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What the hell - the epi es 175
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Jazz Playa



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randyc wrote:


Look closer at that little test chassis. There's only one part that wasn't made here - the 12AX7 tube. They aren't made here any more because the Chinese (and the Russians, to a lesser degree) have underpriced our manufacturers and buyers tend to stop thinking about consequences when THEIR money is concerned. The scores of companies that USED to make tubes no longer exist. That's my whole point and has been all along, is there something obscure about that message? It's not addressed to you, personally, it's a general, conceptual message that I hoped many would think about.

The two transformers are made in Canada - an integral, inseparable partner in our economy - the two power tubes are U.S. made (NOS, early sixties vintage, one is Westinghouse, one is G.E. - $5.50 each and better than any imported vacuum tube at three times the price), all other components in that assembly are from my collection of parts going back fifty years or so with a 99% probability that they were manufactured here, since I haven't bought "new" parts in many years. (Bucketloads of that stuff are given to employees or thrown out by the companies that I worked for.) The design, metalworking, woodworking, assembly and test labor were of course mine. The aluminum came from ..... and the wood was grown in .... Smile


Actually that's not entirely correct Randy. The real reason that tubes are no longer manufactured in the US are threefold. 1) The invention of and proliferation of the transistor. 2) Because of the transistor being more cost effective than tubes the US Military and manufacturers of consumer electronics products began using transistors instead of vacuum tubes. 3) Lastly because of the demand for the highest quality metal alloys by the high-tech/aerospace industries the cost of those metal alloys significantly increased. Back in the Zenith of vacuum tube use the US military, and other allied military's, were the biggest customer for them and had very strict standards and specs for quality. So partly because it was a matter of National Security in those days the US tube manufacturers made the investment in R&D and quality control to develop and manufacture the highest quality and most durable tube's possible. Since tubes were also used in consumer electronics as well the US consumer was the beneficiary of having access to the highest quality tubes ever made AND the prices were still cheap in those days as you mentioned. Its partly an "economies of scale" thing too. When your making $100's of millions and billions of dollars selling tubes the R&D budget becomes a small fraction of your operating expenses so American companies were willing to do it. What happened was that when the military abandoned tubes for the transistor then that's where the billions of dollars were for the American manufacturers. So they began phasing out tube production until it eventually became nonexistent and producing transistors instead. They began bidding on and fighting over the big Govt. contracts which were no longer in vacuum tube technology.

Its so easy to blame the Chinese or Russians but remember they were also producing tubes that whole time and most people (except within those countries) didn't want them because the US tubes were far better and still cheap to buy. The market for tubes became much smaller in the late 60's and 70's so the US companies went where the $BIG$ dough was to be found and eventually closed their tube factories, that's what happened. Like I said its easy to blame "the other guy" but what we really need to ask ourselves is, where was the smaller US company or enterprising domestic entrepreneur who stepped in to pick up the slack? Granted it's a much smaller market now, essentially us guitar players, and audiophiles, and broadcast tubes used for radio station signals and the like. A smaller US company should have purchased some machines from the big guys at fire-sale prices as well as employing some of those tube expertise from the big companies. With a commitment to still making the best current production tubes in the world given the current circumstances at a reasonable price point. See its easier to blame the other guy instead of an American stepping up to the plate and taking advantage of the opportunity even though now it is a smaller one. And please don't say it couldn't have been done because of foreign competition. Because its just that lack of entrepreneurial spirit and lack of can do attitude that's contributed to America loosing so much ground and getting our butts kicked by foreigners with so many products.

One more point, Ironically it was about the same time that US tube production was being phased out that a major shift in American companies started taking place. You mentioned that you were using parts that were fifty years old. Fifty years old and still working just fine! That's just the thing, US manufacturers used to hold providing Americans with the best quality products in the world and that American consumers could also afford to buy. However during that same time period it began to be all about cutting costs and building everything as cheaply as they could get away with. Also began to be about paying the American worker as cheaply as they could get away with. It became about maximizing the bottom line to look good to the investors/stock market instead of being a point of American Pride to make the best and feeding American families.

