What Happened To Gibson?

I was wondering how the company that once made the best (in my opinion) six-string electrics alienated so many loyal customers and landed in bankruptcy.   Did some googling and came across the all-too-common tale of misplaced priorities, high staff turnover,  and ego-driven incompetence at the top.  It took bankruptcy to convince their CEO that just maybe they should focus on building  good guitars.   Fortunately he’s on the way out.  Here is a pretty good summary.

9 Replies to “What Happened To Gibson?”

  1. My first thought was “are people buying guitars anymore?”

    Acoustic guitar sales are fairly steady but electric have dropped. The move into music and sound technology must have been an effort to adapt to a changing world. If rock and roll is niche, you need to sell auto-tune or the youtube beats or something.

    Hey how much will a hideous flying V special edition set me back?

  2. Yeah, I get the need to diversify, but Gibson did it by investing in other shrinking areas (like home audio) and sacrificing qc on their guitars. Gibson mostly sells very pricey guitars to a persnickety clientele. You just can’t overlook qc with them; they’ll bitch massively online and wreck sales, which is what happened. Meanwhile Fender, Epiphone and Gretcsh are doing pretty well by offering good guitars at all price points. Gibson is a more widely-known brand than Epiphone or Gretsch, so there’s room for them even in a niche market.

    I actually think those “modern” Flying V’s are pretty cool looking.

    1. And don’t get me started on those stupid fucking robo-tuners Juszkiewicz forced on lots of models.

      Another issue with electric guitar sales is that new ones are competing with older (often sexier) models that never really leave the market. There are tons of sites selling guitars on consignment. Coupled with the simple fact that fewer people are playing guitar, that’s YUGE.

  3. I have a Gibson obtained at a Human Rights Campaign auction. As Emmylou Harris signed it for me, I confessed that I’d only ever played a Stratocaster. She nodded and said “Gibson!” knowingly.

    Not sure if she wanted to punch me.

  4. Didn’t they get into some trouble for chopping trees down in a protected forest? Maybe that was someone else. Fender maybe. Or maybe I just made up some fake news…

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