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  1. #1

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    Often on this forum, I hear guys trash talk Gibson guitars and just as often I read comments claiming Gibsons cost too much.

    At the risk of offending some (many?) here is my take:

    American labor costs more than Chinese slave labor. The same guitar that can be built for $100 in China will cost about $1200 to build in America. Many of my Bernie Sanders supporting musician friends tell me (a proud Republican) how they support the American worker. Meanwhile they all drive Toyotas, Hondas and Subarus (except for the few who drive Volvos ). I drive a Chevy Truck (when I am not riding one of my Harley-Davidson Motorcycles). I walk the talk. I support my own (and it is hard to be humble when you are the best. I think the American made stuff is the best). There are no better motorcycles than a Harley and there are no better Guitars than a Gibson. If you cannot afford them, work harder (or smarter). The best things in life do not come easily.

    I have yet to play a production guitar that sounds better or plays better than a Gibson. For Jazz, Gibson, the inventor of the archtop guitar wrote the book. Excluding Django, all of the great jazz guitar icons played Gibsons. Those who trash talk Gibsons are without exception, NOT jazz guitar icons.

    Long live Gibson guitars and kudos to the many craftsmen who have made them and are currently making them.

    There is an old saying about opinions (the saying includes a reference to an orifice used in defecation). You have heard mine. Feel free to add yours (respectfully please, this is a moderated forum after all.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Actually, several jazz guitar icons trash Gibsons, even some who played them. And you will be hard-pressed to find any of the younger "jazz icons" playing Gibsons, except for the older models.

    And Chinese guitars are, by and large, made by artisans who are excellent violin-makers (winning many world-wide competitions and medals), not slaves or prisoners. Granted, they make less than their American counterparts, but the fact is, the cost of living is quite a bit lower there. Of all the Gibsons I have owned, exactly one was worth the money, and its Japanese "lawsuit" counterpart was a better instrument.

    But thanks for the viewpoint from the distant past. By the way, virtually any motorcycle made is better than a Harley, unless you really do enjoy riding a loud, stinking, oil-depositing dinosaur.

    The .01% really do love you. A proud Republican? Proud of what?
    Last edited by ronjazz; 05-08-2016 at 06:01 PM.

  4. #3

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    I'm guessing the jazz icons from decades ago all played Gibsons because that was the only game in town. These days, there are almost too many builders -- big and small -- making high quality instruments, so there are many choices. Even Jim Hall was playing a Made in Asia Sadowsky during his last years ..

  5. #4

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    Let's stick to the OP's claim that Gibsons are worth the money and not get sidetracked into a political squabble. Political talk is omnipresent; talk about jazz guitars is not.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  6. #5

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    Two factors that are probably affecting Gibson are 1) the recession, and 2) the post-recession economy. Prior to the recession guitar sales were very, very hot - Gibson was selling a much higher quantity of guitars than they are likely selling now (much like Harley-Davidson was selling a lot more motorcycles than they probably sell now).

    With the lower volume come higher prices to attain the same return at the end of the day. For us out here on the fringe in archtop land volume is really, really low and the product requires higher skilled labor than tossing a piece of mahogany on a CNC machine for an SG.

    Some of it comes down to plain ol' marketing & economics: Henry J views our market as more price elastic: we're willing to pay more for an ES-175 than someone is willing to pay for a Midtown. If you look at production costs: is the cost of building a $5,000 ES-175 really 5-times more than the cost of building a $1,000 Midtown? That's a tough pill to swallow.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 05-08-2016 at 06:25 PM.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Many of my Bernie Sanders supporting musician friends tell me (a proud Republican) how they support the American worker. Meanwhile they all drive Toyotas, Hondas and Subarus (except for the few who drive Volvos ). I drive a Chevy Truck (when I am not riding one of my Harley-Davidson Motorcycles). I walk the talk.
    You sure about that? According to US News and World Report, the truck made with the highest percentage of American parts and labor isn't a Chevy. It's a Toyota Tundra- built in the US with 80% of its parts and labor sourced here. The Honda Civic is 70% US parts and labor compared to the Chevy Aveo at 2% (no, that's not a typo unless it's USN's). Toyota Avalon- 80%; Chevy Impala- 77% (and Buick Lacrosse- 57%). Where the brand name hails from has got little to do with it in a global economy. Toyota, Nissan, Hyundi, Kia, BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, Suburu all have manufacturing facilities in the US. Heck, Chevy and Toyota even share one plant...

