Other Guitars

Ouch! — Gibson sued…

26

Gibson will turnout like Hostess Twinkies,whatever happens they'll be back, and tastier than ever.

27

Gibson will turnout like Hostess Twinkies,whatever happens they'll be back, and tastier than ever.

– LA_Manny

I would like that.

28

The first guitar I ever saw in real life was my Uncle Lowell's cherry red 335 with Bigsby when I was about 8 years old. Love at first sight.

My first good guitar was an SG that I paid for by flipping burgers after school. It was a rarity (in my peer group, at least) and glorious basement band/neighbor annoying monster in 1965. Nasty P90s and those devil horns... perfect for 17 year old with a snotty attitude!

I still have a '67 J50 that been a true warrior and trusty sidekick for over 50 years.

I have owned and enjoyed making music on several other Gibson's in my life. Happily, they've all been wonderful instruments.

In fact, I just recently adopted a wonderful LP Studio even though it's a much maligned and feared Robot Guitar that I hope to rehab. I think there's a reasonable guitar under there that's worth the trouble. Maybe some regular Grovers will help. We'll see. But that's a story for another thread.

There are still some great people working at Gibson. Just talked to a very nice and knowledgeable Custom Service rep in Nashville today, in fact.

Gibson has made some transcendent guitars in the past. I sure hope they make it through this rough spot somehow. Otherwise, we all lose.

29

Again, Epiphone seems an ace in the hole here. I suspect, given the recent history and the current situation, many Gibson buyers would accept an upscaled instrument made by Epiphone as a Gibson. If it eventuates that the brand name can only survive through off-shore manufacture, who better than Epiphone to execute it?

I think this is a pretty astute observation, and the case you laid out for longevity is one that seems to be one of the few realistic ways out that Gibson could survive as a legacy brand.

Not to break off on a tangent - in similar straits was Guitar Center - how are we (the royal "we" of the Gretschpages) feeling about how Guitar Center is doing now? I don't honestly see much of a difference when I walk in the doors (which I still try to do as little as possible, there's a local shop near me that I absolutely love and am supporting with my $$ and trades).

30

My personal feelings on GC are about the same as Wal-Mart. I hate the fact that they put the local Mom and Pop stores out of business but I love a bargain. It makes me feel bad about saving money, sometime.

31

I hope Gibson gets back to making guitars. Only guitars.

32

I hope Gibson gets back to making guitars. Only guitars.

And that's the short version. But banjos and mandolins too, if they want. Helluva heritage there too.

It's remarkable how completely Henrification has diminished the stature of every other product line that was adopted in the "family of brands." (With the possible exception of Tascam, which seems not to have been diminished. I trust it will land on its feet. Losing Tascam would be a blow to the heritage of the recording industry.)

But Dobro, right? Dobro should be an honorable name. I really don't know what Henson (see? Henry plus Gibson) has done to it, other than neglect it. (And on the continuum of things Henson might do to a company it acquired, you'd think neglect would be one of the better fates.)

But here's a personal anecdote to illustrate what he did. I visited the Memphis facility around 2003, "factory" (it's a glorified woodshop) "tour" (and not really big enough to ennoble a guided walk-around with the term) and all. [See footnote.] Of course any competent tour of a commercial operation deposits you near the gift shop at the end.

And could Gibson have a gift shop!? I mean, wouldn't you think? You're guitarist enough and Gibson-nerd enough to have put a visit to a guitar manufactory on your Memphis to-do list, you've just spent 45 minutes or so having a factory representative point out the great care and skill which go into the guitars he's been glorifying. If your significant other was ever going to be softened up to the idea of a new guitar, wouldn't it be on vacation, when she's been surrounded by the Majesty That Is Gibson?

Then, if you were you, wouldn't you stock the gift shop with buffed and tweaked examples of the company's wares, alluringly arrayed and available at an attractive "factory discount"? Don't guys go to Bowling Green to tour the factory and drive away their new Corvettes, and doesn't a factory rep attend to their needs while there?

Not at Henson. Guitars were on display. They were, literally without exception (judging from the half-dozen or so I tried) mediocre in build, some with sharp fret ends, either blems or shopworn, stoner-owned dingy-music-store dirty, with no to poor setup, high or buzzing action (or both!), and grody strings. Like they'd taken hopeless factory seconds off the line, left them in the break room for employees to whang on for several months, then hung them out front. A real coup in personal marketing!

