Gibson = Dad Rock? Has Gibson miscalculated for the future?

peskypesky

Member
Messages
6,701
I do like HB and own one.

I’m also not particularly a snob about wood. But plywood? Gonna need to see some evidence beyond a stranger on a forum telling me a $400 budget maker using plywood is a comparable or better guitar than any of my Gibsons. And I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

Like I said, no one is going to change your mind on this because it's already made up.

I'll await your scientific evidence that mahogany is a significantly better tonewood than okoume.

"In days past, this wood [mahogany] was readily available and inexpensive, which is why it used to often show up in manufacturer's lower-end offerings."


"Like any situation where a resource is endangered, many guitar manufacturers including Takamine have researched and found mahogany-like substitutes, and both in terms of the look of the wood and the tonal characteristics, many of these 'mahogany variations' are simply remarkable!"

"Another is a wood known as okoume (sometimes known as gabon from its main country of origin). This wood is softer, and leans toward the warmer side of the classic mahogany tone. Because it is softer, okoume often is used as a laminate, giving it additional rigidity.

All of these woods are great tonewoods that speak with that unmistakable mahogany accent, and have that gorgeous warm mahogany look."
 

webcat

Member
Messages
946
Like I said, no one is going to change your mind on this because it's already made up.

I'll await your scientific evidence that mahogany is a significantly better tonewood than okoume.

"In days past, this wood [mahogany] was readily available and inexpensive, which is why it used to often show up in manufacturer's lower-end offerings."


"Like any situation where a resource is endangered, many guitar manufacturers including Takamine have researched and found mahogany-like substitutes, and both in terms of the look of the wood and the tonal characteristics, many of these 'mahogany variations' are simply remarkable!"

"Another is a wood known as okoume (sometimes known as gabon from its main country of origin). This wood is softer, and leans toward the warmer side of the classic mahogany tone. Because it is softer, okoume often is used as a laminate, giving it additional rigidity.

All of these woods are great tonewoods that speak with that unmistakable mahogany accent, and have that gorgeous warm mahogany look."
I don’t like the assumption that my mind can’t be changed, and it’s not really the best starting tactic when trying to share information with someone

Strong opinions loosely held, that’s my outlook.
 

peskypesky

Member
Messages
6,701
I don’t like the assumption that my mind can’t be changed, and it’s not really the best starting tactic when trying to share information with someone

Strong opinions loosely held, that’s my outlook.
Let's just say that in my many, many years on guitar forums, I've rarely, maybe never, seen a Gibson purist change their mind on anything. Maybe you'll be the first!

But again, like I said, I don't think it would be worth my time to try to change your mind. But I can share information with others. You're literally too invested in Gibson to be objective.
 

webcat

Member
Messages
946
Let's just say that in my many, many years on guitar forums, I've rarely, maybe never, seen a Gibson purist change their mind on anything. Maybe you'll be the first!
As I said before, you’ll have quite the task ahead of you. I can easily be persuaded it’s a good guitar wood, but to not only compete but be superior to guitars 10x its price, while premium brands ignore it despite the opportunity to save costs with no loss of tone or playability, and pro musicians largely eschew it for more expensive instruments? But if it’s true, then yes, I will change my mind
 

peskypesky

Member
Messages
6,701
As I said before, you’ll have quite the task ahead of you. I can easily be persuaded it’s a good guitar wood, but to not only compete but be superior to guitars 10x its price, while premium brands ignore it despite the opportunity to save costs with no loss of tone or playability, and pro musicians largely eschew it for more expensive instruments? But if it’s true, then yes, I will change my mind

Oh, I wouldn't bother. Just as I wouldn't bother trying to convince someone that this $44k purse won't carry makeup, sunglasses and wallet any better than a $10 purse from Walmart.

 

webcat

Member
Messages
946
Oh, I wouldn't bother. Just as I wouldn't bother trying to convince someone that this $44k purse won't carry makeup, sunglasses and wallet any better than a $10 purse from Walmart.

