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The truth about Historic line


Zygis
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Hi guys! Risking to be attacked buy rotten tomates, but still want to be honest and share my experience. Recently i decided to pull the trigger on Gibson. And not any regular gibson, but one of the best their offerings - Advanced Jumbo 1936 Historic line.

Whats really makes me mad is their slogan - Greatest guitar makers in the world? Wow, what a statement. I ordered Gibson AJ 1936 Historic from 2020. Thats a 5k guitar for you. The fit and finish was mediocre but acceptable (tool marks on fretboard, poor nitro application etc), but when i put down the mirror inside the guitar i laughed and cried at the same time. Its not just like some hide glue access in interior (brownish color), the whole inside was like a maple syrup festival. It looked like it was constructed by 10 years old child and there is no irony in this statement - i never saw this kind of quality even in cheap guitars. Whats crazy, the guitar still sounded decent, but nothing amazing. I asked the shop to take photos of more Historic line guitars interiors, and they all had a lot of glue marks all over, though i must admit not so much as my AJ which i returned immediately. Considering the price payed, Gibsons are far inferior to Boutiqe builders at the same price point. All of this is not hateful comment. I just think its not fair to wave a "greatest guitar makers" flag against real guitar makers, who actually creates musical art pieces. People should understand that Gibson just makes replicas of their own company history (and quite bad ones). 

 

Btw - that Redline case of which all rave about - was extremely poor quality - unstable when oppened because of metal supports positioned to close, glue marks all over and loose interior felt ends. Also the outsides vinyl black material was extremely wrinckeld on the edges - hard to believe its made by geib/tkl? Something is wrong with this eather...

Anyway, all the best for everybody, hope you will be more careful on Gibsonesque sound hunt!

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"Only a Gibson is glued enough."

That's a lot of excess glue.

Since the bracing is glued with the top upside-down on the bench, I don't understand why it couldn't have been cleaned up.

None of my Gibsons, modern or vintage, look anything like that inside.

I would be disappointed, but if it still sounded great, I might have kept it. But I haven't seen the whole thing, inside and out.

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You have just managed to insult fifth graders worldwide.  While bracing in vintage guitars can look pretty rough hewn with saw and plane marks clearly visible (the taper on the bracing in my '42 J50 look like it was whittled down with a dull boy scout knife)  I have seen nothing even close to as sloppy as that in the OPs guitar.   While it is hard to defend Gibson on this one,  possibly after being locked down at the height of the pandemic they are now in a mad rush to fill orders.

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1936 AJ

nRPAxjD.jpg

Yours is indeed pretty rough!  It is true however that Gibson's 30's guitars were not generally cleaner that modern boutique builders -- or even 30s Martins for that matter.   Larson work was even rougher even on the exterior.  Arguably yet they were fine (extraordinary?) on design, stability, playability, and sound.   They were hurting in the 30s -- several major feature (and price) reductions to contain costs (and boost sales).

In the picture above, it is not clear what is original and what is  from maintenance -- the top splice repair (by Gruhn) is world class work.

Best,

-Tom

 

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Thanks for replies! It is impossible for me to say every Historic looks like that, but for example J-45 '42 Historic also has nasty glue job (picture bellow)

I just keep wondering, how good Gibsons would really be, if they put a lot more attention to the build.

j-45.jpg

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I can't see what you're concerned about on the inside of the J-45. It is normal for there to be some squeeze-out when gluing parts together, and I see nothing earth-shattering there.

The top (and back) braces have a fairly small footprint, and depend on a small glue fillet on the side to increase gluing surface, especially when you are working with hide glue.

How do you come to have pictures of the interior of this J-45 '42 Historic, by the way? I thought you had bought an AJ.

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Beginning to wonder about the new owners of Gibson. There’s been so many complaints on this forum since they took over. These pics are ridiculous. Unacceptable. I’ve got 5 Gibson’s, all from the Ren  Ferguson day’s, all flawless. I’m sure a few lemons got past quality control under his watch too, but not to the extent that we’re seeing now. At least that’s my opinion.