    A lot of a Harley's parts come from China and other countries- estimates I could find range fom 20-60%. Just assembled in Wisconsin. Harley doesn't exactly advertise their outsourcing for obvious reasons- their marketing and image are founded on Americanism.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #7

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    Mostly valid points, no argument from me (Harley Davidsons excluded but that's not the point here). Maybe you can also explain the enormous price increase for Gibson archtops in the last few years. I may be missing something here. It can't be just labor costs as other US companies have more moderate prices. I'm not saying that Heritage guitars are as good as Gibsons (again, this is not the point) but the labor costs are about the same.

    But of course Gibson can ask whatever price they want for their guitars. We live in a capitalist world and Gibson does not have to justify their prices. I am also not so arrogant to say that it is anybodys fault but mine if I can't afford the guitar (or anything else) that I want. But yeah, I'm pining for the prices 5 years ago and I am trying to understand what happened. Still jonesing for the Crimson L5.

    But I wonder if Gibsons pricing strategy will backfire in the long run as it may lead to fewer and fewer pro artists, at least the younger generation, playing Gibsons. We'll see about that. What I do know is that those who show up with a Gibson L5 at a jam session are getting strange looks from those who know the prices. I hate that. Jealousy is a bitch.

  9. #8

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    George van eps didn't play gibson

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Let's stick to the OP's claim that Gibsons are worth the money and not get sidetracked into a political squabble.
    The OP brought in the politics when he claimed moral superiority over a candidates supporters. In the current environment you can't really expect no-one to respond.
    Last edited by AlohaJoe; 05-08-2016 at 06:43 PM.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints...

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaJoe View Post
    The OP brought in the politics when he claimed moral superiority over a candidates supporters. In the current environment you can't really expect no-one to respond.
    Okay. Someone responded. Now we can talk about whether Gibsons are worth the money.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  12. #11

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    A Harley doesn't leak oil, it marks its territory.....

  13. #12

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    You know, I LOVE threads like this because as odd as it is there's truth and fact in most of the replies.

    But what I do not get is outright bashing of a brand (any brand) because bashing attempts to make owners of the bashed brand feel like they made a mistake, and it discredits the basher.

    There' a small differene between advice and opinion, but when advice is asked for and negative opinion is cloaked as advice more heat is generated than light.

    I for one am a supporter of the "Buy American" (or whatever domestic product from where you live) but I expect more from a domestic product, and generally I am rewarded.

    I have GREAT Asian made gits, but the fact is that most depreciate horribly and rather rapidly when bought new.

    Gibson (perhaps by virtue of continually rising retail prices) are always worth more after a time than the purchase price, especially if it was bought used.

  14. #13

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    Actually Harley's have not leaked oil in many years (the old ones were designed to do so), but back to Gibsons:

    In addition to having to pay for American labor, Gibson also has to pay for top notch materials, which have gone up in price over the last few years.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  15. #14

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    Eh, everyone believes their faith is the best one whether it's faith in a religion, political party, whatever. No one says
    "I'm sticking to what I believe even though that other belief is right and mine is wrong." Might as well move on from that, as Mark suggests, 'cuz ain't no one gonna win there. It'll just be hard feelings all around.

    But what about Gibson? Why is an ES-175 or Les Paul made in the US worth nearly 10 times what one made in Asia with an Epiphone label is worth? Differences in labor rates do not fully explain that. Why is it worth that much with the frequently reported quality control problems- for $5000 list price a guitar ought to be pretty damned close to perfect every single time.