Presumably they don’t claim it does though. The nature of guitar forums is that everyone needs to think theirs is the very best and if someone else is playing something more expensive, it can’t be the best and therefore must be overpriced.
 

zeppelinpage4

Member
Messages
668
Sure. But here’s another one of Fender’s cheaper import guitars:

View attachment 603709

No one’s saying get rid of Epiphone copies completely — relegate the cheaper ones with lesser specs to the under $600 realm, like Fender does with Squier. But higher end Epiphones with higher quality builds and electronics (see the Inspired by Gibson line, some of which actually use Gibson pickups, or the Prophecy series) would absolutely be deserving of the Gibson headstock and name — much as MIM Fenders are deserving of the Fender name. This would go a long way towards making the brand much more accessible to young people, and safeguarding the brand’s long term viability.
Not a bad idea. I think where much of the debate is arising is that Fender and Gibson both have a Custom Shop, and standard USA line and both have Squier and Epiphone as their budget import line with a different headstock. Where Fender differs is that Made in Mexico line which Gibson doesn’t have, though nicer Epiphones are pretty equivalent in my experience and I think they fill that niche for Gibson. Still I could see some top tier well regarded Epiphones like the 59 reissues, Prophecy, and old Epi Elitist models being switched over to made in Japan to compete with MIM Fenders, whatever may be on the headstock. A made in Japan Gibson line that had more modern and adventurous specs that Gibson can’t easily do on their USA guitars would be pretty cool and worthy of the Gibson name, but I think it should be made in Japan to differentiate it from Epiphone. Just as Fender has a factory in Mexico separate from their US and Eastern factories. Plus, Japanese made guitars are amazing in general and it’s something Fender doesn’t widely offer, so Gibson could get a leg up. They could even partner up with companies like Edwards, Tokai, or Burny which are well established already.
 
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vipergts2207

Member
Messages
23
Then you've jumped to a false conclusion. Nothing to do with their physical construction is marketing - the marketing is why those things are more important, sure, but that's what marketing is for.
But what exactly defines the "proper" physical construction you're talking about? Let's focus on Les Paul's here. Below are specs as I've been able to source them online. I believe they're accurate, but anyone feel free to correct anything that may be wrong.

LP Tribute

Construction Hits:
Mahogany body
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer

Construction Misses:
Weight relieved body
Maple neck
Short neck tenon
No binding
Gibson 490 Humbuckers
Generic switches/pots

Summary: A lot of construction misses here and aesthetically with a plain top, no binding, and no poker chip, it does not do a good job of simply looking the part of the Les Paul we think of in our heads when we think of one.

LP Studio

Construction Hits:
Mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer

Construction Misses:
Weight relieved body
Short neck tenon
No binding
Gibson 490 Humbuckers
Generic switches/pots

Summary: Not a lot of changes here. You go from a maple neck to a mahogany neck.

LP Classic

Construction Hits:
Mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer
Binding
Gibson Burstbuckers

Construction Misses:
Weight relieved body
Short neck tenon
Generic switches/pots

Summary: Finally something that looks the part of what one typically thinks of when they think of a Les Paul. The weight relief is still a relatively big miss, though some people may not care.

LP Standard

Construction Hits:
Solid mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer
Binding
Gibson Burstbuckers

Construction Misses:
Short neck tenon
Generic switches/pots

Summary: I think most can forgive the short-neck tenon, but this is as close as you can get to true-to-heritage construction until Custom Shop models.

As far as Epiphone not deserving the Gibson logo on the headstock, I think the Epiphone 1959 Standard gets closer to "proper" physical construction than at least a few of the Gibson's do.

Epi 1959 LP

Construction Hits:
Solid mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Long neck tenon
Binding
Gibson Burstbuckers
Switchcraft/CTS switches/pots

Construction Misses:
Flame veneer over maple cap
Polyurethane

That seems quite a bit closer being a proper Les Paul than either the Gibson Tribute or Studio are. The Tribute in particular doesn't even use the right wood for the neck. Maybe I'm misinterpreting you, but when you say "Epiphones don't deserve to say Gibson on the headstock" because of the "physical construction and not the marketing" it really seems like you want to cherry-pick which parts of the physical construction are important in order imply that even the best Epiphone model is inferior to the worst Gibson model and I don't think that holds much water, particularly when you also consider the well-known QC issues that can appear on Gibson USA guitars.

Regarding where they're made, whether or not "Made in the USA" means anything to someone, Epi is likely putting their best luthiers on the top-end Epiphones while Gibson is likely putting their newbies on the Studios and especially the Tributes. While the best Gibson luthiers may be better than the best Epiphone luthiers, I would place my bets on the top Epiphone luthier turning out a better guitar than the worst Gibson luthier. Factor in the price difference and the choice becomes even more stark. Let's face it, while USA labor certainly costs more money, let's not kid ourselves into thinking a good chunk of the extra dollars being spent on a Gibson aren't just paying for the privilege of having that name on the headstock. Charging and paying more for more highly regarded names, regardless of the true quality of the product, is a practice older than anyone here.