Interesting side note: The average American working person has lost between $16,000 and $19,000 per year in the buying power of their dollars since that same time period, late 60's early 70's. Due to inflation and the general stagnation of wages in comparison to inflation. Just think about how many nice American built guitar's and other products you could buy if you had that buying power back. Somehow I think American corporations forgot that the US economy is basically a big "feedback loop", you take care of the American worker and they take care of you. Now we're seeing the results of that decades of neglect. Sad
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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Location: Eureka, CA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very good, thoughtful post - it reminded me of this one, that I posted almost to the day, three years ago, and where I said the same things:

http://www.playjazzguitar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2106&highlight=

You're correct that my premise wasn't complete, there were other considerations involved in the decline of the vacuum tube industry, as well as the aircraft industry, shipbuilding industry, machine tool manufacturing industry, textile industry, automobile industry, and so on and on ... all of the twenty or thirty industries that we used to lead the world in. Now we lead the world in fast food consumption and obesity.

It's all part of the same general trend which represents the decline of America (which includes Canada, BTW, since we always have been each other's greatest trading partners). The value of international currency, as an example, was always based on the dollar. For the past two years, a very aggressive move away from the dollar has been taking place. What does that mean?

You mistake my attitude toward the Chinese (and the Russians), I don't blame them for anything. As I've repeatedly said, I admire their ambition and their economic strategy. I wish that we western countries had a healthy portion of both. Another point that I've frequently made is that we DESERVE being downgraded as a world economic power. To use a biblical expression "so as ye sow, ye shall reap". (Influence of my southern baptist upbringing before I discarded religion.)

I'm sure that all of us have heard the expression "the dumbing down of America". That started back in the early 1980s and the trend is alive and well today. We used to lead the world in such things as education and medicine, as well as manufacturing. I don't recall the statistics these days, but I think we don't even appear on a list of the first twenty or thirty countries now.

You're also correct that a large part of the blame should be placed on the shoulders of corporations. Cost-cutting measures have motivated management to slash salaries and benefits, export jobs offshore and buy cheaper materials from whatever source is available. Why do you think that happens?

But the unions also need to take accountability for these problems and, happily, they are starting to. In the past two years, negotiation after negotiation has resulted in huge concessions - concessions that would have been inconceivable five years ago. Somebody is "getting it" !

I have no answers beyond the few things that I can do about the problem, which is to spend my money in a manner that supports my philosophies and to urge others to do the same. This guitar stuff is mice-nuts trivia but it's representative of what has cost us five million jobs and tripled the national debt.

I used to worry about China's rising technology and wonder what would happen if (knock on wood that this NEVER happens) if we became involved in armed conflict. I don't worry about that at all, any more, I can't see it ever happening. They pretty much own us now and their share in this country increases by the minute. They would have no motivation to damage their investment and it's not in our interest to dispute with our creditor and major stockholder.

I'd love to spend about ten more minutes on this but my wife is home from the hospital and I need to start thinking about what I can prepare for her meal when she wakes.

Cheers,
randyc
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Secret2goodtoneispractice



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Location: Spinning & shimmering aqueous sphere

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

randyc wrote:
. . . When the forum stops being fun it's time to either leave or re-evaluate one's attitude !


Advice given is typically that most needed to be taken by its giver. Why would you ever think this is not fun?
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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Location: Eureka, CA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Secret2goodtoneispractice wrote:
randyc wrote:
. . . When the forum stops being fun it's time to either leave or re-evaluate one's attitude !


Advice given is typically that most needed to be taken by its giver. Why would you ever think this is not fun?


No, you misunderstand - this IS mostly fun for me. My health is poor, I'm subject to seizures so I can't drive, neuropathy prevents me from doing many things that require good motor skills and it's too cold to work in my shop. That leaves me with caring for my wife, housework and infrequent mental activity --- things that I post here that are equipment related and similar discussions on a couple of other forums.

From your last post (you know, the one that suggested that I was a hypocritical intellectual idiot) I naturally assumed that you were starting to become angry. (I don't know anyone who uses language like that unless they ARE angry.) I didn't want to respond in kind, so I offered a suggestion to help you regain your composure. I'm pleased to note that your attitude now appears to be normal.

