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Are Gibson guitars still good?

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:53 pm
by I.T.
Frankly, I'm not as enthusiastic about them as I used to be. Reading this article only intensified my bitterness. Do you think current-production Gibson guitars conform to the standard of excellence that we have come to expect from The Long Winters? Hopefully John's indie cred will not be exploited by the Gibson Corporation.

Here is the article: http://business.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,330323106-108725,00.html

Gibson CEO: "When we first got into bed with Guns & Roses they were still riding the bus to the studio."
As if riding the bus to the studio isn't cool. Maybe if they were riding the bus to the polo match...

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:38 pm
by Flyn
I would say, firstly, I think this could be in Band Nerd. Secondly, I don't remember seeing "trebled" used like that, even if it is correct. Thirdly, I think that saying that Fender and Gibson are "neck and neck" is pretty funny. Lastly, what could a financial report say about any guitar company that would make them seem cooler?

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:57 am
by Liesbeth
excellent article, if only for this:
So you are a mid-life crisis brand? "Hum," he considers. "It can be," stretching the vowel in can. "But we are not really pushing the mid-life crisis agenda."


I'm not quite sure how this article perse should intensify anyone's bitterness, except if you think that a guitar company should be exempt of business-like considerations.

As for TLW and Gibson: I am not a guitar nerd so I have no deep allegiances or dislikes in this field. I am happy for anything that makes it possible for these guys to make music professionally and bring it out there. I'm under the distinct impression that John is always looking out for guitars that he actually likes, and I am not very afraid that his alliance with Gibson will make him go where he doesn't want to. So the knife cuts both ways: the band profits from it, the company profits from it, and the customer can just decide for themselves what they think of the guitars.

(ps I suppose this could be seen as Band Nerd stuff, but the underlying big-company-leeching-on-indie-cred argument is a bigger issue, I'd say)

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 4:24 am
by sour29
I didn't read the article (yet) but I miss JR's Rick's!

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 5:18 pm
by John
I'm someone who's a total snob when it comes to manufactured products of all sorts, and as such I live with a constant, low-level throb of disappointment when I survey the quality and standard of things made today. It's one of the main reasons I still buy my clothes and furniture at thrift stores: the quality of a thirty-year-old jacket or shirt, even washed and worn for decades, still trumps the ill-fitting crap at upscale department stores. (See Spoon's "Fitted Shirt"). It's not a question of scarcity-- there's no shortage of indigo or twill-- it's just so much cheaper to make modern clothes with crappy material and, frankly, most people don't care.

The crappy guitar problem is compounded by the fact that the materials themselves are scarce. Not only is labor more expensive, but there just aren't that many guitar-suitable trees left. So the quality has been declining, while the prices increase, for decades now. The dark years of Gibson and Fender were the 70's, when the factories were turning out unplayable guitars. Those same guitars are "vintage" now, I might add.

But the modern guitar companies are being run by MBA's. They have no concept of "mojo", and they aren't musicians, and so they mandate an endless stream of '52 Telecasters and '59 Les Pauls (which were the "holy grail" models) and sell every one to a newly retired yuppie who thinks nothing of spending $7000 dollars on a guitar.

Still, inside the Gibson Custom Shop, there are still people who really, really care about making good instruments, and even though the front-office won't let them actually make "Custom" instruments any more, they still turn out fantastic guitars out of a sense of personal pride.

The vast majority of guitars for sale in the modern world, just like the garments at Old Navy, Abercrombie and Fitch, etc., are total garbage. But between old, used stuff and the pricey custom stuff you can still find a workable compromise.

Also, I stopped taking the Rickenbacker on tour because it's too important to me now. I've played it every day for the last two months, though.

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:12 pm
by sour29
It warms my heart to hear the Rick's not sitting on a shelf somewhere (or worse, a landfill)! That is a great sounding guitar. <3

I don't personally have the deep pockets necessary to ever consider any guitar older than half a decade -- but that's ok. I don't play with the level of seriousness necessary to demand that ultimate level of quality (although, if found in my price range, I'd undoubtedly prefer it!). Although I hear what you're saying about clothes, though. I hate, hate, hate clothes shopping for just that reason.

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:56 am
by dianna
Re: cheap clothes, that's why I own a sewing machine.

