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A Layman's Guide to a Business Model..

#1 User is offline   dava4444 

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:42 PM

Hi Guys

Been a lot of news about Gibson potentially 'going under'.. well the solid body guitar division that is, I can't help but look back.. back to the early nineties of Gibson..
Product lines were slim, quality control was high, and the result was customer experience focus. Of course many players got excited and encouraged Gibson to produce some of their older models..because the designs looked so enticing from pictures and it was rare to see one in the wild.

What do I think *now*?

Product lines are bloated, quality control is slipping, and the result is a product focused experience.

Bloated? what do you mean Dava?

Welp.. when I look at the most expensive Gibsons, I think to myself.. who on earth is going to buy these?? And then.. there seems to be a thing where 'models' are built around a feature.. for example.. Want a green flame top? thats a sub-model. or a Bigsby? that's another sub-model.
I think something more sensible could be done instead. Please indulge me a little further..


IIRC: Back in the Nineties it was basically; Les Pauls and SGs.. with limited runs of Firebirds and V's.

You got your Special, Standard and Custom.

The structure of today's market is similar imho to the 90s, with the exception of the internet.The internet is a powerful tool, not to be underestimated


For $5000 you can get a tailor made guitar by a small luthier.. to whatever you want. Flip! you can get whatever you want for $2000. Gibson should be doing this instead of making sub-models of these bloated expensive guitars.. inviting people to meet up with one of their luthiers and running through a truly 'Custom' experience. Saying Gibson is 'too big' for such a thing, well.. I find that wholley arrogant. A Custom Shop that isn't just a Gibson Luthier imagination of what someone *might* want..but what a Customer (paid upfront) *actually* wants.

No waste.No muss. No fuss.

And for us Average Joes (in my case 'Jock' haha) we get Gibson back in its purest form.

Business as a capitalist concept is expand and contract.
Clear away dead wood.. then after a bit try something new.
Rinse and Repeat.

Instead of sub-models.. we don't need to cut off the leg to save the arm. Many new models types have come to Gibson, and why shouldn't fully utilize them instead of making new sub-models?

For example.. What is a 'Studio'? Really, think about it. Now I would say a 'Studio' is for the studio that means it does NOT have to be in any way shape or form decorative.
One dot on the 5th,12th and 17th fret. No stain. Gloss finish.
These all should have coil splits, and double row adjustable pole pieces.
Why? because that means not only can the session artist be flexible, if they find a sound is regularly requested, they can modify to suit their needs.

I did a mockup of the headstock:

Posted Image

Or an Alt
Posted Image

The significance being 'playing through the night'.

The blog written Dec 2016, has many more Heraldic Inlays and ideas. (click the underlined for the link.)


What I'm suggesting is: all models except Junior, Special, Studio, Deluxe, Standard and Custom, would be limited runs. Gibson put out say.. 20 'Les Paul Supremes' a year. then do it again the next year and so on..

On the blog the most I had was..

9. Supreme*
8. Custom
7. Artist*
6. Professional*
5. Standard
4. Deluxe
3. Studio
2. Special
1. Junior

Each has a purpose.

Junior one pickup, wrapped bridge. simple, Black Stain or natural. I suggest varnish, instead of lacquer as it dries faster. cheap to make. lasts a lifetime!
Special.. we all know the Special. 2 pickup. lacquer gloss finish. Black or Red. A Standard for the budget conscious.
The Studio is outlined above.
The Deluxe is the estranged brother to the Standard. The experimental branch if you will.. The deluxe has more decoration than the Special and has some unique wiring (many Deluxes came with a rotary cap switch) but not exclusively.
You see what I'm saying here right?.. Gibson doesn't have to (I assume) waste thousands and thousands on Flame Maple caps to be experimental in their outlook. Every year they could have a new Deluxe that is almost totally different than the previous years.
With the exception of the Deluxe Heraldic symbol of the two arrows.
The Standard is.. the Standard. While Writing I am often imagining a Black SG standard.. my dream guitar hehe. Trust me to get a SG Standard the year (2015) it turns out to be a fancy paper weight + swingball bat :/ .. MAN just want a 90s neck SG Standard!
The Professional, all the switching options of the Deluxe and more, with the livery of the Standard.
The Artist.. Think about the RD Artist Headstock, then think about how decorative the fretboard could be also.
The Custom is the Custom we all know.
The Supreme is a supercharged Custom. optional floyd rose when made to order.


