Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Blauserk, Feb 19, 2012.
Yes, but he oversees it and makes sure the guitars are up to his and the name builders standards.
Saul...I didn't mean to imply ANYTHING sinister on your part. You're right...you and I don't know each other, but I know a bunch of people who know you, and they, to a man, say what a great guy you are.
I still think the picture is telling as far as the guys that are no longer around.
Haha, no? It just means I am done commenting on the subject is all.
...right after this post....
I mean THIS post.....
Totally agree - the ferocity of the PBG haters who come out in everyone of these threads is pretty impressive. Makes one wonder about their motivations as they question others'
THis is simply wrong.. it isn't shady at all.. and if you say it is.. then you are questioning the character of the original builders.... ridiculous.
I tend to prefer not to weigh in on PBG debates as they seem to bubble up every few months but wanted to address some of the comments.
First, I thank Saul for his unwavering support of this experiment and his posts lend a gravity and credibility that is unmatched IMO.
Second, my partner Howard and I started this business with one goal in mind - expose the masses to brands other than the big ones found in the big box stores. I'm a player/collector and was amazed at the quality and variety of guitars being built by luthiers I had never heard of prior to doing some significant research on my own. Our approach to meeting this goal is clear and can be debated but our aim is not to dupe or cheat anybody. Knowledgeable buyers (e.g. TGP readers) now have choices. Less knowledgeable buyers can now buy an incredibly well made guitar designed by a builder that they otherwise wouldn't have known.
Finally, as Saul indicated, we've gone through many changes in our two short years in business. We're proud to be a success story in such difficult times and we've made some changes along the way. Starting a high end instrument business in the midst of global economic turmoil is not easy and we've adapted along the way. Today, we're on healthy ground and have succeeded in exposing many new customers to brands like Koll, Fano, Two-Rock, Tone King, b3, Giffin and JG. That's our goal and we're achieving it.
Thanks for the ongoing interest and appreciate the passion this venture elicits in this forum.
Great post. Thanks for chiming in.
I don't get it. If the builders involved in the guild are not crying foul about PBG-makes of their own brands not bearing a more conspicuous mark that they are indeed built by PBG and not themselves, then why should some end consumers be so riled up about it?
No builder is being forced to be part of the guild, as far as I can see. If they're cool with the way the PBG guitars are being marketed, then that's that.
What gives ppl the right to tell PBG (and thus the original builders who are part of the guild) that they're doing it wrong, or in a less than respectable fashion?
Same thing with the pricing - as long as the original builders are happy with it, then there's no reason for anyone to question PBG's pricing. If you think it isn't worth the dough, for whatever personal reason, then just don't buy it. The market results will speak for themselves. There's no need for self-motivated crusaders or whistle-blowers.
Those of you who are trying to correlate PBG's shadiness with the fact that some credible builders have left the guild - there's no saying you're completely wrong, but are you also saying that in every case where the composition of business partners changes (and those who leave are reputable businessmen in their own right), it implies that the ones who remain are any less credible? It's fair for you to question and consider that notion as a possibility, but I don't think it's right to state it as a definitive fact. There are many factors involved, and, like Saul mentioned, some left but new ones joined. So are the new parties shady too? Different strokes for different folks, maybe?
And for the record, I'm just a simple guitar enthusiast who owns a mixture of mainstream and boutique guitars (none of which are PBG-built), and have nothing whatsoever to do with anyone associated with the guild. Just sharing my thoughts from a neutral observer's perspective.
The one with the doghair type finish looks just great. I don't really see what people are getting worked up over. Everyone's saying how confusing their marketing is when everyone seems to know that they're build by PBG in California at the same?
People are free to believe what they want to believe, and certainly conspiracy theory is the coin of the realm these days. But the reality is much more akin to how the people involved describe it.