    FWIW my archtop was made by Matt Cushman in Great Falls MT and is good enough that I keep not buying a Gibson (which would also cost more than mine- despite the materials being easily as good as those used by Gibson). My other three main guitars were made in a small shop in California (Rick Turner), in my basement by me from US-made components (except maybe tuners and pots), and the other was made in Japan in 1981 (GB10).
    Last edited by Cunamara; 05-08-2016 at 07:00 PM.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  16. #15

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    I feel the OP is very misguided and you can't made blanket statement on quality based on location of manufacture. In most so called Made in USA product are made elsewhere and only assembled in the US which by law they can claim to be Made in USA if assembled in US. China is make high end products as well as low end it's all on whatever the company contracting them wants.

    Gibson is over priced your are paying a lot for a name and even Gibson says it's hurting because people aren't buy new Gibson's due to price, they are buy used instead. I would never buy a new Gibson because of price and I have Japanese, Korean, and Chinese made guitars I feel are as good and some cases better especially for the money. So if you like paying for a name, be honest you are buying a name, quality can't be assumed based on locate.

  17. #16

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    I don't have a major problem with the fact that Gibson prices are inordinately high. I have a problem with the fact that their Quality Control is piss poor to nonexistent.


    I love my Heritage H575 Custom and would buy another Heritage in a heartbeat. Similarly, I lust after a Collings archtop. However, I would not even consider buying an overpriced yet poorly crafted Gibson.

  18. #17

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    I ride a Harley, have a Dodge Ram truck, play Gibson's, and am voting for Donald Trump but do wish Gibson's were a bit kinder to my wallet. I will say this, QC has been darn good these days on new Gibson guitars. The stuff coming out of the Crimson shop right now is better then the Hutch days IMO and that was a very top notch era.
    Bottom line, if the guitar is built top notch I will pay the high price and you know me, I will be the first to bash Gibson when it comes to QC not being up to par but right now they are at the top of their game. The prices are rising way faster then the cost of living metrics though. Not too many people can afford a new Gibson anymore.
    I would like to see a new Gibson CEO.

  19. #18

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    If one likes Gibson guitars, then buy them.

  20. #19

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    I will admit that my opinions on Gibson Q/A is not based on recent experience. I do, however, believe that they are outrageously overpriced and that the Price/Performance Ratio ("bang for the buck") is very poor.

    Sorry, but I would prefer a $2500 H575 to a $5000 ES175.

  21. #20

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    Personally, this dem loves Fender, Heritage and Martin.

  22. #21

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    R Kirn Tele here.

  23. #22

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    A long, long time ago (before the desktop computer) I was Production Manager in a factory.

    I organized all of the work, purchased about half of the raw materials and accounted all of
    the direct costs for about 75 workers. Not huge, but not insignificant.
    It is Very Difficult to Make A Buck in manufacturing.

    Like Gibson, we faced steep Asian competition, ours primarily from Japan.

    If you have this kind of perspective you see things differently.

    Times change. When Fender pays off its debt sufficiently to float stock or
    when Gibson is no longer privately held we'll likely look at our current period
    as the "good old days" because there's a good chance they'll run aground when
    the finance & marketing guys get complete or just too much control.

    All of that overpriced kindling everyone is complaining about will appreciate nicely, too.

    I will be watching from Hell and still trying to tune up.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Times change. When Fender pays off its debt sufficiently to float stock or
    when Gibson is no longer privately held we'll likely look at our current period
    as the "good old days" because there's a good chance they'll run aground when
    the finance & marketing guys get complete or just too much control.
    Both Gibson & Fender have already been there - CBS owned Fender and Baldwin owned Gibson, the experience drove each company to the brink of extinction and made it possible for Ibanez, PRS and others to get a foothold.

  25. #24

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    I bought a new no-frills Gibson ES-335 in 2007 for $1,799 with the GC 10% off anything in the store coupon. This serious instrument inspired me to learn the jazz harmonic language. It is a fine guitar and I will pass it on to my son some day. Was it worth the money? Absolutely! I also have a custom Heritage Eagle I bought used for $2,500 which had THE tone I was searching for... spectacular! Would I buy an L5 CES for 5-6-7-8 thousand? Probably not. I do respect their reputation.