Anyway, among this sorry mess were a couple Dobro products. And look, I'm fairly resonator-nutty. I love the story of the Dopyera brothers, their innovations, Beauchamp's and Rickenbacker's contributions, the intertwining rivalry and competition of their competing Dobro and National brands. I had high hopes when such an august corporate entity as GIBSON accepted stewardship for that heritage. I was even in a resonatin' mood, as our visit to Memphis was part of our "blues trail" vacation to north Mississippi and the Delta. A sweet Dobro would have got my attention.

But the couple they had on "display" (and I can't overstate how poor this display was - arrayed in a nice enough room with modern display units, overhead accent and spot lighting etc, but all dusty-dirty and burned-out bulbs), hidden somehow in shadows, looked, sounded, and played no better than the 300.00 Chinese beginner box you order from Jay Turser. (And in fact worse, because at least those come out of the box CLEAN.)

I mean, you wanna kill a resonator? Let the action get WORSE than it needs to be and make sure the strings are deader than dead.

These might have been fine examples of wood-bodied resos in their bones, but as presented who could tell. By this time I was soured on the whole Gibson factory gift shop experience anyway, and the gum-chewing couldn't-be-bothered brainless bimbo sprawled in a who-cares chair behind the counter didn't help.

ANYway. I digress. Dobro.

By any measure, the reconstituted National company has done a pretty much faultless job of recreating, preserving, even extending the design heritage of the steel-bodied resonator in every form from biscuit-bridge to spider to tri-cone. Their products are spectacular. At least as well built as any of the originals ever were, with action and playability that defy expectation of how a res can play. Quality control and consistency are apparently superlative; I've never read a bad report. And expensive! Boy howdy! But aspirational: a National tri-cone is a dream guitar I doubt I'll ever bring myself to throw down for.

Gibson could have done that for wood-bodied resos with the Dobro brand. I mean, why NOT? That whole heritage theirs to mine and perpetuate. But that's not what happened. Instead, the great wood-body resos are now coming from small luthier-builders who stepped into the void. And that's great - no whine from me.

It's just a shame it couldn't have been the Dobro name.

(And while I'm resonating about resonators, a shout out to the Gretsch Roots series, which are seriously nice boxes at very attractive prices, with a clear mission and design identity.)


So yeah anyway. Gibson should make stringed musical instruments, and take the mission seriously, with most of the attention to the excellence of the product rather than to clever and expansive marketing. It's funny how quality products find their own market even without powerhouse marketing - and overhyped crap from Big Names eventually flops on its own demerits, defying the power of marketing to sustain it.

And it would be nice if, as part of the process, Dobro found its way back to the respect the name deserves.


FOOTNOTE: Some years ago I enjoyed a real factory tour of the Fender Corona facility. Now THAT's a factory. (I have dozens of pics I've been meaning to make a thread of. I should get to that.)

Not really a gift shop at the end of the tour, either - but before the tour there were rooms full of guitars and parts on display. Everything was clean and proud.

33

It would be a great time for Gretsch to do a National TV ad.

34

It would be a great time for Gretsch to do a National TV ad.

36

I hope Gibson gets back to making guitars. Only guitars.

And that's the short version. But banjos and mandolins too, if they want. Helluva heritage there too.

It's remarkable how completely Henrification has diminished the stature of every other product line that was adopted in the "family of brands." (With the possible exception of Tascam, which seems not to have been diminished. I trust it will land on its feet. Losing Tascam would be a blow to the heritage of the recording industry.)

But Dobro, right? Dobro should be an honorable name. I really don't know what Henson (see? Henry plus Gibson) has done to it, other than neglect it. (And on the continuum of things Henson might do to a company it acquired, you'd think neglect would be one of the better fates.)

But here's a personal anecdote to illustrate what he did. I visited the Memphis facility around 2003, "factory" (it's a glorified woodshop) "tour" (and not really big enough to ennoble a guided walk-around with the term) and all. [See footnote.] Of course any competent tour of a commercial operation deposits you near the gift shop at the end.

