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Gibson considering bankruptcy


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#1 HemiBeers

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:16 AM

I consider this a sign of the decline of rock.

https://www.cnbc.com...bankruptcy.html

Less kids are getting into rock and if they do, there's plenty of good, cheaper alternatives for guitars than Gibson.

Even for the experienced players, when there's no shortage of good used or vintage instruments it creates less demand for new. Plus there's no planned obsolescence like a car; a good guitar can last forever if it's properly taken care of. That supply/demand thing is a bitch.

Ironic that Gibson is struggling and their original guitar factory that they abandoned in Kalamazoo, Heritage, is doing great.

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#2 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.

#3 HemiBeers

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 11:57 AM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.
:yes:

With all their manufacturing resources, their quality is so so and not worth the price they're asking. If you want a quality 335 and don't have a price issue, then you probably buy the Heritage clone.

They haven't reconciled the fact that there are better alternatives (older classic Gibsons, Heritages) and that their name only goes so far.

#4 edhunter

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 12:17 PM

My mother had an early Heritage, from about 1983. Left it in a van 24/7 365 days a year in the New England climate. When she finally told me to sell it, the tech I took it to, who is well known along the east coast, said it was almost beyond repair, the neck was bowed beyond what the truss rod could adjust. I sold it as a "project" on ebay and it still went for  $600. Black thin Les Paul body with gold hardware. What a shame.

#5 Lucas

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 01:19 PM

Gibson went thru something similar in the early to mid 80s when the end of the Norlin era almost did them in ..


Between 1974 and 1984 production of Gibson guitars was shifted from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee. The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984; several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic Gibson designs.

The company (Gibson) was within three months of going out of business before it was bought by Henry E. Juszkiewicz, David H. Berryman, and Gary A. Zebrowski in January 1986. New production plants were opened in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Bozeman, Montana. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.



Every guitarist seemed to being playing some modified Strat - even guys who had played Gibsons, esp Les Pauls, in the past .. Gibson even tried jumping in with models like the Q 3000 ...

I suppose a combination of things helped - new ownership being one ... But Slash sort of singlehandedly turned the face of what was cool back around to the Les Paul ( even though it wasn't a Gibson that he used on the album ) ..

Anyways, I don't think it is so much a matter of rock dying .. I mean, Gibson makes guitars for all styles of music .. Is it a matter of the guitar dying ?? .. Nah, I don't think so - you watch you tube and you'll kids playing stuff that 30 years ago would have been unthinkable for anyone, let alone a 14 year old ..

I think a huge factor is the availability of used and vintage guitars ..

About two weeks ago I started getting the urge to buy a guitar - add one to the collection - and I was thinking "cherry sunburst Les Paul" ... But I had absolutely no inclination to buy something new - with the 'net, esp eBay, going thru page after page of used and vintage stuff has never before been so easy ..

Edited by Lucas, 19 February 2018 - 01:20 PM.


#6 edhunter

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 01:48 PM

If I remember from his bio,
Slash called Gibson and asked for a loaner and they said no. He was still a nobody st that point.

#7 blueschica

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 02:09 PM

Very sad to hear this!

#8 HemiBeers

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:02 PM

View Postedhunter, on 19 February 2018 - 12:17 PM, said:

My mother had an early Heritage, from about 1983. Left it in a van 24/7 365 days a year in the New England climate. When she finally told me to sell it, the tech I took it to, who is well known along the east coast, said it was almost beyond repair, the neck was bowed beyond what the truss rod could adjust. I sold it as a "project" on ebay and it still went for  $600. Black thin Les Paul body with gold hardware. What a shame.
That would have been a mint if it was in decent shape...very, very early Heritage.

#9 HemiBeers

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:06 PM

View PostLucas, on 19 February 2018 - 01:19 PM, said:

Gibson went thru something similar in the early to mid 80s when the end of the Norlin era almost did them in ..


Between 1974 and 1984 production of Gibson guitars was shifted from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee. The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984; several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic Gibson designs.

The company (Gibson) was within three months of going out of business before it was bought by Henry E. Juszkiewicz, David H. Berryman, and Gary A. Zebrowski in January 1986. New production plants were opened in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Bozeman, Montana. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.



Every guitarist seemed to being playing some modified Strat - even guys who had played Gibsons, esp Les Pauls, in the past .. Gibson even tried jumping in with models like the Q 3000 ...

I suppose a combination of things helped - new ownership being one ... But Slash sort of singlehandedly turned the face of what was cool back around to the Les Paul ( even though it wasn't a Gibson that he used on the album ) ..

Anyways, I don't think it is so much a matter of rock dying .. I mean, Gibson makes guitars for all styles of music .. Is it a matter of the guitar dying ?? .. Nah, I don't think so - you watch you tube and you'll kids playing stuff that 30 years ago would have been unthinkable for anyone, let alone a 14 year old ..

I think a huge factor is the availability of used and vintage guitars ..