$5,000? This would not be excepted on a $500.  Guitar. I’ve got a Dreadnaught JR, made in Mexico, that’s doesn’t have any glue run out. Got it on sale from Maury’s for $350. It very clean.  This is crazy.

Edited by Paul14
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I would really be surprised if final inspection looks inside the guitar for anything except the label. 
I would really be surprised if anyone except guitar geeks (me included) look inside their guitars for his kind of stuff. 
Maybe the pandemic era will be another Kalamazoo Gals era 70 years from now. JT should be keeping records to pass down to his great grandchildren so they can write a book in 2100. 😉

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After seeing these pics, I’m really glad all of my current Gibson acoustics were produced under Ren’s watch - a drip or two maybe, an unwiped squeeze out possibly, but those pics show a real mess.  I’m guessing the new owners have financial situations exacerbated by COVID that call for speeding production up.  I sure  hope this isn’t a new normal.  😎

.

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Not sure what is going on with that Historic AJ?  I bought a Hummingbird that was built in July of 2020, height of post pandemic production, and there is not a drop of excess glue anywhere on the inside.  It is not a "Historic" model, but rather from the "Original" series and the workmanship is flawless - so I don't think what the OP found is typical of Bozeman quality.

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How much time passed from when you made your initial order until your shop received this guitar? Was there a delay in customs? 

Hide glue bonds can fail at temperatures above 120° F, temperatures which are easily obtained in sealed shipping containers exposed to the sun. 

How long did the shop have the guitar? Long enough to inspect and do a re-glue? Many consider the bridge, bridge plate, and saddle to be the heartbeat of the guitar, and these components have been something I've paid increasingly more attention to for a while now. I've never seen a bridge plate with the smudges yours is showing, and have never seen the approx .25" "referencing hole" completely filled with glue, looking to have been smeared with a finger- it's just not necessary in the build process.

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I bought a 2020 Historic Pre War SJ 200 born July 2020.  Outstanding workmanship. Worth every penny! I own several high end Gibson Acoustics and quality control is the best I have ever seen from Gibson. So, not to say that poor workmanship and QC doesn’t exist, it may, but not in my collection. I have had access to others and witnessed first hand the outstanding attention to detail. As a buyer it is your responsibility to take into account what you are buying. If it doesn’t meet your standards then just move on. For the benefit of all I hope your situation can be rectified.

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I'd like to propose a different theory. Hide glue is tricky to work with I'm told. It sets up quickly and the joints to be glued together have to be at a close tolerance since hide glue doesn't "fill the joint" like Titebond. My understanding is that previously, the only joint that Gibson Acoustics did was the neck joint. They were a little cagey about it, but when most of us saw "Hide Glue" we assumed it was the whole thing. I suspect that the new Historic series took off like gangbusters.. Suddenly employees in Bozeman were pressed into service trying to work with hide glue gluing braces and tops while learning on the job. Some may be learning faster than others. Martin only had two people in the Custom Shop who knew how to build with hide glue several years ago when Dale retired. It maybe more folks now....

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I just made pictures of some of my guitars:
SJ-200  Standard 2000
Frank Hannon ‚Love Dove‘
Hummingbird Standard 2018
Martin D-18 MD 2019

But I can‘t put them into this post. For some reason my size limit is 0.03MB.

Not one of the guitars looks as bad as the one of the OP. Martin is the cleanest but no problems with the Gibsons.

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6 hours ago, Rip VanWinkle said:

I'd like to propose a different theory. Hide glue is tricky to work with I'm told. It sets up quickly and the joints to be glued together have to be at a close tolerance since hide glue doesn't "fill the joint" like Titebond. My understanding is that previously, the only joint that Gibson Acoustics did was the neck joint. They were a little cagey about it, but when most of us saw "Hide Glue" we assumed it was the whole thing. I suspect that the new Historic series took off like gangbusters.. Suddenly employees in Bozeman were pressed into service trying to work with hide glue gluing braces and tops while learning on the job. Some may be learning faster than others. Martin only had two people in the Custom Shop who knew how to build with hide glue several years ago when Dale retired. It maybe more folks now....

