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Vince Q

So, if you owned Gibson ...

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You bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket and won $500m (ETA) $1b, you bought Gibson lock stock & barrel, paid off all its debts, and now you're the sole owner with dictatorial powers.

 

What would you do? What would you change?

Edited by Vince Q

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I'd put people that love guitars and understand the brands in charge. I'd get rid of brands that weren't profitable or suitable for Gibson. As for Gibson. I'd have the Epiphone low and higher end. Then Gibson USA and Custom shop. No more cheapo brands as there are too many able to compete. Every single guitar that left the factory would have a chip inserted in the body that would be registered to the buyer (Like used for dogs) and if sold would be transferred to the new buyer. All under the control of Gibson. The Gibson USA line would be low end, studio etc. Traditional and Standard would become one again. Just Standard and that would be the traditional model. Built as a basic quality guitar. Then a modern model that would have test ideas for certain years mixed with the high end (HP) idea. Custom shop would be guitars built in the old way to a perfect standard and then high end orders, special runs etc. All would include the chip to register with Gibson. All factories would be overhauled and brought up to modern spec. All employees would have to complete a luthier course and be able to most jobs. I watched a PRS video recently and the difference in factories is amazing . Gibson are so old fashioned.

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Guest Farnsbarns

I'd take the money and leave Gibson to someone who knows how to run a guitar manufacturing business thanks. Besides, I think you'd need a little more than $500M ;)

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I'd take the money and leave Gibson to someone who knows how to run a guitar manufacturing business thanks. Besides, I think you'd need a little more than $500M ;)

 

Yeah, I was reminded of that after I began the thread. You get the gist though.

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Why in the world would we need our guitars chipped and tracked by Gibson? I've no idea how that would turn things around.

 

It isn't the guitar business that is sinking Gibson, it's all the crazy crap businesses HJ has acquired in recent years to fit his idea of an all encompassing entertainment conglomerate. He leveraged the company on a weird pipe-dream and now is having to settle the score.

 

Don't worry, we will all be able to still spend thousands for Gibson guitars that cost hundreds to make for many years to come.

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If I won $1 Billion Dollars about 35-40% would go to Taxes. Leaving about $600-$650 Million. At the current Rate of 2.6% on Short Term CD's the Interest is about $16-$17 Million per year. I wouldn't need Gibson.

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I would sell off everything that wasn't guitar related and then:

 

keep Epiphone for an entry level brand

lose the USA/Custom/Memphis/Historic division of labor and just go back to Gibson guitars

do whatever penance is involved to be able to use ebony again (if possible)

scale back the model range to what it was in the 1960s

keep the separate HP line up to 3 Les Pauls, 3 SGs and leave that as your cutting edge department

lose the circuit boards on the regular, main line up

see if it's possible to drop prices to a reasonable level

and most importantly

 

take a good look at what Ted McCarty was doing when he was there.

When PRS started up the first thing the guy did was meet up with Ted McCarty and talk to him about guitar production and the guitar biz.

You'll notice Mr. Smith did okay for himself.

One thing I do recall reading is that Mr. McCarty knew the name of everybody who worked at Gibson. You need that kind of person to inspire pride in your work and the finished product.

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Why in the world would we need our guitars chipped and tracked by Gibson? I've no idea how that would turn things around.

 

 

I already have google and facebook tracking my every move, I don't need another big corporation tracking me.

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Why in the world would we need our guitars chipped and tracked by Gibson? I've no idea how that would turn things around.

 

It isn't the guitar business that is sinking Gibson, it's all the crazy crap businesses HJ has acquired in recent years to fit his idea of an all encompassing entertainment conglomerate. He leveraged the company on a weird pipe-dream and now is having to settle the score.

 

Don't worry, we will all be able to still spend thousands for Gibson guitars that cost hundreds to make for many years to come.

Actually they do all have small chips in the necks... I saw this in a tour vid once.. They do it to easily track each one around the factory...