  26. #25

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    I was a Gibson girl for a very long time (1983-1999). They were my main guitars during that time period. Very seldom was I able to afford a new one (the one new Gibson I bought was basically a closeout model, that was collecting dust on the wall of the guitar shop I hung out at occasionally, that I bought for myself as a present, when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin back in 1987). IMO, new Gibsons have always been kind of overpriced. Throw in the fact that I often had to play several of them, before I found one that really wowed me, they could often be a love/hate kind of thing. When I found a good one I hung onto it. Still back then, and it seems moreso today, a fair amount of its price came from brand name. I still like Gibsons, and if I found the right one, and had the cash, I'd buy it, but a new Gibson archtop for what they're going for? Not happening. It would have to be used, and for the right price.

    Just a little OT - I also ride motorcycles (I come from a riding family, and first started riding when I was 16). Please don't imply that as an American, I'm not patriotic, if I don't ride a Harley. I live in Harleyland (the Wauwatosa/Milwaukee plant is only about 6 miles away from where I live, and the corporate offices are about 10 miles away). Harleys are like weeds around here. Like many American riders, I wouldn't mind a Harley if it was a bit sportier (not all "real American motorcyclists" want to do the motoring down the superslab on a cruiser or a full dresser), and didn't cost a million bucks (figuratively speaking). We're not necessarily asking for fully faired race reps, but it would be nice if they made at least a sporty standard. The 48? No thanks, it has a peanut gas tank, dinky seat, semi-splayed out seating, wimpy performance, and a ridculous pricetag to boot. The XR1200, and Buells are kind of cool (and before I could afford to get another bike, I considered getting a Buell Cyclone), but are no longer made, and for many riders, were only a step in the right direction. Sorry, I'll stick to my Triumph Thruxton.
    Last edited by EllenGtrGrl; 05-08-2016 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Spelling Correction

  27. #26

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    This is a great post. Not only because one of my favorite dudes posted it, but because what SS said, needed to be said. As long as folks are buying new Gibsons, then they are worth the money. What you are getting when you buy a Gibson is in my opinion, the best of what makes guitar playing a privilege. When a young boy in America learns how to play a guitar, a part of them dreams of the day he will hold a Gibson. From Les Pauls to Citations, we dream of owning a Gibson.
    I respect the opinions of people who don't share my Gibson dream. But for me a Gibson symbolizes a guitar that is a rip-off of nothing. Even my "original" 1935 D'Angelico is a guitar that was modeled after a Gibson.
    Gibsons are for me, the best.
    Great post Marco.
    JD
    Last edited by Max405; 05-08-2016 at 10:53 PM.

  28. #27

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    EllenGtrGrl,
    Congratulations on the Thruxton, nice choice!

    I've got a '06 T-00 in storage waiting for reanimation.
    But, I guess the motorcycle talk is for another thread...

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Often on this forum, I hear guys trash talk Gibson guitars and just as often I read comments claiming Gibsons cost too much.

    At the risk of offending some (many?) here is my take:

    American labor costs more than Chinese slave labor. The same guitar that can be built for $100 in China will cost about $1200 to build in America. Many of my Bernie Sanders supporting musician friends tell me (a proud Republican) how they support the American worker. Meanwhile they all drive Toyotas, Hondas and Subarus (except for the few who drive Volvos ). I drive a Chevy Truck (when I am not riding one of my Harley-Davidson Motorcycles). I walk the talk. I support my own (and it is hard to be humble when you are the best. I think the American made stuff is the best). There are no better motorcycles than a Harley and there are no better Guitars than a Gibson. If you cannot afford them, work harder (or smarter). The best things in life do not come easily.

