Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - April 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why Doesn't Fender Fix Input Jacks on Strat-style Guitars?

I've seen a lot of guitars, and how they age.

The number one problem I see is that the input jacks on Strats go bad.   The nut comes loose, the jack itself twists around, and ultimately breaks a wire going to it, or the component itself.

Fender is a funny company.  They've sold untold thousands of that classic model guitar, and it's seemingly infinite variations.   Which is why I find it remarkably ironic - and dumb - they don't take the initiative to fix something they have to know is broke!

It can't be because they're "preserving a classic design" - because frak knows they've changed it enough times.  I can think of many simple ways they could easily fix the situation in tooling, and while it might seem expensive to make a completely "new" part, it would be smart:

  • they would set a precendent in the industry, that is besotted with countless uses of that same dumb design;

  • it would be an obvious improvement pros would recognize;

  • it would prevent the syndrome of a beginner guitarist, having purchased or been given one of their cheaper models from basically quitting because "the guitar is broke" (and likewise, not buying anymore Fender products)

  • it would prevent people like myself, guitar teachers, from having to explain why their $120 cheapo Strat needs maybe a $50 bench fee to resolder a wire on a $.10 part.

I know I will be explaining this to many people in the future.  It won't make sense to them.   It's like GM using the same bolt for a common auto part since 1956, that always works loose and breaks, and never fixing it.   For the longivity of a company that manufactures something for retail, that may not be a good idea from a QC perspective.