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My thoughts on Gibson quality...


Tim Plains

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...and the people that complain about poor quality/craftsmenship.

 

I'm not sure if this is a rant or a rave...O:)

 

Based on my own experience - the guitars I own, and the numerous Gibsons I've handled at the stores - I think I can safely say that Gibson generally produces high quality instruments. I'm sure a bad one comes out here and there given the high number of guitars they produce...but I'm speaking in general.

 

I have two Custom Shop guitars and four Gibson USA guitars. They are all superb...feel, sound and looks! I don't think the CS guitars are really any better than the USA guitars. Maybe a little different, yes, but not better. I'm sure the wood is of higher quality and they spend more time/care assembling the instrument, but my USAs are no worst. No sharp frets, no mis-alignments, no poor bindings, nothing!! Mint...all of them.

 

A sales person I've dealt with recently bought two reissue LPs and said that after playing them for a while, there's no way he can go back to a Gibson USA. Maybe that's true, and when I get my own, I'll let you know...but each Gibson I've handled has been flawless...except for the display models that have been handled by everybody, of course. A scratch here, a ding there...but that's user caused.

 

I periodically look at on-line user reviews and have read a lot of people rip on the action, fit, & finish. Now, just out of curiosity, do you think these negative comments generally come from people who bought a guitar before they even played it...like an on-line purchase?

 

I can see somebody ordering a guitar from a website and not liking it when it arrives...then turning around and saying "GIBSON'S CRAP!"...but really, if these people actually played it first and didn't like it, they could have just put it back on the rack and picked up the next Les Paul.

 

If a guitar has sharp frets and cut your hand, would you buy it?

 

Am I right, am I wrong? Did I make any sense? O:)

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I've said before that I think most of the people criticizing Gibson are just being super picky because it's an expensive name brand Gibson. They would not "see" as many of the so called flaws on most other guitars.

 

BTW, I was checking out some of the new Strats at GC and was appalled at some of the fret work. They would literally scrape your fingers up, they were that sharp at the ends.

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I've said before that I think most of the people criticizing Gibson are just being super picky because it's an expensive name brand Gibson. They would not "see" as many of the so called flaws on most other guitars.

You're darned right. Gibson guitars are expensive and I expect to get excellent quality for the amount of money they cost. Same thing with my Fender guitars - my 57 RI is an excellent guitar as I expect it would be, my MIM Standard has sharp ends on the frets as you described but I picked it up at a clearance sale for $250.

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I saw Gibson guitars being made on TV. They are expensive because of all the hand crafted parts. Those folks need salaries and benefits... and that drives up the cost. It also shows in the quality of overall craftsmanship of the instrument.

 

Mistakes? Probably, as everyone makes them. But I shopped my LP for 18 months... and I can't say I played a "bad" Gibson Les Paul. OK... sure some variances in feel and tone, all within a very small tolerance, but nary a bad guitar. I can't say that same thing for every Ibanez, ESP, PRS or Fender I played.

 

Besides.... some people will just bust if they don't b*tch about something O:)

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It is true that some people just aren't happy unless thay have something to complain about. Then there are others that feel the need to put a "brand" down because it's not thier "brand", or they can't have one for any number of reasons.

 

I agree with an earlier statement regarding not coming accross a bad Gibson. I sometimes just go to Guitar City to play differant stuff, and don't ever recall coming accross one I would say is bad. Some just play differantly.

 

Even if you were buying online, without an oppotunity to play prior to purchasing you have the right to return.

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Well I love my Gibson guitars but I must say that Gibsons Q. C. is not as good as it could be.

 

The nut on my CS LP Elegant was really bad (would not stay in tune) and I had to have it replaced. If you do a search at the Les Paul Forum on this you will see that this has happened a lot.

 

And I don't know if this is still going on but there were a number of historics with bent saddle screws and from what some of the know-it-alls were saying that Gibson was hitting the top of the strings with a mallet or something like it to set slots in the saddles. Don't know the truth about the mallet but there were numerous pic's of the bent saddles.

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So far so good for me. I have 2 LP signatures which I believe are given much more attention than a Standard - they are exemplary. I have 1 Custom Shop which is great but IMHO not worth $1000 more than a Standard. I have 1 Standard that is fantastic. I have an ES-339 which I love but its neck is not the quality of a Standard's neck.

 

I think Gibson does a great job. I hope they keep doing a great job. I hope management wakes up and gives us correct manuals for our instruments and goes back to quality cases.

 

I hope The owner reads this forum - every day. I hope he is the kind of man who is concerned about quality CONTINUITY in all aspects of production and customer support.

 

I think of Gibson as an American icon - like Harley Davidson or . . . I can't think of another one ;-)

 

That's my rant.

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If i ordered a guitar and it came with a broken neck, scratches, or different pickups that it should, then i would blame it on the store or the person selling it, as a gibson guitar would never leave the factory with, for example, fender pickups. If you buy used, chances are the guitar you are getting wont be in mint condition and/or will have been modded.

 

I had a sureal experience a couple of years ago when i was planning on buying my first gibson (glad i didnt).

I went to the samash at dolphin mall (miami) and started playing some standard fadeds (they had 3, same price all) when i got to the one i liked a lot, i noticed she had a major scratch on the back, also the neck pickup ring screws didnt match (3 matching screws and one different).

 

I told the salesguy that the guitar sounded amazing and i wanted her, but because of the obvious "flaws" there should be a discount. The guy said the guitar already had a discount as the list price was above the one on the pricetag, and that if i was to buy the guitar, i would get a free gibson hard case with her!... (what an ignorant asshole). I showed him all the scratches and replaced/missing parts, comparing it to the other fadeds they had... kid just repeated about the price and case. Asked to talk to his superior, and he said there wasnt one (wtf?).

