Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

This section is dedicated to players of electric guitar. From beginner to expert and all in between. Everyone is welcome here.

Moderators: parametric, Buzzard, Derek, Saul

Cuthbert
Member
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:03 am
Italy

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Cuthbert » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:15 am

Henry J. is a gerontocrat who has to answer to none and he's famous for his outburst, few years ago Gibson was involved in a scandal regarding illegal importing of ebony from Madagascar and he accused Obama to persecute him because he was a Repubblican, he also insinuated that Martin did worse but being a registered Democrat he was shielded by that administration.

I found it hilarious as when Sarkozy visited the WH the Obamas gave as a gift to Carla Bruni (who is a mediocre songwriter) an Hummingbird TV, not a Martin!
User avatar
Saul
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:00 am
Contact:
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Saul » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:36 am

Certainly seems like Henry J has trouble keeping his toys in his pram ;) Quite why people put up with that sort of thing is beyond me. I certainly wouldn't and I am surprised the staff turnover is not higher than it is already.
Saul
Site Admin
Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel!
Review Yamahamusicians.com on Trustpilot
Sign up to the Newsletter
Follow us on Twitter @YamahaMusicians
Follow Us On Facebook
Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC.

Seagull S6 Original/Harley Benton CLA-15MCE/Ashbury AG-160/Roland FA-07/Pianoteq 6 Pro/Amplitube 3.0/Apple iMac 27"/GarageBand 10.0.3/Logic Pro X/Cubase AI 9/Absynth 5/Ableton Live 9/KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Monitors
Cuthbert
Member
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:03 am
Italy

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Cuthbert » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:27 pm

I remember time ago a research showed that Gibson was one of the worst working place in the US, however to be fair I have two relatively recent acoustics (and Advanced Jumbo and a Country & Western) and they are excellent guitars....now their master luthier has left and went to refound Guild tough.
User avatar
Saul
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:00 am
Contact:
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Saul » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:34 pm

They have made some excellent guitars, the J-45 immediately comes to mind along with the J200 but I have only played them not owned them. I have a friend who does have a J-45 it sounds superb but I not convinced the cost equates to the quality of sound. There are guitars costing considerably less that sound just as good if not better.

There does come a point in acoustic guitar manufacture when more money buys you nothing extra but aesthetics and a brand name.
Saul
Site Admin
Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel!
Review Yamahamusicians.com on Trustpilot
Sign up to the Newsletter
Follow us on Twitter @YamahaMusicians
Follow Us On Facebook
Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC.

Seagull S6 Original/Harley Benton CLA-15MCE/Ashbury AG-160/Roland FA-07/Pianoteq 6 Pro/Amplitube 3.0/Apple iMac 27"/GarageBand 10.0.3/Logic Pro X/Cubase AI 9/Absynth 5/Ableton Live 9/KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Monitors
Cuthbert
Member
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:03 am
Italy

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Cuthbert » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:03 am

In my experience acoustic guitars are more difficult to make than electric one and the difference between a cheap one and an expensive one is significant and noticeable even by non guitar people.

And good instruments have always been expensive, the Advanced Jumbo in 1936 costed 80 dollars, that means about $1500 today, I paid 1600 euros for it in 2011 so I assume it's a fair price for this guitar.

I tried several J45s, some of them were mediocre, but the best one was killer, it was the Woody Guthrie, technically speaking a Southern Jumbo. I kicked myself for not getting it but I had (and I have) too many guitars. It was exceptional.

However, today's Gibson electrics besides the custom shop ones are mediocre instrument, I wanted to get a semielectric, tried several 335 and in the end the best I found was the Epiphone Sheraton Anniversary with USA minibuckers, it came is COA, very good finish, reproduction case...really for a Chinese guitar I am impressed.
User avatar
Saul
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:00 am
Contact:
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Saul » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:29 am

Well acoustic guitar manufacture has come a long way in the past 10 years or so. There are some quite astounding guitars out there now for relatively little money. I should have two acoustics from Slovakian guitar maker Dowina here some time next week. One is all solid with American Walnut back and sides, Dolomite Spruce top, Ebony fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle and it comes in at under $1000 and it's all hand made. It's a beautiful guitar.

The other Dowina is a Rustica GAC with Solid Canadian Cedar top, Mahogany back and sides, Mahogany neck, Rosewood Fingerboard and Bridge, Buffalo bone nut & saddle. Retail is around $550. So both fantastic guitars, hand made in Europe.

Have also had some really great value for money guitars here from the likes of Sigma, Ashbury, Harley Benton, Tanglewood and Takamine all well under $600 and all solid top.

It's a great time to be in the market for acoustic guitars :)
Saul
Site Admin
Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel!
Review Yamahamusicians.com on Trustpilot
Sign up to the Newsletter
Follow us on Twitter @YamahaMusicians
Follow Us On Facebook
Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC.

