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Henry blames guitar stores for financial woes...


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Not really. I was raised to campaign for your leaders, vote, and if the outcome is not what you wanted you shake hands and support the winner. Today’s society is full of sore losers that will whine if

It's not my fault my company has financial problems. Let me see, who can I point a finger at?   Oh, okay, how about all those successful music dealers I pushed away with unrealistic stocking demand

He is right. His point about selling to women as well...   He needs places like Russo's, Gruhn, Rudy’s, etc to sell Gibson. NOT Guitar Center and Sam Ash. He should protect them and stop the big box

He totally has a point

 

There was another thread about Henry and you weren’t allowed to say anything unless you golfed or skied with him

 

 

But regardless of any other thing he’s right here. I’m surprised that it’s as bad as he says in America who are quite famous for their customer service ( among other things)

 

I’m not frightened any more now that I’m older but I look back at my music shop experiences when I was a kid and would genuinely like to go back and slap the music shop owners and staff

Shops aren’t there anymore funnily enough

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He is right. His point about selling to women as well...

 

He needs places like Russo's, Gruhn, Rudy’s, etc to sell Gibson. NOT Guitar Center and Sam Ash. He should protect them and stop the big box nonsense. The smaller guys should have the perk of inventory online. Their shops are comfortable. They Sell premium well. Guitars get cared for. Instead they are the ones penalized.

Let big box sell $129 to $600 guitars. Let them deal with returns. Gibsons and Martins should be Guitars to aspire to. One saves for them. Change the target. Then change the marketing. Change the channel...

 

 

With a premium product, why would you compete in a race to zero? Why would you retail it like toothpaste? Always been odd to me,

 

 

Edited by ThemisSal
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I’m in business that couldn’t be further away from guitars , but face exactly the problem that Gibson is talking about here

 

Retailers just don’t go the extra mile , some do , most don’t

 

A fruit and veg shop for example can not compete with large supermarket pricing , so they HAVE to provide something that the supermarket can’t . And a fair portion of them just aren’t. They are disheartened and less keen ..

Not totally their fault but they need to pull socks up

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Couldn't hurt could it. There'd be few emporiums with the inherent potential to offer magical family experiences than music and instrument stores.

 

...like a kind of Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory (but without the killer squirrels and such, naturally).

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Retailers just don’t go the extra mile , some do , most don’t

Certainly this is true to some extent, but Henry has cut ties with major and small independent dealers alike - dealers who've continued to successfully remain in business from the day he cut ties with them seventeen years ago, as well as more recent departures from the ever shrinking Gibson network.

 

HJ, please tell us how these same successful dealers manage to do just fine while maintaining an ongoing relationship with Martin, Taylor, Collings, Fender, etc.

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Life is changing, I still like their guitars - I'm routing for them.

 

I think they need to be more of a leader in change though... instead of lamenting what's happening with the retailers - they need to realize, understand, plan around it and chart a new course. That sounds like the thinking they've got - but imo it still could be said with more authority - 'HERE IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO... '

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Life is changing, I still like their guitars - I'm routing for them.

 

I think they need to be more of a leader in change though... instead of lamenting what's happening with the retailers - they need to realize, understand, plan around it and chart a new course. That sounds like the thinking they've got - but imo it still could be said with more authority - 'HERE IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO... '

 

 

Open their own shops

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The irony is rich here. He is describing the local stores that would like to sell Gibson acoustics but have been pushed out by Gibson's heavy handed and unrealistic demands. These shops where you can go in with a cup of coffee, sit on comfortable chairs, talk about and play guitars are now selling Taylor, Martin and Collings.

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He is right.....

 

 

....With a premium product, why would you compete in a race to zero? Why would you retail it like toothpaste? Always been odd to me,

 

I agree.

 

And his point about Apple as well. OTHER Companies compare themselves to Apple, Apple NEVER does that. They are the Elite. Just as Gibson is.

 

I also see them opening a store, but this MAP thing will continue to confuse the issue, and he11, there isn't even an Apple Store within a decent drive to most rural areas, so it would still be nice to have more dealers.

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That's an easy way to blame the others, Henry J. made it not easy for his dealers. They were not allowed to advertise the Gibson guitars in stock, they had to take huge inventory to become or keep Gibson guitars. The prices went pretty much out of reach for most people. The quality went south, the quality on the Chinese made guitars went up and had reasonable prices. I am a huge fan of the acoustics coming out of Bozeman, they are fine instruments. When it comes to electric guitars I have a hard time with Gibson quality and prices. They need to look at themselves first not the dealers.

