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Why New Bands Don't Play Gibson Guitars


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I didn't say it...it's a YouTube video. It's not a gloom-and-doom "Gibson is dying" video, but it does offer some provocative thoughts on why Fender seems to be taking over a younger demographic. Interesting stuff, and interesting comments about the guitar resurgence in general.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Anderton said:

I didn't say it...it's a YouTube video. It's not a gloom-and-doom "Gibson is dying" video, but it does offer some provocative thoughts on why Fender seems to be taking over a younger demographic. Interesting stuff, and interesting comments about the guitar resurgence in general.

 

I don't disagree with him but his analysis is incomplete. It may be the major factor, I don't have numbers to prove anything. 

Here are some observations regarding the current trends in guitars played by younger guitarists. 

 

There was no mention of Epiphone. Lots of younger players play Epiphone guitars, they are much more affordable than the same model in a Gibson. Gibson used to make less expensive guitars, in around 2001 I went into the Fresno Guitar center and bought a "shop worn" Gibson Melody Maker - single cutaway, bridge P-90 pickup and TOM with tailpiece.

All fairly coarse-grained mahogany with a more or less Burgundy color house paint finish. It was really terrible looking when it was new, maybe Henry J's idea of inexpensive "relic" sort of look. $200 and tax. 

 

So Gibson re-assigned guitars to Epiphone, including making remarkably good Les Pauls and ES-335s. I am looking for a beater 335 copy, I've played the Epiphones. For a guitar you can leave on the stage and walk off without worry, they are exactly what I'd like to have. 

 

Epiphone also made some smaller sized models, including a tiny Les Paul that is well made and as adjustable as you need to make it play great. 

Kids are going to get the Epiphones,humans are often creatures of habit, maybe they stay with Epiphone, the best quality stuff on the like is truly excellent. 

 

He is correctt regarding the Fender guitars and the continued success. The Squiers I've played could be made into great players with little work. Having short scale options like Jaguar, Mustang and Duo-Sonic is awesome, they also have Mini Strats in the Squier line. 

 

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It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Epiphone makes really good guitars, yet I can't help but think that if Gibsons are indeed perceived as "your dad's guitar," then something that looks similar might be perceived the same way.

 

If that's the case, though, then Fenders would be your grandfather's guitar...right? Think of Buddy Holly with that Strat, and all the Beach Boys playing their Fenders.

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7 hours ago, Anderton said:

Epiphone makes really good guitars, yet I can't help but think that if Gibsons are indeed perceived as "your dad's guitar," then something that looks similar might be perceived the same way.

 

If that's the case, though, then Fenders would be your grandfather's guitar...right? Think of Buddy Holly with that Strat, and all the Beach Boys playing their Fenders.

Maybe but a friend has subscriptions to "guitar porn" and gives me the magazines when he's read them. Epiphone is makng signature models too and they aren't our Dad's guitars but younger up and coming players. 

Then there's the price thing, a Gibson Les Paul Custom is several thousand dollars, an Epiphone Les Paul Custom is several hundred. What's a young person going to buy?

Of course if one keeps an eye out they can get a Squier for around $100 and I have a really nice Johnson 3/4 Strat I found at Goodwill for $30.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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7 hours ago, Anderton said:

Epiphone makes really good guitars, yet I can't help but think that if Gibsons are indeed perceived as "your dad's guitar," then something that looks similar might be perceived the same way.

 

If that's the case, though, then Fenders would be your grandfather's guitar...right? Think of Buddy Holly with that Strat, and all the Beach Boys playing their Fenders.

Not to mention Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, Dave Gilmour, Slash, and a slew of others.

 

For the youth, I think Gibson and Fenders are all both their dad's and grandad's guitar.

 

My suspicion is whatever they see their guitar idols are playing is what they want to play. Some things never change.

 

When I was a kid, I wanted a Selmer Mark VI saxophone because Stan Getz and Stanley Turrentine both played one.

 

And I doubt Gibson is going belly-up any time soon.

 

* * * * * *

 

Personally, I like the Strat design: The longer scale because I play high on the neck at times,  the straighter string path for better tuning stability, the double cutaway for better access to higher frets, better balance when hanging on a strap, lighter weight, one master volume near my picking hand, and a built-in vibrato handle.

 

My first guitar was a Gibson ES-330 which I still have. But I only play it when I want to play without plugging anything in and turning on an amp.

 

Then I bought a Yamaha Strat copy, when eventually led to my Parkers. I have 2, one for gigging, and one for hope practice.

 

The only problem with my Parkers is that they suit me so well, I no longer have GAS. I can look at beautiful guitars and admire them, but no longer have the urge to possess them.