Now please note the * above.. like the other body types we could have limited runs of these models.
Erm this is bit hard to explain but..

Regular Production:
Les Paul and SG
6. Custom
5. Standard
4. Deluxe
3. Studio
2. Special
1. Junior

Limited Run:
3. Supreme
2. Artist
1. Professional

And limited run per year for all other solid body types.

Firebird
Flying V
RD
Explorer (which due to its popularity should have longer runs).

Okay been writing this for 2 hours and my missus is waiting patiently to watch old X-Files together.. her first time seeing it.

But you get the idea I am suggesting.. Gibson has expanded without contracting in so long, it makes it look like the bubble will burst. What I am suggesting is a great retraction but keeping their options open.


Please make sure to read the blog for some more mockups of Gibson Heraldic symbols.
And no matter what you do.. have fun be happy in life! Life's a garden.. dig it!

Dava

This post has been edited by dava4444: 11 January 2018 - 12:31 AM

Epiphone Scroll Custom (SC550) Black Gloss 1979
Gibson SG "Gothic Hotrod" Ebony Plum 2013
Gibson SG Melody Maker "Hotrod Deluxe" Pelham Blue 2011
see pic:
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#2 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:10 AM

IMO they need to make a Standard, Traditional, Classic, Studio and let people who want the uber high end jobbers custom order them.

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: 11 January 2018 - 09:10 AM

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#3 User is offline   Farnsbarns 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:26 AM

How many multimillion dollar, international musical instrument manufacturing and marketing operations have you run? If you don't mind me asking.

What news about Gibson guitars going under? I've missed it.
I'm not drunk, you're blurry.

Farns
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#4 User is offline   ChristopherJ 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:31 AM

The market is way different. Today's consumers are the problem. People want the newest and the most options to choose from. Last year's model? Forget it! Just walk down any US grocery store supermarket cereal isle. There are are over 13 different Cheerios flavors alone! Consumerism has run amok.

So in effect, we are to blame.
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#5 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:52 AM

View PostChristopherJ, on 11 January 2018 - 09:31 AM, said:

The market is way different. Today's consumers are the problem. People want the newest and the most options to choose from. Last year's model? Forget it! Just walk down any US grocery store supermarket cereal isle. There are are over 13 different Cheerios flavors alone! Consumerism has run amok.

So in effect, we are to blame.


We are not the problem the overpriced guitars are the problem. I can't afford axes at 2.5k and up a pop.

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: 11 January 2018 - 10:53 AM

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#6 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:26 PM

View PostFarnsbarns, on 11 January 2018 - 09:26 AM, said:

How many multimillion dollar, international musical instrument manufacturing and marketing operations have you run? If you don't mind me asking.

What news about Gibson guitars going under? I've missed it.


Posted Image
I certainly don't but, who ever designed this jewel works for them.
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#7 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:50 AM

I don't think Gibson is goin anywhere anytime soon.


and, wouldn't it be that the industry has just taken this about as far as it needs to go? What more can be done to this instrument? a better question is, what more NEEDS to be done.

I agree that the # of models available has just stretched to where it has seemed to reach the point of diminishing returns.

and the more these companies try to offer, the more the quality suffers.

not really interested in signature models, or anything all that exotic.. I've been a guitar player since about the age of 10 or 11, (started at 8, but of course, you can't play when you pick one up).. the basic needs of the instrument, in my humble opine, hasn't really changed since that day in 1965 when I got my first guitar for my 8th Birthday. Although back then, they play ability of inexpensive guitars was atrocious. That is one thing that has definitely been a vast improvement. you can get a 200 dollar guitar (or less) that can be setup to play pretty nicely


but at the end of the day,, All these "innovations aside", it's a guitar, the magic is in the hands, not the chunk of wood.

what's changed with piano building in the last 100 years ? (Aside from the improvements in Digital pianos, but that's not where I'm going)

what about a Mandolin? those pretty much are the same as they've always been. Some have built in pickup systems, and that's a good thing. I know there's a few hybred and some one offs here and there you can find, buta mandolin, is still pretty much, a mandolin..

