Will the New Gibson fix the headstock issue?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Strat-cat, May 24, 2019.

  1. Strat-cat

    Strat-cat Member

    Jul 29, 2016
    Just wondering what people think about this.

    New blood, new ideas, and a sudden outbreak of common sense seems to have taken root over at Gibson. Will they address the detachable headstock issue, at least on modern models?

    Would you huff and puff that it's not "correct" if they did?

    What effect would it have on their sales, from folks who shy away from buying something that needs tender loving care in transport?

    What say you?
    RicardoDiazHimself likes this.
  2. aussie_owner

    aussie_owner Member

    Jun 18, 2013
    Rochester, NY
    That would mean either a volute, a scarf joint, or changing the headstock angle, none of which are "vintage". I think the response would pretty much be torches and pitchforks.

  3. Funk'n Metal

    Funk'n Metal Member

    Feb 27, 2019
    Having shipped the same three Gibbys dozens of times without issue, I would say make sure they're properly packed for shipping.

    Then there's these broken headstocks... (especially the one at the bottom)

    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  4. wetordry

    wetordry Member

    Mar 8, 2015
    virginia mountains
    They did the Apex a year or two ago.
    Maybe it didn't go over, i don't know.
    Is this the fix?

    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    uab9253, C-4, mrfett and 16 others like this.
  5. Scary Uncle G.

    Scary Uncle G. Member

    Jan 11, 2017
    What headstock issue would that be? I’ve played Gibson guitars almost exclusively for 40 years without a headstock issue.

    Don’t do stupid stuff and you should be fine.
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  6. tnvol

    tnvol Ufologist Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    San Antonio
    Have never broken a Gibson head stock or had one broken in shipping.
    JDutch, epauley, 8len8 and 10 others like this.
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

    Jan 13, 2016

    "Mine has never broken so it must not be an issue" is like saying my car never was in an accident so why do I need to wear a seat belt, pay for airbags, get anti-lock breaking, or worry about five star crash ratings? ...

    Gibson should definitely make the fixes on the modern models.

    Practical issue is the new management's mode of operation is to "reach back into the company's history to when they were selling the most units and make those products again" which means they won't be interested in making the change.

    However, if they peer back into history close enough ... fragile headstocks are when lead Leo Fender to create the bolt-on Tele with a flat headstock. Bolt on so guitar owners could make a swap with a new neck themselves to fix a broken or worn out neck, flat headstock to keep the wood fibers strong. The first time around Gibson left open the door for creating their own major competitor.

    The amount of headstock anxiety out there stops a lot of buyers from getting them. I know I stopped even considering them anymore other than the Epiphone models (scarf joint and lower headstock angles). There are a lot of people posting pictures of guitars "does this look like a crack? Should I buy it?"

    As long as the collectors and historically-accurate-demanding-players who are both apparently fine with accurately recreating fragile necks have their historic/traditional/old-style models available in parallel then there should not be a problem. The latest Modern models have a scoop at the heel joint to give more fret access -- I haven't seen anyone crying about that change. Put the scarf joint in, put a volute on, lower the headstock angle, and buyers will show up. But there will need to be some marketing.

    This is the competition out there right now...

    Paul may be slightly hedging his bet by supporting the neck at the nut slot not the tip of the headstock, where most impact events happen. This is also their new S2 neck using a glued heel and scarf joint. I suspect they may have problems doing this with Core models (made like Gibson just lower headstock angle so a little larger safety margin) but haven't seen it if they shared that test.

    Searching for Gibson Headstock Repairs...
    Searching for Fender Headstock Repairs ... gives mostly Gibson results :rolleyes:

    What is the value of a used Gibson? Say 50% of new, so if $3,500 new LP then used is $1,750
    What is the value of a used Gibson with a broken headstock? I've heard at least 50% or even 25%, so at the conservative 50% then $875 for a broken headstock Gibson LP, but I've seen figures tossed around of $500-$600 is the most that should be paid for a repaired headstock guitar. Let's say you can still get $875 for the repaired guitar.
    But that does not account for the cost of a headstock repair job itself. What's that? $500? A refret is $250. Maybe the repair is more between $500 and $1,000, let's say $750 for the moment.
    So how much value destruction is created by a broken headstock? $875+$750=1,625

    Therefore, the relative economic impact to a Gibson owner is $1,625. They don't see it unless a small mishap happens. Like one forum a guy's LP headstock broke inside the case when laying on it's side and a four year old tipped it on its back. Not standing up in the case, laying down on it's edge like most guitar players will do from time to time after coming home weary from a gig.

    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  8. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2015
    Manchester, UK
    The problem is Gibson have already tried a bunch of stuff over the years to reinforce that area, decreasing the pitch, making the necks from three pieces, adding volutes and eventually substituting maple for mahogany, and none of it was well received from fans. They clearly reached a point where they thought it was fine to go back to how they used to do it and hope people have got the message that Gibsons aren't like a Tele you can chuck down the stairs and it'll still be in tune.

