Other Guitars

Gibson - While My Guitar Drowns In Debt

2

Sad... of course Fender was on the ropes in 1983/84 especially... and they came back. But those were different times and circumstances. Still I would love to have a sharp cut Byrdland...

3

George Gruhn's comment say it all. Of all the Gibson dealers worldwide, he's the one Gibson shouldn't be pissing off!

Gibson's Mr J. is a total turd as a businessman and needs his sorry ass thrown out the front door with no buy out cash or incentives-to-quit. Just heave him out like a saloon scene from an old western. He's the worst thing to befall Gibson since it was founded.

4

What a weird quote: "Gibson is “a company that’s lost focus,” said Laurence Juber, Grammy-winning former lead guitarist of Paul McCartney’s 1970s band Wings, who owns seven Gibsons. “It’s one of the iconic brands. I can’t imagine that it would go away."

Only seven? lol

5

What a weird quote: "Gibson is “a company that’s lost focus,” said Laurence Juber, Grammy-winning former lead guitarist of Paul McCartney’s 1970s band Wings, who owns seven Gibsons. “It’s one of the iconic brands. I can’t imagine that it would go away."

Only seven? lol

– Devil's Tool

His go to guitars are his signature Martins. When he comes to Abbey Road on the River, he borrows my Gretsch Duo Jet G6128T-GH for his shows. He loves her and has talked to Joe about having a Duo Jet made for him. But, if he says he only has seven Gibsons, it would'nt surprise me. (Laurence on the main stage with my Grace.)

6

George Gruhn's comment say it all. Of all the Gibson dealers worldwide, he's the one Gibson shouldn't be pissing off!

Gibson's Mr J. is a total turd as a businessman and needs his sorry ass thrown out the front door with no buy out cash or incentives-to-quit. Just heave him out like a saloon scene from an old western. He's the worst thing to befall Gibson since it was founded.

– Windsordave

Unfortunately, he'll likely leave with a "compensation package" if he leaves at all. He's part owner, so that makes it harder to get rid of him. True---he's the worst thing that ever happened to a fine company. Instead of heaving him out the door, he ought to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail, and made to pay back the money he obviously hasn't earned.

There was a guy that tanked an investment firm in Indy that walked away with a quarter of a billion, and his name on city landmarks. Similar to the bank bailout---the idiots that ran the banks into the ground all got million dollar bonuses when the government sent the banks bailout checks.

7

Didn't he, to his credit, pull Gibson out of a pretty bad situation when he came on board?

8

Didn't he, to his credit, pull Gibson out of a pretty bad situation when he came on board?

– stratman

No kidding. How quickly we forget Gibson's pre-Henry history. They were not doing well at the end of the Norlin era. He was crushing it for nearly 25 years. He may well be a despicable human being and a horrible boss, but I don't think you can argue that Gibson was not doing well and making great guitars from the mid '80s to late '00s under his leadership. It seems that he just took the wrong turn after the Great Recession, opting to try to be a music/sound/audio conglomerate and executing it poorly rather than just tightening the belt to power through the downturn.

9

Simply put, the guitars they are putting out are junk. I've worked on a bunch of 2017 LPs and a few other Gibsons. Hollow pot metal tail piece, some had pot metal U channel nuts that the chrome flaked off of with the threat of a file. Fret ends (and tangs!) sticking out of the neck, pots shot upon delivery (don't get me started on the whole circuit board quick connect garbage). It's maddening watching people buy this crap for 1200-1800 then have to bring it to me for another 200 in repairs just to make the brand new guitar playable! Someone brought in a gorgeous purple ES335 a few weeks ago, 2018, neck twisted from the factory, and the truss rod was broken. I love my late 90s, early 2000s SG and will never let it go, but Gibson hasn't made a guitar worthy of their name (or price tag) in about a decade. I hope they stick around, and wise up to the crap that's going out. I'd love to see them make a decent instrument for a reasonable price again.