There IS this little problem establishing a dialog with you. When you make assertions that are off base and I correct them, you just change the subject rather than continuing the discussion. How can that be interesting, I wonder ...

I remember "saying" to you some time ago that you're pretty safe in disputing me on opinion instead of fact. I based that comment from the observation that each time that the conversation starts to approach "fact", as in items that are demonstrably true, you seem to drift off to another topic.

If you believe in something, why not stand your ground and debate your position? (Is it unsatisfying to debate an intellectual idiot? Based on the number of people who've been reading this post, I think we're providing good entertainment for a lot of folks. Some may even be listening to my crazy economic opinions.
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tonyteech



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 86
Location: E London

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:00 am    Post subject: Is This A Private Fight Reply with quote

Wow someon's enquiry about purchasing a second guitar certainly started something. I thought Epiphone was owned by Gibson and thus not part of the great Chinese conspiracy along with Japan Korea and all points east to bring down the US econdomy. I thought the bankers had done that like they did in the UK

Surely the decision is to buy

1 What is affordabe and suitable for the job - the practicalities of owning a big bodied archtop are out of court for me. I am nearly blind and would knock 100s off the price by hitting something with it when using it or teaching. I use a MIke Stern Yamaha as my main jazz guitar - it does what I want and to me gives the kind of sound I want. If it went belly up I would buy a Tele - good enough for Ed Bickert. Besides the living guitarist who gets my attention is Gene Bertoncini who plays an amplified nylon. Joe Pass is my hero and he played various guitars including acoustics and classical towards the end of his life

I buy what I want to suit my purpose - I have an Apple Imac which I love - no PC can compete with this for me at least for music making

Surely, Razz and this is naive of me I know its all about the expression of musical ideas
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Location: Eureka, CA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Is This A Private Fight Reply with quote

tonyteech wrote:
Wow someon's enquiry about purchasing a second guitar certainly started something. I thought Epiphone was owned by Gibson and thus not part of the great Chinese conspiracy along with Japan Korea and all points east to bring down the US econdomy. I thought the bankers had done that like they did in the UK


Hi Tony:

While your sarcasm is noted and appreciated, it's too bad that the message gets interpreted as the plot from a cheap novel. Although Japanese export tactics have ALWAYS included conspiracy, as in price-fixing and resisting the import of competitive goods (or applying tariffs to them), I don't think that the Chinese, Koreans or others do those things. They don't have to.

In the case of the Japanese, they thought the practices were necessary for them to remain economically competitive (as their standard of living increased and their wages rose). Since the culture is fundamentally xenophobic anyway, it was an easy sell to politicians and people. (In Japan, just as in other countries, politicians listen carefully to businesses who are able to make immense campaign contributions).

Entropy, remember ? Warm particles are cooling, giving up heat to the cooler particles, which become warmer in the process.

Why would the Chinese need to conspire? Entropy is working FOR them. Later on, after Americans and Europeans have glutted themselves with Asian products and no longer have much disposable income, entropy will start working against the Chinese businesses. Their workers will demand higher wages, their government will most likely change from a quasi-benevolent dictatorship to something approaching a representative form.

Have fun with that conspiracy idea. I don't see much difference in corporate behavior, regardless of ethnic origin, conspiracy or not. There's no reason why any of these people should behave any differently than they have behaved since the first seashell was exchanged for an animal pelt. Phrase it in any politically correct form that's palatable but it's really all about "greed", from manufacturer to consumer. I'm not using the word negatively, it's one of the prime human motivators and right up there with loving your parents and reproducing.

tonyteech wrote:
I buy what I want to suit my purpose - I have an Apple Imac which I love - no PC can compete with this for me at least for music


I would paraphrase your comment as follows:

I buy what I want to suit my purpose - I have many U.S. made guitars that I love - no Chinese guitar can compete with them, for me.

