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Gibson guitar company on verge of bankruptcy


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There's more to Gibson's failure than the quality of the lately produced instruments.  They've been a horrible company to deal with over many years.  They've made it hard on the mom and pop brick and

For example,  small dealers on the home turf (here in the States), were  discouraged or restricted outright from advertising or selling  on the internet whereas the big box houses (that would be Guita

Unfortunately this won't mean the end of their hateful Les Paul as someone will just buy the name and keep producing the horrible things... 

But I'd say it's well deserved. There's been a lot of complaints coming out of the Gibson camp of late - a lot of it warranted. Gibson aren't really alone either. I've seen some real garbage come from Jackson and Fender's USA operations too... 

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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There's more to Gibson's failure than the quality of the lately produced instruments.  They've been a horrible company to deal with over many years.  They've made it hard on the mom and pop brick and mortar stores with policies that penalize small resellers (although they're not alone in that).  Consequently, they've actually had a hand in reducing the number of outlets that are in fact their real customer base.  It should be a lesson for those who hope to sell supposedly quality products and in some ways an indictment  of the rush by corporate entities to online resellers of products that need to be held, closely examined and  auditioned before purchase.  Without going into detail, Gibson made it almost impossible for small resellers to be competitive with their goods.  And again, they're hardly alone in this.  Fender, once a model of customer care and relationships, has gone a similar route and there should be no surprises if (when) a Chinese entity or the like buys them out as well.  

The internet is tons of fun and a good way to access certain purchases, but we can all plainly see the negative (unintended?  I think not) consequences of the virtual life when measured against the way it used to be.  

Rush to the bottom, led by greed and hubris. 

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'17 Evora 400 MT 

 

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Care to elaborate? Do they have a cruel MAP or sale policy for small retailers, or like a really high wholesale price for bricks and mortar stores?

As for Fender I can't see them being far behind if I'm honest. I don't know what the client relationships are like but the quality of the instruments is all over the place. And I'd personally like to see them fail so they can sell off the Jackson brand to someone who will not mismanage it so horrendously. 

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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For example,  small dealers on the home turf (here in the States), were  discouraged or restricted outright from advertising or selling  on the internet whereas the big box houses (that would be Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, etc.) were encouraged.  Gibson stuffed it's local dealers with products they didn't need or might eventually need but couldn't be expected to sell in reasonable time. Customer service was stingy, slow  or difficult to navigate.   That sort of thing.   They'd been hard to deal with for years.  Fender was generally considered easier to work with but the market's dynamics.....favoring the box houses over the specialty resellers.....has taken hold there too and now they seem to have followed suit.  Since the big box places (like Guitar Center here) are now in trouble,  there's only a  diminished and weakened base of local resellers to take up the slack.  

It hasn't helped that kids don't play or have the will to learn, preferring computers and Guitar Hero over guitar playing.  Music has also been a casualty of educational budget cuts right along with all the other arts.  Now I'm speculating but I'm cynical enough  to guess that the execs at Gibson are the kinds of guys who get all excited about lower corporate taxes but didn't think through the effects on the high school band.  Simply, put, they are generally not the most progressive thinkers.  It helps in understanding if you were in an allied business as I was.  The dealers used to gripe to me about Gibson  routinely.   

 

 

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'17 Evora 400 MT 

 

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1 hour ago, Loquacious Lew said:

For example,  small dealers on the home turf (here in the States), were  discouraged or restricted outright from advertising or selling  on the internet whereas the big box houses (that would be Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, etc.) were encouraged.  Gibson stuffed it's local dealers with products they didn't need or might eventually need but couldn't be expected to sell in reasonable time. Customer service was stingy, slow  or difficult to navigate.   That sort of thing.   They'd been hard to deal with for years.  Fender was generally considered easier to work with but the market's dynamics.....favoring the box houses over the specialty resellers.....has taken hold there too and now they seem to have followed suit.  Since the big box places (like Guitar Center here) are now in trouble,  there's only a  diminished and weakened base of local resellers to take up the slack.  

It hasn't helped that kids don't play or have the will to learn, preferring computers and Guitar Hero over guitar playing.  Music has also been a casualty of educational budget cuts right along with all the other arts.  Now I'm speculating but I'm cynical enough  to guess that the execs at Gibson are the kinds of guys who get all excited about lower corporate taxes but didn't think through the effects on the high school band.  Simply, put, they are generally not the most progressive thinkers.  It helps in understanding if you were in an allied business as I was.  The dealers used to gripe to me about Gibson  routinely.   

 

 

Thanks for the insights. 

Honestly that same pattern is endemic throughout the western world. Moms & pops stores are falling victim to the giants, who are themselves in trouble. Here in Sweden, retailers, still licking their wounds over the king-of-the-hill free for all that has claimed numerous victims over the last decade are shaking in their boots. They've survived and are holding on by their fingertips - but apparently Amazon is going to set up shop here. And that will spell the end of retail. Full stop. 

