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#2910712 - 02/19/18 12:39 PM Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy
p90jr Offline
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Didn't notice this posted anywhere here...

http://variety.com/2018/biz/news/gibson-...tcy-1202704143/

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#2910744 - 02/19/18 02:49 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: p90jr]
whitefang Offline
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What! AGAIN?
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#2910753 - 02/19/18 03:43 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: whitefang]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Yeah, they’re in a world of hurt.
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#2910768 - 02/19/18 04:56 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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I hope they can survive. They pretty much priced themselves out of business. Fender saved themselves from the same ship wreck with a budget line people could afford. Both companies need to get their prices down to where people can afford the products. Taylor is too expensive for the average guitar player these days and will probably face the same fate...IMHO. cool


Edited by Larryz (02/19/18 04:57 PM)
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#2910817 - 02/19/18 08:59 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Larryz]
Scott Fraser Offline
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The a**hole who owns the company has run the brand into the ground. Bad management.
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#2910832 - 02/19/18 11:18 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Larryz]
Fred_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Larryz
They pretty much priced themselves out of business. Fender saved themselves from the same ship wreck with a budget line people could afford. Both companies need to get their prices down to where people can afford the products. Taylor is too expensive for the average guitar player these days and will probably face the same fate...IMHO. cool


Although I agree that their (Gibson) prices are outrageously high, that's not the only issue. The value proposition just isn't there. There QA is absolutely dreadful. It's one thing to spend money on a "prestige product". It' another to spend a lot of money and receive a poorly crafted product in return. I have absolutely no interest in purchasing a new Gibson, but would "pimp my sister" to be able to afford a Collings. In addition, I would be thrilled to own another Heritage. A friend of mine recently purchased a brand new Martin D-35 acoustic. After playing it, I want one too!

Yes, Collings, Heritage and Martin are certainly "prestige products" (and are priced accordingly). But when you give them your money, you receive a quality product in return.

Last year I attended an "Artisan Guitar Show" where luthiers displayed their instruments and will attend again this year in April. The instruments on display started at over $6000 and went up - WAY up! However, in this case we are discussing custom products. Luthier Bill Comins custom guitars startat around $12,000 (!), but he crafts a semi-hollow and a hollow body in Korea and sets them up in this country for $1500 and $2,200 respectively. I played the $1500 semi-hollow body and it was a beautifully crafted and great playing instrument.

Gibson can keep their guitars as far as I'm concerned. They ain't gettin' any of my hard earned dollars.

Final thought: Although I do not need any more guitars, I am kinda' thinking about another Peerless at some time in the future. Peerless makes very high quality guitars at affordable prices.
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#2910843 - 02/20/18 03:06 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Fred_C]
skipclone 1 Offline
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The Tokyo Music Instrument Fair is coming back this fall. I am looking forward to a long day of intoxicating tryouts from some very interesting guitar builders from around the globe. There`s also great sideshows-I`ve met both Roger Mayer and his wife-he told me he has no interest in NAMM. There was T.M. Stevens, bass player on several Steve Vai CDs, swearing that he knew me from somewhere. It`s gonna be fun.
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#2910851 - 02/20/18 04:52 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Fred_C]
whitefang Offline
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Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Although I agree that their (Gibson) prices are outrageously high, that's not the only issue. The value proposition just isn't there. There QA is absolutely dreadful. It's one thing to spend money on a "prestige product". It's another to spend a lot of money and receive a poorly crafted product in return.


I can relate to this in one way that this was the sort of thing that nearly cost me my job.

I worked for GM in their Cadillac division. They long prided themselves(even with a sign on the factory's wall) as the "Standard of the world". And indeed for a long time they were. Just as Gibson was. But by the early '80's, Cadillac started putting out a car that was nothing more than a standard Oldsmobile wearing a "Cadillac suit", but still cost much more than the "top of the line" Olds. They, like Gibson in recent decades, decided wrongly that they could rest on their laurels and people would shell out the money for the NAME regardless that it no longer stood for what it had. The result?

Massive lay-offs(which I was just a small step ahead in seniority to avoid), loss of market share and worst of all, big loss in reputation.