 

Check this at 14:28

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First I'd start by screwing up a few minor things. Then I'd start thinking I knew more about the business than other people because I'm rich. So I'd start thinking that I don't have to follow the same rules I used to. Then I'd really start screwing stuff up. Since I don't care that much about money I'd probably screw up the finances. Then I'd probably get sick of it. [thumbup]

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Well, I'd close up everything and move operations to a warehouse in Booneville, Arkansas for a few years, using some factory workers with some experience in banjo and drum making, producing some weird variations of existing models and basically driving the name into the ground, even though the guitars would be superior in some ways to the 'heyday'. I'd then lose any artist endorsements I had and truck everything down to an empty building in Mexico with the intention of opening up a factory. When I came to check on things a few months later I'd find an empty building. Later on some of my Mexican guitars would reappear in a barn in Georgia in various states of build. I'd let the mold build up on them for a few years, then sell the name back to the heirs of the original company so they could begin making the entire line again in Japan, only to be bought by Fender a few years later.

 

Oh wait, someone already DID that.

 

Actually SteveFord pretty much nailed it.

 

My personal beef is having too many models. Sometimes having too many choices ruins it. In the LP line, make a gold top P90 "1955 style", a sunburst Standard, and a Black Beauty Custom with gold hardware. Any variation off that, special order the damn thing. Make an SG Special with a wrap around and P90s and an SG Standard a la '62. Make some kind of Melody Maker...slab body, bolted, glued, one pickup, two, whatever. Crank them out under $500. Spray them whatever you have left over. A 335 in cherry or blonde, and a 355 in black (see "LP Custom").

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The one thing I really really think they should do over the obvious of selling off all the electronic companies and slimming the line down is

 

MAKE AMPS AGAIN GIBSON.....

 

I think theres a market for a good line of Gibson amps... Maybe even have amps that are voiced to specific guitars.. So a LP amp, an SG amp, 335 amp etc, do a deal with Marshall or something.... That at least makes sense being a guitar company....

Edited by Rabs

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Marshall and Gibson would be a natural pairing, wouldn't it?

Buy a new Les Paul and get an X% OFF coupon towards the Marshall of your choice.

 

It looks like all of the guitar companies are in the same boat with the massive model line-ups.

That has to be a nightmare for both the manufacturers and the retailers; how can a mom and pop shop be expected to stock them, let alone be competitive with the giant chains?

If you're a relative newcomer to the wonderful world of guitars it has to be incredibly confusing, too.

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If you're a relative newcomer to the wonderful world of guitars it has to be incredibly confusing, too.

That's what we are here for ;)

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I wouldn't bother making amps.

Research exactly what Gibson makes its best profits on and do that.

Rebuild relationships with retailers everywhere.

Open high-end Gibson shops - one at the main factory, one in LA, one in NYC.

Make a template for every Gibson guitar headstock so that tuning machines are fitted straight!

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Trade it for Fender straight up, in a case, out the door.

 

[laugh] [laugh] [laugh]

 

rct

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I'm not business type so I'd bring in someone like Warren Buffet for Partner and eliminate many cheaper models they have and go back to Quality control and better materials. Then with Warren's knowledge start merging and buying out other guitar companies and equipment.

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I like SteveFord's ideas a lot. Also like the idea of Gibson making branded amps again.

 

Sell off all non-guitar divisions/subsidiaries

 

I'd also do away with music stores (especially mom & pop stores) having to buy outrageous amounts of inventory to be an authorized Gibson dealer and do it like in the old days, have sales reps visiting all the music stores in their territory and selling the stores what they want and as many as they want.

 

Get rid of the Slash, Joe Bonamassa, et al models: I mean really, who the hell cares?

 

I'd offer SGs, archtops, and three basic models of LPs, Deluxe, Standard & Custom; I'd also let customers pick options a la carte, for instance, choose their color from a fixed palate of colors; choice of Gibson, Kluson, Schaller or Grover tuners; make ebony fretboards available on all models; plastic, nylon or bone nuts.

 

I'd keep the custom shop for special orders, reissues, modifications/repairs, or maybe try partnering up with Historic Makeovers for vintage guitars to see how that works.

 

I'd hire my brother-in-law with a PhD. in forestry to score rosewood and ebony and not violate the dumb-*** CITES regulations (Don't need another raid by damned feds), and I might employ a person or two to buy older/antique furniture made of Brazilian rosewood to use for fretboards.

 

Sue the living hell out of the Chinese and put an end to this Chibson bull crap.

 

I'm sure I'll think of something else later.

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All good except -

 

Sue the living hell out of the Chinese and put an end to this Chibson bull crap.

 

Wish you could but - can't be done I'm afraid. Ask Fender, ask Ned Steinberger.

IMO the only way is to up the quality even more.

Not more expensive materials but tighter specs, ruthless QC and most importantly somehow galvanize the workforce into wanting to be part of the best in the world.

