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Thread: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

  1. #26
    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Sure. My friend has a fender mandolin. I've never seen an apple mandolin but I have seen the watermelon.
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    There actually was some planned obsolescence built into Fenders. Leo thought when the frets went bad you'd just go get another neck instead of doing a fret job. Never worked out that way for the most part.

  4. #28

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Jim, that's actually the opposite of planned obsolescence -- that's modularity which is good for the customer. Ship in the neck to get refretted, get a "core" credit like you do for car parts, and slap a new neck on there. Good to go.

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  6. #29

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Apples and oranges - no pun intended.

    Leo Fender was a service tech, first and foremost. He designed the Broadcaster to overcome many of the after-sales issues faced by other guitar manufacturers. Gibson did set-necks, which were difficult and expensive to repair, so Leo made his bolt-on's. Etc.

    Steve Jobs was a marketing snake-oil salesman - period. I met with him and worked with him and his team while we were developing Simply Accounting during the late 80's. Apple actually paid us to create the program so they could sell their computers outside the "artistic" niche it had fallen into. I won't go into the details, but it was all about smoke-and-mirrors, designed obsolescence and a culture of religious fanaticism. They had a department in marketing called something like "Evangelism" tasked with stoking the religious fever prevalent in many early Mac users.

    Leo, I respect.
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Apples and oranges - no pun intended.

    Leo Fender was a service tech, first and foremost. He designed the Broadcaster to overcome many of the after-sales issues faced by other guitar manufacturers. Gibson did set-necks, which were difficult and expensive to repair, so Leo made his bolt-on's. Etc.

    Steve Jobs was a marketing snake-oil salesman - period. I met with him and worked with him and his team while we were developing Simply Accounting during the late 80's. Apple actually paid us to create the program so they could sell their computers outside the "artistic" niche it had fallen into. I won't go into the details, but it was all about smoke-and-mirrors, designed obsolescence and a culture of religious fanaticism. They had a department in marketing called something like "Evangelism" tasked with stoking the religious fever prevalent in many early Mac users.

    Leo, I respect.
    Interesting insight! Steve Jobs would have been a good fit for a life as a politician eh Verne?
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Some of the older Gilchrists are killer mandolins.........but I do think Steve's consistency has improved over the years. I suspect there are deals out there, when one doesn't sell for a long time, and you have a motivated seller, but any of them are worthy of consideration. I wish I had been able to hang on to some of the earlier ones I've owned. Steve Gilchrist is a fabulous luthier!

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  11. #32
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    There actually was some planned obsolescence built into Fenders. Leo thought when the frets went bad you'd just go get another neck instead of doing a fret job. Never worked out that way for the most part.
    AAAAH. Explains the bolt on necks. Very clever.
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    From what I understand, Leo designed his instruments to be field serviceable - that was his primary guiding light. If you look at a Strat or Tele from an industrial design POV, everything is organized into components - necks bolt on, electronics attach to removeable and easily replaceable pickguards, etc. He started this with his amps by going to the turret boards instead of the point-to-point builds that were prevalent in the day. From a service POV they are brilliantly designed, especially when put side-by-side with Gibson's offerings.

    I actually think Jobs was best suited to be leader of a religious cult but found he could make more money making a religion out of Wosniak's hardware and software designs. Wosniak did the work and Jobs turned it into a religion. Same thing with Disney - people think Disney was the brains behind Micky Mouse, etc. but it was actually Ub Iwerks who did all the work with Disney taking all the credit. Happens more often than you'd think.
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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    When it comes to musical instruments it would be pretty hard to make them unserviceable like the electronics of today. But they really don't have to do this to make more profits. Their method is to put out shoddy cheaply built instruments that sound like crap. This then forces you to upgrade to better instruments. They pump out these two hundred dollar junk boxes that look pretty decent to the untrained eyes of a parent with no knowledge. The kid after learning a few chords realizes it sounds like crap and begs mom and dad or he gets a paper route to upgrade to another thats not as much a piece of craps as the last one and so on....Mike

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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by fishtownmike View Post
    When it comes to musical instruments it would be pretty hard to make them unserviceable like the electronics of today. ... Their method is to put out shoddy cheaply built instruments that sound like crap.
    When you make the "two hundred dollar junk boxes ..." you're making "unserviceable" instruments. When anything goes wrong--the kind of thing that a luthier or a luthier-wannabe or just a d-I-y-er could learn to fix--you have to throw them away because they're not worth the investment of time and money.

    That seems to be what's happened with "cheap" instruments when they made the jump west from Japan to China. The Yamaha instruments of 50 years ago that were pretty darn nice are now the not-worth-fixing junk from China and S. E. Asia. It's shameful that anyone buys them and I cringe every time someone here recommends them because they're "inexpensive." They're not inexpensive: they're "kick-the-can-down-the-road cheap" pieces of junk.