Now, they've gotten back to where they build a pretty good vehicle, but it took a while and they're STILL not what and where they used to be. You could say Gibson, like Cadillac, cut so many corners that they rolled downhill from where they used to stand. wink
Whitefang
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#2910874 - 02/20/18 06:18 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: whitefang]
picker Offline
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Gibson won't go away. The name is still valuable, as are their designs & patents, and facilities. Someone will buy the assets, and Gibson will go on. I think it'll be kinda like when CBS bought out Leo Fender. There will be pre-sale and post-sale Gibsons, with the pre-sale stuff thought better of than the new guitars.

And the world will go on...
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#2910885 - 02/20/18 06:49 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: picker]
Sharkman Offline
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Gibson has been trying to rescue themselves by issuing limited edition overpriced guitars in hopes that fifty to five hundred fans of some guitarist will pay way too much for a Gibson with someone elses name on it. Oh well, at least they're doing well with Epiphone.
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#2910887 - 02/20/18 06:55 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Sharkman]
skipclone 1 Offline
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#2910900 - 02/20/18 07:35 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: skipclone 1]
Larryz Offline
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@ Brother Fred, the last guitar I bought is a Gibson Les Paul Classic. It has a couple of quality control issues which I was able to correct. One is the neck pickup pole positions which needed a little adjustment to get the bass working and the other was/is the input jack was bent inside and the jack would slide out of the guitar on it's own LOL! This I attribute to the Sweetwater bench inspection as someone must have stepped on the chord before putting it in the mail to me. I bent it enough to get it working...

I have not taken it in yet for a set up as it plays too well out of the box. Now that I have settled on which set of strings I will be running it's time to take it in. I will have the neck pickup poles and the input jack checked and re-set or replaced.

The guitar is too nice to send back in the mail as the repairs are too minor. The wood and finish are extremely nice in cherry sunburst. I love the Grover locking tuners and the 57 humbuckers. The frets are smooth and everything is quality. I didn't want to buy any more guitars but I really missed my Les Paul Deluxe and wished I had never sold it. This guitar brought back some great memories and plays just like my old one did. Same neck which I really love.

Anyway, long story short is the LP only cost me $1,600 new. I know Gibson can still put out a quality guitar at a decent price...If they would do so, they could stay in business. $3,500 is too much to pay for a guitar like this one IMHO. I agree with you that price is not the only consideration and there are many quality comparable guitars made over seas. +1 Peerless is a great example... thu


Edited by Larryz (02/20/18 07:38 AM)
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#2910908 - 02/20/18 07:58 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Somewhere along the way, Gibson forgot some very basic economic principles, foremost being that a “premier lifestyle” brand can’t simultaneously act in the market like a mass producer.

Second, as many have pointed out, you actually have to deliver on your promise of excellence at some point, or even your diehards will abandon you.
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#2910923 - 02/20/18 09:28 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Fred_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Somewhere along the way, Gibson forgot some very basic economic principles, foremost being that a “premier lifestyle” brand can’t simultaneously act in the market like a mass producer.

Second, as many have pointed out, you actually have to deliver on your promise of excellence at some point, or even your diehards will abandon you.


+1. Well said. Well written.
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#2910926 - 02/20/18 09:33 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: whitefang]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3098
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Although I agree that their (Gibson) prices are outrageously high, that's not the only issue. The value proposition just isn't there. There QA is absolutely dreadful. It's one thing to spend money on a "prestige product". It's another to spend a lot of money and receive a poorly crafted product in return.


I can relate to this in one way that this was the sort of thing that nearly cost me my job.

I worked for GM in their Cadillac division. They long prided themselves(even with a sign on the factory's wall) as the "Standard of the world". And indeed for a long time they were. Just as Gibson was. But by the early '80's, Cadillac started putting out a car that was nothing more than a standard Oldsmobile wearing a "Cadillac suit", but still cost much more than the "top of the line" Olds. They, like Gibson in recent decades, decided wrongly that they could rest on their laurels and people would shell out the money for the NAME regardless that it no longer stood for what it had. The result?

Massive lay-offs(which I was just a small step ahead in seniority to avoid), loss of market share and worst of all, big loss in reputation.