We aren't so very different in attitudes, apparently. (Although my guitars gain in value every year. It's like having someone slip in at night and stuff $100 bills inside each one of them.)

cheers,
randyc
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tonyteech



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
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Location: E London

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:51 pm    Post subject: FAO Randyc Reply with quote

My response was rather bewildered than sarcastic. Your reaction to a UK or European person would seem to be extreme to say tthe least. The issue is the purchase of a second low budget guitar nothing else.

I also seem to remember someon in the UK wanting to buy an Elitist Broadway which I believe is only available in the US and arranging purchase and shipping via a helpful forumite. We cannot get these guitars easiliy in the UK. Gibson have " reorganized " their dealer network so that there is restricted access to their products - fewer dealers much higher prices.
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Secret2goodtoneispractice



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Location: Spinning & shimmering aqueous sphere

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops . . . post to come . . .
_________________
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.
Trust your own opinion of a guitar or amp. Form your opinion from what you value. Your need, preference, circumstance, experience, and opportunity are the most important factors.


Last edited by Secret2goodtoneispractice on Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Secret2goodtoneispractice



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
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Location: Spinning & shimmering aqueous sphere

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Is this a private fight? Reply with quote

Nice post, tonyteech: Re: Is this a private fight? There may be two distinct camps here: one is about having, or acquiring, a device to make music. This is PlayJazzGuitar, after all. The beauty here is that there is no restriction of guitar type for playing jazz. Jazz may be played on any guitar, as long as the player has the desire and ability.

The other camp seems to be about investment and sentimental values of certain devices. In this camp, it is too bad the money in the "piggy bank" is worth so little on today's currency market. It is also too bad that sentimental value rarely extends beyond the sentiment holder.

Fortunately, both camps seem to be grateful for what they have, or what they are looking for. This similarity of gratitude should be enough to bridge the difference gap.
_________________
Beware of alliances that are formed by dividing relationships of others.
.
Trust your own opinion of a guitar or amp. Form your opinion from what you value. Your need, preference, circumstance, experience, and opportunity are the most important factors.
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Location: Eureka, CA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Re: FAO Randyc Reply with quote

tonyteech wrote:
My response was rather bewildered than sarcastic. Your reaction to a UK or European person would seem to be extreme to say tthe least. The issue is the purchase of a second low budget guitar nothing else.


OK, sorry about the misinterpretation, in either case, your initial statement made me smile Smile In the context of the beginning of this thread, my later reactions would indeed seem extreme, whether one lives in the UK or in Botswanaland. Forming that impression ignores everything that was posted from where we WERE to where we ARE, some six pages of opinion, escalating rhetoric and eventually on to name-calling. (Taking ANY statement(s) out of context results in misunderstanding, confusion, disingenuous conclusions and so forth.)

FWIW, my British friends on a different jazz forum hosted in the U.K. don't find my statements extreme. They tell me that I am "opinionated" but also a "straight shooter". I don't lie, I call things as I see them, I try not to be misleading and I'm NOT tactful. Because of my personality, I'm a poor messenger for some of the things that I believe. I can't change much at this point in life. Too bad because I know that the message would be more clearly understood if I sugar-coated things just a bit ...

tonyteech wrote:
I also seem to remember someon in the UK wanting to buy an Elitist Broadway which I believe is only available in the US and arranging purchase and shipping via a helpful forumite. We cannot get these guitars easiliy in the UK. Gibson have " reorganized " their dealer network so that there is restricted access to their products - fewer dealers much higher prices.


Not having influence with any guitar manufacturer or importer, I don't see that this comment has any relevance to me personally or to any of the points that I attempt to make. Corporate decisions are made for mysterious reasons that - SURPRISE - eventually show up on the bottom line of the P & L statement. I'm no spokesman for Gibson, I own not a single share of their stock and their business practices are no better than most other corporations, so far as I can see. I simply enjoy their products and - especially - the increase in value that they represent.

Many people buy guitars for economic reasons (they don't cost very much) and I'm no different. My economic reasons are just focused on the long-term rather than short-term. I get to enjoy these wonderful guitars while they go up, up and up in value. I can satisfy both the left brain and the right brain.