Ukes? what's changed there? and from what I read, Ukes are among the top selling stringed instruments.

Perhaps at my age *61 in a few months* it's down to, just give me what I need, and then, please.. get out of my way..

I have all the electrics I'll ever need, nothing lavish. all the usual suspects, some of them I bought 20+ yeas ago. these days, just not much in the market appeals to me, that I don't already have something very close to it.

This post has been edited by kidblast: 12 January 2018 - 08:54 AM

/Ray
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#8 User is offline   dava4444 

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:29 PM

Great points from everyone across the board!

@ Farnsbarns

IIRC

Pixxy Lixx and Phil McKnight reported about the closure of the Gibson Memphis Beale Street Factory.
Gibson not having a stand at NAMM. Moody's has downgraded them.

To quote Pixx Oct. 2017
'Their $1 bonds are trading at 52 cents.They're at junk bonds status at this point.'*

Talk began around Autumn.



*https://youtu.be/1DHswCnp1r4?t=1h7m51s


FZ Fan.. DUDE I could not agree more! @ pic .. nail on head!

Christopher J
I see what you are saying BUT man..if you believe that you gotta see what I was saying about a 'Custom Experience'.

There any untold amounts of Luthiers around the world who can make a Les Paul or SG (or any guitar) to Gibson Custom Shop QC or better for a fraction of the price.. The Derrig Les Paul being the most famous 'replica'.
Gibson most defo should be offering this experience at even lower price than what they are charging for their "custom" shop.. quite frankly they need hit with the reality stick. a Luthier without customer input is a Tailor without body dimensions. blind. This isn't Da Vinci's workshop full of artisans who can do what they want because they because they imagined it. this a business.

None of that was aimed at you man.. just a bit mad at Gibson for bloating lines.

@kidblast

I hear you dude.. I am right there with you.

This post has been edited by dava4444: 12 January 2018 - 01:30 PM

Epiphone Scroll Custom (SC550) Black Gloss 1979
Gibson SG "Gothic Hotrod" Ebony Plum 2013
Gibson SG Melody Maker "Hotrod Deluxe" Pelham Blue 2011
see pic:
Posted Image
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#9 User is offline   'Scales 

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:01 PM

Preface: I hope Gibson is successful in years to come - mainly for the sake of the people who work there or otherwise rely on the company for their living.

It is extremely hard to maintain costs when you diversify range, the economies of scale for components and the cost of line changeovers bite almost immediately. You would generally do it if you either needed to do so to (1) remain relevant in the market (protect current volume) or to (2) grow (increase volume). In the first instance you likely take a profit hit as it's hard to maintain current price - or you cut back on quality to protect profit. In the latter you still likely take a profit hit per unit but plan to cover that though more volume.

The thing is that the former (1) is kind of unsustainable. The latter (2) is ok IF the market is growing/your share is growing and you are selling more units - the thing here is...are Gibson selling more units sufficient to cover the costs of diversification? - forget all the many (many!!) weird and wonderful - sometimes oddball and sometimes fantastic - versions, and just think about the ranging of HP and T lines alone... How many more LP's and SG's are actually being sold compared to when there was just one line? Is this an effort to maintain share (1) ...and potentially lose profit, or (2) grow share (and hopefully profit)?...and, how's it working out?
we had longer ways to go, but no matter, the road is life.
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#10 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:10 AM

View Post'Scales, on 12 January 2018 - 09:01 PM, said:

Preface: I hope Gibson is successful in years to come - mainly for the sake of the people who work there or otherwise rely on the company for their living.

It is extremely hard to maintain costs when you diversify range, the economies of scale for components and the cost of line changeovers bite almost immediately. You would generally do it if you either needed to do so to (1) remain relevant in the market (protect current volume) or to (2) grow (increase volume). In the first instance you likely take a profit hit as it's hard to maintain current price - or you cut back on quality to protect profit. In the latter you still likely take a profit hit per unit but plan to cover that though more volume.

