Author Topic: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection  (Read 6208 times)

culturejam

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2018, 09:17:28 PM »
Why in the hell does it cost $3K+ for a good named Gibson guitar just because it is "made in the U.S.A?

It's simple: because enough people keep paying the asking price.

slacker775

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2018, 09:19:29 PM »
Why in the hell does it cost $3K+ for a good named Gibson guitar just because it is "made in the U.S.A?

It's simple: because enough people keep paying the asking price.
Or not enough people based on the bankruptcy....

culturejam

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2018, 09:20:53 PM »
Why in the hell does it cost $3K+ for a good named Gibson guitar just because it is "made in the U.S.A?

It's simple: because enough people keep paying the asking price.
Or not enough people based on the bankruptcy....

Based on the bankruptcy documents, the guitars are selling well. It's the bullshit "lifestyle" brands they bought that are tanking.

ahiddentableau

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2018, 09:25:06 PM »

Will it regain its former status? I reckon not. But that applies for everyone in the guitar business. Guitar is dead. Hiphop, urban and dance have supplanted rock, and rock is now where all the genres used to be after rock supplanted them. It will become more of a niche. And so will guitar manufacturers. Unless a miracle happens guys copy/pasting loops and samples in their bedrooms and guys playing a CD being called a concert is now the future. I'd love to be proven wrong but I don't see it happen.

I agree with this for the most part.  The guitar is the archetypal boomer instrument, and it's boomers with money that drove the overwhelming majority of the explosion in the market in the 90s and 00s.  And they're starting to, well, die.  It was totemic for them, a symbol of youth, freedom, excitement, etc.  So many of them bought guitars and they can't even play.  At all.  That was Gibson's core market.  I'm sure I wasn't the only guy shaking his head as he saw these guys buy $5000 wallhangers at the shop. 

The guitar is still reasonably popular for younger people, particularly people born in the 70s and 80s, but for anyone young it's just not the same.  I grew up listen to guitar driven music.  They didn't and they aren't.  Napster and the mp3 revolution is a huge part of it, too.  A generation of young guitar based bands was basically killed because of the changing economics of the music industry.  I'm not hugely optimistic that it'll ever really recover, but I guess it always has before so who knows.

There was a pretty fair article about this in the Washington Post about a year ago.  I think it was this one: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/lifestyle/the-slow-secret-death-of-the-electric-guitar/?utm_term=.77fe16f14b17

Gibson (and the other big companies--there's plenty of talk that Fender isn't doing so great atm either) will get paired down to its essentials and survive.  Hopefully it'll be for the best, Epi won't suffer, and they get their quality and price issues sorted.

Muadzin

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2018, 04:52:23 AM »
Can they come back from this? Well, I reckon there is still some life in the brand. And a lot of loyalty still. Even if the factories closed down completely, got dismantled, all the workers scattered to the wind, someone will probably still come along, snag the name and restart production somewhere else. It happened to others too, Vox I think. Maybe it will be made completely in China, maybe still in the US.

Will it regain its former status? I reckon not. But that applies for everyone in the guitar business. Guitar is dead. Hiphop, urban and dance have supplanted rock, and rock is now where all the genres used to be after rock supplanted them. It will become more of a niche. And so will guitar manufacturers. Unless a miracle happens guys copy/pasting loops and samples in their bedrooms and guys playing a CD being called a concert is now the future. I'd love to be proven wrong but I don't see it happen.

I doubt that guitar will be a niche. As far as music instruments go, I think guitar is still a front runner in sales. Guitar is sill popular with teenagers getting into cover bands (I think!) and let's face it: 99% of guitarists suffer from GAS and want more than one guitar.
While you're right that Pop, Rap and other genres might have the upper hand right now (main reason I stopped listening to radio), I think that the classic combo Guitar-Bass-Drums-Singer is far from over and will surpass us all.

just my 2 cents, ymmv.

I've read that across the board guitar sales have gone down by 35%. DJ's are now the new guitar gods. Guys who play records or CD's or USB sticks for god sakes! I'd love for rock to make a comeback, but I'm struggling to make a greatests rock hits list that includes any modern artists. For years I've played bars for next to no one and seen other rock band play for two and a half men as well. The number of venues that still play rock bands goes down, rappers and DJ's get booked more and more. Successful rock bars and their attendence go down, bars that play modern day pop or dance are so crowded that you can literally crowdsurf over the heads. Here in Nijmegen there's probably more bars where you can salsa dance then watch rock bands. The war has been lost, and I don't see the trend going the other way.