About two weeks ago I started getting the urge to buy a guitar - add one to the collection - and I was thinking "cherry sunburst Les Paul" ... But I had absolutely no inclination to buy something new - with the 'net, esp eBay, going thru page after page of used and vintage stuff has never before been so easy ..
Speaking of Heritage...

It was sold in the last year to a local real estate development company. This place turns old buildings in Kalamazoo into brewpubs or 'multi-use facility'. :eyeroll: Even though they're putting money into the Heritage plant, I don't think they share the motivation to continue to improve Heritage as a manufacture. The former Gibson guys that started up and continued Heritage are retired and out of the picture now. So my advice to someone considering a Heritage...find one at least 2 years old that was made by the old geezers who knew how to make it.

They plan to use part of the old Gibson factory as a beer garden. f***ing A.

But to your point Lucas...it seems there are fewer kids taking up 'real' instruments these days like guitar to keep the demand up for new gear. Parents will likely buy their kids new guitars, but cheap ones, and wouldn't venture into the vintage market for a novice kid. I wouldn't spent more than $600 on my kid's guitar unless he was god's gift...and that's not at Gibson's price point. The people that would drop big bucks are the old geezers who have disposable income...and we're dying off or getting arthritis.

Edited by HemiBeers, 19 February 2018 - 04:16 PM.


#10 Lucas

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:48 PM

View PostHemiBeers, on 19 February 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:

View PostLucas, on 19 February 2018 - 01:19 PM, said:

Gibson went thru something similar in the early to mid 80s when the end of the Norlin era almost did them in ..


Between 1974 and 1984 production of Gibson guitars was shifted from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee. The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984; several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic Gibson designs.

The company (Gibson) was within three months of going out of business before it was bought by Henry E. Juszkiewicz, David H. Berryman, and Gary A. Zebrowski in January 1986. New production plants were opened in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Bozeman, Montana. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.



Every guitarist seemed to being playing some modified Strat - even guys who had played Gibsons, esp Les Pauls, in the past .. Gibson even tried jumping in with models like the Q 3000 ...

I suppose a combination of things helped - new ownership being one ... But Slash sort of singlehandedly turned the face of what was cool back around to the Les Paul ( even though it wasn't a Gibson that he used on the album ) ..

Anyways, I don't think it is so much a matter of rock dying .. I mean, Gibson makes guitars for all styles of music .. Is it a matter of the guitar dying ?? .. Nah, I don't think so - you watch you tube and you'll kids playing stuff that 30 years ago would have been unthinkable for anyone, let alone a 14 year old ..

I think a huge factor is the availability of used and vintage guitars ..

About two weeks ago I started getting the urge to buy a guitar - add one to the collection - and I was thinking "cherry sunburst Les Paul" ... But I had absolutely no inclination to buy something new - with the 'net, esp eBay, going thru page after page of used and vintage stuff has never before been so easy ..
Speaking of Heritage...

It was sold in the last year to a local real estate development company. This place turns old buildings in Kalamazoo into brewpubs or 'multi-use facility'. :eyeroll: Even though they're putting money into the Heritage plant, I don't think they share the motivation to continue to improve Heritage as a manufacture. The former Gibson guys that started up and continued Heritage are retired and out of the picture now. So my advice to someone considering a Heritage...find one at least 2 years old that was made by the old geezers who knew how to make it.

They plan to use part of the old Gibson factory as a beer garden. f***ing A.

But to your point Lucas...it seems there are fewer kids taking up 'real' instruments these days like guitar to keep the demand up for new gear. Parents will likely buy their kids new guitars, but cheap ones, and wouldn't venture into the vintage market for a novice kid. I wouldn't spent more than $600 on my kid's guitar unless he was god's gift...and that's not at Gibson's price point. The people that would drop big bucks are the old geezers who have disposable income...and we're dying off or getting arthritis.

Hemi, the point about kids getting cheaper guitars is true, and in the case of Gibson, I don't think Epiphone has ever been so much of a double edged sword as it is now ..

I've got a '75 LP Custom and a '79 Kalamazoo Standard .. I love those guitars, and I still play every day, and I don't want to beat on those guitars any more than I have to - getting them refretted, etc ..

So I bought a basic black Epiphone Les Paul Standard .. I put in orange drop caps, a Seymour Duncan from the early 80s and that guitar is pretty incredible .. It sounds great and plays great .. With the older Les Paul, I am paranoid and keep them in cases in a temperature controlled, humidified room, etc etc ... and the Epi has been sitting out on a stand for 5 years in another room, and the thing plays perfectly ..

I don't know what would happen to Epiphone if Gibson went under, but I can definitely see why a parent would choose a $350 Epi LP over a $3,000 Gibson

Edited by Lucas, 19 February 2018 - 08:49 PM.


#11 Lucas

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 09:31 PM

ok, I just read the article:

Gibson, which has annual revenues of more than $1 billion

I don't think this number is an indication of some massive drop off in interest as far as the guitar

Seems to me more like a problem within the company and how best to be profitable

#12 HemiBeers

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 07:49 AM

View PostLucas, on 19 February 2018 - 09:31 PM, said:

ok, I just read the article:

Gibson, which has annual revenues of more than $1 billion

I don't think this number is an indication of some massive drop off in interest as far as the guitar

Seems to me more like a problem within the company and how best to be profitable
I just read alot of the comments on the glassdoor.com site for Gibson. That's a site where employees (or so they say) can post comments about their company. There's some pretty damning comments about the CEO and the management for Gibson.

