Other Guitars

Gibson on the brink..

2

https://www.musicradar.com/...

– DCBirdMan

"monetizing", banker-speak for selling off.

Interestingly, Sears used almost precisely the same language in the final 18 months of its Canadian existence and is using very similar words about its US operations, now.

Scary times.

3

...new strategy “will lead to the best financial results the company has seen in its history”

I don't know. Is this some sort of attempt at a Jedi mind trick? "We are not the failing debtors your are looking for."

Can Henry J. sell off enough to keep Gibson solvent? I kind of hope not. I was rooting for bankruptcy to force new leadership into Gibson.

4

Biggest problem is that Henry J is an owner.

The second issue is that he's overextended the company's assets and can't pay back the notes that are now due.

I've seen too many businesses expand wildly and fold afterwards.

5

I'm just glad that Gretsch seems solid, right now. I am sad for Gibson and employees, though. Gibson has just taken a bad direction, in the last few years. It's sad.

6

Yeah, and often, the end comes when a speciality business decides that the only way to grow is diversification- usually into businesses they know nothing about.

It`s all about that curious disease that seems to afflict so many wanna-be tycoons: "Grow or Die!"

7

I'm just glad that Gretsch seems solid, right now. I am sad for Gibson and employees, though. Gibson has just taken a bad direction, in the last few years. It's sad.

– Suprdave

Gretsch almost can't go under in its current form. It's essentially just a name and a product line. As much as I wish Fred Gretsch had opened a guitar factory in Brooklyn in 1989, I bet he's smiling ear to ear and sleeping well at night thanks to his decision to outsource production.

8

Gretsch almost can't go under in its current form. It's essentially just a name and a product line. As much as I wish Fred Gretsch had opened a guitar factory in Brooklyn in 1989, I bet he's smiling ear to ear and sleeping well at night thanks to his decision to outsource production.

– Afire

sleeping well at night ain't a bad thing, eh...

9

"It also states that Gibson plans on “eliminating product segments that do not perform to our expectations and have little upside in the future.”

translation: say goodbye to the archtops.

10

Personality aside, He was attempting to diversify and invent which at this point he seems to have failed.

Gibson builds fantastic guitars and they create a lot of jobs. There’s a slight possibility that people learn a thing or two here. It’s not an easy business environment for any guitar builder out there and there’s no sign that it’s going to get better any time soon.

Price, quality, service, pick two.

11

Kevin Frye -- Although Gretsch was profitable in 1980, Baldwin pulled the plug in order to conserve its cash precisely because it was rushing headlong fast toward bankruptcy due to it having diversified into businesses it knew nothing about, specifically insurance.

12

"It also states that Gibson plans on “eliminating product segments that do not perform to our expectations and have little upside in the future.”

translation: say goodbye to the archtops.

– macphisto

I think the translation is that they're selling off the acquisitions that flopped. By just about every account I've read, the guitar business is doing fine, so whatever they're changing will not likely have an immediate effect on the guitar line.

I think Henry J is a victim of the growth at all costs mentality. The guitar market took a hit like everything else in 2008, and the writing was on the wall that there was not any room to grow a guitar building business. Instead of sticking to guitars and making the company as lean as possible to at least remain profitable (which has worked for John Hall and Rickenbacker for 35 years), he went the growth and diversification through acquisitions route, and it didn't pan out. If they really do have a plan to avoid bankruptcy, I think it's probably to ungrow and undiversify as quickly as possible to raise enough cash to remain solvent. Whatever happens, Gibson guitars aren't going away, and whether it's under Henry J or new management, I suspect that the product line isn't going to change all that much. I'd love to see it more focused and streamlined, but apparently all the goofy overpriced stuff sells too.

13

The articles don't mention much about customers. I always thought those were of some importance in business.

14

Frankly unless you want to buy new the 2nd hand market for Gibson is unlikely to dry up anytime soon.

15

It will be really depressing should they go away, even more so if they stay as a reduced cliche of their former glory.Hopefully they can get back to doing what they should have been doing, building great guitars for the working musician.

17

Interesting. But I'm not sure insulting your customers into adopting your innovations is a winning strategy. He can blame it on "purists" posting in forums and claim that the "kids" demand innovation, but neither kids nor purists were interested in Firebird Xs or robo-tuners, etc.

18

LOL, the purists don't like the innovations and the kids can't afford them anyway. Winning strategy right there.

19

The wheel has always been functional as a wheel.

20

Why do you need innovation on an electric guitar? Innovation should come in the pedals and maybe even amps for people who like modeling amps. It reminds me of Apple taking away the headphone jack only because it's 100 year old tech. Who cares? That means to me it's a proven design. If you're going to innovate the guitar make it easy to change pickups on the fly. Otherwise I don't need it. I have locking tuners on a few guitars and I still prefer standard tuners. I'm not a purist. I'm a realist.

21

Why do you need innovation on an electric guitar?

That pretty much sums it up for me. The last significant innovation was humbucking pickups, and that was 60 years ago. On-board effects have been tried and failed for 50 years now. Sure, there have been innovations around the margins that appeal to some people and not others - locking tuners, Floyd Roses, noiseless pickups, robo-tuners, etc. But the basic recipe probably isn't going to change much. The idea of "revolutionizing" the electric guitar isn't going to happen. And nobody's looking for innovation in Gibson anyway. That's not their appeal. And they have so much obvious appeal in other ways that focusing on the one thing that people don't particularly want or expect from them seems very misguided.

22

My first good guitar was a Les Paul. I never thought of it as anything but a good guitar though there were several other good guitars out there. Gretsch, Guild, Fender, etc etc etc. Most of which I have owned and played at one time or another.

23

I can't believe this guy is STILL the CEO. To me, as far as musical instrument savvy, he's a complete idiot. His approach is to look at Gibson guitars from a general consumer interest standpoint, like Beanie Babies or 'fidget spinners'. He has no concept of the fact that musical instruments are made for MUSICIANS. He's trying to use mass-market retail strategy to sell guitars. Maybe not altogether wrong-headed on the surface, but this sort of thinking; particularly the way he's implementing it, is better suited to Guitar Hero players than guitar players.

The fact that Gibson bailed on NAMM in favor of the Consumer Electronics show in Vegas ( at truly WTF occurrence) should be seen as indicative of where he is taking the company. Mass market consumers are who he is going after, not musicians. HUGE mistake, at least for the place Gibson guitars has held for the last 100 years.

Musical instruments are made for musicians. Toys and gadgets for dabblers should not be the major focus of a fine instrument company's direction, but that's exactly what he's doing.

24

...just to continue the rant... As a sax player, there have been HUGE improvements made to saxophones since Adolph Sax invented the thing. Not all of the innovations panned out, and not all of the companies survived, but saxophones today; whether student or professional models, are better instruments than they were a century ago. Better intonation, better mechanics; in short things that make them better to musicians. Never has a major band instrument manufacturer made changes for any other reason to make them better for musicians. The only exception I can think of was the period in the '20's-'30's when some companies made non-transposing "C Melody" saxes that were targeted to casual, non-serious "consumer" players. They were a fad that didn't last and today are seen as oddball and generally mediocre quality instruments.

25

IMO, someone or some company will end up with Gibson. Hopefully they will get back to the basics of making guitars that made the Gibson name famous, at a fair market price.

It won't be an easy task, but it can be done. It'll take a rethink on the Gibson brand, and what Epiphone will be too. A buyout of one or the other, or both together? Custom shop? Sig line up? Who know's, but the new company will have to get back to the basics, or the buyout will be damned from the start.

Hate the term "think out of the box", but maybe that's what it will take to get Gibson back in the box healthily.


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