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Gibson Acoustic Prices


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Hi all,

 

I recently watched a video where I learned that, in 1936, a J-35 had a list price of $35.00 and an Advanced Jumbo was valued at a whopping $80.00.

 

Adjusted for inflation today, those two guitars would cost $636.49 and $1454.83, respectively, bearing in mind that the AJ was the crown jewel of the Gibson lineup, at that time.

 

A 2018 J-35 (complete with plastic nut, saddle, and bridge pins) will set you back $1,869.00, new, at Guitar Center, while the AJ will cost you considerably more, if you can even find one retailing new. A J-15, complete with walnut back and sides and a laminate maple neck, retails at $1340.99 at GC, while a walnut b&s "J-45" will set you back $1,529.00, at the same store.

 

All that being said, I'd like to ask, what gives? Is Gibson (along with the rest of the industry) pulling the wool over our eyes and overcharging its customers? If a shortage of tonewoods and American manufacturing standards are to blame, then how does one explain Seagull guitars being made in Canada with North American woods, at a considerably lower price?

 

I understand that the used market has stepped up to fill a void that Gibson has left, but shouldn't Gibson price its guitars more competitively, in order for people to purchase more new guitars? All things being equal, I would imagine that building a guitar is significantly cheaper and more efficient today than it was over seventy years ago, so it really makes you think...

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Here is a chart I did about ten years ago. It tracked the retail prices of vintage Martins -- after inflation -- for different models from different years in 2010. Vintage Guitar Price Guide was the source of the vintage model's retail price. It is an index -- value after considering inflation (US gov numbers). So it says a 1935 Martin in 2010 is worth 109.9 times as much as the original retail price. The is REAL value increase -- corrected for inflation.

 

9J7Qmt4.jpg

 

I have the numbers for Gibsons too -- I'll try to find them.

Best,

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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So, just buy a Seagull. Yes, there must be a vast conspiracy between Gibson, Martin and Taylor to keep guitar prices artificially high, since there is no competition from anyone else. Except for all the other companies that build guitars in the US and other countries.

 

It's your money, and your choice of how to spend it when it comes to buying a guitar. There are lots of options.

 

No one is forcing you to buy a Gibson or Martin at these ridiculous prices, and yet...people buy them. Lots of people. If you think they're ripping you off, buy something else.

 

Go figure.

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Welcome to the forum! Great first post! Show us a picture of your Gibson acoustic...

I’ll answer the poll right after I finish going to a dog show and tell them why I like cats.

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Hi all,

 

I recently watched a video where I learned that, in 1936, a J-35 had a list price of $35.00 and an Advanced Jumbo was valued at a whopping $80.00.

 

Adjusted for inflation today, those two guitars would cost $636.49 and $1454.83, respectively, bearing in mind that the AJ was the crown jewel of the Gibson lineup, at that time.

 

A 2018 J-35 (complete with plastic nut, saddle, and bridge pins) will set you back $1,869.00, new, at Guitar Center, while the AJ will cost you considerably more, if you can even find one retailing new. A J-15, complete with walnut back and sides and a laminate maple neck, retails at $1340.99 at GC, while a walnut b&s "J-45" will set you back $1,529.00, at the same store.

 

All that being said, I'd like to ask, what gives? Is Gibson (along with the rest of the industry) pulling the wool over our eyes and overcharging its customers? If a shortage of tonewoods and American manufacturing standards are to blame, then how does one explain Seagull guitars being made in Canada with North American woods, at a considerably lower price?

 

I understand that the used market has stepped up to fill a void that Gibson has left, but shouldn't Gibson price its guitars more competitively, in order for people to purchase more new guitars? All things being equal, I would imagine that building a guitar is significantly cheaper and more efficient today than it was over seventy years ago, so it really makes you think...

 

Post like this make me laugh. Do you like your wages or would you like to be paid in 1935 dollars?

 

Maybe you'd rather have Gibson take away any benefits they pay their employees, holiday pay or sick leave

so you can buy a new Gibson for $800. While you're at it you could do the same to the Canadian loggers who

cut and haul the spruce fore the tops. Who needs health care it just make guitar cost more. While your taking

away benefits from worker you better ask the government to lower the amount of taxes taken off theis pay check.

 

Or you could just buy a guitar you can afford.

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For the guy who only has $999 Gibson is coming out with the G 45 .

 

 

There were still people in the 1930’s who couldn’t afford Gibsons and those people would buy Stellas .A lot of people who can’t afford a Gibson in the modern era think that by trashing the brand and saying that they are “overpriced” it will make Gibson magically lower the prices.

 

 

 

If you want a Gibson start saving up .

If you can’t afford a Gibson well there are other companies who make great guitars at more affordable prices.

