in the USA, But the birch cabinet is made in Mexico. I of course called and complained.

Mexico has a long history with Fender back to the 50's. Leo liked cheap labor. Recent Fender Custom Shop guitars are some of the finest that Fender ever made. I have two and they are great.

Here is a great link for Martin that shows the great folks there. Here

47 posted on 02/04/2004 5:31:08 PM PST by Afronaut (Press two for English.)
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To: Rebelbase
The Meximartin.

The DMeXM

48 posted on 02/04/2004 5:39:37 PM PST by gg188
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To: lormand
Circa 1970 Guild D 35, serial# 67862.
49 posted on 02/04/2004 5:41:52 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: banjo joe
I agree, I also have a MIM Fender strat that plays very nice with a maple fret board. I have not changed the pups yet but thats a must do. the stock pups are too thin sounding and not good at all. I also have a Epiphone Sheraton 2 made in Korea in 95. Plays like a dream. Pups were changed to Gibson 57's, a classic and a classic plus. This is my favorite guitar now. The craftmanship coming out of Korea on these guitars is right up there with the best. Unreal for the low cost. IMHO
50 posted on 02/04/2004 5:50:59 PM PST by 4wurdobsrver
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