    I have yet to play a production guitar that sounds better or plays better than a Gibson. For Jazz, Gibson, the inventor of the archtop guitar wrote the book. Excluding Django, all of the great jazz guitar icons played Gibsons. Those who trash talk Gibsons are without exception, NOT jazz guitar icons.

    Long live Gibson guitars and kudos to the many craftsmen who have made them and are currently making them.



    There is an old saying about opinions (the saying includes a reference to an orifice used in defecation). You have heard mine. Feel free to add yours (respectfully please, this is a moderated forum after all.
    The problem with Gibson and many American companies is that it all comes down to profit margins and the bottom line. In many instances we are really paying for all other added costs, such as buildings, advertising, utilities and many, many other items not even known by the consumer. The intrinsic value is really not there. I'm too a patriot, but am not willing to take it in the ass for an American company. Gibson too has made instruments overseas in the name of reducing costs and increasing the bottom line. They also have many employees that are basically assembly line workers and could care less about rock, jazz or blues. They probably listen to Snoop Dog or Katy Perry all day at work. So it's not like they are hiring the Benedettos of the world to build their guitars, hence the QC issues. Many of the Chinese archtop companies have a handful of luthiers building these archtops by hand. All politics aside, these are great instruments at a great price! I only hope Gibson, would be a guitar company once again and not this out of control corporate conglomerate.

  30. #29

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    The two Gibsons I own are worth every dime. Both of those guitars have a level of artisanship that I don't see in several other guitars I play daily, that I also love and enjoy. One is "used" and the other "new" but both reward close examination. Each is a seminar in careful attention. Each is a wonderful instrument.

    I won't put down other brands, or other nations. I know there are labor and market issues that swirl around, but in the end, the market decides what guitars are "worth."

    Part of those market forces are people who play a guitar and say "WOW"... and it's the 10,000th time they've picked up that guitar.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  31. #30

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    not mutually exclusive..thruxton 'n gibby...hah

    The Cost of a Gibson-thruxton-front-jpg

    cheers

  32. #31

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    neatomic !

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    not mutually exclusive..thruxton 'n gibby...hah

    The Cost of a Gibson-thruxton-front-jpg

    cheers
    Purty looking '335, and a nice looking 2013 Triumph Thruxton (my Thruxton is a 2014)!

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTwang View Post
    Both Gibson & Fender have already been there - CBS owned Fender and Baldwin owned Gibson, the experience drove each company to the brink of extinction and made it possible for Ibanez, PRS and others to get a foothold.
    Oops! Wish I'd caught this before I posted. Just a correction - Norlin owned Gibson (I had a few Norlin era Gibbies). Baldwin owned Gretsch.

  35. #34

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    The day el cheapos will not only look, but feel and sound like a Gibson they will be in trouble...so far so good.
    Wanna hear what a cheap import will never sound like, listen to the latest DB clips on youtube, his 60s Barney Kessel is simply sublime
    Last edited by vinlander; 05-08-2016 at 10:27 PM. Reason: addons

  36. #35

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    I spent over 10 years playing everything BUT Gibson until I finally took the plunge. It was fun to play/own all those guitars (mostly vintage Japanese), and some were great, but I'm really happy I finally own exactly what I was after all that time (ES175/335). I was trying to save money, but spent way more in the process. No regrets. Still have a soft spot for vintage Ibanez, tho...
    Last edited by andrew42; 05-08-2016 at 10:39 PM.

  37. #36

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    Gibson can, does and will charge what the market will bear, being the land of liberty, this is still OK in the USA.

    The reason the prices offend is because they are, in fact, outrageous. Normally, the market takes care of this, not allowing the price to relative value get so skewed. For example, let's all agree, for the sake of argument, the Le Grande is better that the Loar 350. But in no objective way is it 20x better. Yet, the guitar is 20 times the price (I choose the most extreme example I could think of).

    This would normally be an impossible situation. Any company with prices so heavily out of sync with the rest of the market should go out of business rather quickly. So why doesn't this happen with guitars?

    The collector. All the aging baby boomers want to relive their youth and get a Les Paul like Jimmy. Or in our case, a 175 like Joe.