Getting back to the main topic, Fender has chosen a business model where all but their lowest-end guitars are part of their main brand. Gibson has chosen a business model more akin to what you see in the car world. Cadillac/Chevy. Lexus/Toyota. Acura/Honda. Audi/VW. (Going back the previous discussion briefly, I'd take the 300 hp VW Arteon over the 201 hp Audi A3. Money being no object of course, I'd take an Audi R8 or RS7, but much like how I'll probably never be able to afford a Gibson R9, neither of those will happen either.) I think either business model can work and I think as long as Les Pauls, SGs, 335s, etc are popular body styles, folks won't really care too much that they can't afford the Gibson and will be happy even with Epiphone on the headstock. There are only two ways where I see Gibson's model potentially failing. 1) People refuse to buy Epiphones because they want a Gibson or nothing and I just don't see that being the case. 2) Gibson starts making Epiphone turn out poor quality product across the board so that the only way to get a quality instrument from the Gibson/Epiphone family of brands is by spending thousands on a Gibson. This certainly isn't the case right now, as many folks regard the stuff Epiphone is putting out right now as some of their best work in a long time, certainly at least since the MIJ Elitist stuff went away.

As far as the folks claiming Rhett is just a Gibson hater, clearly they don't realize how incorrect they are. He has several Gibson's and the first vintage guitar he bought (and not long ago) was a Gibson SG. I swear some people become blinded by their need to defend their purchases/favored brands. The way I see it, at the end of the day Gibson is generally a great and desirable brand with a lot of history. They make a lot of fantastic products and some duds. Most of their stuff is expensive and some of it does get into overpriced territory. For instance, is a Murphy Lab LP really worth $10k? Very doubtful, but they can charge that because enough people will pay that. My 2 cents.
 
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vadsy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,279
You are saying there will come a day when a Les Paul is no longer a viable musical instrument? Not in my life time.

They're going to replace guitars with a windless saxophone. After that you'll only be able to see a guitar in a museum but you won't be allowed to touch it. You'll press a button and a synthesizer will mimic the sound of a 50's Les Paul through a 3" speaker
 

webcat

Member
Messages
946
But what exactly defines the "proper" physical construction you're talking about? Let's focus on Les Paul's here. Below are specs as I've been able to source them online. I believe they're accurate, but anyone feel free to correct anything that may be wrong.

LP Tribute

Construction Hits:
Mahogany body
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer

Construction Misses:
Weight relieved body
Maple neck
Short neck tenon
No binding
Gibson 490 Humbuckers
Generic switches/pots

Summary: A lot of construction misses here and aesthetically with a plain top, no binding, and no poker chip, it does not do a good job of simply looking the part of the Les Paul we think of in our heads when we think of one.

LP Studio

Construction Hits:
Mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer

Construction Misses:
Weight relieved body
Short neck tenon
No binding
Gibson 490 Humbuckers
Generic switches/pots

Summary: Not a lot of changes here. You go from a maple neck to a mahogany neck.

LP Classic

Construction Hits:
Mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer
Binding
Gibson Burstbuckers

Construction Misses:
Weight relieved body
Short neck tenon
Generic switches/pots

Summary: Finally something that looks the part of what one typically thinks of when they think of a Les Paul. The weight relief is still a relatively big miss, though some people may not care.

LP Standard

Construction Hits:
Solid mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Nitro lacquer
Binding
Gibson Burstbuckers

Construction Misses:
Short neck tenon
Generic switches/pots

Summary: I think most can forgive the short-neck tenon, but this is as close as you can get to true-to-heritage construction until Custom Shop models.

As far as Epiphone not deserving the Gibson logo on the headstock, I think the Epiphone 1959 Standard gets closer to "proper" physical construction than at least a few of the Gibson's do.

Epi 1959 LP

Construction Hits:
Solid mahogany body
Mahogany neck
Maple cap
Set neck
Long neck tenon
Binding
Gibson Burstbuckers
Switchcraft/CTS switches/pots

Construction Misses:
Flame veneer over maple cap
Polyurethane

That seems quite a bit closer being a proper Les Paul than either the Gibson Tribute or Studio are. The Tribute in particular doesn't even use the right wood for the neck. Maybe I'm misinterpreting you, but when you say "Epiphones don't deserve to say Gibson on the headstock" because of the "physical construction and not the marketing" it really seems like you want to cherry-pick which parts of the physical construction are important in order imply that even the best Epiphone model is inferior to the worst Gibson model and I don't think that holds much water, particularly when you also consider the well-known QC issues that can appear on Gibson USA guitars.