 

Notes ♫

 

 

NN01_2Parkers.jpg

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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When I was vacationing in Nashville I saw beautiful SG in the Gibson showroom.  It had a clear coat finish over wood that had natural extreme color variations.  I've never seen one like it before or since then.  I'm far from a young player, I could afford it, and my wife was practically encouraging me to buy it, but I just couldn't justify $3,000 for my "bedroom" playing. 

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11 minutes ago, Jeff Leites said:

When I was vacationing in Nashville I saw beautiful SG in the Gibson showroom.  It had a clear coat finish over wood that had natural extreme color variations.  I've never seen one like it before or since then.  I'm far from a young player, I could afford it, and my wife was practically encouraging me to buy it, but I just couldn't justify $3,000 for my "bedroom" playing. 

This is the crux of the biscuit, Gibsons are great guitars but they are not cheap.

I stopped taking my 86 ES-335 Studio out to gigs a long time ago. I don't want to put it at risk. 

 

As a guitar tech, I've repaired more broken Gibson headstocks than all other guitars put together. That isn't saying much, probably 6 Gibsons total. 

Only one Fender, a Mustang. The owner got mad at hs girlfriend and smashed up the kitchen with the guitar. He wanted it fixed, I told him take off the hardware and the body and neck were firewood. 

 

As we can see from all the products that are available and continue to be sold, many guitarists like to customize their guitars to suite their tastes or needs. 

Much easier on a Strat, Tele or P (J) -Bass than a Les Paul or SG. 

 

All thhese things are pretty trivial in context, the pricing of the authorized "copy" guitars imported from elsewhere is not trivial. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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1 hour ago, Jeff Leites said:

When I was vacationing in Nashville I saw beautiful SG in the Gibson showroom.  It had a clear coat finish over wood that had natural extreme color variations.  I've never seen one like it before or since then.  I'm far from a young player, I could afford it, and my wife was practically encouraging me to buy it, but I just couldn't justify $3,000 for my "bedroom" playing. 

 

Gibson guitars indeed seem more crafted rather than "assembled." Just the layers of lacquer they put on the guitars is pretty mind-boggling. And in response to Notes' comment, Gibson is definitely not going belly-up any time soon. Been there, done that :)

 

But all of this is interesting compared to the click-bait "electric guitars are dead" headlines from a couple years back. At the time, I'd point out that acoustic guitars and ukuleles were flying off the shelves, and those sales would eventually convert into electric guitars for some of the players. And to Kuruprionz's point, Epiphone has been doing consistently well for a long time.

 

However, the reason for starting this thread was in response to idea of what guitars younger, popular bands are playing on stage, because that's going to cause a gravitational pull for aspiring musicians to want those guitars. I didn't watch the Grammys or the CMA show, but a few people remarked that they seemed Fender-centric. 

 

It's likely cost is a factor. But as to Fender vs. Epiphone, there also might be a cool factor. Is it cooler to own The Real Thing, as opposed to something that's a junior version of The Real Thing, if they're close the same price?

 

I dunno. All I know is I definitely have enough guitars, but I still want a Player Telecaster. And if I was independently wealthy, an L5 :)

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I have 5 Fender guitars and 2 Fender basses. I sold my only Gibson, a Les Paul Studio Plus, a few years ago. Gibson had made so many bad moves that I could not even look at that guitar, much less play it. Now I am feeling some regret as the new Gibson management seems to be much better. Maybe some day I will buy it back. I would want the same one as it was a good price/quality/feature ratio and a silverburst. My first Gibson back in the 80's was a silverburst.

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Oh, as for why so many young people play Fender over Gibson, on reason I hear ofter from players is weight. They don't want to stand on stage 4 hours a nigh with a heavy Les Paul.

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Oh no, the video was inspired by a thread on The Gear Page!   I got some useful info out of there, but eventually left as I felt I had less, and less, and less, in common with anybody there.

 

His main point is that Gibson needs to get their guitars into the hands of players who are under 30 years of age.   Fender, D'Angelico, Ibanez, and Strandberg have worked hard to do this with their guitars.   Those other companies have their lower-priced guitars made in China, Korea, or Indonesia.  The lower prices make them more accessible to the under-30 set.

 

I have only seen one under-30 star player with a Gibson - Daniel Donato.  I bet he only got his Gibson SG after years of playing a Tele and eventually saving up enough to buy the SG.  He looks like a high schooler, but he's actually over 25.

 

He also has a point about a lack of artist signature models.  The aforementioned competitors have signature models for under-30 players like Yvette Young, Brandon Niederauer, Sarah Longfield, etc.  They all prominently feature people who look under 30 in their guitar demo videos.