    According to the inflation calculator, $175 in 1949 dollars is worth $1717.50 today. Which is right in line with a comparable production guitar. The Asian guitars are even cheaper.

    So, I too won't pay such prices for a new Gibson. Yes, I'm even upset at the state of affairs. But don't blame the company; blame us. If we as a group didn't pay it, the prices would drop like rock.

  38. #37

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    Gibson's are certainly expensive ... as to whether they are overpriced that's a subjective judgement and a function of your own point of view and maybe your budget ...

    The quality of their custom shop has been excellent since the early 90s in my experience ... they do expect the new owner and the retailer to take care of many of the set up issues which causes many complaints

    They build a lot of guitars so the chances of finding enough QC problems to make an impact on the internet is very high even if their QC was 99.99% perfect

    Their archtops have always been priced just out of reach, or just above reasonable for my budget, in the 35 years or so that I have been dreaming of owning them ... but I've managed to snag a few, including a couple of L5s and a Le Grand ... but they are priced at a competitive point in the market above Heritage and other small custom makers, but still below luthiers like Benedetto, Buscarino, Collings and well below luthiers like Manzer and Monteleone

    also I'm not convinced anyone is really paying the prices on their website for their archtops

    VinnyV1K may have got a killer deal on his Super 400 at really great price, but the number of new archtops listed as "used" for pricing reasons on the web and the price quotes I have received locally make me think the high priced Gibson archtops are usually going for 45% or better off of list so Vinny's story may not be that rare. I could have had a new Tal Farlow for less than $4000 US just this last Friday, but it sold soon after I played it.

    A few years ago I was told that Gibson and a couple of the other big name makers all reworked their dealer cost formulas ... up till then dealer cost was usually 50% of list minus a variable discount ... but everyone knew that and was using it to squeeze the dealers

    With that in mind ... when a guitar lists for $15,000 dealers can give "huge" discounts and still make more money than they would by selling an LP standard or an American standard Fender at full retail

    There are certainly cheaper guitars that rival Gibson for quality and tone .... but I'm with vinlander because to me they still don't sound and perhaps more importantly feel as good as Gibson to me

    It may all be in my head ... but it's my head and my money ... and a big part of me wants the Gibson name ...

    and if you don't like Gibsons for whatever reason I'm cool with that

    Then again ... what I really want is the money to have the Gibson and the Benedetto and the Heritage and the Ibanez and the Monteleone ....


  39. #38

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    The 1949 175 that sold for $175 was a single pickup guitar with plain woods and the case cost extra. Todays 175 is a two pickup guitar, includes the case and has superb woods.

    While at $4850 it may seem high compared to the $1750 that the inflation calculators might suggest, there are many factors, not the least of which is the scarcity of the raw materials that account for todays price.

    Gibson 2016 ES-175 Figured Reissue Electric Guitar | Musician's Friend

    In 1949, there were a lot more trees.... (and land, insurance and labor costs were less).

    Long live Gibson!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  40. #39

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    I see The Chicago Music Exchange has been selling a whole lot of new 1959 VOS 175's for less than $3K.
    TMZ has been trying to sell their LeGrand to me for $9K. I drew a line in the sand and told them to list it as used like they did on the new S400 I got and I will pay the exact same price for it, $7649.00. We will see what happens. I see the new formed tops selling everywhere now for $4K.

    Marc thanks for starting this post. I love Gibson bickering. The company I hate to love or is it love to hate ? :-).
    All I can say is guitar is my game and Gibson is the name.

  41. #40
    As much as it pains me to interject in a post where people are getting religious about politicians they did not know 5yrs ago would be on a ticket 5yrs hence...

    Why does appreciating or not appreciating Gibson for its qualities as a guitar at a certain price have to be patriotic? What if someone outside America liked Gibsons? Would that make them a traitor to their own country if there were a manufacturer in their country (like Japan)? Or would it mean they recognize a great guitar? If Americans want non-Americans to respect their workers and products for the quality of American creativity, craftsmanship, work ethic, etc, they should consider offering the same respect to high quality products and services from other countries. America represents just over 4% of the global population. Surely some portion of the other 96% of the world's population creates or does something which is worthy of our respect.