Now, they've gotten back to where they build a pretty good vehicle, but it took a while and they're STILL not what and where they used to be. You could say Gibson, like Cadillac, cut so many corners that they rolled downhill from where they used to stand. wink
Whitefang


Fang, in my college years I used to steer friends looking for cheap dependable transportation towards a secret gem: The early 80s Cadillac Cimarron, which I suspect is the vehicle you're talking about (just a gold-trimmed Chevy Celebrity, in reality). What made it a gem was that the only people who bought them were the proverbial little old ladies who liked having a smaller car, only drove it to church and the hair salon and the grocery store, and kept it in a garage, paying the grandkids to wash it every month... then when they or their families were getting rid of them, no one wanted them! A friend who took my suggestion got a tricked out deluxe factory stereo, etc., for $1000... with only 2,500 original miles on it (and brand new tires put on for the sale), and thought it was funny to drive a powder blue car. He eventually traded it to his mother when she thought her GMC SUV was too hard to park.

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#2910929 - 02/20/18 09:37 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: picker]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3098
Originally Posted By: picker
Gibson won't go away. The name is still valuable, as are their designs & patents, and facilities. Someone will buy the assets, and Gibson will go on. I think it'll be kinda like when CBS bought out Leo Fender. There will be pre-sale and post-sale Gibsons, with the pre-sale stuff thought better of than the new guitars.

And the world will go on...


Well, it's in such debt that the name will cost a lot, and that means it will be resurrected by businessmen, not guitar people...

And, with market considerations guiding them, it might go the way of Guild and Hamer and other venerable guitar names that are resurrected: made in Korea. Not that the two I just mentioned aren't absolute new bangs for the buck that hold their own with anything, it just doesn't seem the same...

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#2910932 - 02/20/18 09:59 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3098
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Somewhere along the way, Gibson forgot some very basic economic principles, foremost being that a “premier lifestyle” brand can’t simultaneously act in the market like a mass producer.

Second, as many have pointed out, you actually have to deliver on your promise of excellence at some point, or even your diehards will abandon you.


Yep, and yep.

Gibson's fate is tangled with Guitar Center... they blew off smaller stores to satisfy the orders for that growing giant, actually ramping production WAY up to meet their orders... and faced a bit of a problem a while ago when after a few years GC said "Thanks, we have enough, now... our stores are full." (I'll try to dig up those articles).

But also, they began acquiring pro audio and audiophile companies... often with curious intentions, since they would just shut them down a year or so later (Cakewalk). They own Stanton and Philips on the audiophile-side, but people into that stuff describe them in terms like when Norlin owned Gibson and made it crappy by not knowing what it was doing.

But most of all, with production ramped up, a Gibson is a mass-produced guitar. Henry, upon buying the company, moved it from the Union-history locale of Kalamazoo, MI to the "right to work" environs of TN and MT, and employed more and more computerized production (though he still rants about employment costs). It gets puzzling to me that for $3,000+ I can buy a Collings or Melançon or Pensa or Suhr or Fano, handmade by one or a few people, or a Heritage that has nothing overlooked or shody though it was done on a small assembly line, or a Gibson, the recent new ones that I've played in dire need of a set up and feel like they were just shipped out by the thousands that day.

I think the mass production of guitars will cease... it's unsustainable. Sales are down... interest in the instrument is declining more and more among young people. That's (a sad) reality, and one that the market isn't keeping up with... because supply and demand are way out of whack with the big box guitar stores/websites needing more and more "variety" to lure and tease customers with... but those stores themselves are tangled up in questionable venture capital deals and have to put up the illusion of endless growth to keep investors from busting the bubble.

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#2910940 - 02/20/18 10:28 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: p90jr]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Originally Posted By: p90jr
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Somewhere along the way, Gibson forgot some very basic economic principles, foremost being that a “premier lifestyle” brand can’t simultaneously act in the market like a mass producer.

Second, as many have pointed out, you actually have to deliver on your promise of excellence at some point, or even your diehards will abandon you.


Yep, and yep.

Gibson's fate is tangled with Guitar Center... they blew off smaller stores to satisfy the orders for that growing giant, actually ramping production WAY up to meet their orders... and faced a bit of a problem a while ago when after a few years GC said "Thanks, we have enough, now... our stores are full." (I'll try to dig up those articles).

