Paul told me most of the pros on here despise gibson. I recently purchesed Spanns guide to gibson and Gibsons Fab Flat tops Book i love the books. but heres my question being a player and growing up with no money i have always dreamed of owning a gibson. in those books i was shocked at how cheap some of the guitars i desire now were back when produced. What has happened to Gibson there prices are high 4,000 bucks for some i could buy alotta gas in my car for that. This is just a question i like gibsons past work and it amazes me that some of the work that they did in the 1900s is what everyone likes or am i wrong. To me Gibson is like a study a on going study to see what good smart idea or dumb idotic idea there gonna pull off. post your thoughs i wanna know what the pros think and everyone.
I see new Gibsons with fit and finish equal to higher end Korean stuff.
I have also visited the Memphis factory and was not impressed.
Older stuff can be nice and expensive or it can be crap and expensive.
And old guitars are, well, old. And a lot of them are the worse for wear. And need lots of expensive attention.
That said, some vintage Les Pauls can cause some uncomfortable feelings to stir in my loins ;~)
I have not played a Gibson acoustic in the last 15 years that I would pay more than $300 dollars for. Not one...
I've got two Gibsons, but the newest is turning 45 this year.
IMHO they are still trading on the name while others have caught up and surpassed them
Last year I bought a scrap 1960s LG0 for less than $300. I put a new spruce front on it myself and I am pleased with the result. The basic materials are very good. Solid mahogany neck, back, blocks and kerfing. Laminated mahogany sides. The original mahogany front was beyond rescue and the plastic bridge was broken. If you can do it yourself this can be an inexpensive way to acquire some of that Gibson magic.
im not against gibson its just some stuff is good some isnt lol
I'll list my specific complaints and then I'll be silent on the subject (I hear a round of applause in the cyber-background).
My primary complaints are with Gibson electrics & acoustics made from 1971-1980 and those made from 2001-present. The pre-71 models are no better or worse, on average, than any other brand. There are great ones and dogs in each model line. That's life & it's no big deal.
Gibson completely abandoned it's battle-proven models and started making junk instead. Look at the SG's with the plastic control plates on their tops and weak single coil pickups as an example...and the “WTF?” Corvus.
The woods they used were unbearably heavy and their workmanship took a steep nosedive.
Ex: I bought a Limited Run LP Standard w/full size HB pups in 1974 for the full bore retail price of $850 (GAS overrode common sense). This was a "proof of marketing concept" edition of 500 guitars. They went into full production with the LPS model in 1975. BTW: most ALL of the early reissue LP's were wrong in many ways, like a 3 piece sandwiched body & 3 piece maple necks.
Within 4 years, the neck twisted in a way wherein the entire neck would have had to be replaced in order to correct the heinous twist. Gibson did not stand behind their product stating that I was at fault because I didn't use Gibson strings. HUH? Even at the tender young age of 27, I knew a bullshit answer when I heard one. I was a full time working guitarist at that time & I needed a good guitar. Long story short: I sold the LPS at a tremendous loss (due to the neck issue, I had to bear the $$ loss) and bought an Ibanez Artist 2618 which I still have & use today. It only cost me $350 and it's a much higher quality product than the LPS. Heck, it’s still even higher quality than a current PRS. But I digress.....
In fairness, here's what was good in the 80's & 90's:
The Heritage Edition LP W/ Tim Shaw pups [way too heavy but a fire breathing dragon]. They reissued the ’61 SG Std. The reissued the '59 ES-335. Workmanship was significantly improved over the 70's era and overall product quality was commensurate with their asking prices.
In 2001, Gibson changed their lacquer formula. The result is a finish that either refuses to harden or takes years to cure. Additionally, quality of workmanship went down the toilet and prices skyrocketed.
I've worked on many dozens of 2001& thereafter Gibsons and find their workmanship equal to or lower than many low priced imported copies. Many come from the factory set up so horribly as to be unplayable.
I work on so many new Gibsons because people bring them to me to fix what a multi-billion $$$ corporation charged them $5K+ for AND failed to do at the factory. I feel so very sorry for these uneducated souls who put their trust in a USA company that just took their money & ran.
The case I like to share the most is a brand new LP R9, list price: $8500. To simply make it playable, I had to level, re-crown & polish the frets, truss a badly back-bowed neck, re-cut the [plastic!] nut and tighten all of the way too loose hardware. Oh ya, it had been "PLEK'D" at the factory (and that was a major advertising point for this series). If it had been a $500 import, I'd have no beef, but at those prices, Gibson (in their advertisements) guarantees perfection and the customer (the guy that just laid out thousands) expects it. Luckily, it was sold to a Japanese client so I won’t have to deal with the crummy finish issues.