The thing is that the former (1) is kind of unsustainable. The latter (2) is ok IF the market is growing/your share is growing and you are selling more units - the thing here is...are Gibson selling more units sufficient to cover the costs of diversification? - forget all the many (many!!) weird and wonderful - sometimes oddball and sometimes fantastic - versions, and just think about the ranging of HP and T lines alone... How many more LP's and SG's are actually being sold compared to when there was just one line? Is this an effort to maintain share (1) ...and potentially lose profit, or (2) grow share (and hopefully profit)?...and, how's it working out?


How about they just become a guitar making company again instead of selling DJ equipment.
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#11 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:26 AM

View PostFZ Fan, on 11 January 2018 - 08:26 PM, said:

Posted Image
I certainly don't but, who ever designed this jewel works for them.


I love the fingerboard
I sometimes think; therefore I am intermittent
*
my band BLOWN OUT
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#12 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:20 AM

View Postmerciful-evans, on 13 January 2018 - 07:26 AM, said:

I love the fingerboard


I would not know where to put my fingers without markers. The tuners look nice.

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: 13 January 2018 - 08:21 AM

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#13 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:53 AM

View PostFZ Fan, on 13 January 2018 - 08:20 AM, said:

I would not know where to put my fingers without markers. The tuners look nice.


Dont forget the sidedots. The punters dont know about those, so they'll think you're brilliant!
I sometimes think; therefore I am intermittent
*
my band BLOWN OUT
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#14 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:37 PM

View Postmerciful-evans, on 13 January 2018 - 11:53 AM, said:

Dont forget the sidedots. The punters dont know about those, so they'll think you're brilliant!


Punters, funny. Speaking of punters. The Oakland Raiders(my team) are playing the Seattle Seahawks next season in Wembly or O2 or what ever it is called now on Oct 14. Oct 19 is my B day and I am seriously thing about making the trip across the pond and doing up Jolly Old England, or is it Merry. If I go am I gonna get beaten up for wearing the wrong colors. I know you Brits take your Football seriously.

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: 13 January 2018 - 02:38 PM

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#15 User is offline   Pinch 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:42 PM

I could never understand why anyone would make a guitar without markers on the fretboard. Unless they're doing it because it's cheaper.

I mean... Come on.
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#16 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:37 PM

Dava, when you buy Gibson when they go bankrupt, you can tryout some of these ideas.
Equipment:
I have guitars, amps, pedals, cables, various other things and a strong affinity for short signature lines. . .
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#17 User is offline   JAC 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:19 PM

View PostFarnsbarns, on 11 January 2018 - 09:26 AM, said:

How many multimillion dollar, international musical instrument manufacturing and marketing operations have you run? If you don't mind me asking.

What news about Gibson guitars going under? I've missed it.




They made less money than projected for 2017. Fender is also not making as much as they want. Even Clapton mentioned that maybe the guitar is on the way out. ( As long a knuckleheads like myself exist I don't see this happening ) I like this guy expressing his opinion, he does not have to be a corporation in order for myself to hear his view on this.
What da ya mean dude, You mean like dude ranch?........In other words, If music be the language of love, then play on!
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#18 User is offline   dava4444 

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:58 PM

View PostMegafrog, on 13 January 2018 - 03:37 PM, said:

Dava, when you buy Gibson when they go bankrupt, you can tryout some of these ideas.


Yes. Yes I can Megafrog [biggrin]

Edit: I DO NOT wish Gibson any ill.. I *hope* when reading my OP my passion for Gibson's wellbeing came through, loud and clear.
Or I would not have taken the time to write.

This post has been edited by dava4444: 13 January 2018 - 10:00 PM

Epiphone Scroll Custom (SC550) Black Gloss 1979
Gibson SG "Gothic Hotrod" Ebony Plum 2013
Gibson SG Melody Maker "Hotrod Deluxe" Pelham Blue 2011
see pic:
Posted Image
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