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Gibson Custom Shop...does anyone have details?

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Just got my J45 Koas Limited and it is a custom shop model.

 

Can anyone elaborate on what the Gibson Custom Shop really entails? Is it anything like that of Martin? Is it truly hand-made? What all do they do? How different is it than non-custom shop build?

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Just got my J45 Koas Limited and it is a custom shop model.

 

Can anyone elaborate on what the Gibson Custom Shop really entails? Is it anything like that of Martin? Is it truly hand-made? What all do they do? How different is it than non-custom shop build?

 

No, Gibson Custom Shop is built on the normal lines.... so, smaller runs and all in the details.

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Just got my J45 Koas Limited and it is a custom shop model.

 

Can anyone elaborate on what the Gibson Custom Shop really entails? Is it anything like that of Martin? Is it truly hand-made? What all do they do? How different is it than non-custom shop build?

 

the "custom shop" isn't a place . it's rather a status or a process . All gibsons have the same amount of handwork .

a custom shop model entails that a guitar made on the standard production line is taken off the line for certain things like fitting of a custom specified binding or abalone instead of mother of pearl . A custom shop guitar may have hand selected back and sides .

 

 

what you have is a limited run guitar made by gibson to a custom spec [defined by the Gibson Montana] .

the process of going to a dealer and ordering a one off custom guitar has not been available for a while now .

 

 

Ren Ferguson used to say about the Bozeman facility that they were "one big custom shop"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JC

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When I toured the factory maybe ten or so years ago, there was a small area in the back of the building where they worked on some aspects of the custom shop guitars. Most likely, this was probably a place where they did custom inlay work or worked on some other non-standard particulars, while the rest of the body was assembled on the main floor. I also saw Ren sign out a custom shop guitar to work on at his home workshop, so that might happen as the situation demanded. It probably depends on the particular skills needed to build that particular guitar.

 

A custom shop guitar with no differences from a standard model besides rare woods is probably completely built on the main floor. If something required additional skills or time, like inlay or other special ornamentation (or maybe special bracing), that guitar might be taken from the main floor so as not to slow down regular production (at least at that time when they had the separate workbenches in that small space).

 

While its tempting to think of the main floor as an assembly line, it's not really. There are stations where specialists work on one aspect of a guitar's build and then pass it on to the next station. In this regard, the workflow is assembly-line like. However, during my two visits, I noticed that they were working on different models in each station as often as not. One guy was working on a Hummingbird, while the person with the job in the next step of the building process may have had a J-45. There's also a lot of time between when the person at one station takes up a guitar to do his/her thing to it and when the next person gets it, as there's drying time, etc. This is why I think Ren described it as a big custom shop (though I'm sure some runs are built en-masse in a style that more closely resembles an assembly-line).

 

Red 333

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It is a little misleading, is it not? Especially when u have the folks at Martin, who truly have a custom shop. Seems like Gibson's is more about marketing?

 

I guess it all boils down to what's your definition of a "Custom Shop" is really. Do you know how Martin handles their "custom builds"? I would guess that if your ordered something just slightly different that a standard model guitar, they're not going to build you a complete guitar from the ground up. They would take the standard model and modify it to meet your request.

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There are some small offices at the plant where custom shop work is done. This involves planning, drafting, sometimes computer graphics... inlay, carving and other ornamentation, etc. Guitars in various stages of being built are lying all over the place. Almost everything has some documents attached detailing its specs and goes through the main assembly line (sorry but that's the way I saw it on my visits. After a certain point the guitar goes on a hook and wends its way) but the custom shop stuff gets pulled out here and there for special attention. This could be different, unusual treatment at virtually any station on the line, just depends on what the custom order contains. Obviously there are different kinds of 'custom orders'. They used to take individual orders from customers (I am kinda bummed that I didn't take Ren up on his offer to build an archtop for me while he was there. Guess I could still get one with his own brand or something...). There are also specials specced out by music stores, which may not go to the custom shop offices but just have non-standard spec etc.

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There are some small offices at the plant where custom shop work is done. This involves planning, drafting, sometimes computer graphics... inlay, carving and other ornamentation, etc.

 

From what I gather design and plans are done with Mastercam CAD/CAM software. I gather this stuff will do everything from scan original guitar parts to giving you a 3D picture of what a guitar will look like to running the CNC routers.

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Talk about marketing. That is what Martin is all about. Gibson is neck and neck with them. Custom Shop equals almost no human element, "the" most important item in guitar construction. CNC machines, robotic sanding, robotic spraying, robotic woodworking, robotic buffing, computer this and computer that. Martin for many of the past years, and Gibson for that matter, is using a laminated "pearl?", just as would be using plywood for construction of the guitars. This "pearl" being possibly equal to Gibson "Pearloid" used in the 1940's. Martin cunningly eliminating the wording, "over 900 individual pieces of abalone pearl inlays" on the D 45, yet never advertising the fact or lowering the price of the instrument to the consumer. The Martin D42, as I have seen along with just about every item coming from this "place", are,

apparently all built with "phony" abalone pearl laminates! Substituting select hardwood? for whatever. I believe the consumers, are, which I've blindly become, also to blame. The only "human element" involved today is reading the bottom line. Sorry for the rant, but this has been bothering me for a long time.