Regarding where they're made, whether or not "Made in the USA" means anything to someone, Epi is likely putting their best luthiers on the top-end Epiphones while Gibson is likely putting their newbies on the Studios and especially the Tributes. While the best Gibson luthiers may be better than the best Epiphone luthiers, I would place my bets on the top Epiphone luthier turning out a better guitar than the worst Gibson luthier. Factor in the price difference and the choice becomes even more stark. Let's face it, while USA labor certainly costs more money, let's not kid ourselves into thinking a good chunk of the extra dollars being spent on a Gibson aren't just paying for the privilege of having that name on the headstock. Charging and paying more for more highly regarded names, regardless of the true quality of the product, is a practice older than anyone here.

Getting back to the main topic, Fender has chosen a business model where all but their lowest-end guitars are part of their main brand. Gibson has chosen a business model more akin to what you see in the car world. Cadillac/Chevy. Lexus/Toyota. Acura/Honda. Audi/VW. (Going back the previous discussion briefly, I'd take the 300 hp VW Arteon over the 201 hp Audi A3. Money being no object of course, I'd take an Audi R8 or RS7, but much like how I'll probably never be able to afford a Gibson R9, neither of those will happen either.) I think either business model can work and I think as long as Les Pauls, SGs, 335s, etc are popular body styles, folks won't really care too much that they can't afford the Gibson and will be happy even with Epiphone on the headstock. There are only two ways where I see Gibson's model potentially failing. 1) People refuse to buy Epiphones because they want a Gibson or nothing and I just don't see that being the case. 2) Gibson starts making Epiphone turn out poor quality product across the board so that the only way to get a quality instrument from the Gibson/Epiphone family of brands is by spending thousands on a Gibson. This certainly isn't the case right now, as many folks regard the stuff Epiphone is putting out right now as some of their best work in a long time, certainly at least since the MIJ Elitist stuff went away.

As far as the folks claiming Rhett is just a Gibson hater, clearly they don't realize how incorrect they are. He has several Gibson's and the first vintage guitar he bought (and not long ago) was a Gibson SG. I swear some people become blinded by their need to defend their purchases/favored brands. The way I see it, at the end of the day Gibson is generally a great and desirable brand with a lot of history. They make a lot of fantastic products and some duds. Most of their stuff is expensive and some of it does get into overpriced territory. For instance, is a Murphy Lab LP really worth $10k? Very doubtful, but they can charge that because enough people will pay that. My 2 cents.

I’ve previously stated what the construction methods are but nonetheless mentioned them yourself. The big three: poly, veneers, overseas manufacture.

But let me clarify that when I said that, I was saying it in the sense that *Gibson* sees it that way, not that I don’t think they deserve it.

The Epi 59 is an interesting example though, because the 59 is obviously *the* iconic Les Paul. I wouldn’t be completely surprised if that was Gibson testing the market response and potentially opening the door to what this thread is talking about.

Regarding the Murphy Lab, I’ve not played one but can’t see how they offer value in better playing. I can’t quite fathom the price myself but presumably Murphy himself is on a hell of a salary for what he does, those guitars I do expect are more expensive to produce. Pricing will also be to try and manage demand. All I can say on their value is that Andertons have an interesting video where they went to Gibson HQ in London. Played loads of guitars, none of which had price tags or product labels. And which one did Pete not put down and want to buy? The R8 that Gibson told him was the most expensive in the building (I think around £10k). Probably somewhat reassuring to consumers buying those more expensive ones that they pass a blind test, but in general I agree that for my money, a guitar isn’t worth thousands more because it’s been artificially aged
 
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HondoGuy

Member
Messages
119
I think guitars in general are passe for 20 something and younger. In popular music, synth has become the lead instrument, and guitar is the background instrument, if its used at all. Doesn't bother me. It's cyclical. There's already a pop punk and emo revival scenes popping up. There's a lot of kids who love older music.

Good music will never go out of style. If you have a song with a good hook, riff, catchy vocal melody, nice production, people will respond and embrace it, regardless of what instrument was used.
 

peskypesky

Member
Messages
6,701
I think guitars in general are passe for 20 something and younger. In popular music, synth has become the lead instrument, and guitar is the background instrument, if its used at all. Doesn't bother me. It's cyclical. There's already a pop punk and emo revival scenes popping up. There's a lot of kids who love older music.

Good music will never go out of style. If you have a song with a good hook, riff, catchy vocal melody, nice production, people will respond and embrace it, regardless of what instrument was used.
Yep. All it takes is a catchy, simple, rocking song to get kids excited about guitars.

