What is “Made in USA”?

The Federal Trade Commission of the United States requires that “all or virtually all” parts and labor cost of a product be of USA origin in order to carry a “Made in USA” marking or claim. The FTC says: “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.”

Under those strict guidelines, it’s impossible to have an FTC approved “Made in USA”, “Built in USA”, “Hand-crafted in USA”, etc. label on a guitar pedal or power supply.

Let’s look at what goes into guitar pedals:

Resistors – 0% are made in USA

Capacitors – 0% are made in USA

Diodes – 0% are made in USA

IC Chips (including op-amps) – 0% are made in USA

Transistors – 0% are made in USA

Switches – 0% are made in USA

Jacks: 0% are made in USA (not even Switchcraft)

Housings:

Hammond: made in Canada
Others: made in China (some sheet metal housings are still made in America, but not die-cast aluminum.)
Circuit Boards (unpopulated) – some are made in USA; most made in Canada or China

As you can see, it is impossible for a manufacturer to claim Made in USA when building anything electronic.

At Truetone, we’ve known this since our beginning in 1995. That’s why, starting in 1997, we’ve gone directly to the source for buying the highest quality parts we can find and for assembly. Although we could get all the parts shipped to our office and assemble them here, we still would not even qualify for an “Assembled in USA” claim. Here’s why, according to the FTC:

“…a “screwdriver” assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn’t usually qualify for the “Assembled in USA” claim.”

Therefore, it is impossible for an electronic product (including guitar pedals and power supplies), to be Made in USA nor even (in most cases) Assembled in USA, according to the law.