But also, they began acquiring pro audio and audiophile companies... often with curious intentions, since they would just shut them down a year or so later (Cakewalk). They own Stanton and Philips on the audiophile-side, but people into that stuff describe them in terms like when Norlin owned Gibson and made it crappy by not knowing what it was doing.

But most of all, with production ramped up, a Gibson is a mass-produced guitar. Henry, upon buying the company, moved it from the Union-history locale of Kalamazoo, MI to the "right to work" environs of TN and MT, and employed more and more computerized production (though he still rants about employment costs). It gets puzzling to me that for $3,000+ I can buy a Collings or Melançon or Pensa or Suhr or Fano, handmade by one or a few people, or a Heritage that has nothing overlooked or shody though it was done on a small assembly line, or a Gibson, the recent new ones that I've played in dire need of a set up and feel like they were just shipped out by the thousands that day.

I think the mass production of guitars will cease... it's unsustainable. Sales are down... interest in the instrument is declining more and more among young people. That's (a sad) reality, and one that the market isn't keeping up with... because supply and demand are way out of whack with the big box guitar stores/websites needing more and more "variety" to lure and tease customers with... but those stores themselves are tangled up in questionable venture capital deals and have to put up the illusion of endless growth to keep investors from busting the bubble.



Basically yes.

For all that they tout their brand as being handmade in the USA, in reality, the hand craftsmanship has been reduced to just a few- but nontrivial- steps.


And as you say, American made guitars with more hand crafting can be had for less. Which just illustrates how nutty Gibson’s price structure is: a company using so many mass production techniques AND that is big enough to enjoy significant economies of scale shouldn’t be losing the pricing battle to small operations.

Need further proof? Fender & Eric Johnson just announced a contoured thinline semihollow Strat that has been in development for a few years. Price: $1,999.
https://www.musicradar.com/news/namm-201...caster-thinline

Gibson’s new Modern V? $4,499.
https://www.musicradar.com/news/gibsons-radical-modern-flying-v-takes-off-at-ces

rolleyes
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#2910968 - 02/20/18 12:40 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
desertbluesman Offline
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With pricing like this "$5,399.00" For a Les Paul Custom, who could afford them. I once had several Les Paul Custom's in my past. I sold one like the one pictured in the link below a few years back for $1,200 and was glad to get it. No wonder they are going out of business.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LPCPSL11188d
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#2910986 - 02/20/18 01:53 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: desertbluesman]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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$5400 for a Gibson demo?

I can commission better made, full-custom guitars for that price. Or cheaper.
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http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2910992 - 02/20/18 02:21 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: p90jr]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13477
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
Originally Posted By: p90jr


Well, it's in such debt that the name will cost a lot, and that means it will be resurrected by businessmen, not guitar people...

And, with market considerations guiding them, it might go the way of Guild and Hamer and other venerable guitar names that are resurrected: made in Korea. Not that the two I just mentioned aren't absolute new bangs for the buck that hold their own with anything, it just doesn't seem the same...


You're probably right.
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#2910996 - 02/20/18 02:27 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: desertbluesman]
Fred_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: desertbluesman
With pricing like this "$5,399.00" For a Les Paul Custom, who could afford them. I once had several Les Paul Custom's in my past. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LPCPSL11188d


Yeah. They ain't shy about asking for money.

About two years ago, a new ES-175 ran $3,000. Overnight, the price went to $5,000! No thanks, Gibson A brand new Heritage H575 Custom like mine is around $3,200 and is carved from solid wood. The ES175 is a laminate.


Edited by Fred_C (02/20/18 02:52 PM)
Edit Reason: fix error
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#2911006 - 02/20/18 02:56 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: p90jr]
whitefang Offline
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Posts: 10847
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Originally Posted By: p90jr
Fang, in my college years I used to steer friends looking for cheap dependable transportation towards a secret gem: The early 80s Cadillac Cimarron, which I suspect is the vehicle you're talking about (just a gold-trimmed Chevy Celebrity, in reality). What made it a gem was that the only people who bought them were the proverbial little old ladies who liked having a smaller car, only drove it to church and the hair salon and the grocery store, and kept it in a garage, paying the grandkids to wash it every month... then when they or their families were getting rid of them, no one wanted them! A friend who took my suggestion got a tricked out deluxe factory stereo, etc., for $1000... with only 2,500 original miles on it (and brand new tires put on for the sale), and thought it was funny to drive a powder blue car. He eventually traded it to his mother when she thought her GMC SUV was too hard to park.