FWIW, I own Johan-built Gustavssons, Saul-built Kolls, and I've played Roger-built Giffins. I visited the PBG booth @ NAMM last month and was impressed by the guitars. The Kolls felt like Kolls, the Giffins felt like Giffins, and the Gustavssons felt like Gustavssons. The Fanos are just stupid cool, and I had a great chat with Dennis. Gene B has a lot of experience running a guitar-building crew, and it shows. Everyone admitted to me that they had experienced growing pains along the way - what fledgling enterprise doesn't? - but IMO the product is solid and represents a good value and exactly what PBG intended it to be: a reasonable alternative to garden-variety guitars from the custom shops @ F and G. And if you want a Johan-built Gustavsson? Well pay your $$$ and step up to the plate!
I'm not seeing a problem here, only the availability of more good guitars at an easier price point to bear.
Sort of odd to me that cats frequenting TGP (gear afficianados) wouldn't understand that a $3,195 guitar bearing JG's logo wasn't built by JG....especially when the whole PBG topic has been beaten to death time and again over the past couple years.
Y'all can make all the excuses and rationalizations you want. You can try to argue until you're blue in the face that no one is going to be confused; but there's ABSOLUTELY no legitimate reason not to put "Made by PBG in Arroyo, California" on the back of the headstock.
+1. And clearly not all potential buyers are on TGP, reading every small company luthiers thread. Selling outside of the market that would be knowledgeable about the origins of the instrument is hand-in-hand with trying to sell lower cost instruments through a more established dealer network.
If you were at a store and saw "J Gustavsson Handmade Guitars" on one side, and "Handmade in California" on the other, honestly my deduction would be that Johan is a Californian builder - is there reason to think otherwise? Just make it clear.
I'm a big fan of PBG and what they are doing, I also have a ton of respect for Gene and his shop. I also dont subscribe to the idea that anyone id trying to fool anyone. With that said, its really hard to find any fault with the above statement.
Why not ad, PBG to the waterslide, its a win win. The naysayers are appeased and the provenance is made clear to all. Its not like a PBG built guitar coming from Gene's shop has anything to be ashamed about.
And that's the thing-whether there's any 'sneakiness' intended (and I don't think there is) failing to be very up-front about the provenance opens that door.
If I had a PBG, I'd be thrilled to tell people I got a 'PBG JG' or 'PBG Koll', in the same way I'd brag about any other high end item. It seems like not marking the guitars more overtly makes that attitude harder to develop, and instead you'd potentially be in a position of explaining, 'well, it's not a JG MADE by JG, it's made by this fantastic custom shop....' With PBG on the headstock, it would be up-front and straight-up. Just MHO, of course.
I think it's great that, for once, TGP is debating whether or not a US made guitar stacks up against one made "overseas".
FWIW I really want a PBG JG Bluesmaster Special - a while ago I worked my way down all the dealers on the PBG page looking for one: no stock anywhere and only one dealer with "arriving soon". I emailed PBG to ask them where I could actually buy one of their JGs and alerting them to the fact that the dealer with stock "arriving soon" had copy on their page which stated specifically that JG was building these guitars:
"Made of only the best materials by expert luthier Johan Gustavsson, the JG Bluesmaster special guitar is individual, exquisite and functional."
PBG never replied, the copy is still on the dealer website and I drew my own conclusions. I still want a Bluesmaster Special though.
Do you think the builders in the guild could be trying to get away with something here as well, and you're implying that that's not being upfront with potential buyers?
You have a valid point in the statement above, and I think it will be a welcome move for some, and little or no difference to most. I, for one, am quite ambivalent.
I want to congratulate PBG on their business idea. It is great to see the designs of boutique builders being made accessible to a larger customer base with a very high level of craftmanship. This is great news for the guitar playing community.
On the low end of the business, this has been the case for years; if you buy a Fender or Gibson, or Ibanez etc etc you have to check as well what model it is and where it has been made. I don't understand the uproar that the PBG business model generates here (and yes, I have read this thread).
I wish you all the best in your business venture!