First off, thank you for being a customer and hanging in there with us through the CoronaCoaster!
I thought it might be helpful to give you a more in depth look into why inventory of just about everything in the world is very low or unavailable altogether, including guitars. It also explains why your existing orders keep getting pushed back.
While none of this applies to instruments that we have in-stock right now, I felt it would be essential to gain some awareness of these issues if you've been considering a pre-order, or if you've got one outstanding.
This will not solve the problems we're facing together, but might give you some peace of mind knowing what’s happening behind the scenes.
So, that said, let's go back to the start...
When COVID hit worldwide in March 2020, most factories were immediately closed awaiting a better understanding of how to move forward, with public safety in mind. As you may recall, it was basically "everyone stay at home, wear a mask, and await further instructions".
Photo by Getty Images
This ended up creating 1-2 month production delays for all sorts of products in most parts of the world. Soon thereafter governments started paying people to stay at home and stay safe.
Most of us suddenly had extra money as we didn’t spend it on normal expenses (going to restaurants, movies, entertainment, etc), so we musicians started buying guitars and gear to keep us busy while at home as well as lots of people also took up playing instruments as a hobby during this time. This resulted in a massive increase of orders to the factories from brands like Eastwood, up 30-50% over any year in the prior two decades.
The result is simple. 50% less output from the factory coupled with 50% more demand. Very quickly this turned a pre-covid 90 day turnaround from order to production, into 8-16 months or more. It is simply impossible to hire more people, add more equipment, etc to get caught up. Fewer available new workers combined with 1/2 staff factories will result in dramatic decrease in output just when the world was asking for a dramatic increase in production.
But that was only the start of the problem…
As factories build more and more goods (everything, not just guitars, but furniture, BBQ's, everything) the next problem is availability on container ships (side note, check out how many container ships are on the water at any given time here. It’s mind boggling but also a great perspective!).
Photo: The yellow are all cargo ships on the water!
Like the factories, it’s difficult to add more containers, and impossible to add more container ships overnight to solve the problem. It takes years to fix that. As a result, after the delays at the factory, now we were faced with completed production of guitars, but they had to sit at the factory awaiting availability of a container and a ship to put it on. What pre-covid took about a week from final production to on-board the ship, now stretched out to 3-7 weeks.
The plot thickens...
Once finally on a ship the ship arrives at it’s final destination (e.g. Los Angeles) after 4-5 stops along the way, with further delays at each port and then it sits at anchor off shore in LA awaiting for a parking spot due to all of the ships also waiting to unload. Perhaps another 2 weeks delay at anchor, and 2-5 weeks cumulative delay at the other ports on its way to LA.
Photo: A satellite image captured on Oct. 10, 2021 by NASA shows over 70 ships waiting to dock and unload at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Once off loaded, the problems continue as there's a lack of rail cars to take the container to Chicago due to demand. Then, more delays as too few trucks to take it to our warehouse which is also due to demand.
Pre-covid, it took 3-5 weeks to get from the factory port in Korea to the warehouse in Chicago.
Add up all those delays and what used to be 4 months from placing an order with our factory to arrival in Chicago, it is now 16-24 months. The orders we are receiving now were placed well over a year ago.
But it doesn't stop there, let’s go back to the factory...
DECEMBER 2020 - Present
The latest issue is problems with available parts and other components for guitars (you’re hearing in the news about chip shortages and it’s also the same for many guitar parts). As a result, production is on hold for many models we make in China, Indonesia, and Korea as the parts suppliers cannot get the materials to make the parts, so we cannot begin the woodwork to make the guitars if we cannot find tuners, bridges, pickups, etc to finish them.
It's the same for all manufacturers of everything right now, and it’s still unclear as to when this will resolve itself.
We’re starting to see a glimmer of hope, a little light at the end of the tunnel - hopefully in the next 8-24 months things will get back to normal.
If there’s something currently in stock we recommend purchasing now, as it could be quite some time before the next shipment arrives.
Photo: From The SuperFunAwesomeHappyTime Pedal Show! unboxing
Don’t forget about our 45 day no risk return policy and that we also offer financing.
Or, if there’s an instrument that’s not in stock and you’re considering purchasing it we do recommend pre-ordering as many are selling out before they arrive in stock.
I hope this information helps you, and please feel free to share with others, whether it is a guitar, a BBQ, a piece of furniture, etc, as I know they’ll be feeling the same problems with other things they’re trying to buy for their families.
Now, not to be all doom and gloom!
We have more in stock this year than last year, as well as more shipments arriving all the time including exciting new products.
The best way to keep up to date on arrivals and new releases is by following us on social media and signing up for our mailing list.
Hang in there with us, we’ll make it worth your while!