    To be fair, the issue with Gibsons isn't that they break when used as they're intended, the issue is that they're less resilient to being mistreated than other brands. But drop pretty much any orchestral instrument and the odds of significantly damaging it are pretty high - electric guitars that can be bounced off the walls without fear of breaking them are an outlier in the context of general musical instruments. I know rock and roll isn't quite the same thing as classical and the contexts the instruments are used in is a little more likely to put the instrument in situations where they're more at rock, but having gigged many Gibsons over 25 years without breaking one I'm not convinced it's nearly as big a deal as some seem to.
  9. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2004
    Area 51 & Seacoast ME
    Yes, that would fix the Headstock issues... looks good too......so many electric players are so steeped in tradition that ignorance (or just frame of mind) overcomes practical change... Even Martin guitars are getting quite inventive with great new ideas and innovation
    thomas4th, Shiro, Soothsayer and 7 others like this.
  10. cap10kirk

    cap10kirk Member

    May 9, 2015
    Mid-Atlantic US
    They tried it in the 70s (less angle and a volute), and the changes obviously didn't stick around. Guitarists in general don't like change, so I think the smart/safe choice would be to leave it alone.
    That being said, I do like the Apex headstock/volute thing they were doing on Custom Shop models in recent years. And I liked the shallower angle and volute on the Norlin era Les Pauls. So I wouldn't be opposed to some changes being made, but I don't think the Gibson purists would be very happy about it at all.
    Broken Diode likes this.
  11. Surgeon

    Surgeon Member

    Jun 13, 2008
    I’m fine with the way they are now. If you need your expensive guitar to survive a 10 foot drop or being rolled over by a truck, maybe you need to consider that you’re doing something wrong.
    Accidents happen of course bit in over 20 years all my les pauls have stayed in one piece with heavy playing/gigging and touring.
  12. biff maloy

    biff maloy Member

    Jan 13, 2013
    I don't get the issue. The only Gibsons I've ever seen broke there in my 35+ years playing were accomplished by the owner doing something stupid. Like my "friend" from high school who spent $3K on his LP but was too cheap to buy a set of $30 strap locks. Yep, he finally dropped it.
  13. Gibson Dog

    Gibson Dog Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2018
    Los Angeles
    They don't have a headstock issue so there's nothing to change/fix. I've never broken or seen anyone break a headstock. I've also shipped over 1,000 guitars & bought who knows how many & no damage at all let alone a broken headstock.
  14. Wonky

    Wonky Member

    Dec 24, 2017
    I've seen a few number of detached head stocks TBH. One guy I know put it away in the case and next time he got it out it had broke. He only put the case on the floor and again picked it up again. There definitely is an issue. For an instrument that's meant to be played and gigged it's just not strong enough.
    I'm one of those who any time I even look at a Les Paul I quickly remind myself of the issue and that's where my interest ends. Would be different for me if I knew this issue had been fixed. Why not do this on the LP Modern? Maybe while they're there they could add the missing frets too and then it truly would be modern.
  15. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Under the whang whang guitar star
    If only there were other guitars I could buy and play instead of complaining about Gibson’s headstocks on the Internet..
    BobK, liv_rong, TA22GT and 12 others like this.
  16. musicman1

    musicman1 Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    You mean like Norlin did 40 years ago when the owned Gibson? Yes its been done.
  17. jlb32

    jlb32 Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    I would hope Gibson does nothing. IMO it is not a major issue overall. I've owned and gigged Gibsons for years and years and have owned a ton of them over the years. Never had a headstock break and I have had some "gasp" falls and hits. IMO it has to take a very hard direct hit to happen.
    Of course as long as Gibson has been around there are some that have taken that hit and broke but overall I would say 99.9% have not.
    Jabberwocky and Gibson Dog like this.
  18. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Nope. Gibson will not likely do anything with it, is my bet. They don’t really need to, in terms of a strategy. All the consumer pressure on Gibson is working in one direction and points to one demand: Do not change the headstock, ever. If Gibson leaves it the way it is, people will not complain, people will buy them, people will pay top dollar for them, people will break them and snap them, then take a huge loss on them, and then shovel out more money to buy a new one. Given that this is the norm, there is no reason or motivation for Gibson to interfere with this pattern. It’s win-win-win for Gibson.

    People who gig Gibsons either employ a tech or a crew to accompany them when they perform that get paid to take good care of that Gibson, seeing to it nothing harms that headstock, or they are someone who understands well that they are gigging and traveling with a guitar that has the same fragility and safety concerns as an infant, and they meticulously pamper their Gibson accordingly. Those who do neither are basically playing Russian roulette with that headstock.

    Those of us who play a straight headstock or a 3-ply maple angled headstock neck can just jam worry-free and never need to concern ourselves with the Gibson headstock issue at all. It’s a nice feeling.
    Stu Blue, haslar, Jabberwocky and 3 others like this.
  19. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2011
    Just a small minority want change.

    Because of that, the answer is no.

    I don't think they are even the slightest bit interested in changing.
    sandcastle and EarleG like this.
  20. jlb32

    jlb32 Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    IMO there is no pattern. Yes, the headstock angle is different and more prone but of all the Gibsons in existence, how many have had a headstock break? I would say very few overall. Maybe .05%, if that. Why so worry? lol
    Jabberwocky likes this.

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