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Allenjason95

Why did Gibson abandon the amp market?

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I was thinking about how Fender has so many classic amps and is such a force in amps today, but Gibson's never took off and Gibson abandoned the amp market. Why? I've never even known anyone who had a Gibson amp so I can't comment on them but firsthand I've seen reviews of Gibson amps on YouTube and in general they seem like good amps.

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Good question. When the amps bearing the Gibson name had been discontinued, Norlin sold solid-state amps under the name Lab Series, designed using Gibson and Moog sources as well. They were among the best-sounding solid state amps ever.

 

My guess is that after Henry Juszkiewicz bought Gibson, he rather was interested in consolidation of making guitars than in ampmaking. The number of competitors exploded then, and so I think he finally decided not to enter the market again.

 

Today Gibson wants to become a lifestyle brand, and guitar amps help with that as little as guitars - so why further divert activities?

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Yeah - It seems like there would be a great market for Gibson tube amps. Like reissues or retro type stuff. It seems like there'd be some untapped value there. But Gibson doesn't really "get" stuff like that. [unsure]

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However....I visited a large music store having a closing sale today and they were selling off these Gibson Les Paul speakers in various sizes but not big - maybe like shelf speakers for a home sound system...anyway they were pretty garish in what I can only assume we're meant to be colour schemes referencing burst guitars.

 

Literally made me go [blink][blink][blink]

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However....I visited a large music store having a closing sale today and they were selling off these Gibson Les Paul speakers in various sizes but not big - maybe like shelf speakers for a home sound system...anyway they were pretty garish in what I can only assume we're meant to be colour schemes referencing burst guitars.

 

Literally made me go [blink][blink][blink]

 

Yeah, there's all kinds of junk with "Gibson" on it nowadays. I don't get that kind of stuff at all. I love Gibson guitars....but why would I want a gaudy barstool that say "Gibson" on it? It's very desperate to me.

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Yeah - It seems like there would be a great market for Gibson tube amps. Like reissues or retro type stuff. It seems like there'd be some untapped value there. But Gibson doesn't really "get" stuff like that. [unsure]

 

Not even nostalgia, i mean for every electric guitar player there's at least one amp. It just seems like a natural market for a company like Gibson. Espe ially since Henry is always looking fir ways to modernize Gibson and diversify.

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The Goldtones were their last attempt and that was a buy off from Trace Elliot.

 

Most of these amps were based off Trace Elliot's Vellocette models.

 

if you goggle around for Trace Elliot Vellocette, you'll see from the examples that they do look a lot like the goldtones, albeit with varying cosmetic changes

 

I have a 30wat 2x12 Goldtone combo a great sounding amp, and with 30watt CLASS A,, it quite dynamic..

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How about marketing feedback; cost of and opportunity to penetrate chosen market sector? All the modern reasons.

And the most important is penetration.

 

 

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How about marketing feedback; cost of and opportunity to penetrate chosen market sector? All the modern reasons.

And the most important is penetration.

 

Yeah but Gibson was making amps decades ago, just like Fender when the market was being invented.

 

I'm not asking why they don't try again, I'm asking why they quit in the first place and abandoned the market. Why did their amps fail while Fender flourished?

 

Was it just down to the quality of the amps themselves?

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No I don't think the amps Gibson made failed; plenty of players bought and used them in the 1940s and 50s, but it seems they did take the decision not to go into higher-wattage amps when the time came.

 

OTOH the Lab series were - and still are - highly-rated (B.B.King always used one), and at the time were an innovation along with the Artist series of guitars.

 

Back then Gibson were always first and foremost a guitar company and manufacturing amps would have meant competing with Marshall and the then up-and-coming Peavey, as well as Fender - let alone all the other smaller manufacturers who were making their name, e.g. Mesa-Boogie.

 

But note the title of the company today is Gibson Brands.......

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I acquired a few Gibson amps over the years from the last models that were produced in Kalamazoo. They were always a bit cheaper than their Fender counterparts. They seemed to be conceived to be more suitable for jazz playing than rock & roll.

 

UKxRJmU.jpg

 

The next series of amps were said to have been manufactured at the Standel Factory, Gibson apparently had holdings in Standel at that time.