    As to trade and American jobs, American companies have "exported" jobs partly because they are economically incented to do so. Remove the incentives to do so and they won't. However, Americans need to understand that the incentives being bandied about by some of the candidates are mostly penalties against business, forcing companies to make uneconomic decisions. Rhetoric is fine and dandy but the problems and costs involved in doing business in a global economy are global problems and costs. Thinking of them solely as American problems and costs won't get you the result you want. Make America an attractive place to make things for Americans and people will make them here. Like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and others do. But the reasons why it might not be attractive to do business in America have more to do with the non-wage costs than with the wage costs. And fixing that is an American problem, not a border/illegals/trade problem.

    Apologies for the rant.

    Signed,
    An American who has spent decades working in foreign countries, trying to earn the respect of both Americans and non-Americans for the work that I do, and respecting and supporting those, American or not,
    who do good work.

  42. #41

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    Why is a laminated ES-175 so much more expensive than a solid wood Heritage H575 made in the same Gibson factory in Kalamazoo by many of the same craftsmen?

    Marketing.

    Just take a step back to see how well it works.
    Last edited by Flat; 05-09-2016 at 01:27 AM.

  43. #42

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    Not all of us Vets are Republican. Politics become irrelevant in fox holes. When I hear someone say they only support American I pause and think...okay, so you don't own a computer, or a cell phone or a....

    Ego, ego, ego...remember, thoughts are only true if you believe them.

  44. #43

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    Where I live, a 335 Studio is $500 > a Yamaha SA2200, for instance. Suppose I want a properly finished guitar and not one that looks so ugly it's almost insulting, as if it was dipped in a pool of goo, Gibson's equivalent offering will set me back $1,200, about 60% more than the Yamaha, for strictly equivalent specs. Maybe Japanese workers are getting slave wage - maybe you know something I don't, so please bring the evidence. Prove to me that Gibson is still the A+ company it once was, including in its respect for its customers, potential and existing (see the letters posted here a while ago from a Gibson manager to a customer around the 60ies; I suspect those days are long gone). Until then buying a Gibson is simply not a rational choice at this time.

  45. #44

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    Archtops from Gibson have almost doubled in price the last few years ... some of it is the dollar being stronger, but the rest has no explanation.

    I can only imagine that Gibson has cut down severely on the numbers they produce and thus charge the few die hards an ultra premium price!

    Personally I have no squables looking elsewhere.

  46. #45

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    Hi,

    Thank you for your post travisty.
    I play an archtop (Japanese brand, made in China) plugged into an amp (US brand, made in USA). I drive a car (French brand, made in France). I'm typing this message on a computer (US brand, made in China) . I do not live in USA and I'm not American. Gibsons don't make me dream. I hate motorcycles. I rarely vote.

    Who am I?
    « Ce qui m'intéresse surtout dans le jazz, c'est que c'est un bon mot pour le Scrabble. » Philippe Geluck

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
    A Harley doesn't leak oil, it marks its territory.....
    I know, love my Fat Bob!!

  48. #47

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    Why all the anguish over Gibson?

    If they are overpriced junk, they will fail in the marketplace, and all the Asian guitar lovers can go on happily without worrying about it any further.

    Now back to enjoying my ES-175.

  49. #48

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    Gibsons just sound different

    No other guitar seems to replicate the Gibson sounds exactly. They are not the only guitar sounds in the world, but they are heard on lots of records, and many like them. The first sound is that midrange snap---on a 175,165, 125, 150, Tal, and a 350, and the second is the electrified carved top sound--the L5 thing...with the Johnny Smith being a more acoustic-y version of it, and a Super 400 kind of in the middle, IMO.

    Want more upper range?--play a Guild or an Ibanez. Want more acoustic layering?--play a Benedetto type acoustic archie.