    Anyway, end of my rant for the day. Well, for the morning, anyway. (OK, for before 9:00. No doubt someone will mention bluegrass or Ayn Rand before too long.)
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    I don't believe the <$200 mandolins are made by luthiers! I also firmly believe many of them are quite serviceable and, when properly set up, can be used to learn the basics and be a reasonable investment to see if the mandolin is what you want to do with your hobby time. Granted, it's always best to buy an inexpensive instrument from a reputable dealer who will set it up and accept it back if the intonation is off or the tuners don't work (good shops, in general, don't ship those out). There are plenty of poorly built mandolins. There are plenty of poorly built electronics. Buy with caution and knowledge! $200 still buys a fair bit of groceries!

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  17. #37
    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by belbein View Post
    When you make the "two hundred dollar junk boxes ..." you're making "unserviceable" instruments. When anything goes wrong--the kind of thing that a luthier or a luthier-wannabe or just a d-I-y-er could learn to fix--you have to throw them away because they're not worth the investment of time and money.

    That seems to be what's happened with "cheap" instruments when they made the jump west from Japan to China. The Yamaha instruments of 50 years ago that were pretty darn nice are now the not-worth-fixing junk from China and S. E. Asia. It's shameful that anyone buys them and I cringe every time someone here recommends them because they're "inexpensive." They're not inexpensive: they're "kick-the-can-down-the-road cheap" pieces of junk.

    Anyway, end of my rant for the day. Well, for the morning, anyway. (OK, for before 9:00. No doubt someone will mention bluegrass or Ayn Rand before too long.)
    Go back to bed Bob before you start a war. I don't think we need another argumentative thread about the pros and cons of Asian Instruments.
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Jenner View Post
    ...I don't think we need another argumentative thread about the pros and cons of Asian Instruments.
    Agreed.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  19. #39
    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    I can run Windows on my Mac, but I can't play hip-hop on my Telecaster.

    No idea what that means, but I find it comforting to say.

    I didn't know Jobs (so I don't share the hatred), but we've used Apple products for years. We love the design, the simplicity, the out-of-the-box ease of use. I think "It just works" was a slogan a few years back. I think it's true.

    There will always be tweakers and hackers and naysayers, and people can buy whatever the heck they want. If you want cheap... fine, there is plenty of cheap out there. Go nuts. (I've read many places the sentiment "you are not rich enough to buy cheap things." as well as "The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.")

    Apple's products are brilliant. Like was said, introducing easily replaceable parts to these portable devices mucks with the design, and introduces the chance for screwing up tiny (near-microscopic!) components. The battery lasts plenty long. (I still have an old pre-touch iPod I use all the time. Battery works fine.)

    We want things to work, and work well, and we want them to be small and full-featured and cool looking and fun. Apple (and others, frankly) do that. Apple just does it really well.

    Plus, I think their repair/service philosophy is pretty cool. Say what you will about the Apple Genius Bar, but I know that if I have a problem, I can run over to the Apple store and have an expert look at the machine. For free. For a windows computer or Android device, not sure how that works. Plus, because it's easier to muck around with, Windows/Android stuff is way more prone to viruses and security threats. This might be overblown by the marketers at Apple, but I think it's pretty valid.

    In any case, musicians are tinkerers. I love that I can bolt a new neck on my Telecaster, or rewire its pickups or whatever. That's old-school cool. Key word being "old school"... (I also am not too squeamish about replacing tuners on my Martins or drilling into my Collings MT's fingerboard to add a finger rest, either.) But think about other stuff you find well made and reliable and brilliantly designed: Rolex watches, Mark Levinson Audio Equipment, Allen Edmonds Shoes, etc... I don't think I'd want to crack open the case to replace parts inside those products. (Or replace a heel on the shoes myself, either.)

    Anyway, tiny computers do become obsolete. Like OldSausage said, Moore's Law and all that. Sure, you can operate the old devices/machines a long time, but pretty soon they'll be too slow to run the latest technology. Like it or lump it, I guess.

    (Oh, by the way, Windows runs better on my Mac than on any PC I've ever owned. Go figure.)

    PS: Still running my first-generation iPad. Works just fine. Slower than the new stuff, and doesn't run everything out there, but for what I need, it's great. I'll get a new one at some point.

    And I'll eventually get a new pair of shoes, too.

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  21. #40

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    I take comfort in the fact that the operating system for my guitars and mandolins - from Fender or whoever - is exactly the same as when I bought them. Tiny things will go from normal wear, but my instruments are as solid as the day they were made and work just as well, if not better.

    In the early days, Apple got in bed with Motorola and Microsoft with Intel. Intel maintained a strict policy of backward compatibility whereas Motorola kept changing their internal processor core. Because of this, Microsoft products [and the application software users bought] continued to run even when they upgraded their hardware. OTOH, each Motorola processor upgrade required a completely new OS, which required users to pony-up for everything new - a horrible waste of time and money. I have owned products from both companies but my main workstations remain MS because I have a huge investment in application software that continues to work, notwithstanding decades of hardware and OS upgrades.