The other thing is, the market is pretty much saturated with guitars and the younger people are more into non-guitar music. We had a similar situation in the late 70's, than SRV came along, the Blues became hip again and later the Unplugged series (of course Eric Clapton's performance) was changing a lot.

I hope Gibson will get out of this, maybe >30+ years with the same CEO is getting old. A change in leadership may be a good one.

Edited by J45fan
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there's a store here in Mass, the web site says, they are friendly, relaxing place, you can sit around, play some guitars, you'll simply love it there..

 

you walk into the store and receive an entirely different experience. unfriendly owner, demands you have him hand you all the guitars, hands you a cotton rag to wipe off your finger prints before you had it back to him.. you go there once, and never return. so there's that..

 

 

anyways, it IS ironic, Henry does seem to forget that Gibson abandoned the mom and pop stores a few decades ago. as mentioned in Paul's thread

 

There were a few stores around where you could at least order something, but those days are long gone.

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I can only echo the sentiments offered by most of the posts thus far. Gibson (Henry?) made the decision to eliminate their guitars from the kind of stores that he now laments as absent. On several levels, the result has been poor for the company. Typically, the blame for a bad long term strategy gone awry gets shifted to victims rather than perpetrators.

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The irony is rich here. He is describing the local stores that would like to sell Gibson acoustics but have been pushed out by Gibson's heavy handed and unrealistic demands. These shops where you can go in with a cup of coffee, sit on comfortable chairs, talk about and play guitars are now selling Taylor, Martin and Collings.

 

+++ 1

I've been keeping quite about the issue which comes up more often here lately, but this statement from the guy who kicked the good guitar dealers in the **** over the last couple of years? It's hilarious. We have a word for this in german, it's called "Realitätsverlust" (losing touch with reality).

 

Let's face it, we are at the dawn of a new "norlin era", as far as Bozeman goes, the flubber guards are the only hint there so far ( I don't consider j-15/ J-35 and the like as bad, actually I think these guitars are some of the best values in the acoustic line up).

 

I don't know if others here are following what happens in the electric line up, but its pretty obvious there. Just one example: 10 years ago Es Style standard production guitars came with really really nice and sturdy case. Nowadays these same models ship with a case, which is pretty much a thick paper bag in form of a guitar case. O.K. thats an exaggeration, but you get the point. I wont go on the road with one of those cases.

 

And don't get me wrong, I'm not mad at gibson or anyone, I still love my gibbys. I think whats going on is just sad.

Edited by littlejohnny
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Hmmmm

 

I have been a great lover of guitar stores and other sources of guitars -- big, small, and in between -- pretty much all of my adult life. Over the years, I have spent a fortune or two on our musical hobby, and in our retirement that all goes on unabated. I love to have local guitar stores succeed, and although the offspring of depression parents who NEVER wasted money, my one exception to total frugality is I will pay a bit more to a local retailer because I want to support them. We are known by name in many guitar stores.

 

But we are certainly a niche in the guitar market world -- we are pretty much totally acoustic, and that is odd even here. And that I think is the problem. There is no such thing a THE GUITAR MARKET. Therein I think lies the problem. It would be wonderful if the guitar market was like a giant and a company like Gibson could stand on his shoulders. Unfortunately the market is more like a (equally high) pile of midgets.

 

I think the winners in such a world are those that pick the right midgets and service them well -- you can't service them all. In the acoustic world visible from our niche, Gibson has not done that all that well. Their retail philosophy has limited the number of their new creations on walls for observation and consideration. After the flood, they killed off their banjo operation altogether -- one of the most iconic and enduring instrument markets out there. The demand for "real" Gibson banjos remains very high -- even though there are none. Like Martin, Gibson certainly adapted to the vintage guitar craze -- but although Gibson has built some very good guitars, those guitars do not pay the same kind of careful homage to actual vintage features that (say) Martin did. I am not saying that whole trend is not pretty nutty, but if you are going to tell you customers what to like, you better have a product that takes their breathe away.

 

These problems are pretty universal. Simple explanations I think just can't cover the problem.