 

Of course i didnt buy the guitar, and spent 15 minutes explaining him that he wasnt qualified to be selling guitars or anything, but did qualify as a stupid ignorant good for nothing ***.

 

Im sure he sold the guitar to another person, and im also sure that person is one of the reviewers on the net that complain about gibson when they should blame either the store/seller for selling used/damaged stuff, or themselves for buying damaged stuff and not complaining.

 

So, gibson bad? i dont think so, 90% of the times a guitar is flawed the seller is to blame for it.

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So' date=' gibson bad? i dont think so, 90% of the times a guitar is flawed the seller is to blame for it.[/quote']

 

I agree. So many times I hear, "I tried all of the Les Pauls at Guitar Center and the action was terrible ! " People jack with those guitars all day long. Find a gibson you like, get a set up by a pro and it will rule.

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I just bought a VOS Les Paul Jr. The quality of construction was great but the P 90 that it came with was defective. The guitar sounded like mud. Does the Gibson quality control test the electronics? I think if they did they would of caught this one. I ended up getting a Lindy Fralin P 90. It kicks *** now! I was out $80.00 for the pick up.

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The "Gibson QC" drivel is tired at best. Gibson is a mass producer of guitars. Given the numbers they turn out, of course there's going to be an occasional "turd in the punch bowl". But that is certainly not an indictment of Gibson QC in general.

 

The jealous wannabe's and wannahaves do a good job of proliferating this BS argument.

 

I have four Gibsons that are spot-on perfect to me..............

 

 

...........and I smile every time I plug them in.

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Like said before, there's always someone who finds something to moan about.

Have you noticed how usually the most vicious attacks on Gibson are followed by a statement like "My *insert 200$ generic Taiwanese copy here* blows any Gibson out of the water"?

 

I've played and owned several Gibsons over the years, and have only come across a dud once : a Gothic Les Paul. Major backbow issue on that one.

Come to think of it, I played a pretty uninspiring Gary Moore sig once as well:-k

I had to sell a lovely Honeyburst Standard because I don't get along with the 60s neck profile. But that's not a QC issue...

Other than that I kick myself every day for letting go of the Gibsons I sold.

 

If you want to find fault, you can find fault. That holds true for any brand.

Which isn't to say every Gibson that hits the stores is perfect. Like Plank_Spanker says, there's bound to be the occasional dog among them.

 

I've got quite a nice little collection (if I do say so myself) but picking up a Les Paul after a while always feels like coming home.

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Well I love my Gibson guitars but I must say that Gibsons Q. C. is not as good as it could be.

 

The nut on my CS LP Elegant was really bad (would not stay in tune) and I had to have it replaced. If you do a search at the Les Paul Forum on this you will see that this has happened a lot.

 

And I don't know if this is still going on but there were a number of historics with bent saddle screws and from what some of the know-it-alls were saying that Gibson was hitting the top of the strings with a mallet or something like it to set slots in the saddles. Don't know the truth about the mallet but there were numerous pic's of the bent saddles.

 

I have to go with deegee, on this one. I have been playing Gibsons for 40 years. Quality control has fluctuated through the years. Right now, is not a good time. Some are good, some are not so good. Custom Shop in 07 wasn't even always up to par, while regular USA makes had issues too often in all models as well. What is probably really happening is Gibson is very interested in production and building cash reserve at present as it attempts to expand and compete, and so it just doesn't pull instruments for defects the way it once did. Whether there is some handcrafting or not so much so, that last person with inspection responsibilities and decision making power seems to have been told to wave them on by now days. I hope this will get better in time, as it has in the past eras. For the price of the expensive models and the longtime superior reputation Gibson has a responsibilty and a past history which are each owed a better bit of attention. The, "whip'em out policy"!

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Oops, think I hit the send button early there..

 

Maybe it's a bit sad endowing an inanimate object with a personality, but I think guitars choose you almost as much as you choose them. The tonal variations between identical make/model guitars on a rack are so incremental that it really comes down to personal preference. I'm excluding bad setups here, as well as setups you don't like - that's got no bearing on the quality of the instrument, as a small tweak changes the way you look at it very quickly. If I'm paying a load of money on a guitar then I do expect to get my money's worth, but I'd rather get 90% of that from the tone and playability than the cosmetics. One of the nicest Les Pauls I've ever played was a weatherbeaten '80 Deluxe (not my favourite Les) with a bad dose of buckle rash to its red finish (not my favourite LP colour) and light corrosion on the hardware, but man did it have a soul & a voice. If I'd had the money I'd have bought it, given it a clean and (if I couldn't stick the red anymore) had it refinished - with no regrets. I buy my guitars to play & enjoy, not as an"investment, played once only Gibson Les Paperweight". I've no doubt there are Friday guitars out there, as no manufacturer outside of one-off boutique makers is infallible, and there are a lot of good budget guitars available. Having said that, if you think your $200 IbasquirocastV really does blow Gibsons away, then I'm sure your Mazda MX3 is far superior to an Aston Martin Vanquish.

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I find that Gibsons are pretty overpriced. Yes they are excellent quality but it gets a bit rediculous when you have to decide between a Guitar and a car. People have every right to nag at Gibson. If you are paying $1,600.00+ for a Guitar you would want it to be flawless to. Some can go a bit overboard with their complaints yes but all in all they have the right.

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