Fender Price Increase And How It Affects Working Musicians

Matt discusses the effect of the Fender 25% price increase on the average working musician.

Matt Plays His Gibson Les Paul Custom
Matt Plays His Gibson Les Paul Custom

   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-

Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Electric Guitar 3-Tone Sunburst Rosewood Fretboard Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Electric Guitar 3-Tone Sunburst Rosewood FretboardThe Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster is instantly comfortable with irresistible tone and playability. You won’t believe your fingers and ears. The ultimate in high-performance, this premium Fender Strat model has an ultra-smooth, sweet neck with hand-rolled edges to make it play fast, smooth, and sweet. SCN (Samarium Cobalt Noiseless) pickups dish out vintage Strat sounds without the hum, while a hot bridge pickup provides extra punch and sustain. S-1 Switching delivers an extended range of tonal flavors. The classically contoured Stratocaster alder body fits like a glove.Other features include polished chrome hardware, locking machine heads, American Deluxe tremolo with polished steel saddles, highly detailed fret and nut work, abalone dot inlays, and aged plastic parts. Includes molded Fender Stratocaster hardshell case.Samarium Cobalt Noiseless pickups It’s no secret that pickup designers have been striving to develop the ultimate noise-free single-coil replacement pickup. In pursuit of as little 60-cycle hum and extraneous noise as possible and the classic bell-like tones and fidelity of the original Fender designs, Fender has poured their energy into discovering a new world-class pickup for the ages. With open minds and a willingness to seemingly question everything, Fender partnered with legendary pickup designer Bill Lawrence. The pickup that was birthed from this extraordinary partnership is the Samarium Cobalt Noiseless pickup. It has no hum, no microphonics, close to zero magnetic interruption of the string path; and the widest sonic parameters possible-from Fender classic single coils to tones not yet imagined. Truly a revolutionary design in guitar pickups.

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

3 thoughts on “Fender Price Increase And How It Affects Working Musicians”

  1. Matt, it is OK for Fender to raise their prices to whatever they want. However, it is not legal if they were to force their vendors to sell at a certain minimum price or collude with their competitors to increase prices. They are already being investigated for the former because of their MAP pricing that forced vendors not to advertise less than a certain price. This is against FTC rules.

    If any of you have been frustrated by the MAP pricing from Fender and their insane price increases along their entire line along with their main competitor Gibson, please go to


    and register a complaint for FTC to investigate a price-fixing/collusion possibility between Fender and Gibson. This only takes a few minutes and the wizard there will guide you through the process. I believe there is already an investigation by several states on Fender price fixing policies.

    I have always been a Fender man and have never played anything else but I am not happy with the corporate practices of Fender.


    PS: If you personally don’t think this is warranted, that is OK. Many of us believe that such price increases cannot be supported without monopolistic and price fixing practices and while we can certainly choose not to buy Fender and go elsewhere, such boycotts will not prevent anti-consumer practices. Hence we are starting this grass roots movement to bring public and regulatory attention to Fender’s business practices. I hope you will reconsider.

  2. Thanks for the info Venk, you make some good points and it’s worth looking into. It will be interesting to see how the public responds overall to the insane price increases even with a forced price fixing scheme on the part of Fender and Gibson. The timing of the price increase seems to be just horrible anyway.


  3. Like grandpa (who lived through the depression) told me.

    When times get tough, buy gold, guns, and guitars.

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