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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I think the winners in such a world are those that pick the right midgets and service them well -- you can't service them all. In the acoustic world visible from our niche, Gibson has not done that all that well. Their retail philosophy has limited the number of their new creations on walls for observation and consideration. After the flood, they killed off their banjo operation altogether -- one of the most iconic and enduring instrument markets out there. The demand for "real" Gibson banjos remains very high -- even though there are none. Like Martin, Gibson certainly adapted to the vintage guitar craze -- but although Gibson has built some very good guitars, those guitars do not pay the same kind of careful homage to actual vintage features that (say) Martin did. I am not saying that whole trend is not pretty nutty, but if you are going to tell you customers what to like, you better have a product that takes their breathe away.

 

These problems are pretty universal. Simple explanations I think just can't cover the problem.

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

 

I think Gibson did a pretty bad job on marketing their acoustics and how they treated the dealers. One of my favorite guitar stores for more than 20years is Gryphon, they used to be a Gibson dealer in the 90's but I haven't seen new Gibson acoustics in quite some time. "My Favorite Guitar" was a Gibson dealer for a very short time. Schoenberg doesn't carry them either. Why? They are great stores and exactly what Henry wants the retail stores to be.

 

Gibson Montana did quite nice with their focus on the vintage guitar craze. I own two models which are exactly like the Martin Authentic series, copied off one particular model, build them like in the 30's(all hide glue etc), thin finish, etc. The marketing/ advertisement on these limited edition models were really bad, wrong specification on the website, no advertising ..... Martin knows how to advertise and do the marketing.

The Legend series was also nice, but they priced the J 45 and the L-00 in a range you still could get a real vintage one for the same or even less.

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.

I took away something different. Yes, Gibson has courted big box retailers. And there's that quote attributed to Henry: "I’ve been arguing with retailers for a long time that you have to be a place where [customers] can sit and take in the store, and be a destination that is friendly. If you walk into most music stores, there's nowhere to sit. Give me a break! Most stores aren't comfortable places." I can see him pointing that at the big box guys. But it's not working.

 

My take away is a different quote attributed to Henry in paraphrase: Gibson has long protected their sales partners by refusing to have an online store, although he predicted that would almost certainly change. . . Seems to me that Gibson/Henry is thinking about opening their website to online retail purchases directly, just like Fender. I'm not sure how that will work for Gibson, dealing with all that goes on, but it seems like online retail is in the future for Gibson.

 

 

And now a side rant - I'm still pissed about Gibson terminating Elderly's retail contract here in my hometown in 2005 over a banjo advertisement. Since then there's been only one Gibson dealer in the area and they carry no more than two (2) or three (3) Gibson acoustics. Elderly still sells a lot of used Gibson's, but nothing new. It's a shame. It's been over a decade.

 

 

.

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"My Favorite Guitar" was a Gibson dealer for a very short time. Schoenberg doesn't carry them either. Why?

I managed a single-store mom & pop retail music store in the late 80s thru most of the 90s. We were a full-line Gibson dealer....acoustics, electrics and Epiphone too....until Gibson went off the deep end with stocking requirements for their dealers. Products were divided into "families" and dealers were required to buy from every one of them in significant depth. Seemed as if Gibson had decided they knew our market and customer base better than we did and demanded a lion's share of our inventory investment. Well, being the kind of retail outfit we were, there was no way we could meet such demands..........we let them go and didn't miss a beat. We scoured local pawn shops weekly for used Gibson and managed to keep a pretty fair representation of what we could and had been selling of the line. Oh, and I should mention that this coincided with Guitar Center coming to town. Don't need to be a genius to figure out that Gibson was abandoning their traditional dealer network for the new big box, national chain style of marketing and selling their products. I cannot say if this was a bad marketing decision on Gibson's part, but a case could be made. I do know it did feel like a betrayal to all the little dealers that were kicked to the curb by this strategy.

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It's not my fault my company has financial problems. Let me see, who can I point a finger at?

 

Oh, okay, how about all those successful music dealers I pushed away with unrealistic stocking demands seventeen years ago, and continuing to this day?

 

There you go.My thoughts exactly. Some of the best stores selling guitars dont sell Gibson.

They find the working relationship and financial demand to great to bare.

Fullers of Texas used to have all its Gibson stock online, until they were banned from doing so by Gibson.

Consequently, unless you walk into Fullers, You dont even Know what is in stock. My favorite Guitras in Fl.

Were pleased to anounce that they were a 5 star dealer only a few years ago.Within months, they were a no star dealer,

Now for sure I dont know why, but the story repeats itself. Having said that, Henry has a very valid point about guitar

stores.When I visit the US, I am contantly amazed by the hight level of customer service, coming from a land

that doesnt have any.However, in Guitar Center recently, the service was mediocre at best.

Edited by ponty
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