    I've owned a bunch of Gibsons. A Les Paul Custom--OK guitar but am not a real fan of Les Pauls, and that particular sound for overdriven rock kind of stuff, is not one I listen to much, and I don't try to play in that style. Bought it and sold it, and don't miss it. For that type of overdrive-y stuff, amps and pedals will have at least as much to do with the sound, so obsessing about guitars is beside the point.

    Had a 347--Norlin era--bought it pretty cheap ($850) and it needed a refret ($300)...once this was done, great guitar. Sold it in a moment of weakness---should have kept it...darker and richer than a 335...almost good for anything. Have a 339 now---smaller but dark and full--w/ this guitar I need to boost treble to get it sounding jazzy, but it does a LOT of things really well. Another keeper.

    Have an Aria Pro II lawsuit 175---pretty darn close to the real thing to my ear...poly finish and sound is slightly more compressed (tonally and dynamically) than a real 175, I think, but still about 85% of the way there, to my ear. For $650, it was and is a great guitar. A pu replacement (VintageVibe humbucker-sized P90) made this guitar come alive. The binding has cracked, and I may get around to replacing it...this kind of stuff doesn't bother me: Close your eyes and play it---I don't care what it looks like. Need to A/B this against a real 175, but I bet it would hold its own against a lot of them.

    My L4-CES is a keeper...rich and full-sounding...different guitar than a 175...like a smaller brother to an L5...very versatile.

    Almost bought an Ibanez 2000(?!)--kind of like the thing Scofield played---brought along the 347 to A/B it, and the price was almost twice as much as my 347 and it didn't do anything the 347 didn't do, and didn't do it as well.

    Had a Guild x500 that I also picked up cheap ($1000) in 1990...ultimately sold it....it didn't sound that special to me...but I was too young and stupid to get rid of it for not being an L5 type of sound....made money on it, but wish I had it back now.

    I think with different guitars...you treat them like different children....what is right for one guitar is not right for another in terms of playing, amplification.

    A lot of the Japanese or other Asian guitars are well built and sound pretty good, but they sound a little more generic, to my ear. It's like the difference between single malt scotches and blends...the latter are good, and what I drink most of the time, but sometimes you want some distinct characteristic.

    Whether this sound/"taste" difference is worth it, depends on the individual...I never buy new, and Gibsons tend to hold their value pretty well, once you get past the original "new car" markdown.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 05-09-2016 at 08:02 AM.

  50. #49

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    I have a couple of Gibsons and they are great looking, great sounding, great playing instruments that I love to play on and do so a lot. I only bought two of them new where I got great deals, the others I bought used also for reasonable prices.

    The current prices for new Gibsons (after the huge increase last year or was it 2014?) are not reasonable IMHO. Heritage makes all-american made guitars of at least equal quality for sometimes less than half the money. Granted a big company like Gibson needs to invest more in professionalism, advertisement, endorsement etc, I still think that going prices not more than, say, 20% higher than an equivalent Heritage would be ok. That would make a L-5 cost about 5K +\-, which is what it was until recently. At 10+K for a L5 or an 8K Les Paul - no thanks.

    Sure, due to the inflated prices, Gibsons are great investments. I had a Les Paul Alex Lifeson that I sold for a bit more than I paid new after playing the crab out of it for two years (but it was in excellent condition) which still made somebody happy because the current price for that model is twice what I paid. But normally I buy guitars to play them, not as investment.

    Just my 0.02€

  51. #50

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    Marketing eventually led me to buy my first Gibson. Being Dutch made me look for a 2nd hand, less sought after model and I ran into the ES-333: a 335 for less than half the price. Every time I play it I'm still happy I went Gibson. That goes even more for my 2nd Gibson - an old ES-125. But also here I went cheap: they are still the cheapest of all vintage Gibsons and I bought one with issues that I fixed myself (I wrote an extensive thread about that).

    Gibson has something that I don't find in other guitars, but I don't think I would pay the price for a new one (but I'm not a pro player).


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