And could Gibson have a gift shop!? I mean, wouldn't you think? You're guitarist enough and Gibson-nerd enough to have put a visit to a guitar manufactory on your Memphis to-do list, you've just spent 45 minutes or so having a factory representative point out the great care and skill which go into the guitars he's been glorifying. If your significant other was ever going to be softened up to the idea of a new guitar, wouldn't it be on vacation, when she's been surrounded by the Majesty That Is Gibson?

Then, if you were you, wouldn't you stock the gift shop with buffed and tweaked examples of the company's wares, alluringly arrayed and available at an attractive "factory discount"? Don't guys go to Bowling Green to tour the factory and drive away their new Corvettes, and doesn't a factory rep attend to their needs while there?

Not at Henson. Guitars were on display. They were, literally without exception (judging from the half-dozen or so I tried) mediocre in build, some with sharp fret ends, either blems or shopworn, stoner-owned dingy-music-store dirty, with no to poor setup, high or buzzing action (or both!), and grody strings. Like they'd taken hopeless factory seconds off the line, left them in the break room for employees to whang on for several months, then hung them out front. A real coup in personal marketing!

Anyway, among this sorry mess were a couple Dobro products. And look, I'm fairly resonator-nutty. I love the story of the Dopyera brothers, their innovations, Beauchamp's and Rickenbacker's contributions, the intertwining rivalry and competition of their competing Dobro and National brands. I had high hopes when such an august corporate entity as GIBSON accepted stewardship for that heritage. I was even in a resonatin' mood, as our visit to Memphis was part of our "blues trail" vacation to north Mississippi and the Delta. A sweet Dobro would have got my attention.

But the couple they had on "display" (and I can't overstate how poor this display was - arrayed in a nice enough room with modern display units, overhead accent and spot lighting etc, but all dusty-dirty and burned-out bulbs), hidden somehow in shadows, looked, sounded, and played no better than the 300.00 Chinese beginner box you order from Jay Turser. (And in fact worse, because at least those come out of the box CLEAN.)

I mean, you wanna kill a resonator? Let the action get WORSE than it needs to be and make sure the strings are deader than dead.

These might have been fine examples of wood-bodied resos in their bones, but as presented who could tell. By this time I was soured on the whole Gibson factory gift shop experience anyway, and the gum-chewing couldn't-be-bothered brainless bimbo sprawled in a who-cares chair behind the counter didn't help.

ANYway. I digress. Dobro.

By any measure, the reconstituted National company has done a pretty much faultless job of recreating, preserving, even extending the design heritage of the steel-bodied resonator in every form from biscuit-bridge to spider to tri-cone. Their products are spectacular. At least as well built as any of the originals ever were, with action and playability that defy expectation of how a res can play. Quality control and consistency are apparently superlative; I've never read a bad report. And expensive! Boy howdy! But aspirational: a National tri-cone is a dream guitar I doubt I'll ever bring myself to throw down for.

Gibson could have done that for wood-bodied resos with the Dobro brand. I mean, why NOT? That whole heritage theirs to mine and perpetuate. But that's not what happened. Instead, the great wood-body resos are now coming from small luthier-builders who stepped into the void. And that's great - no whine from me.

It's just a shame it couldn't have been the Dobro name.

(And while I'm resonating about resonators, a shout out to the Gretsch Roots series, which are seriously nice boxes at very attractive prices, with a clear mission and design identity.)


So yeah anyway. Gibson should make stringed musical instruments, and take the mission seriously, with most of the attention to the excellence of the product rather than to clever and expansive marketing. It's funny how quality products find their own market even without powerhouse marketing - and overhyped crap from Big Names eventually flops on its own demerits, defying the power of marketing to sustain it.

And it would be nice if, as part of the process, Dobro found its way back to the respect the name deserves.


FOOTNOTE: Some years ago I enjoyed a real factory tour of the Fender Corona facility. Now THAT's a factory. (I have dozens of pics I've been meaning to make a thread of. I should get to that.)

Not really a gift shop at the end of the tour, either - but before the tour there were rooms full of guitars and parts on display. Everything was clean and proud.

– Proteus

Everything about this is exactly what I experienced. What a huge embarrassment. It was around the same time as well. I remember telling my wife then that I thought it would be the end of Gibson if they didn't straighten out and fly right.

37

Hey twins.

– Suprdave

Nah, Stereo!


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