Seagull S6 Original/Harley Benton CLA-15MCE/Ashbury AG-160/Roland FA-07/Pianoteq 6 Pro/Amplitube 3.0/Apple iMac 27"/GarageBand 10.0.3/Logic Pro X/Cubase AI 9/Absynth 5/Ableton Live 9/KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Monitors
Cuthbert
Member
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:03 am
Italy

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Cuthbert » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:47 pm

I have some experience with Furch, made in the Czech Republic, but they are 1500 euros guitars. Lakewood from Germany is more experience, as you are Irish you should be perfectly aware of the prices of Avalon or Lowden guitars. And IMO they are worth the money they ask.

And as an Italian I doubt you can buy a guitar with spruce from the Dolomites for $550, just an unfinished table from there costs 200 euros.

Tanglewood, Sigma and Cort I tried, they are not in the same league as a top brand, sorry, you can just see the quality of the finish and the woods, not to mention the sound.
User avatar
Saul
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:00 am
Contact:
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Saul » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:53 pm

The Dolomite Spruce top is on the $1000 guitar not on a sub $500 guitar.

I am aware of Furch, I was looking at them last week. Very nicely made but I think their cheapest guitar starts around $800?

Avalon and Lowden guitars are of course from "Northern Ireland" so strictly speaking they are a British make. Very beautiful guitars from both but WAY out of my price range right now unfortunately :(

Tanglewood, Sigma and Cort are not competing with the likes of Lowden and Avalon. They are sill great value guitars for people who don't have huge amounts of money but want a good quality guitar.

I have just returned a Sigma OMMRC-1STE after having it here for about 6 weeks. It was a faultless guitar in every respect. Solid Sitka Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides (laminate of course), Mahogany Neck, Rosewood Fingerboard, Bone Nut & Saddle and comes fitted with the Fishman Isys+. It was well finished, no blemishes, no rough frets, no excess glue anywhere and yet it cost just £339/$469/€380.

Could you compare it to a Lowden or Avalon? No but it does stand up well against guitars costing twice as much as it's retail price.

The guitar I was most impressed with over the last couple of months...and will probably make you laugh...was the Harley Benton CLA-15MCE. It has a solid Mahogany top, laminated Mahogany back and sides and Mahogany neck. Fretboard and bridge are Ovangkol. Nut and Saddle are bone and It has scalloped x bracing. Electronics are provided by the tried and trusted Fishman Isys+. They even managed nice “Snowflake” inlays on the fretboard.

It was set up well out of the box and sounds pretty good but the amazing thing is they managed to produce this guitar for a retail price of just £174.59/€195/$241 Now THAT is value for money! Again we are not comparing with top end guitars here but for the price, features and playability it's quite an amazing guitar.

Of course if money were no object I would have a wall full of nicely expensive guitars but you have to look closely at what your paying for and why. At the higher end you should expect an all solid, hand made guitar that sounds as good as it looks but, getting back to the original topic, you don't always get what you pay for with high end Gibson's and as you discovered yourself the Epiphone Sheraton Anniversary was better than the Gibson 335.

Also something to bear in mind. A good guitarist will always sound good even on a lower end guitar. A bad guitarist will sound bad no matter how expensive the guitar is. An awful lot of this is in the hands of the player.
Saul
Site Admin
Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel!
Review Yamahamusicians.com on Trustpilot
Sign up to the Newsletter
Follow us on Twitter @YamahaMusicians
Follow Us On Facebook
Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC.

Seagull S6 Original/Harley Benton CLA-15MCE/Ashbury AG-160/Roland FA-07/Pianoteq 6 Pro/Amplitube 3.0/Apple iMac 27"/GarageBand 10.0.3/Logic Pro X/Cubase AI 9/Absynth 5/Ableton Live 9/KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Monitors
Cuthbert
Member
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:03 am
Italy

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Cuthbert » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:25 am

For Furch, they have a low spec model, but it's really spartan, like the Martins made of plywood...if you want a guitar made of all solid wood in the USA or Europe you have to spend the money for it, that's the point, when I was a kid I helped a luthier and I got involved in building acoustics, if done traditionally with hide glue etc...it's very time consuming, definitely my Advanced Jumbo and Sheryl Crow are made that way and IMO they are worth of the money they ask, and today good wood is much more expensive than 50 years ago.

For the Sheraton, at 600 euros is very expensive for a Chinese guitar, and it's not really directly a copy as for instance the neck is not built with the traditional sandwich of USA Epis but in four pieces: neck, headstock and the two "wings". At this price point I can't complain, but some people had different expectations. Also, of course the finish is not nitro, some people complained the screws of the frenquesator are not perfectly straight...etc...the hardware is however high quality, CTS pots, USA minibuckers (with engraved patent number, I suspect they are vintage) and that makes the difference.

Also the package with the reproduction gray case with blue interior is a nice touch, as you can see.