10

It's sad to say but when a 2nd hand Gibson is better quality and better value than the current offerings why would you even bother to buy a new one? To forsake quality for so called innovation and then blame your customers is frankly insulting. For me if I had 3 or 4 grand to spend on a new guitar Fender or Gibson probably wouldn't even figure in my choices, Collings, Saul Koll, Trusart, Walsh, Gordon Smith, Martyn Booth, Rebel Relic, Prisma, Feline, Frank Brothers Guitar Co, are just some of the Brands/Makers that I would have to consider first.

11

Gibson hasn't made a guitar worthy of their name (or price tag) in about a decade

Sorry, but that's just a flat statement. I know you work in a music shop but considering the price range you name in your post you are talking about what I would call entry level Gibson. If you leave all the Tribute, Studio and maybe Traditional series (which are rather inconstant in quality than bad) you'll find good to great guitars with the exception of some too many lemons these days maybe. But if you take a Les Paul R or 33x series you'll mostly find what you want. No doubt Gibson needs to fix some things but "junk"? I don't know.

I'd love to see them make a decent instrument for a reasonable price again.

In my book that has never been Gibson's concept, btw.

12

In one interview years ago HJ stated that Gibson was a 'failed company' when he came in to save it. He spoke too soon....

13

10-15 years ago I happened to be in Nashville and looked forward to visiting their factory just so I could play models that are rarely seen in smaller locals such as L5 and other high end archtop goodies. I swear every guitar I picked up was in need of a string change and set up. This in their showcase of all places! I was, needless to say, unimpressed with their priorities and remember saying to my wife that they had a serious management problem. I really hope they are able to pull out of the dive they're in and save the brand, but it's looking grim right now.

14

His go to guitars are his signature Martins. When he comes to Abbey Road on the River, he borrows my Gretsch Duo Jet G6128T-GH for his shows. He loves her and has talked to Joe about having a Duo Jet made for him. But, if he says he only has seven Gibsons, it would'nt surprise me. (Laurence on the main stage with my Grace.)

– Olivia Anne

I guess that's my point - Gibson is obviously not his preferred brand.

15

Didn't he, to his credit, pull Gibson out of a pretty bad situation when he came on board?

– stratman

Yes, he pretty much saved the company then.

16

Sascha, while they may have made some instruments that are quality, the point was more the fact that I don’t think you need to spend $2k+ to get a really good guitar. There are many companies putting out better product for a fraction of the price. I may be guilty of over generalizing, but I stand by my statement that the mass majority of their guitars are inferior products at inflated prices. Most of the people I see buying Gibsons are not going to the high end, they are trying to get into the name, rather than buying a guitar based on merit. One of the big reasons I love Gretsch (and am a dealer) is I feel they are making very consistent, quality guitars, at reasonable prices. Reasonable doesn’t have to mean cheap, but bang for buck needs to be better than the big names are doing right now. I would say the same for Fender, Martin, and Taylor at this point. Taylor to a lesser degree maybe, but I think all of them are riding on name recognition more than quality anymore. Has Gibson made some decent instruments lately? Sure, but they are the exception, not the rule.

17

Thanks for your reply, Ripley. I agree with you in some points and disagree in others. Sure you don't need to spend 2k+ to get a great guitar. The current amazing Yamaha Revstar series comes to my mind. On the other hand I don't think that a higher price of a product is always a point against a purchase. It's not only about built quality and we have to accept that people sometimes just want something certain for many different reasons. Be it a guitar you dreamed of for many years but couldn't afford it, a hero of your youth playing one or whatever. And when it comes to prices you always have to consider other factors like costs, too. What is true is that Gibson lost their focus on quality standards - especially in their lower budget series. A 1990s Les Paul Studio for example will still smoke anything in that range they offer these days. For some reason although I'd rather see Gibson cutting their entry level stuff completely and getting the rest just right. If I can't afford it just let me dream of it and don't ruin the mystery. But that might just be me.

P.S. My ES 335 is from 2009 and it's a fantastic guitar.