    As far as viruses, etc. goes, there is a story behind that as well. By way of background, I had a client in the 90's who was making software for the internet. Their biggest potential customers were the US schools, but this required they be put on the "list" of approved products. Keep in mind we're talking about a robust, mature, tried-and-true piece of technology here. Before they could get on the list, the CEO got hauled into the White House where he had a grueling meeting with all the top mucky-mucks and the bottom line was this - you either give us back-doors into your software so we can view everything users are doing while online, or you'll never do business in the US again. This was 1995-ish IIRC. The same goes for Microsoft - they were forced to put all sorts of back-doors into their OS and many of the "viruses" were designed to exploit those. Not for malicious purposes, but to force MS to plug them so you and I could retain an element of privacy while on the internet. That was in the 90's.

    I find the iPad so funny. They tried floating that exact same technology - called "tablets" in the 90's as well - and it failed miserably. Why? Because they really didn't do anything that couldn't be done already - in fact, they did less but cost more. I think the only thing that's changed between now and then is consumers have a very short memory and Apples mojo-machine works very well.

    Jobs stole the GUI from Zerox and then sued MS for doing the same - and won! Apple used the name of the Beatles record label and beat a lawsuit for infringement on the basis they weren't in the music business. Hah! Apple stole the iPad from previous tablet designs. Apple's business model is to repackage of other peoples inventions and support it with a very good legal department. This isn't hate - just calling a spade a shovel.
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  23. #41
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    I am not an Apple fanboy by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I'm computer neutral. I could probably do most of what I do on a Commodore 64 but honestly, Apple didn't steal the GUI, Xerox flat out gave it to them. They didn't know what they had, Jobs did. On the other hand, Microsoft started by taking a language that was created by Kemeny and Kurtz and selling it to the world (including Apple) so I don't put a lot into any of that. If Gary Kildall hadn't decided to go fishing on a nice day when he had an appointment things might have been much different but honestly, it doesn't matter. Apple became what they became and I'll give Jobs his due. He wasn't Thomas Edison but he managed to change the way a whole lot of people go about their days. Tablets didn't work in the 90's but they sure as heck have a piece of the market now and Jobs had a whole lot to do with making that happen. As far as Apples business model goes, it's not unique not even in the technology world.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  25. #42

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by barrangatan View Post
    Interesting comparison. And funny the way Steve Jobs got started was by following the 'Leo Fender' way - by making a personal PC that was infinitely customizable using very basic electronics-know-how and off-the-shelf components. Peter's point about different cultures are also spot on - different times, and different approach to material things in general. Things are made to be far more 'disposable' nowadays in general, from printers to computers to iPhones to... I wonder if Leo Fender were to start all over today, what would his Stratocaster look like, and would we even recognize it.
    Jeff D made the point about different cultures. Peter just ranted.

  26. #43

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Ahh, CP/M. Those were the daze....
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    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    Peter just ranted.
    ...but I enjoyed it.
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Ahh, CP/M. Those were the daze....
    Indeed, I bought into all of it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    I have did work on many 200 dollar instrument. I don't make much off of them and I don't go overboard with repairs because it is a 200 dollar instrument. Sometimes the person who brings one into me can't afford anything better. So I do my best to set it up and make it play the best it can.

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  31. #47

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Indeed, I bought into all of it.
    Weirdest part I found moving from CP/M to MS-DOS was you didn't have to do the control-c to initialize a new disc. For some reason I thought that was just wrong LOL.
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  32. #48
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    I understand. I live in a command line world. I hate change. PowerShell and I are not yet the friends we should be.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  33. #49
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    So many of the great innovators were controversial people, creating all kinds of schisms. As vehemently as some folks love to hate Jobs, there are folks who did and still do love to hate Frank Lloyd Wright. There are people even today that will argue that Wright destroyed Fifth Avenue with the building of the Guggenheim Museum. Beethoven was loved and hated in his own time, as was Abraham Lincoln. And many many others.

    I think the deal is that if you want to have impact, you have to be willing to be excoriated and called a worm by more than a few people. You have to embrace it as evidence that indeed you are having impact. Because indeed it is.

    I am not saying go out there to be hated, but more like be proud that, along with the fans and sycophants, you have amassed a chorus of enemies, as by this you know you have chosen an effective path.

    The only innovator that we all agree is an absolute genius and everything he touches is golden is Bill Monroe. Er ummm, Chris Thile I mean... ... Oh, ...ummmm ... never mind.
    Last edited by JeffD; Aug-06-2013 at 12:12am.
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  34. #50

    Default Re: Steve Jobs vs. Leo Fender

    At the end of the day all we can take with us is our integrity and the love of the people around us. Power, money, possessions, etc. means nothing in the greater scheme of things. AFAIK Jobs was not only a tyrant to the people working for him, but he completely alienated his family - children especially. He is a classic case of someone having everything, yet having nothing.

    Interestingly, Leo did a "Jobs" by liberating more than a few ideas from Bigsby - basic solid-body design and Strat headstock being the two most notable.
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