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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Scathing review on lower priced Fender amps

Next 20 Messages  
1946dodge

USA

Jan 14th, 2007 04:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

First the good news:
The lower priced Fender amps sound better than any other amp in its price range bar none. That famous Fender full sparkling sound is in all of them. I have a Princton DSP which sounds wonderful.

BUT - and this goes for all foreign made cheaper amplifiers, not just Fenders, like Roland Jazz Chorus, and the like - The input jacks are PLASTIC crap.

They break, even under careful use.

I have replaced all of them with metal jacks. It is easy enough but a big pain in the ass especially when for about 6 bucks the manufacturer could have installed them in the first place.

Since the input jacks are the achilles heel of any amplifier - if they break you are done- it makes no sense to me for Fender or any other manufacturer to save 6 bucks and have an instrument with shoddy parts right at the input!

I would pay 20 bucks more gladly for these amplifiers if they came the right way, with metal jacks that dont break!

How about it you guys? Doesn't this piss you off too?

Or am I just an old crank?

Ed

Dadical
Contributing Member
*****

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Jan 16th, 2007 12:17 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Dear Old Crank,

RIGHT ON!!
...and it ain't six bucks for parts at production level - one at the most.

Looking at it from a hopefully neutral, engineering standpoint, I see it as a labor issue. The plastic jacks have larger mounting nuts and coarse threads. They are easy for any warm body to assemble get reasonably snug without overtightening or stripping. It takes better eyesight, dexterity, and a couple drops of mechanical sense to properly fit the fine thread metal jacks with smaller nuts.

I would guess that dumbing down the installation process has resulted in fewer re-installs on the line, even though the customer usually winds up having to do it before too long.

1946dodge

USA

Jan 16th, 2007 09:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think it is a huge mistake using these cheap plastic jacks. When an entire product is vunerable due to a simple part, this is a disaster.
If someone buys one of these for his kid, and it breaks after a short while, the whole line will suffer, because they won't get any repeat customers.
Never ever try to shave cost on a part that is critical to a device - the cost savings attempt will sabotage the product line every time.

Imagine if a small spring in an automobile was the achiles heel for the whole car. After a few times stuck on the highway, words gets around and nobody wants that car.

People in suits that run these companies can in their bottom line mentality run the company into the ground.

kego
Contributing Member
******

Houston, TX

Give me a second to think of something..
Jan 23rd, 2007 09:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'd like to see metal jacks in *all* Fender's amps as well, but that said, I always tie my cord around the handle to make sure that the jack itself never gets yanked on. So far I've never had one of the plastic jacks break.

*knocking on wood*

cottonwolf

Raleigh NC

Jan 23rd, 2007 04:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I bought a nice little Marshall practice amp. THe jack broke and when it did it broke the board too.

Blues Power

Long Island

Who said "he knows all the chords"
Jan 24th, 2007 10:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

all this out sourcing really gets my goat.not only for fender but across the whole spectrum.

cheap labor, cheap meterials cheap cheap cheap and like you said for a few $$$ more they can make a quality unit thats MIA and will still have some value in the future and keep jobs here.

3 chord

MT/USA

I don't have anything clever to say
Jan 24th, 2007 05:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"cheap labor, cheap meterials cheap cheap cheap and like you said for a few $$$ more they can make a quality unit thats MIA and will still have some value in the future and keep jobs here."

I've always thought MIA instruments are a better buy. Americans building guitar and amps in the country where Rock and Roll and Country music was born just makes sense to me.

I'm not saying MIA is best but it feeds our kids. And other insustries should also take note, pay now or pay later!

Sorry for the rant it's just it's a sore spot of mine (and I'm Canadian!).


RicOkc

Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Jan 25th, 2007 01:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm with you guys!





Most of my working life was spent in electronics manufacturing & repair (not to mention dealing with engineers, assembly procedures, time & motion studies). From "new build" products, PC hard drives, Endoscopic surgical equip., to musical equipment repair. Just some backround to let you know where I'm coming from.

You'd be amazed at how many companies use the "cheap" plastic input/output jacks, and that includes some of the more expensive amps.

The cost of these cheap plastic parts, buying in bulk for manufacturing & installation, try pennies, not dollars.

The majority of the circuit boards used in these applications are "wave soldered" by machine, very little is done "by hand", that also includes installation of components on the circuit boards (input/output/fx loops included). The more parts you can fit on a board that eliminates being done by a human equals a quicker assembly time & more profit for the company making/selling them. As stated before, most of it is out-sourced, not done in-house.