 

I agree with this. Hide glue is tricky to work with.

Lars

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If someone wants to justify Gibson - that's ok, it's your right. But that "tricky to work" is just marketing for upcharger you ate. Of course it requires skills, but thousands luthiers all over the world does flawless hide glue and it is no magic. Gibson also does full hide glue many many years and none of that was so bad as new Historics.  If proper gluing is a difficult task, so how we can talk about perfect amount of scalloping, choosing the right woods weight and sturdiness, flawless positioning and etc etc. The more really good guitars gets in to my hands, the more i think many people does not have idea how should a good guitar sound. I am not saying Gibson has never made fine sounding instruments, but its 1 out 100 at best.

For example - want really good J-45 - just try made in England  Atkin J43, You will be surprised.

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13 hours ago, 62burst said:

How much time passed from when you made your initial order until your shop received this guitar? Was there a delay in customs? 

Hide glue bonds can fail at temperatures above 120° F, temperatures which are easily obtained in sealed shipping containers exposed to the sun. 

How long did the shop have the guitar? Long enough to inspect and do a re-glue? Many consider the bridge, bridge plate, and saddle to be the heartbeat of the guitar, and these components have been something I've paid increasingly more attention to for a while now. I've never seen a bridge plate with the smudges yours is showing, and have never seen the approx .25" "referencing hole" completely filled with glue, looking to have been smeared with a finger- it's just not necessary in the build process.

Not the case. The excess glue is so huge, that it would be enough for three guitars 😄

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41 minutes ago, Zygis said:

I am not saying Gibson has never made fine sounding instruments, but its 1 out 100 at best.

For example - want really good J-45 - just try made in England  Atkin J43, You will be surprised.

Zygis, I really understand your frustration with the guitar you got. But 1 out of 100 seems simply wrong to me. I checked 3 of my 4 Gibsons and none looks anything like yours. There is a little squeeze out at the X-bracing cross that looks like it belongs to this area and that’s it.
I think, someone did a sloppy work and you had bad luck. Not nice but can happen.
I think you should return it and that’s it. Let Gibson know about your guitar, buy another one and be happy.

 

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46 minutes ago, Zygis said:

If someone wants to justify Gibson - that's ok, it's your right. But that "tricky to work" is just marketing for upcharger you ate. Of course it requires skills, but thousands luthiers all over the world does flawless hide glue and it is no magic. Gibson also does full hide glue many many years and none of that was so bad as new Historics.  If proper gluing is a difficult task, so how we can talk about perfect amount of scalloping, choosing the right woods weight and sturdiness, flawless positioning and etc etc. The more really good guitars gets in to my hands, the more i think many people does not have idea how should a good guitar sound. I am not saying Gibson has never made fine sounding instruments, but its 1 out 100 at best.

For example - want really good J-45 - just try made in England  Atkin J43, You will be surprised.

Since your goal here appears to be to trash everything Gibson, maybe this isn't the forum for you.  Why did you even buy a Gibson, since you think that only one in a hundred is a "fine sounding instrument"? It makes no sense at all that you would even consider one.

Judging from the photos you provided, the glue issues with your AJ are real, and you had every right to return it. The photos you show of the J-45, however, do not show similar issues on anything like the same scale, so it's hard to justify your criticism without further evidence.

Others here have inspected their instruments and found no issues on the scale of those in your AJ.

Are you located in the US, or another country? There are not a lot of dealers that have multiple Historics of any model in stock.

You've made your point, and it's clear that Gibsons are not the guitars for you. Maybe you should just move on and find guitars that better meet your expectations.

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