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:08 am
by Patr!ck
No more Rickenbaker ever again.... /cry

Oh well, I suppose I'd never take it anywhere if I owned it either. I got a chance to play a 67' model, but it had the stock pickups. Still, it was amazing.

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:44 pm
by berkstin
I don't own a Gibson or an Epiphone (which ostensibly functions as their "budget line"), but I've played a ton both as loaners and in shops. What surprises me nowadays is the lack of quality control on "regular" (non-custom shop) Gibsons. It's to the point where the QC on Epiphones seems much better - I've never played an Epi that felt shoddy, but I have played Gibsons with ridiculous stuff like fret wire sticking over the edge of the fretboard, etc. It's a shame that they've decided to shift all of their focus on the super high-end stuff.

Personally, I've always been sort of an off-brand guy, although I did fall in love with and purchase a reissue model of the '72 Fender Tele Deluxe (the one with 2 'buckers and the fat-strat neck)...

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:47 am
by banjo
berkstin wrote:It's to the point where the QC on Epiphones seems much better - I've never played an Epi that felt shoddy, but I have played Gibsons with ridiculous stuff like fret wire sticking over the edge of the fretboard, etc. It's a shame that they've decided to shift all of their focus on the super high-end stuff.


I used to work in a guitar shop and it's an opinion that I, and a whole lot of repairers, agree with you on. Apparently Gibson's been known to sloppy with a lot of the basics of production. I suppose it could also be that a lot more of Gibson's production is done by hand. I'm still a big fan though, and even now, if you find a good one, a Les Paul standard is an awesome guitar. Of course if a guitar's nice I've never really cared who made it.

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 3:13 pm
by sour29
I bought a new Epiphone Viola bass on Wednesday. It sounds absolutely beautiful, but the G-string sometimes slips off it's notch in the bridge if it's picked too hard. :S

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:05 am
by berkstin
banjo wrote:Of course if a guitar's nice I've never really cared who made it.


Exacty. I recenty bought a First Act Paul Westerberg signature model for like $90 new, and its solid as a rock, sounds cool, looks cool (well, the plaid pickguard is a little cheesy: http://www.firstact.com/Artists/Paul_Westerberg.aspx ) and of course has one of my rock heros signatures on the headstock. Like a lot of musicians, I bemoan the fact that American made instruments are now out of my price range, but when I can find stuff that's made in Asia that is this good (and I haven't even mentioned some of the new Ibanez Artcore models, Eastwoods, etc), why should I care??

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:28 am
by Patr!ck
For some reason, I've just never like black guitars...

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:25 pm
by sour29
and I haven't even mentioned some of the new Ibanez Artcore models
See: first post in the Recent Purchases thread. <3

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:49 am
by berkstin
sour29 wrote:
and I haven't even mentioned some of the new Ibanez Artcore models
See: first post in the Recent Purchases thread. <3


Well done :)

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:05 pm
by banjo
The Artcore guitars are definitely some of the best of that kind of guitar I've played. Indeed an excellent purchase. That being said the only Jazz guitar I've ever fallen in love with (a man can love a fine instrument. There. I said it.) was a 1958 Gibson ES-175D. I just didn't have the £4000 I needed to buy it...

Also, amusingly enough, all the guitars I own are black. But that's because I'm so damn metal I'm practically a robot.

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:18 am
by berkstin
banjo wrote: But that's because I'm so damn metal I'm practically a robot.


\m/

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:04 am
by matthewsturm
Yes. Gibson Guitars are some of the best out there. I was lucky enough to take a tour of the Nashville plant (not open for public tours), and it was incredible how the staff paid such ridiculous attention to detail. They're making the stuff now as good as they did when Orville ran the company. Mind you, the low end $599 SG's and LP double cutaways aren't fantastic by any measure, but everything else is rockets. I've owned my fair share of them. I've held on to my J-45 acoustic and my custom made J-185 acoustic, but it was a dark day when I let my Custom Shop Historic '61 SG go bye bye. And don't get me wrong. I'm not a Gibson nut. My favorite electric was a Mexican Fender Tele '72 deluxe reissue. I just thing that the big G has gotten somewhat of a bad rep from their late 70's turmoil.

Say hello to the lamest post I've ever posted.

-ms