Also, the manufacturer of this "phony" pearl, states "I don't remember exactly when Martin began using "ABALAM" as I would have to spend too much time going through my records", no matter how many times it t'was asked on the forum.... Martin 1940D28

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Talk about marketing. That is what Martin is all about. Gibson is neck and neck with them. Custom Shop equals almost no human element, "the" most important item in guitar construction. CNC machines, robotic sanding, robotic spraying, robotic woodworking, robotic buffing, computer this and computer that. Martin for many of the past years, and Gibson for that matter, is using a laminated "pearl?", just as would be using plywood for construction of the guitars. This "pearl" being possibly equal to Gibson "Pearloid" used in the 1940's. Martin cunningly eliminating the wording, "over 900 individual pieces of abalone pearl inlays" on the D 45, yet never advertising the fact or lowering the price of the instrument to the consumer. The Martin D42, as I have seen along with just about every item coming from this "place", are,

apparently all built with "phony" abalone pearl laminates! Substituting select hardwood? for whatever. I believe the consumers, are, which I've blindly become, also to blame. The only "human element" involved today is reading the bottom line. Sorry for the rant, but this has been bothering me for a long time.

Also, the manufacturer of this "phony" pearl, states "I don't remember exactly when Martin began using "ABALAM" as I would have to spend too much time going through my records", no matter how many times it t'was asked on the forum.... Martin 1940D28

 

I recommend you take the tour or go to the homecoming. Yes, a lot of the repetitive shaping, such as neck carving, is done by CNC. The flip side of that is consistency. I think of those as upgraded power tools. On the other hand, you'd be surprised how much hand work is involved in making a Gibson acoustic. There are people hand scraping lacquer off bindings. The selection of wood, gluing and shaping the top, bending sides, gluing the box together, putting the bracing on... it's all done by hand. Dovetail neck joint - people rushing up with tins of hot hide glue. Bindings, installing the truss rod, almost all the finishing, tons of stuff all done by hand. Check it out sometime. It will enhance your appreciation of the guitars.

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So what is this all about then?

 

The M Custom Shop gets a glowing review

 

 

http://onemanz.com/guitar/reviews/acoustic-guitars/martin/authentic-series/d-18-authentic-1939/

 

 

http://onemanz.com/guitar/reviews/acoustic-guitars/martin/authentic-series/om-18-authentic-1933/

 

 

Anyone have one of these? They sound serious. I want an OM18a now.(don't really like the shade top thing, but...)

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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It is my understanding that while the design work is all done on a computer and most of the parts are cut out by the CNCs, the sanding, finishing, putting the thing together and all is all done by hand. I also gather that some of the equipment like the high speed glue machine is a holdover from the days of old. Although what is made in Bozeman is far cry form the days when Gibson did not even own a router there is a still a lot of handwork that goes into their guitars.

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Im sure there are a mIllion Custom Shop Acoustics out there now... all in a 10 year period.. and Not one Hand Built.. :)

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I toured the Martin factoy several years ago and they did not have a custom shop per say. Custom work was done similar to how people have described Gibson custom shops. There are certain stations where the custom details are done by personel who excel at their particular job.

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I used to get upset about things like this. Custom Shop guitars not being made with hand tools like a boutique shop would do... $50 Rolex watches made in China... Even my ObamaPhone wasn't made by Obama... But now that weed is legal, I find I'm a lot more apathetic. I don't even care if my Elixers, don't last 3x as long anymore.

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But now that weed is legal, I find I'm a lot more apathetic. I don't even care if my Elixers, don't last 3x as long anymore.

 

Haha, that's the funniest post I've seen on here in a long time! Hope you dont get too many attacks of the munchies.

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No, "custom" would include instruments made with hand tools, as long as the hand tools were made by hand.

Flint knives, stone hammers, hide glue, shark skin sandpaper and cat gut strings are all allowable.

Gotta run back out to Taco Bell , got the munchies again. They have a new drink -Sangria Blast.

It's probably not real Sangria, but I guess that's alright.

But what's NOT alright man, is the government has caused a shortage of weed by legalizing it..

My man, down at the Pioneer Chicken Stand, is now exporting it to Colorado where he can get more $.

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That's funny… I always just considered the "Custom Shop" to be anything different from their normal production. Different color, different inlay, different neck shape, etc. and how much custom it was depended on how much out of the norm it was.

 

If Gibson would make all their models the way I like them, we wouldn't need no stink'in custom shop! [rolleyes]

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According to Ren Ferguson who is no longer with Gibson ( Works for Guild now ) although machines are used to shape parts,clamp things together etc. ,everything is hand sanded to final dimension.Whether or not this is true, I don't know.As fo Ablam, it's been around for years. It is in fact real Abalone but very thin sheets glued together (laminated) to make larger size sheets that have some strength

.It's very easy to see why a Martin, appointed in a similar fashion as say a Gibson J-45, is considerably more expensive.Just look inside both factories and it will be evident. Just my two cents of course.

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CNC machines, robotic sanding, robotic spraying, robotic woodworking, robotic buffing, computer this and computer that.

 

Don't know about Martin but at Gibson/Bozeman all the spraying and sanding are done by hand. I'll see if I can dig up some photos from my last visit. I was especially surprised to see the lady scraping the finish off of the bindings, like Jerry said. They use those glass microscope slides from laboratories as scrapers. It was also interesting to peek in this tiny closet sized room and watch the woman who was hand painting the pickguards for J-200s.

 

In the buffing room there must have been a dozen big buffers. They said it takes a bunch of skill to get that right...buff too much and you blow through the finish. Don't hold it properly against the buffer and the guitar catch can sail across the room and smash into a wall or a co-worker.

 

Yes the original neck carve is done by CNC but the final sanding was done by hand...

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Ren Ferguson used to say about the Bozeman facility that they were "one big custom shop"

 

I remember Ren saying why would he want to bend sides for a custom shop guitar when he's got the best guy for that job on the floor bending sides all day. He'll do what he does best and let the other guys do what they do best...

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