Just because a company brings in huge revenues doesn't make it immune from poor management. They can bring in revenues simply on name recognition alone.

While there's a 'steady' market for instruments, it's kind of stagnant and mirrors the current musical trends. Definitely not like I was in high school, where every other kid wanted to try to be a rock star. The Guitar Centers of the world became the Walmart of musical gear. Not surprising that Guitar Center has had financial problems in the past few years as well. Those that live by thin margins, die by thin margins.

Edited by HemiBeers, 20 February 2018 - 07:55 AM.


#13 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 12:24 PM

View PostHemiBeers, on 20 February 2018 - 07:49 AM, said:

View PostLucas, on 19 February 2018 - 09:31 PM, said:

ok, I just read the article:

Gibson, which has annual revenues of more than $1 billion

I don't think this number is an indication of some massive drop off in interest as far as the guitar

Seems to me more like a problem within the company and how best to be profitable
I just read alot of the comments on the glassdoor.com site for Gibson. That's a site where employees (or so they say) can post comments about their company. There's some pretty damning comments about the CEO and the management for Gibson.

Just because a company brings in huge revenues doesn't make it immune from poor management. They can bring in revenues simply on name recognition alone.

While there's a 'steady' market for instruments, it's kind of stagnant and mirrors the current musical trends. Definitely not like I was in high school, where every other kid wanted to try to be a rock star. The Guitar Centers of the world became the Walmart of musical gear. Not surprising that Guitar Center has had financial problems in the past few years as well. Those that live by thin margins, die by thin margins.

Glass Door is indeed made up of employee comments, but in the case of companies where a lot of disgruntled employees are making posts, management will sometimes pose as employees and post positive comments in an effort to balance things out a bit.

I think the market for expensive guitars has waned in recent years. People still want a nice Les Paul or PRS or American Strat, but simply don't have the money for one, so they'll either look for a used one or a cheaper alternative.

#14 PW_Guitarist

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 11:42 AM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.

That pretty much hits the nail right on the head. I'd hate to see Gibson go simply because of their history and their instruments - they pretty much invented the electric guitar and their designs are timeless. However, I can't help to think their troubles are their own doing, and that they need to focus on their core competencies - building high-end, quality instruments with classic designs still in demand rather than try to improve them into a failure.  

It's true that the market is changing and there are less younger players buying instruments, but that segment seems to have been replaced with older players with lots of disposable income buying up high-end classic designs. Gibson have priced themselves out of the market with no corresponding bump in quality. Back in 1994, a black custom LP would retail for $2000 locally, now it's $5500. Fender and PRS retail prices have not tripled in 25 years.

There's no reason for a billion dollar company to go bankrupt, but they need to refocus. The market does better with more manufacturers, not less.

#15 RUSHHEAD666

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 10:29 PM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.

This is sad news!  As I am a drummer I do enjoyed collecting guitars!  Mostly the lower end musician signature models.

I am very lucky.  I own two Alex Lifeson ES355 models.  Beauty.

#16 edhunter

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 10:45 PM

View PostRUSHHEAD666, on 25 February 2018 - 10:29 PM, said:

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.

This is sad news!  As I am a drummer I do enjoyed collecting guitars!  


Yep. You're a drummer.

#17 1-0-0-1-0-0-1

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 09:51 AM



#18 HemiBeers

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:11 AM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 26 February 2018 - 09:51 AM, said:


Well done. As kind of a guitar nerd and a business nerd I loved that.

To summarize, they tried to buy consumers electrics companies when everyone just uses their cell phone for music these days. Not wise to try to be the next Sony, when Sony isn't doing so well.

Instead of one declining business, let's buy two and combine them. :wacko:

The debt/EBITDA ratio of 10 really is the nail in the coffin. For every $10 of income they have $100 of debt. And alot of that debt it due this year.

They...are...so...f***ed.

Edited by HemiBeers, 26 February 2018 - 10:14 AM.


#19 Mr. JD

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 07:58 PM

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.

Key words being “make them affordable”. This story could be about PRS someday.

#20 goose

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 07:44 AM

View PostRUSHHEAD666, on 25 February 2018 - 10:29 PM, said:

View Post1-0-0-1-0-0-1, on 19 February 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:

If Gibson wants to survive, they could stop trying to re-invent the guitar. Enough with the funky paint jobs and the robot tuners and the reverse body shapes. And those new Modern Double Cuts which cost the same as a PRS and aren't half as good. Stop dumping all that R&D money into guitars that nobody wants. Just make Les Pauls and SGs and the other classic instruments and make them affordable.

This is sad news!  As I am a drummer I do enjoyed collecting guitars!  Mostly the lower end musician signature models.


Drummers are known for collecting models.  Just not usually guitars!




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