Yes, there will always still be rock bands, there will probably still be a rock niche, and those guitar players will probably suffer massively from GAS. But it will not be enough to maintain guitar production at its current output. There's too many guitar manufacturers, too many (cheap) guitars being produced and too many guitars available on the 2nd hand market. Methinks that even if Gibson had had proper quality control, and had not done some of its crazy antics, sales would still have gone down. Maybe even still fatally. Again too many cheap yet decent guitars out there, plenty of clone makers copying their designs and a declining market means it business model of selling high end expensive guitars would still prove fatal in the long run. If I had been in charge of Gibson I would have massively curtailed US production and switched to cheaper Chinese production instead. Cheap guitars for the masses, and a smaller production of high end guitars for those afflicted with GAS and too much cash. With excellent quality control of course to warrant those higher prices.

Guitar is sill popular with teenagers getting into cover bands (I think!)

It is around here (northeast US). My wife is a high school teacher, and she's got several kids in her classes that are in bands. And it's that way every year since she started teaching back in 2003.

Just because a genre is still popular with musicians doesn't mean its popular with the general audience. New rock bands are not getting the same airplay as modern electronic pop, they're not being signed by labels, they're not being booked by major clubs. When I look at my local scene what draws the biggest crowds its dance, urban, hip hop and cover bands (who basically only rehash old famous songs). Rock bands meanwhile play small bars mostly. Often just for friends and family. Or even worse, fellow musicians. In general new rock bands are struggling. Even the most successful local rock band here in Nijmegen, De Staat, which plays major festivals, gets to play on national TV shows and which was an opener to Muse during their last tour, they're still not able to live off their music.

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I think the demise of guitar is great exaggerated.

I used to think like that too. But generally those who are heavily emotionally invested into something, are always loath to see the writing on the wall. Wars were fought to the bitter end by people, years after they effectively lost the war already. Just prior to the rise of rock 'n' roll the accordion was the predominant instrument. I daresay that when rock 'n' roll stormed onto the scene accordion players didn't think that the popularity of their instrument was going to take a nosedive.

Wasn’t everyone saying guitar was dead in the early 80’s when everything was keyboards and synths?  How’d that turn out?

And they were right, as guys pressing play on a CD player and waving their arms about are now booked to play in huge arenas and stadiums, with most artists now having a backing band that consists of dancers, while the music comes from a CD player and with real bands now relegated to bars and small clubs. There are still some major rock bands, but most of them are old. A dying breed.

I reckon occasionally there will come a brief revival. Just like occasionally other older genres have enjoyed their brief revival. And there will be niches. But mainstream dominance? We lost it.

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It’s certainly not as predominant, but it is still present, even in pop stuff.

It's barely present in pop stuff. Take your average modern pop song. Electronic drums, check, electronic bass line, check, which together is most of the song, some additional sounds to round out the song, usually a simple repetitive synth melody, over that vocals, there, your basic modern pop stuff. Hardly a guitar to be heard.

Govmnt_Lacky

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2018, 06:46:28 AM »
From what I can tell with other boutique makers...

BUT... Gibson is NOT a boutique builder. They are a major guitar manufacturer.

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Of course, labor wise it’s all fairly close to the same as most/all use CNC machines and finish from there.

Exactly!!

Manc

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2018, 07:00:15 AM »
There’s definitely a good amount of markup for the name no doubt.  From what I can tell with other boutique makers, Wood choice is going to be a significant factor in the cost.   Some kind of spray painted basswood won’t be too pricy, but a fancy finished highly figured wood body/top will drive the cost up. 

Of course, labor wise it’s all fairly close to the same as most/all use CNC machines and finish from there.

Well, a Standard cost $375 in 1959, which is about $3250 in today's money - which is the current price for a standard (it is in Europe at least). One could argue on the quality of the end product - but taking all the "vintagery" and mojo arguments on one side - you get the same instrument for basically the same money.

reddesert

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2018, 02:31:55 PM »
Popular music moves in cycles (or fads). Meaning the electric guitar may never be as dominant as it was in the music of the 1960s and 70s, but that EDM, hip-hop, DJing and sampling will also change and evolve and not necessarily always be the king. Maybe they'll be replaced by K-pop-style boy bands and those will be replaced by CGI'ed artificial intelligence and then a new human-punk movement will arise up against that, hopefully carrying guitars.

Also, country music. Currently wildly popular and lots of guitar. Personally, I like classic country music and find much of modern country music sterile or cliched, but it's a steady market for acoustic guitars and Telecasters at least. That may not help Gibson as much.

