Yes fellow musicians it’s true, Fender musical instruments has raised prices on their professional level instruments by approximately 25%. That means the American Deluxe Stratocaster you’ve been saving up to buy for $1249.00 is now going to cost you $1599.00. That’s quite a painful price increase when you’re saving up your hard earned gig money to buy a professional level Stratocaster. Is it fair for Fender to do this? Of course it is, this is America and you can charge whatever the market is willing to bear. As always, it’s the choice of the musician’s to buy or not to buy and it’s going to be very interesting to see how this is going to affect buying choices.
If you’ve been reading Live Musician Central for long then you know I’m a certified Fender junkie. I love the company and almost every instrument they produce. I’m a professional musician and Fenders professional line of American made instruments has always been within the buying reach of average working musicians. One thing I’ve always believed that Leo Fender set out to do was to produce professional quality instruments that all working musicians could afford to own. Can you still afford to own a top of the line Fender instrument? I believe that most people can still afford to own one but it will be even harder to justify owning these instruments and working with them in live performance situations. I know that the money I’m making playing gigs hasn’t increased in about 10 years and I’m playing less shows now than ever before.
Let me give you an interesting example from my personal experience. One of the guitars I own is a Gibson Les Paul Custom. I love that guitar and it plays beautifully. When I bought it in 2002 it cost me $2400 and I played it regularly at gigs even though I always worried about it getting dinged up. When prices on the Les Paul Custom shot up to $3400 I just couldn’t justify playing it live anymore. It’s just too risky in terms of wearing the instrument out let alone risking it getting stolen. So now my beautiful Gibson Les Paul Custom sits at home in its case about %95 of its life slowly increasing in value but not getting to live the life it was born for which is being played in front of a cheering audience. It’s sad because I’ve replaced it onstage with an Ibanez S-Prestige that people rave about and all I can say is “you should see my Les Paul Custom”. The only place my fans see the Les Paul is in the pictures on this website nowadays. I can testify the reason is because of Gibson’s crazy price increases on that instrument.
So now Fender appears to be following in Gibson’s footsteps which does indeed sadden me. I wanted Fender to be the leader and say “Hey Gibson, people are still buying American Deluxe Stratocasters in droves. How about that Les Paul Custom?” but now it looks like it will be a stretch to buy whatever your favorite instrument is. Will we get used to the price increase? I’m sure we will. Have we lived through price increases before? Yes we have. It just hurts to see it happen.
One final thing, I get asked for equipment recommendations all the time from students, friends, family and fellow guitarists. I play and recommend the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster and Fender Cyber-Twin SE amplifier. I had a couple people ready to buy American Deluxe Strat/Cyber-Twin SE packages with their upcoming tax returns. I’m pretty sure that’s a pipe dream now. I do sincerely hope that Fender knows what they’re doing and that they come out of this recession as the best American guitar manufacturer. I will continue to play and recommend Fender without their official endorsement just as I always have. -Matt-