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I acquired a few Gibson amps over the years from the last models that were produced in Kalamazoo. They were always a bit cheaper than their Fender counterparts. They seemed to be conceived to be more suitable for jazz playing than rock & roll.

 

UKxRJmU.jpg

 

The next series of amps were said to have been manufactured at the Standel Factory, Gibson apparently had holdings in Standel at that time.

 

That's quite a collection. Like I said I've never even known a person who actually owned a Gibson amp. Why do you say they seem more designed for jazz than rock?

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The amps had a cleaner, clearer tone than their Fender counterparts. Around the time these amps were manufactured, Eric Clapton and other guitarists made the distorted, overdriven guitar sound popular. That changed everything!

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And you have those LP Signatures too.... [thumbup]

[love] [love] Very impressive collection Grog!

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I'm not a great guitar player, but I play and sing, and am into electronics.

I have a 56 Les Paul GA40 that really is nice, and I built myself a 57 Deluxe clone. The Gibson stays clean almost to full volume, but the "Fender" will break up fairly soon. Real (country, and rock) guitar player friends prefer the "Fender" clone over the Gibson.

A family member came for a visit, (plays an older country finger picking style), and he fell in love with the Gibson, wanted me to trade it to him for his 60's Twin! (I didn't).

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I was thinking about how Fender has so many classic amps and is such a force in amps today, but Gibson's never took off and Gibson abandoned the amp market. Why? I've never even known anyone who had a Gibson amp so I can't comment on them but firsthand I've seen reviews of Gibson amps on YouTube and in general they seem like good amps.

 

 

Same with Rickenbacker -- starting making amps around the same time as Gibson, and a decade before Fender's first ones. But both declined to get in the big amp/hi power scene. BTW if any one has a museum type w/ cover freak o nature clean mid 60s Skylark, the single 6Bq% model, I am kinda lookin... it can need electronic resto, no prob.

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Or tank the company into a black hole.

 

Never played thought a Gibson amp, but I have played lots of Fenders and their tube amps are usually damn good. I have never heard anyone say I hate that Fender clean sound.

 

 

I have one of the Goldtone (GA30RVS) from around 2002. It's quite awesome..

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Lots of the Gibson amps from the sixties were just bad amps. Voiced badly and just thin. They had bad designs for the tone and volume circuits while Fender's amps were open and loud. They weren't figuring stuff out like Fender was. I worked on this '64 Falcon this week that was just horrible sounding. Did like 5 or 6 things to it and now the guy has an awesome amp that has a nice fat clean sound and sounds good all the way up the volume control. Decent reverb and great tremolo too. Sounds kind of like a Princeton Reverb with a little more edge - like a tweed deluxe without any flab - and lots of harmonics when you get the volume up. The sweet spot of the amp just wasn't accessible the way it was originally designed.

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The Goldtones in the early 2000's were all Trace Elliot except for the GA5 Les Paul Reissue 5 watt Tube Amp. They were hand-wired in the USA IN MOJOTONE's Burgaw, North Carolina factory. I use mine all of the time. If You look on YouTube, there's a clip of Roky Erickson playing "Two-.Headed Dog". Billy Gibbons is playing in his band, and Billy is plugged into one of the GA5 Reissues, no doubt plugged into the PA. If it's good enough for Billy, it's GOT to be pretty good. They are nearly identical to the original Fender Champ schematic, only the rectifier is tube on the Champ, and Solid State on the Gibson. Great little amps for the low prices that they go for on ebay. They also break up pretty easily, about 5 on the volume control, which is the only knob on the amp. For $400, Your Gibson Amp dreams can become a reality!

Edited by ajay

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I have one of the UK made GA30RVS combos. Bought right after they re-engineered the cabs and made the covering a dark brown. Heaviest amp I've every owned,(90lbs) but it sounds really incredible. Controls are just volume, tone and reverb, w/bright switch volume has pull pot for preset gain stage. It's VERY loud, extremely clear nasty. These have this "Surround sound reverb" which is probably just a side effect of the fact that it is a stereo setup.

 

killer combo, but.. boy howdy... you don't want to move it..

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