 

will richardson

The Tennessee to California Connection
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
531
Gibson will always be worth their designs. Even with decades of quality control problems. They are still desireable.
I knew when they got the new CEO they still would not be perfect. I've stated the last several years Gibson screws up once in a while and makes good guitar. I don't hate them but also am also OK criticizing them.

They do what they do. Rickenbacker has remained a Big Small company and they appear to be solvent. Thinking a company always has to grow is as unsustainable as thinking a guitarist will improve drastically after he peeks his playing skills and writing and arranging abilities.

Ive seen a few of Rhetts Youtube shows, some are about nothing burger stuff. Their is an Army of Guitar Teachers out there that are poor to mediocre.

These guys run out of topics. At 35-40 years old, you have probably peaked with Intelligence but not with Wisdom. Not trying to be mean, but i't almost like naval gazing.

Guitar Center is cutting cost to go Public. The've cut the heck out of hours with their employees recently. They re hot to sell strings picks, soft-shell bags, to hell with high end gear (although the sell high end). High end stuff draws in people - the easiest sell is a down sell to cheaper stuff. A few Custom color high end guitars will sell the heck out of the standard color guitars. This is always used in the Car dealership business (and we know their perfect). But Guitar Center will always be viable due to the name. They will change hands over and over, and they have. They loose their ass but someone will continue to take them over.

Most People with Shows are about as good as CNN Plus was. The good ones are always in shorter supply. Their out their. Many of the teachers our there are not nearly as good as the better and best players here on the forum.

Look at all the prophets who said how Great Gibson would be when Henry's left, and immediately many cried, "they're screwing up again." Well duh, they got a a blue Jean CEO guy running the show and the guy from Norm's who rubs his Michael jackson zippered leather jacket on the backs of high end vintage and late model used guitars.

People can sometimes, Screw companies up for many years and still survive. I't easy to see the poor decisions, bad marketing, and changes in trends can put a company out of business. Where' BC Rich Now? Great Guitars that filled the nice of Gibson for a very few Years. Rick Derringer and Neil Geraldo were probably their two best guitarist who used them quite a bit.

Most of us won't live as long as Gibson has.

Hey, Gibson survived Henry.

Will R
 

ssdeluxe

Member
Messages
1,569
And paying $9,000 for anything they make is beyond me. People are buying name, legacy or etc., because they sure ain't buying an instrument worth that.

This is where I landed.

Small story, sold my last vintage Gibson a couple months ago, and ran into my local L and M up here in moose riden Canada...... played a unique R8 (fools gold)..... tried to buy it.... but they wanted brand new gtr pricing on a 2016 gtr (they never acknowledged it was used)... 5800.00...... they wouldn't budge. (thankfully, as I came to my senses.)

My thought process was " well, if I buy this... it will hold its value til I find.. or have built what I really want "...

I think, subconsciously, many folks love the resale and perceived prestige of the G....I almost bought that gtr... only thinking of resale....SO glad I didn't buy it....I was wise that day.

When I think objectively of that scenario now.....I completely understood that I considered buying a used R8 (nothing special, new growth woods, light colour fretboard, plasticized nitro) for 5800.00 plus tax.....nope. no how .

This is not a judgment to anyone who finds joy in Gibson........ but, I'm just no longer in love with legacy brands for that logo.....resale means nothing to me... but to some, it is the reason to buy.

Just like everything in life.... objectivity is hard ! lol
 

Overdriver18

Member
Messages
989
This is a lot of pages of discussion for honestly Gibson just not being Fender. Fender is just the default for what guitars should look and sound like for a lot of people, and other brands making guitars focused exclusively on dudes rocking out ignores every other style of music that Fender just does better. Want to play clean sounding guitars? Fender single coils into a Fender amp is the sound you're looking for, for a good price. Want to play with lots of effects? Fender single coils into a clean Fender amp does that arguably better than every other big name, for a good price. We can argue over marketing and build quality forever but even with lower prices and better QA, its not going to make me or a lot of other players suddenly prefer Gibson look/sound/feel to Fender.
 
Messages
5,453
Whatever Gibsons Market is I'm not really sure - perhaps the relatively older player with some cash to spend - but conversely Epiphone is the budget guitar and Gibson owns them - I don't think the company is in trouble at all - and Fender doesn't have anything that approaches Gibson.
I recall Henry J saying that Gibson's customer base was the dealer, not the 'end user' (hate that term).
 




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