The lacquer issue has been a "known problem" to Gibson since 2002 but they have done nothing to correct it. Thousands of working musicians have new Gibson guitars that cannot be played for more than 15 minutes without the neck getting gummy. This may not be an issue for a casual player or hobbyist, but my working & pro customers are outraged and feel ripped-off.
The solution? The owner pays a 3rd party finishing technician to strip & re-spray the neck with the correctly formulated lacquer at an out of pocket expense of $150 or more. BTW: Gibson's actual corporate response to the issue? "Put it on a stand in a dry room and leave it for a couple months so the finish can cure." Again; WTF?!!!!!!!!
And their Montana acoustics? Far better imported instruments can be had for thousands less. There's also this "creeping finish" problem around their bridges that nobody [that I know] can explain. And again, they sell for 4 times what they're worth.
Gibson is simply living on its laurels and nothing else. They also spend $$$ on the stupidest product developments like the Robot Guitar, The Reverse Flying V and the uber-ridiculous all-time winner: The Firebird X.
If they spent a fourth of their advertizing budget on improving their build quality, they just might start making instruments whose quality is in line with their prices.
They survive ONLY because 15 year-olds and uneducated adults have been brainwashed via endorsements & advertizing to be brand loyal to them.
Y'know the 'original LPS' that Slash played in G&R? It wasn't a Gibson. It was a luthier built replica that Slash commissioned after he couldn't find a decent "real Gibson" LPS. So essentially, when Gibson issued the Slash Model LP, they copied the work of an independent luthier; NOT their own product.
In summary, I perceive Gibson as a multinational corporation who will do, say or produce anything, truth or fantasy, to keep preying on the uneducated and sheepish brand loyal buying public.
Anyway, that's why I have no confidence whatsoever in Gibson.
It's a pity really because I desperately want a '61 SG reissue (had one in the 60's & sold it in '70). For the price they're asking for a VOS SG, I can have a superior quality SG built to MY spec's by an independent luthier.
Take care Ian.
Great post again Paul. Always glad to see you posting...
Yea in my Opinion i would rather get sued selling copies than have a kid want a good guitar and not get quality. as far as slashs Les Paul goes if they want quality they should look at his LP. Paul I always love your posts thank you next to a few other pros you guys set me on the right track and always give good advice.
Ditto on every issue with Gibson.
I envision Gibson's board of directors sitting around a table playing paddle ball, trying to determine how to incorporate the toys into there next "creation".
Regards to all,
I just read in a trade magazine that Gibson has acquired Stanton Audio & KRK Electronics.
If any of you folks use or are considering any of KRK's fine line of studio monitors, you better stock up before they go "CBS". (;
Gibson is again a classic example of "jack of all trades & master of none".
Did you ever wonder why there are now so many successful independent & small shop custom builders of guitars, basses & amps? Well, there's another prime example.
I respect Bob Taylor's rationale for not having a 'custom shop' for a couple of decades at Taylor Guitars. His logic was flawless: He didn't feel a custom shop was helpful UNTIL they could build their production guitars to an equally high standard. Once they felt confident in their ability to produce an acceptable product, only then did they offer custom versions.
Take note Henry (:
I have to tell you that if I was to take stock of all of my favorite music of all time and then consider how the field would have looked had Gibson never existed.... things get pretty bleak...... ;)
That said and for all of us in the repair business consider this: Had Gibson not existed and built so very many products just as they have done so and none of us would have had the opportunity to repair these wonderful... instruments how would our personal finances look today?
Don't get me wrong, I can relate to nearly everything that has been said here but I also don't find it all that difficult to find something winning in Gibson either - you just have to look a bit harder and perhaps longer at times too....
I still get a tingle up my leg (quoting Chris Mathews here.....:)) when I get to see and inspect an old Gibson that is as old or older than I am. Pretty cool stuff!!!
It's like a friend loved deeply, but they keep messing up. Fender did the same thing (and recovered). My first Strat in the late 1970's was such a disappointment I almost quit playing. I thought: 'How do my heroes play this forty pound polyester club'. Thank heaven I realized they could be fixed ... to a degree ... or sold ... and here I am on this forum. It would be nice to see Gibson make some core changes. I still love the Les Paul model... all 5000 versions :)