 

 

 

 

JC

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For the guy who only has $999 Gibson is coming out with the G 45 .

 

 

There were still people in the 1930’s who couldn’t afford Gibsons and those people would buy Stellas .A lot of people who can’t afford a Gibson in the modern era think that by trashing the brand and saying that they are “overpriced” it will make Gibson magically lower the prices.

 

 

 

If you want a Gibson start saving up .

If you can’t afford a Gibson well there are other companies who make great guitars at more affordable prices.

 

 

JC

 

+1 What he said.

 

I've played the guitar since I was 14 years old. I am now 62. I waited 36 years to own my first Gibson - a 2006 Songwriter. During those intervening years, I played Yamaha, Dean, Epiphone and Larrivee; all good guitars but not as good as a hand-Boseman-built Gibson in my subjective opinion. I now own three top of the line acoustics; SJ200 Golden Age, Custom Shop Hummingbird 12 string and a Martin 000-28vs. I was able to get those guitars through years of trading up, two for one and saving and budgeting. Are they over-priced? No. Pricey? YES! Worth it? YES!

Edited by drathbun

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Welcome to the forum! Great first post! Show us a picture of your Gibson acoustic...

I’ll answer the poll right after I finish going to a dog show and tell them why I like cats.

 

There'll be a few who will want to go with you

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Oh good lord, folks. I get that you have to drink the Kool-Aid to a certain extent to belong here, but the IQ of some of these posters might be dipping into the low-80's, from what I can tell. Anywho, I'll say my peace, before I bid thee all fond adieu: I'm not "trashing" the brand, nor do I want to return back to "1936 Weather", like Albert Einstein suggested before me. (Nor do I want to strip the good old Bozeman boys and their CNC machines of their healthcare benefits...what a strange comment to make).

 

I just came to point out that, maybe, just maybe, Gibson guitars are overpriced. You can delude yourselves about the perceived value of these guitars until kingdom come, but, ultimately, as consumers, you are being taken advantage of. There is nothing magical or special about a Gibson guitar's manufacturing process that warrants charging triple of what Godin does. This is pretty much a cold, hard incontrovertible fact when you consider the Gibson lineup outside the Custom Shop. Granted, I'm not a fan of how Seagull guitars are voiced (a matter of taste), but, if anything, their existence proves that high-quality, solid-wood guitars can be made in North America at a fraction of what the big three are charging.

 

I genuinely love Gibson guitars. I think they sound great. I even prefer them to Martin's and Taylor's. In fact, I love Gibson so much that I wish to see the brand survive after its bread and butter of gullible, oh-so-exploitable, pension-cashing baby boomers meet their end. It would be a shame if Gibson died out with them, having failed to tap into a market of young, burgeoning guitarists who lack the 1.5k needed to buy a decent-sounding, American-made, solid-wood Gibson guitar, at retail price.

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As has been stated, the cost of human labour has grown exponentially (and beyond the rate of inflation) over the timeline you set out. This has a knock-on effect on the cost of living, the cost of material supply and several other factors.

 

Gibson guitars ARE expensive, but so are Martin's, Taylors and just about any other brand with high end instruments making up the majority of their line.

 

Have you done the same price Vs interest rate comparison with Martin guitars? I'd love to know the results and how they compare.

 

The comparison with Seagull/Godin/Art & Lutherie instruments isn't really a fair one. Their guitars are fine, but are relatively cheaply made guitars with laminate back and sides, inexpensive thin finishes etc etc. Great within their price point, but it's a bit like comparing a moped to a Mercedes. Both will get you from A to B, but I know which I'd rather use.

 

I'm not sure I get your point about the "laminated neck" of the J15, I also have a laminated neck on my SJ200 and have had them on Doves and other high end instruments, it's a design feature for strength and appearance rather than a cost cutting measure.

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"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." -- Albert Einstein

 

Or maybe it was Oscar Wilde who said it. Or Will Rogers. Or an adman for Head & Shoulders shampoo.

 

Interesting that the OP would hold up two Canadian companies, Godin and Seagull, as great examples of guitars that are cheaper than Gibsons. I'd be interested to know how much Godin and Seagull have to contribute a year to their employees' healthcare. Oh, wait -- they're Canadian, so that's not an expense they have. Gibson does. And Gibson has other expenses of doing business in America. (And we can save the whole debate on living wages, taxes, etc., for later.) The bottom line is, Gibson builds in America, so they have those costs of doing business and companies have always passed those costs along to the consumer.

 

I'll note he didn't throw in Fender's acoustics, most of which are made in the North American country of Mexico. When Fender announced in January that it was going to start selling a U.S.-built acoustic, the American Acoustasonic Series Telecaster, it said it was going to cost about $2,000. That's $400 more than what I paid for my Gibson J-35 in 2016. One is an iconic slope-shoulder guitar from one of America's oldest guitar builders, while the other is an "acoustic" guitar for people who don't like acoustic guitars.