I agree with you about kids not taking up instruments as much - I don't see much happening in Sweden either. The amount of instruments in circulation has diminished over the last 15 years. For me it's been easy to track since I'm a left handed guitar player - despite enormous population growth, there's been a sharp decline in the number of second hand ads. Although thankfully I think kids are still playing, just through a DAW. Which I suppose is just dandy. 

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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I would have thought eBay hasn’t helped either.  You can save your self a ton of money off the rrp by buying nearly new.  I’ve bought and sold around 40 guitars over the last few years, most have been off eBay.

Regarding my own experience with Gibson, I’d say they are great guitars to look at and admire, but to play regularly they’re a bit of a pain.  Give me a 90s Telecaster USA or a Charvel Model series and I’m happy.

Most Gibson Les Pauls I’ve owned have come and gone.  I’ve kept my fav, a 2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, an amazing guitar and superb quality but the rest were just ok quality and not nice to play.  I had an SG Standard too, a dreadful thing, nasty neck and light weight body so the headstock dropped, that went too.  Still got a couple of Explorers, they’re ok.

 

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When I were a lad, late 60's - early 70's, we all (the musos amongst us) aspired to own a Gibson. It was the top brand, bar none. Fender ran in second place. I used to lust after the SG Custom which, at £340, might as well have been £1,000,000 because there was no way I could have hoped to afford it until I started earning some real money. Their desirability factor went up to 11.

Fast forward, and the young pretenders have caught up somewhat, the position Gibson once enjoyed has been eroded. There will always be those who will want the Gibsons, as opposed to other makes, and the reverse is equally true. But what has already been said about Gibson's treatment of smaller retailers is true and has been confirmed by one I know. Quality has, to my way of thinking at least, slipped somewhat over the years, though. Maybe they've tried to make too many versions of the same thing in an attempt to boost sales, and that has had a negative effect. About 5 years ago I bought possibly the last SG3000 Yamaha, and the quality of that is leagues ahead of any Gibson I own, or had in the past. I'd put it up against anything Gibson makes and it would be the clear winner.

I hope this is one big wake-up call for them, as I think it would be tragic if they have to shut the doors. I suspect there may be some other organisation(s) circling to buy the brand, but who knows?

Margate Exotics.

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1 hour ago, Mark Blanchard said:

Regarding my own experience with Gibson, I’d say they are great guitars to look at and admire, but to play regularly they’re a bit of a pain.  Give me a 90s Telecaster USA or a Charvel Model series and I’m happy.

Quoted for truth. I have a 90's USA Tele and it's a frickin' keeper. The Strat I had from the same period was absolute bollocks, but the Tele is amazing. 

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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You're spot on Vanya,  unfortunately.   

Of course,  committed players  won't want to buy a fine instrument mail order from Amazon (or anyplace else) anyway.  That's even truer with acoustics but still holds for quality electric instruments.  But not for electronics, which is deadly for all audio products.  Point being the whole industry model is wrong for sustainable growth of an outfit like Gibson.  

 

Amazon is  the grim reaper for lots of industries but it didn't need to be for music retail or pro audio.  The manufacturers have driven a lot of this through their greed and lack of vision about who their real customers are and what is possible to sustain at the semi-pro/pro end.  The junk from Asia has further diluted the market causing people to think they're getting something for almost nothing and then going along with the program from there, accepting less while paying a bit more for it. But I'm sounding cynical!  Which unfortunately, I am.  

You have to be careful while  greening (as we say here, meaning monetizing) a business. By the way, you're probably going to find Amazon to be an unavoidable convenience and time saver.  For all it's ills, there are simply some things that are easiest to buy from them.  probably because retailers are no longer equipped to compete on the odd things you need that they don't stock.  Pity that.

 

 

 

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Having been a lad in Liverpool in the 50s and 60s I was also kept awake at night by dreams of owning a Gibson 335. I bought one and enjoyed it for many years then  swapped for a 1961 Barney Kessel. I aspired to playing a blonde L5 and eventually found one at great expense it was an early 70s , pre-Norlin, and it sounded awful, played the same..biggest disappointment I ever had.

Eventually I decided to make the move to the specialist luthiers and found Knight Guitars in Weybridge, Surrey and after them, Foster . St Louis.

I still rate Knight as the top UK maker and Foster as one of the top US ( probably the top 7 string maker)....Gibson disappeared out of sight for me back in the 70s.

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The 70s was a bad decade for Gibson, some truely bad guitars.  Fender was producing equally shoddy stuff.

However Gibson in the 80s and 90s was generally good.  And there were a few gems in the 00’s too. I have a 2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded and it’s a very well respected guitar by the Gibson community.  Sublime tone and superb to play.  It’s a keeper.

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I use a Gibson LP as one of my gigging guitars. Bought it after years of grief from our lead G as I play a PRS CE24 mainly with a couple of Hamers as fall backs. The Gibson is a nice guitar no doubt but the Hamer SATQ double cuts I own (both under 250 quid second had and then fitted with SD re-issue bridge pups) are as good and a damn site less fragile for stage work.

The PRS is in a different league. Same goes for customer support. Best guitar I own by a country mile (and I have a fair few).

Just my two penneth.

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