That Washington Post article is good and everyone interested should read it. I thought the guy from Fender seemed to have a grasp of the issue, if not a solution. It was interesting what he said about Taylor Swift being the #1 influence on kids picking up a guitar now. Grumpy old guys on guitar forums may not approve of that direction, but it's an important fact for a guitar company CEO to understand.

ahiddentableau

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2018, 04:12:17 PM »
Also, country music. Currently wildly popular and lots of guitar. Personally, I like classic country music and find much of modern country music sterile or cliched, but it's a steady market for acoustic guitars and Telecasters at least. That may not help Gibson as much.

That's a really great point.  I never thought of that, even though in retrospect it seems obvious.  I guess we're all prisoners to our own interests.  Country music is really popular where I live, though I wholeheartedly agree with your "sterile or cliched" take on its modern variety.

Maybe country music will save the instrument.

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2018, 08:51:09 AM »
I think new guitar sales have mainly declined because of the used market. There has been 60 + years of full blown new guitar production which has exponentially increased as time has gone on. They didn't all just disappear. Way back when, it was only garage sales and pawn shops for used stuff, not so anymore. It's hard to walk into Guitar Center and buy new junk from them at full price plus tax when there is so much high quality used stuff to choose from. The only reason I go in is to look at the used gear.

aion

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2018, 10:32:16 AM »
I know one place they could cut some costs... They are well known for having an army of retained IP attorneys whose job is to prowl for potential trademark violations (and Gibson owns tons of commercially-defunct trademarks, including Maestro) and send C&D takedown notices.

It's gotten to the point where some people have called them an IP holding company who also has a guitar manufacturing department. But in any case, they are extremely fixated on making sure no one dilutes any of their trademarks for any reason, presumably because owning all these trademarks adds a lot of value to their company. How's that working out for them, I wonder? They also don't have any interest in licensing their trademarks, so all of that IP isn't even a source of revenue for them, just a continual drain on cash as they pay their attorneys to aggressively monitor the trademarks.

Now, I wouldn't know anything personally about this mind you, since none of my circuits are based on any of Gibson's trademarks (ahem). But I've heard on good authority that they will make claims that certain trademarks are actively planned to be used in a commercial capacity even though they really have no true intention of using them, presumably just to satisfy the §2.34(a)2 rules requiring a "bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce". Call me cynical, but it seems that there are certain trademarks that they've had bona fide intention to use some of them for nearly 40 years now, and they don't seem to ever get around to it.
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trailer

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2018, 12:02:46 PM »
I think we are far from seeing guitar music die. Just in the punk rock/post rock scene alone there are thousands of great guitarists making amazing music. There is also a very healthy jammy/festival band audience as well. Country is booming also. These bands just don't get played on the radio for the most part and don't reach the stardom that rock stars of old did. Rock musicians have to live well within their means (taco bell, sleeping in the van, etc). That being said, I see lots of younger players wanting vintage, boutique, and easily modifiable equipment. The DIY community is going strong, at least among players I know. And, like Aentons said, there is a massive market for used equipment due to a half a century of baby boomers buying up everything.
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blearyeyes

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Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2018, 01:52:12 PM »
That's interesting you say that about someone else snagging the name.  I doubt that will happen but would be AWESOME to see the Heritage guys come full circle and move it back to Kalamazoo.

That would be cool.  But Gibson has a lot of blue sky worth.  Heritage probably couldn’t afford it.  I think Gibson needs to go smaller scale with their high end and up the quality.  Make the guitars more scarce and worth the money. I hate to say it but my Epi les paul is so good I don’t see how I could justify buying a Gibson they’re sorta shooting themselves in the food.

Also  need to market research not rely on blow hard ego inflated people that rely on the brand and don’t move the brand forward.

Just had to throw that out there now that we all get to play “President of Gibson”!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 01:55:20 PM by blearyeyes »
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alanp

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2018, 02:16:15 PM »
There are a lot of really, really good LP copies these days. My "Vintage" brand LP100 is bloody amazing.

The only thing going for real Gibson LPs is the name on the headstock.
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jimilee

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Re: Gibson files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2018, 08:57:44 PM »
  I had this same type discussion with my buddy who owns a local music store, and I think this type thread 6 or 8 most ago here. Guitar sales follow music trends. Right now, they're selling acoustics and Ukes of all things. I told to the other local music store owner in town whom said the exact same thing. The guitar isn't dead, guitar music is currently not top 40.  I'd love to see / hear Bonamassa or the likes on the charts. That being said, I haven't listened to the "radio" in a good 20 years. I listen to my iPod or iPhone only. The kids at work listen to "beats" and the lyrics don't matter.
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