Getting back to corporations, I don't defend any of these paragons of greed, other than to note that one is much like another. A manufacturer of rifle locks in Birmingham during the seventeenth century would probably differ little from a corporation in Korea that weaves textiles today. At least in the broad economic and business strokes. They all have a common interest which is not yours - or mine.

cheers,
randyc
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tonyteech



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:19 pm    Post subject: Response Reply with quote

FAO Randyc
Have a virtual beer on me and chill OK Hope you have a healthy and happy Christmas. I am going out for a Chinese meal with extra ribs thus bringing down the decadent West. The local takeaway does an excellent curry and chips (fries) Laughing
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers, Tony. You lot have the best beer AND the best curries !
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randyc



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:10 pm    Post subject: Re: FAO Randyc Reply with quote

lgiro wrote:
i disagree whole-heartedly with your assertion, or rather, your word choice.

greed is the perversion/extreme of self-interest. self-interest is just fine, and so is the profit motive. greed is not at all fine.

they are not the same, although some are prone to emotionally and immaturely suggest that they are.


"greed (grēd), noun, excessive desire for getting or having, esp. wealth; desire for more than one needs or deserves; avarice; cupidity"

I think that self-interest is fine, got ME through this life. Business is just fine too, I've run a couple of them. I'm glad that we agree that greed is different. (And I was wondering how long it would take before the "old" Igiro returned.) Welcome back !
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Jazz Playa



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lgiro wrote:

i dont think that we disagree all that much. yes, i thought that the answer was no. i am glad to be wrong. i prefer custom guitars to big name brands. lets all move on.


I'm sure there are a lot of things that we agree on. Gotta say its always refreshing to communicate with people who, even though we don't agree on everything, don't take it personally and get all angry about the things we do have a difference of opinion about. If we all always agreed on everything it would get very boring around here real fast, don't you think?

tonyteech wrote:
Wow someon's enquiry about purchasing a second guitar certainly started something. I thought Epiphone was owned by Gibson and thus not part of the great Chinese conspiracy along with Japan Korea and all points east to bring down the US econdomy. I thought the bankers had done that like they did in the UK

Surely the decision is to buy

1 What is affordabe and suitable for the job - the practicalities of owning a big bodied archtop are out of court for me. I am nearly blind and would knock 100s off the price by hitting something with it when using it or teaching. I use a MIke Stern Yamaha as my main jazz guitar - it does what I want and to me gives the kind of sound I want. If it went belly up I would buy a Tele - good enough for Ed Bickert. Besides the living guitarist who gets my attention is Gene Bertoncini who plays an amplified nylon. Joe Pass is my hero and he played various guitars including acoustics and classical towards the end of his life

I buy what I want to suit my purpose - I have an Apple Imac which I love - no PC can compete with this for me at least for music making

Surely, Razz and this is naive of me I know its all about the expression of musical ideas


Very good post tonyteech. The knowledge, emotion, passion, imagination, and soulfulness it takes to make great jazz music are what really excite me about playing. They used to talk about those types of things more on this forum; what it takes to play jazz music. Lately it seems all they want to talk about are certain guitars. Consequently I have noticed that there are fewer people who participate in this forum now.

As far as the us economy, yes its true that the average American has lost over $16,000 to $19,000 per year in buying power of their dollar's since the late 60's, 70 due to inflation and the stagnation of wages compared to inflation. So we have been sitting back and watching our currency become worthless and then wonder why the rest of the world is starting to move away from the dollar as the standard currency. The banker's/credit card companies were loving it because folks were attempting to replace that lost buying power by taking on more debt, financed by the banks. That was more money for the banks in interest payments. Of course a system like that is eventually going to crumble; and here we are now. Anyway I'm getting off my soapbox now.


Last edited by Jazz Playa on Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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randyc



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jazz Playa wrote:
Lately it seems all they want to talk about are certain guitars. Consequently I have noticed that there are fewer people who participate in this forum now.


<ahem> this is the "guitars, amps and gizmos" section of the forum. Music is discussed in other areas of the forum that do not deal with equipment Smile
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