 

Apologies to Seagull, Godin and Fender acoustic owners, but Gibsons just tend to be better guitars.

 

Nobody is forcing anyone to buy a Gibson. If you don't think they are worth the money, don't buy them. Those other guitars may be nice, and you may find an occasional great one, just like you'll find an occasional Gibson that still thinks it's a tree. But my experience is that Gibsons are worth it.

 

I can't believe this is a discussion we're wasting precious brain cells on.

Edited by dhanners623
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Great thread! I too waited until my 50's before getting my first vintage Gibson acoustic and I can only say why I didn't save up all the money I spent on coke and booze and buy one in my 20's

is a lesson that only comes with a age. Just like the sound of a vintage guitar.

I recently had a hankerin' for the sound of a Les Paul again after getting rid of my old girl to Norm's Guitars. Did I fork out 3k for a new electric? Hell no! I spent $439 for a Korean copy.

I'm savin' that money for my next Gibson acoustic. Once you bit by that bug nothing else is good enough. (Take a peak at what they are doing in the ESP/Dean factory in rice land though. NICE)

HH

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First off let me start by stating I love my Martins just as much as my Gibson’s so no bashing going on from me.

This does seem to be a trolling excercise. For a first timer he seems to know what buttons to push. Probably a previously excumminicated member trying to stir the pot.

Using his reasoning, a new BRW 1942 D45 listed at $250. That would be $3877 in today’s dollars. I’ll take a dozen of them.

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I hate to beat this dead horse (thread) but yea I am not a fan of this thinking. Scarcity of materials, labor, workmanship, costs, so many things come into play here. It’s not just raising prices to raise them. I will bet the one contributing factor is wood. If I had to guess. I was fortunate enough at my age to be able to afford a new Gibson acoustic and a “vintage” one. However I am also a watch fan/collector/hoarder. Would I like to get Rolex? Yes of course, but I simply don’t have the $5k to drop. In a thread a while ago j45 Nick said he paid $880 for a GMT in 1988. It’s the same idea here. Watches are a bit different but I will never call Rolex overpriced just because I can’t afford one right now. These handmade items cost much more to make compared to the rest of the offerings out there. The fact that a guitar from the 30s is still playable is a testament to how well they were/are/will be made. My two cents.

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When I was playing electrics I bought a Custom Shop ES-339. Fine guitar. Swapped it off and kept a Les Paul Studio. Fine guitar.

 

My J-15 was cheap enough, same specs as my J-45 but with tree hugger friendly woods.

 

Fine guitar.

 

Gibson makes many affordable guitars that will fill any job required.

 

If you're very poor they also make Epiphones, which are just fine. Many pro's gig with Epiphones.

 

Capitalism will self regulate if it's left alone.

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When I was a younger man Gibson guitars were the unattainable dream of someday. I got by with a Samick, and a Martin that I found on sale, for 20+ years. But now as a "gullible, oh-so-exploitable, pension-cashing baby boomer", I'm finally able to fulfill that dream of owning a Gibson acoustic guitar or two. I never realized I had to be exploited and gullible to get to this point in life, but I'm happy to be here... :)

Edited by TomPhx
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I voted yes, although I own only old ones. I have owned 5 Montana era models, and though well built and decent in sound, I sold them all in favor of vintage models. The only brand spankin’ new one I bought was the j45 Vintage 2016, and after two years, sold it much cheaper than the original price. I know they are highly touted on this forum, so perhaps I got the dud runt of the litter, or else I am spoiled by genuine vintage sound.

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As has been stated, the cost of human labour has grown exponentially (and beyond the rate of inflation) over the timeline you set out. This has a knock-on effect on the cost of living, the cost of material supply and several other factors.

 

Gibson guitars ARE expensive, but so are Martin's, Taylors and just about any other brand with high end instruments making up the majority of their line.

 

Have you done the same price Vs interest rate comparison with Martin guitars? I'd love to know the results and how they compare.

 

The comparison with Seagull/Godin/Art & Lutherie instruments isn't really a fair one. Their guitars are fine, but are relatively cheaply made guitars with laminate back and sides, inexpensive thin finishes etc etc. Great within their price point, but it's a bit like comparing a moped to a Mercedes. Both will get you from A to B, but I know which I'd rather use.

 

I'm not sure I get your point about the "laminated neck" of the J15, I also have a laminated neck on my SJ200 and have had them on Doves and other high end instruments, it's a design feature for strength and appearance rather than a cost cutting measure.

 

 

 

 

yep, more than inflation has to be taken into consideration in the price of a product, there's other factors

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