Vintage Gibson VS Brand New Gibson: You can not be a fan of both....


 There are SOOOOO many dyed in the wool Gibson folks out there that think Vintage and New Gibsons are EXACTLY the same.

So I am putting this forward.

There is no shame in being a huge fan of the Vintage Gibson brand, and it does not take anything away from disliking all the Gibson factory has done in the last few decades. 

 After reading much of why the new Gibson's are ending up in repair shops their very first week of ownership, and Gibson's lack of a 'real world'  warantee, I have no idea why this is ever a real conversation anymore.

  I draw your attention to the story I heard about from these pages a 4 years back.

This one story made me loose 100% respect for the company.

   A Luthier who works for a guitar store Gibson dealership had a two week old LesPaul come into his shop. The 19 year old New owner had wanted one for 10 years, so bought a new one after coming up with $2600 (I think that was the # anyway).

The reason it came back into the shop was that the axe could be tuned up, but would go wildly out of tune whenever the neck was handled, then would go right back into tune when no longer touched. 

 The repair guy had a look at it, and saw that even though the guitar was only delivered a few weeks beforehand, there were quite a few lacquer cracks at the neck to body join. On closer inspection, and after putting a straightedge on the fingerboard, he saw that the neck WAS moving around whenever the neck was touched.  He started to hold the body and move the neck around to get a better idea of exactly what was going on.... And with a loud CRACK the entire neck snapped off the guitar!

 Upon examination, and measuring everything over the next hour, he figured out exactly what the problem was: The neck block was about a 64th of an inch too big on both the sides  AND the end of the fingerboard! The neck was only partially glued to the back of the tongue, and the black lacquer was mostly what was holding the neck in place. 

 He contacted the factory, and after explaining the problem several times, got to talk to a shop foreman. What he said was shocking. He said that he was well aware  of the problem, and that this particular phone call was about the 35th that he had received about it.

The problem had been with the necks, and was discovered by a line worker when she  went to glue up the first neck of that lot.

The worker showed that exact Foreman, and he had gone and measured all the necks that were in that lot. The number of miss-cut necks was around 125 guitars. They all needed significant shimming to be actually glued in, but the Foreman could not OK this process

He brought the problem to HIS boss, and the decision was made.

The boss said that since the necks were already to be glued, to do the glueing up process With No Shimming and ship them out.

The Foreman had no choice but to tell his workers to do what they were told. 

 The repair guy/luthier  was told to do the shimming repair,then do as much lacquer work was absolutely needed. Then the Foreman told him that Gibson would not honor the guarantee  on that guitar. 

 The kid got his guitar back, the store swallowed the repair cost and , in this case, the young'un ended up with a Better Than New LesPaul.

Views: 2119

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Marty, as Kerry pointed out, you really picked a baptism by fire for your first reset. 

As a fellow hobbyist, I wouldn't for an instant say that my skills are anything like the pro's present on the forum but, in all humility... because I remember the grand blunders of the past, I do a pretty decent job on my repairs now. Part of it is knowing my limitations and not exceed them by too much on any single instrument ( one of my early blunders.)  I'm pretty careful of what I will do on nice/expensive instruments but I don't hesitate much about anything on cheap stuff.  

One of the first guitars I needed to do a reset on was an old Gibson but I really wasn't up to it and traded it away. My first reset was a Kay so getting the neck off wasn't really an issue. ( take out the "after market" screw/bolt that is running through the heel and add a bit of heat to the extension... Wa-La! ) As it turned out, getting it to stay ON was the problem.  I think I did it 3 or 4 times before it finally held. That was when I realized that the tail on the neck was too short for the slot in the body. I built up and re-cut a longer tail on the neck so the narrow end fit into the pocket at the bottom of the slot and the neck stayed in place.  How many thousands of these are there out there?

The last Gibson I owned was a LG from the early '60. I liked the sound but some of the braces were coming loose and the bridge was bowing up a bit. I was afraid to do too much on a "vintage Gibson" and traded it away just like I did the one I had before. That was about 12 years ago and I kick myself for not doing the work instead. I have the skills and did at the time but I just let the whole "vintage Gibson" thing blind me. I'm still careful about what I choose to work on but mid 60's Gibsons are not on the "no go" list anymore. 

12 functioning guitars. Now I really feel bad since I only have 4 functional and one is on long term loan to a niece. I have several ukuleles, a couple of functional mandolins, a banjo that's sort of playable and various whistles and such laying around. Do they count?  BTW I also have a pile of stuff waiting for repair...enough that I have almost stopped looking at ebay and local pawn shops. It's a matter of self preservation. My wife is long suffering but even she has limits... which reminds me, I just got a busted Seagull body on Ebay for 10 bucks and shipping. I'm going to "Franky" a 12 string because I feel that I could use one every once in a while but I don't actually like them enough to want to spend much on one.  Good thing is the holiday's and she's feeling especially charitable. 

Anyway I like OLD vintage Gibsons and am not looking forward to the day when a generation of players hear the name and think negative thoughts. 

Well stated Ned.....

"Anyway I like OLD vintage Gibsons and am not looking forward to the day when a generation of players hear the name and think negative thoughts."


My brother, WE are cut of the same cloth!

I just like the look and feel of old Gibsons. Is every example perfect? No! Can it be made to be better? Sometimes. I do believe in fixing what can be fixed and appreciating what a Gibson is capable of "giving back" to the player. Usually, a vintage Gibson will 'channel' me into playing 'what it likes', which leads me into new musical territory!

Call me crazy.....but I like em'.

Totally sorry that the 'new regime' is misguided with their QC.


© 2022   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service