I worked for a small repair shop that had contracts with Guitar Center & Mars Music to do warranty repair for several major musical manufacturing compaines. Most of the repairs we did on amplifiers were due to these "cheap plastic parts" and bad soldering than component failure.

Some amps have enough area to install "metal" jacks", some don't.

One tip, if you have to replace a jack on an amp that is plastic and has failed due to pressure (breakage),after installing the new part run a bead of silicone along the area where the jack & the PC board meet. That will help strenghten it and reduce breakage of the part as well as breaking the traces on the board. If you can use a metal part, by all means do it.

That's one of many reasons why there's a market for the expensive amps, quality components and a solid design.



6V6man
Contributing Member
***

Michigander

Has anybody seen my mind?
Feb 5th, 2007 06:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

In my repair business, I see more Fender amps, with input jack problems, than any other brand. This includes the little practice amps and Hot Rod Deluxes, etc. Same jack. Next up is Marshall, the occassional Hartke (same jack as Fender), and numerous other brands. Until last October I'd worked in a Mom & Pop store for over three years. We were a Kustom dealer, and we sold a *TON* of their small amps. I only had to repair 2 Kustom amps over that time frame. One, to replace a master volume pot because the amp slid inside a car trunk and the shaft broke off, and a blown 6" speaker. Not a single input jack. I'm not endorsing Kustom over Fender, only saying that whatever jack they use seems to be better than Fenders, et al.

davess23
Contributing Member

USA

stillplayin'
Feb 26th, 2007 02:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Really short-sighted false economy on Fender's part. The goal, naturally, is to cut a few more cents off production costs and so compete more effectively on the very price-driven entry level market.

By cheaping out on a point that's vulnerable to damage and liable to undergo abuse by newbies and kids, they essentially engineer an Achilles heel into the stuff that otherwise would serve as an introduction to the product line, and build customer loyalty down the timeline.

Seems to me that they're saving a few cents today by costing themselves big bucks a few years down the road.

shoudek
Contributing Member
**

USA

Apr 16th, 2007 12:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Really very surprising this continues given you can get a good quality switch craft for a dollar or so....even less in quantity I would think.

Haig

usa

Haig
Apr 17th, 2007 05:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Here's what I heard about this "Plastic Jack" phenemenon. I don't know if it's true or not. Apparently California has a law that says they have to be plastic because they're safer, and won't short out as easily. The companies can keep them as all metal if they want, but as a result, will not be able to sell them in California. That's a big market to dismiss.

Fender_Freak
Contributing Member
*

Bay Area / USA

Apr 18th, 2007 09:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No.

squier special
Contributing Member

USA/LA,CA

Apr 30th, 2007 07:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'll check out the California law on jacks, if I can find it!

My 1990 SK-20 Chorus came with two plastic-nutted inputs. The downfall was my toddlers making a game of shoving a cable plug in and out, over and over, faster and faster.

Fender should have hired them as destruction testers.

jaylizan

U.S. Mississippi

crawfish and beer
May 2nd, 2007 06:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ihave a new champion 600 it came with a metal jack but I just bought a carvin vintage 16 it has a plastic jack albiet a very firm feeling plastic jack

dmoulton
Contributing Member
*

canada

Jul 6th, 2007 05:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Jaylizan, the champ jack looks good on the outside, but inside it's plastic & board mounted.

David

Blues&Jazz

Atlanta

Aug 23rd, 2007 12:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I believe European Union has some similar laws what Haig is stating above, plastic jacks are there for safety purposes. I would not be surprised if Fender goes that route to standardize the parts regardless of the markets and their laws.

3 chord

MT/USA

I don't have anything clever to say
Aug 27th, 2007 06:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't get it. There is a lot more than the jack construction that can cause a safety hazard on a guitar amp.

And if this is the new direction for Fender, there are stronger materials and methods of construction available that could be used.





fendermike

Western Mass

Jan 5th, 2008 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It's not just a materials issue, it's also the way most of them are soldered directly to the board. That's a more expensive solution to engineer a way around, of course.

From my marketing perspective, having a beefy input jack would translate nicely into feature/benefit. An ad might even sway me if it stated: "All METAL input jack NOT directly attached to PC board"

Van Winkle 12

So Orange County, CA

All edits are for spelling!
Jan 9th, 2008 05:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

After several failed jacks in different amps, I will no longer buy amps with plastic jacks. Done, finito kaput!

VW12

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