Image

Today's standard Gibson line is disappointing, especially the 335, if you want a good one you have to go custom shop, to be honest the future of the company is bleak with a senile lunatic at the steeering wheel.
User avatar
Asmikace
Member
Member
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:13 pm

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Asmikace » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:52 am

I wondn't be surprised if Henry axes the Tennessee plant like he did with with the Kalamazoo one. I could see moving the electrical guitar production to Montana.
User avatar
Saul
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:00 am
Contact:
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Saul » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:56 am

I assume by "plywood" you are referring to the back and sides on the Martin DC/DCX series? Martin refer to it as "HPL" or high pressure laminate to us. Whilst technically speaking any wood made up of layers glued together can be considered "plywood" however the connotation associated with that word in English when related to guitars carries a slightly different meaning.

The lower end Martin's are indeed mostly laminate and with a synthetic fingerboard but in terms of sound, they are pretty good. Not good in a "D28" way of course but for the money they are not bad and of course there is the kudos of have the genuine Martin logo on the headstock...it matters to some.

All solid wood guitars do not need to be overly expensive. It depends on where and how they are made. Yamaha have the A3R for example which is an all solid wood guitar consisting of a Solid Sitka Spruce top paired with Solid Rosewood back and sides. Neck is Mahogany, Fretboard and Bridge are both Ebony and the price is £825/$1149/€930

But of course most people are happy with the compromise of solid top and laminate back and sides and in nearly all cases that works out fine. Certainly the guitars I have tested in the under $500 range all featured a solid top and were excellent considering the low asking price.

@Asmikace I would not be surprised if the end goal was to move production to Mexico or China!
Saul
Site Admin
Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel!
Review Yamahamusicians.com on Trustpilot
Sign up to the Newsletter
Follow us on Twitter @YamahaMusicians
Follow Us On Facebook
Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC.

Seagull S6 Original/Harley Benton CLA-15MCE/Ashbury AG-160/Roland FA-07/Pianoteq 6 Pro/Amplitube 3.0/Apple iMac 27"/GarageBand 10.0.3/Logic Pro X/Cubase AI 9/Absynth 5/Ableton Live 9/KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Monitors
Cuthbert
Member
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:03 am
Italy

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Cuthbert » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:17 pm

Asmikace wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:52 am
I wondn't be surprised if Henry axes the Tennessee plant like he did with with the Kalamazoo one. I could see moving the electrical guitar production to Montana.
Is he so dumb?

However, Norlin shut down Kalamazoo Henry took over, I think 84 or 85.

And the Montana plant is quite small, I think it's not possible to produce both electric and acoustic guitars there.
User avatar
Saul
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:00 am
Contact:
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by Saul » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:10 pm

If I were Gibson and given the huge amount of debt they need to service I would move all electric guitar manufacture out of the country apart from the custom shop models. Cut costs on build and reduce retail prices accordingly.

Trying to maintain this image of every guitar being hand built and of high quality is seriously not working. Other firms know this is not a sustainable business model which is why they have lower end models made in places like Korea, China and Indonesia whilst retaining the higher priced hand made guitars for production in the USA. THAT is how you establish premium branding these days and it gives people a lot of choice. In Gibson's case it would mean they could raise quality control levels to where they should be.
Saul
Site Admin
Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel!
Review Yamahamusicians.com on Trustpilot
Sign up to the Newsletter
Follow us on Twitter @YamahaMusicians
Follow Us On Facebook
Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC.

Seagull S6 Original/Harley Benton CLA-15MCE/Ashbury AG-160/Roland FA-07/Pianoteq 6 Pro/Amplitube 3.0/Apple iMac 27"/GarageBand 10.0.3/Logic Pro X/Cubase AI 9/Absynth 5/Ableton Live 9/KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Monitors
User avatar
jens5
Member
Member
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:59 pm
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by jens5 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:29 pm

Asmikace wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:52 am
I wondn't be surprised if Henry axes the Tennessee plant like he did with with the Kalamazoo one. I could see moving the electrical guitar production to Montana.
The Memphis plant is already on the block. Went from a three day work week and is now for sale.
User avatar
jens5
Member
Member
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:59 pm
Ireland

Gibson Guitars - Poor Quality and High Prices and Bankruptcy

Unread post by jens5 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:31 pm

Saul wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:10 pm
If I were Gibson and given the huge amount of debt they need to service I would move all electric guitar manufacture out of the country apart from the custom shop models. Cut costs on build and reduce retail prices accordingly.

Trying to maintain this image of every guitar being hand built and of high quality is seriously not working. Other firms know this is not a sustainable business model which is why they have lower end models made in places like Korea, China and Indonesia whilst retaining the higher priced hand made guitars for production in the USA. THAT is how you establish premium branding these days and it gives people a lot of choice. In Gibson's case it would mean they could raise quality control levels to where they should be.
Two former, large Gibson dealers have told me that the Custom shop is in trouble as well.
Post Reply

Return to “Electric Guitar, Amps & Effects”