Nope, not regarding the Cimmaron. I was referring to those Cadillacs made 'round the mid '80's. That's when they started running Caddies, Oldsmobiles and Chevy Caprice Classics all down the same line. And putting v-6 engines in the Caddies that really weren't up to snuff. And that miserable 4-6-8 engine failure. And the Cimarron wasn't built at the Clark St. Detroit main plant where I worked. And BTW:

Did Gibson's quality issues begin before or after they moved from Kalamazoo? And if after, how soon after?
Whitefang
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#2911011 - 02/20/18 03:15 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: whitefang]
surfergirl Offline
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Registered: 12/12/17
Posts: 82
Loc: Waialua, Hi
I don't know a lot about business, but maybe Gibson was really good at building guitars and then tried to do to much. You have to be true to what/who you are.

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#2911027 - 02/20/18 04:37 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: whitefang]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3098
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Originally Posted By: p90jr
Fang, in my college years I used to steer friends looking for cheap dependable transportation towards a secret gem: The early 80s Cadillac Cimarron, which I suspect is the vehicle you're talking about (just a gold-trimmed Chevy Celebrity, in reality). What made it a gem was that the only people who bought them were the proverbial little old ladies who liked having a smaller car, only drove it to church and the hair salon and the grocery store, and kept it in a garage, paying the grandkids to wash it every month... then when they or their families were getting rid of them, no one wanted them! A friend who took my suggestion got a tricked out deluxe factory stereo, etc., for $1000... with only 2,500 original miles on it (and brand new tires put on for the sale), and thought it was funny to drive a powder blue car. He eventually traded it to his mother when she thought her GMC SUV was too hard to park.


Nope, not regarding the Cimmaron. I was referring to those Cadillacs made 'round the mid '80's. That's when they started running Caddies, Oldsmobiles and Chevy Caprice Classics all down the same line. And putting v-6 engines in the Caddies that really weren't up to snuff. And that miserable 4-6-8 engine failure. And the Cimarron wasn't built at the Clark St. Detroit main plant where I worked. And BTW:

Did Gibson's quality issues begin before or after they moved from Kalamazoo? And if after, how soon after?
Whitefang


Ah, the Cimarron might have been the first step into that dismal territory... it was badged by each of the GM brands but they didn't even bother to change the headlights... the Caddy hood ornament was the only thing that distinguished it.

http://carbuzz.com/news/rebadged-disasters-cadillac-cimarron


second question: Hmmm... well, since the move from Kalamazzo signaled (I believe) the change from Norlin's ownership, quality HAD to be an improvement, but that was due to the guitars the factory had to make. I'd say Gibson's quality control problems started in 1970 (along with general overall design problems)... the "new -era" from '83 included the Custom Shop, which is where the rep got a boost. Has Gibson ever been known for its lower-priced guitars since the '60s? I, personally, think Les Paul Studios are a bigger bang for the buck, quality-wise, than the higher up model Les Pauls.

I know people who swear by 1970s Les Paul Customs.

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#2911028 - 02/20/18 04:47 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: surfergirl]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3098
Originally Posted By: surfergirl
I don't know a lot about business, but maybe Gibson was really good at building guitars and then tried to do to much. You have to be true to what/who you are.


It is the arrogance and idiocy of modern business.

I recommend the documentary "All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records" to get a glimpse of what happened in the 90s, across the board... It didn't matter how well you were doing, stock holders and board members wanted constant "growth," and that meant if you made One Billion dollars this year, the target for next year was Three Billion Dollars, and since you've already tapped out the places you pushed to that high point, that means finding new places to expand to and open new stores in...

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#2911035 - 02/20/18 05:43 PM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Fred_C]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5571
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
Originally Posted By: desertbluesman
With pricing like this "$5,399.00" For a Les Paul Custom, who could afford them. I once had several Les Paul Custom's in my past. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LPCPSL11188d


Yeah. They ain't shy about asking for money.

About two years ago, a new ES-175 ran $3,000. Overnight, the price went to $5,000! No thanks, Gibson A brand new Heritage H575 Custom like mine is around $3,200 and is carved from solid wood. The ES175 is a laminate.