 

D'Angelico in particular has courted neo-soul guitarists and jazz players who are under 30 too.  He doesn't mention them because those genres are not his thing I guess.

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2 hours ago, RABid said:

I have 5 Fender guitars and 2 Fender basses. I sold my only Gibson, a Les Paul Studio Plus, a few years ago. Gibson had made so many bad moves that I could not even look at that guitar, much less play it. Now I am feeling some regret as the new Gibson management seems to be much better. Maybe some day I will buy it back. I would want the same one as it was a good price/quality/feature ratio and a silverburst. My first Gibson back in the 80's was a silverburst.

I've owned 9 Les Pauls, most of them Studios. I like the Studio model the best too. My favorite one was white with gold parts and an ebony fretboard. It was a 2008 and chambered so it didn't weigh a ton. I play the entire neck and have always found access on the higher frets is not as easy on a Les Paul as a Strat or Tele. 

I decided I prefer my ES-335 and sold all of the Les Pauls at one point or another. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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6 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

My suspicion is whatever they see their guitar idols are playing is what they want to play. Some things never change.


Definitely.

 

2 hours ago, GovernorSilver said:

He also has a point about a lack of artist signature models.  The aforementioned competitors have signature models for under-30 players like Yvette Young, Brandon Niederauer, Sarah Longfield, etc.  They all prominently feature people who look under 30 in their guitar demo videos.


Mhm-Hmn.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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22 hours ago, KuruPrionz said:

<...snip...>

As a guitar tech, I've repaired more broken Gibson headstocks than all other guitars put together. That isn't saying much, probably 6 Gibsons total. 

<...snip...>

Years ago, I was in a new band. We were learning new songs in the guitar player's living room, trying to get enough up quickly to start gigging. We took a break, he leaned his SG against an easy-chair, and we went in the kitchen for some soft drinks. When we came back, we found the SG on the floor and the headstock was folded over. In all the years I've been in bands, that was the worst guitar-accident I've seen.

 

He had another guitar, and I never saw him play that red SG again. He had it fixed, but didn't want to trust the repairs on the job.

 

I've always used sax-stands for my horns, and when I bought my first guitar (Gibson ES-330) I also bought a guitar stand. When not in my hands it's either in the case or on the stand.

 

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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18 hours ago, GovernorSilver said:

<...snip...>

His main point is that Gibson needs to get their guitars into the hands of players who are under 30 years of age. <...>

I think that was the problem with Parker guitars.

 

I like my Parker DF guitars much better than a Fender Strat, although they are similar. They weigh only 5 pounds, but sustain longer than an LTD-Less-Paul I owned. With the Sperzel tuners, Graph-Tech nut, and an almost straight string path from ball end to tuner, the Parkers stay in tune better than my other guitars do or did. Sometimes at the end of the gig they are still in tune, and when I take them out of the case for the next gig, they are often still in tune or just need a touch up on a string or two. The hardened stainless steel frets should last a lifetime too. It's so comfortable to play, it's more like wearing the guitar than holding it. Plus, there is a piezo under the bridge that I can mix with the mag pickups for some interesting tones.

 

IMO it was an improved evolution of the Strat guitar. Unfortunately, young rock stars weren't playing Parker, and during the 'guitar is dying' years, Parker couldn't hang on and went belly-up.

 

Humans are social animals, some say herding animals, and the best way to advertise a guitar is to get it in the hands of the guitarist that other guitarists want to emulate.

 

I read somewhere that Fender wasn't selling many Strats and were thinking about discontinuing it and then Hendrix came along and the sales went through the roof. It could have been an exaggeration, though. Exaggeration and sensationalism is the stock in trade of the publishing industry.

 

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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11 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

I like my Parker DF guitars much better than a Fender Strat, although they are similar. They weigh only 5 pounds, but sustain longer than an LTD-Less-Paul I owned. With the Sperzel tuners, Graph-Tech nut, and an almost straight string path from ball end to tuner, the Parkers stay in tune better than my other guitars do or did.

 

There was local musician who gigged with practically the same model of Parker Nitefly that I have - the SSS Strat style.

 

She sang and played with her own band and I think at least one other band, and appeared to be in her 20s.  She probably got her Parker during the same round of clearance sales in which I bought mine.  In my case, Woodwind and Brasswind had the Niteflys on $900 clearance sale.

 

If she had gotten as lucky as another local singer/guitarist - Lindsey Jordan - perhaps more young musos would have been inspired to get a Parker.   Instead, it was Jordan who progressed to a professional career as the founder and bandleader of Snail Mail.  And her chosen axes are Fenders - mostly the offsets (Jaguar, Jazzmaster)

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