18

There is a thread on mylespaul.com that asks what you would do if you were the new CEO of Gibson. I haven't participated there much after I sold my Les Paul to my brother but it was fun to think about it so I responded. Here is what I would do:

  • Sell off non-guitar related companies.
  • Offer only 1 Les Paul model based on the 1959 specs but with modern hardware. The 1959 neck is probably perfect for most players. It's not too fat and not too thin. Lessen the angle of the headstock to a 10-14 degree angle. The pickups have to be very clear and articulate with alnico V magnets just like the original PAFs.
  • Offer 1 Les Paul Jr. model with P90s also with a 1959 specs but with modern hardware.
  • Offer 1 Les Paul Special model with P90s also with a 1959 specs but with modern hardware.
  • Offer 1 SG model with the same neck, hardware and humbuckers as the Les Paul.
  • Offer 1 SG model with P90s.
  • Offer 1 Flying V standard model with the same neck, hardware and humbuckers as the Les Paul.
  • Offer 1 Explorer standard model with the same neck, hardware and humbuckers as the Les Paul.
  • Offer 1 ES-335 with the same neck, hardware and humbuckers as the Les Paul.
  • Offer 1 ES-330 with the same neck, hardware and P90s as the Les Paul Jr. or Special.
  • Offer 1 ES-175 as the standard Gibson Jazz box.
  • Offer 1 ES-295 for the rockabilly players to compete with Gretsch.
  • Create an SG Shredder model with a 25.5" scale length, Floyd Rose and a Firebird or Explorer headstock.
  • Create a Flying V shredder model with a 25.5" scale length.
  • Create an Explorer shredder model with a 25.5" scale length, Floyd Rose and the Explorer headstock.
  • Design an alder body, Les Paul Special style double cutaway with staple P90s, a 25.5" scale length and a Firebird or Explorer headstock to compete with Fender.
  • Offer 1 Les Paul Bass.
  • Offer 1 SG Bass.
  • Offer 1 Explorer Bass.
  • Offer 1 Reverse Firebird Bass.
  • Reissue or create Gibson amps.
  • Let Epiphone continue as they are.

All models would still be made in the USA, come in a variety of colors, would be finished in nitrocellulose and would come with a hard shell case.

19

So a while back Gibson did a Kirk Hammett sig black Flying V ala kill em all era... even tho Kirk is an ESP endorser, but I think to go along with buddyhollywood’s idea of mass market offering, Gibson could try to do a James Hetfield sig white 84 explorer. James fans spend all kinds of money to buy white explorers be it a Gibson or an old lawsuit esp. it wouldn’t be the saving grace but at this point they need small profitable goals

20

No kidding. How quickly we forget Gibson's pre-Henry history. They were not doing well at the end of the Norlin era. He was crushing it for nearly 25 years. He may well be a despicable human being and a horrible boss, but I don't think you can argue that Gibson was not doing well and making great guitars from the mid '80s to late '00s under his leadership. It seems that he just took the wrong turn after the Great Recession, opting to try to be a music/sound/audio conglomerate and executing it poorly rather than just tightening the belt to power through the downturn.

– Afire

Agreed.

21

@ BuddyHollywood - so if you were CEO, all we'd see of any Firebird 6 string would be the headstock? Yikes!

22

@ BuddyHollywood - so if you were CEO, all we'd see of any Firebird 6 string would be the headstock? Yikes!

– fuzzpop

And no acoustics? No more Hummingbirds?

23

The one thing that strikes me is that how many independent guitar manufacturers there are now - with killer body styles really high quality. Gibson has history and a huge backlog of endorsees but if you're marketing to ...ahem.....millennials, you're really going to have to personalize/individualize your product line.

I love some Gibsons (I still love my '61 SG RI even though I'm trying to cut it loose) but they suffer from "dinosaur brand" status.

24

So many good points made here that I want ask this: Can the brand still be saved by the current "corporate entity" selling it's name and all model design rights to another company/entity? Think of it in the style of how the Cleveland Browns was dormant as a brand after moving to Baltimore and that entity was renamed the Ravens. However, Cleveland got a football team again and the Browns were not only resurrected but continued as the same organization and it is like the brand just went on hiatus from participating in the NFL.

Thoughts?

25

I would think any buyer would want Gibson as a turnkey operation, at least to start off with, to maintain continuity. The brand and IP would lose so much luster if the name and designs were sold without the "original" tooling and machinery and presumably workforce to some extent. Can you imagine how many people on the Les Paul forums, etc., would be screaming that they aren't "real" Gibsons anymore if it was just the name and designs being built by a entirely different company?


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