Gibson’s tobaccy is obviously quite whacky.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2911118 - 02/21/18 08:32 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Sharkman Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 651
Another thing that is hurting Gibson is while the quality of their Gibson guitars has gone down, the quality of their fraction of the price Epiphone guitars has gone up. In my situation, business has been exceptionally good the past few months, and after I buy a new vehicle in May, and possibly a new Yamaha Wave Runner after that, I'm thinking about buying a new guitar. As much as I'd love to have a Gibson Les Paul Standard with a cherry sunburst finish, a similar Epiphone Les Paul will cost around one quarter of the price, and in all honesty, I don't think I would be able to tell the difference between them if I was blindfolded.
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#2911119 - 02/21/18 08:36 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: whitefang]
The Real MC Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/17/05
Posts: 5112
Loc: Secluded Tranquil NY Wine Coun...
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Did Gibson's quality issues begin before or after they moved from Kalamazoo? And if after, how soon after?
Whitefang


Definitely before. After Ted McCarthy left in the mid 60s, several things contributed to quality issues.

Relationship between workers and upper brass soured. Ted maintained a good relationship with everybody at Gibson - the top brass, the distributors, the workers building the guitars. After Ted left, CMI brought in a replacement who alienated the builders. Gibson at Kalamazoo was a union shop; Ted never had union troubles but his successors did. Things got worse after CMI was acquired by Norlin.

Quality standards were lowered. Builders from the "golden era" confirmed that before the Norlin era, substandard guitars would had never been sold through retail and quality control was much higher. Builders took an active part in improving quality of their peers - if a flaw was found, the person responsible was confronted. McCarthy knew that keeping the builders happy contributed to better quality. Henry J obviously lost this along the way, as turnover grew higher in later years and workers voted Gibson Guitars as the worse company to work for.

MBAs ushered in through Norlin introduced things that hurt craftsmanship and the tone of the guitars. They focused on decreasing costs and reducing warranty returns but at the expense of quality. Things like the headstock volute, "pancake" bodies, shorter neck tenons, and three piece necks of the 1970s don't help their value.

The people in control of product development lost the vision that made Gibson great. The Norlin people insulated the relationship between the customer (musicians, not retailers) and the upper brass. Witness how Norlin screwed up the reissue LP in the 1960s - musicians had been demanding sunburst LPs with the humbuckers, and the initial reissues were goldtop with P90s or minihumbuckers and customs. Gibson under Norlin frankly never got the sunburst reissues right. I have been to a few NAMM shows, and was unable to enter the Gibson room because Henry J restricted them only to distributers and retailers - if you were a working musicians with a "visitor" badge, you weren't welcome.

I believe that the closest Gibson ever got to true replication of the 1950s sunburst LPs was through the Custom Shop. I have a 2006 G0 (an R0 built for Guitar Center to their specs) that ranks very highly with my guitar player friends, and when I showed it to the staff at a well known vintage guitar store that regularly keeps 1950s sunburst in stock, they were surprised how good the G0 was.

Norlin being a publically held corporation did feel the pressure to grow every year. In an insincere effort to "expand", almost all new guitar models were duds and misguided. That is still happening under Henry J (reversing the body on a Flying V? Come on!). It didn't help that musicians were isolated from the top decision makers at Gibson.

With the exception of the Custom Shop, I don't think Gibson ever reclaimed the quality standards established before the mid 1960s.

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#2911301 - 02/22/18 11:45 AM Re: Variety: Gibson said to be nearing bankruptcy [Re: The Real MC]
p90jr Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 3098
Bloomberg: Gibson Creditors Want New CEO Before Rescue Deal

A group of bondholders advised by PJT Partners Inc. is pushing for a restructuring that would hand them ownership of the guitar maker and let them install new leadership, according to people with knowledge of the plans. The holders don’t expect Gibson’s earnings will be strong enough to attract new money for a refinancing to head off a default looming later this year, and creditors are reluctant to invest more funds while Juszkiewicz is still in charge, the people said.

If beancounters seize the company, I'm sure we'll see production moved to Korea or China...

I don't know what's worse: that or leaving the man who thought the Firebird X and robotic tuners were going to set the guitar world on fire in charge?

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