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First, keep in mind that although I had a 4.0 GPA in college, until I got a C in accounting. :D

 

1. If I had the money to buy Gibson and had some kind of say in it, I'd hire Bob Day that worked in the Custom Shop for a while as an advisor. I've read some of his posts on Facebook about how Gibson was when he was there in the 80's and 90's. He's a smart guy and seems to know what people want from Gibson and had a good relationship with the employees. I've had a few chats with him and he seems like the guy I'd want in there again, at least part time.

2. I'd look at the models that aren't selling and dump them or make them available as a Custom Shop order. Produce more of the models that sell the most and make the others available as a special order.

3. I'd have a look at the quality control and make sure that everything is checked properly and that nothing gets out the door that isn't up to quality standards. I'd find out who the problem people are that are letting guitars go that aren't up to quality standards and either re-train them or get someone that takes their job seriously. That seems to be what some people complain about, although I've not had any real issues out of any of my Gibsons that weren't easily corrected. It still shouldn't happen on a $3000.00 guitar.

4. Have a real Custom Shop that can really do Custom orders and set the standards high because if someone is going to drop $5,000.00 or more for a guitar, there's no reason it shouldn't be perfect.

5. Do we really need Standards, Classics, Traditionals, Tributes, Studios, and HP versions of each of those? I'd see what's selling and what's not. Would people buy a Standard if it were slightly higher priced than current Studios? Is it the difference in costs and features that make people choose less expensive models? There are costs involved with producing each different model.

6. Signature models are fun and re-creations are fun but do we need to produce 1000 copies of the Joe Schmoe model and then only sell 250? Special orders are a pain for sure but producing them and having lots of overstock is even more painful.

7. Allow local music stores to carry Gibson without such a high overhead. So what if Jimmy's Music only sells six Gibsons a year and Guitar Center sells thousands. Give the little guy a chance. I'd buy from my local store if he were able to carry Gibson guitars. At least allow them to order from Gibson. If Samantha wants a Gibson and the closest guitar superstore is 3 hours away but she has a music store in town, let her get one there. Online stores are fantastic with their financing options and their service but lots of people want to touch a guitar that they're going to spend $3000.00 on.

8. How to make Gibson guitars available worldwide, at least for a special order? People around the world would like a real Gibson but selling on a Chinese (or elsewhere) copy because of the price. Bill Gates wanted a computer in every home and PC costs have spiraled downward since the 80's.

 

The things I've heard the most about Gibson guitars, whether true or not, is that there are/have been quality issues and they're too expensive. I think some people are just repeating hearsay or are making excuses. Store owners complain about not being able to carry them because of the high overhead and the buy in. Other people complain about some of the weird guitars or the different finishes. Gibson should do what they're best at and improve on that, while cutting non essential expenses and improving quality while driving down cost and increasing profit.

 

I hear that Gibson guitars is the profitable division and it's the other crap that's bogging them down. Cut the line. It sounds like a dream and I don't know enough about the business or making of guitars to be that guy who makes those decisions. These are just some things I've heard from people over the years. Quality (and lack thereof), price and availability.

 

That's my $.02 worth and you get what you pay for. :)

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Own Gibson?!

 

I can't imagine a worse curse. Listening to all you lot complain is one thing, but this time it would be aimed at me! +:-@](*,)

Nightmare!

 

those strap pins are not period correct

 

I cant get past the color

 

the screws for hand aged vintage plastic pickguard have a helix that didnt exist in 1959

 

hey! why did you dump the robot tuners?!

 

 

I'd rather p1ss into the wind, thank you very much!

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My first order of business would be to identify and fire whoever initially green lighted the idea to go with the Robo tuners; along with anyone working for Gibson that still thinks it's a good idea and ditto for whoever thought it would be a good idea to desecrate the back of an LP with 4 Frankenstein bolts so that they could have pick-ups without pick-up frames.

 

The Horror!

 

uvl8LT1.jpg

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My first order of business would be to identify and fire whoever initially green lighted the idea to go with the Robo tuners; along with anyone working for Gibson that still thinks it's a good idea and ditto for whoever thought it would be a good idea to desecrate the back of an LP with 4 Frankenstein bolts so that they could have pick-ups without pick-up frames.

 

The Horror!

 

This person I believe

Edited by Rabs

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Steve Ford nails it for me.

 

I don't agree with the amps idea. There are only two guitar amps: Fender and Mesa (Marshall don't count).

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