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JuanCarlosVejar

here is something on Ren's retirement

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who's to say the next guy won't be even better?

 

i am not knocking ren or whatever he may have done, and my gibson is the best guitar i ever owned and i totally love it,but i have read plenty of posts here about 'make sure you play lots before you buy ' and never order unseen because of QC issues ,recently a guy posted about his hummingbird had to be returned . then its end of days because someones leaving?

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To be quite honest, I'd take my chances ordering a Bozeman made model over a Gibson electric anyday of the week, I've seen nowhere near the same QC issues as is often reported with acoustics from the dealers I deal with.

 

Like any of these situations, it's a case of 'the King is dead, long live the King", the die-hard Ren fans will pounce on subsequent QC issues as a case for the decline of Bozeman and the happy-shoppers who buy a post-Ren model will tell us everything is OK and we can buy with confidence. The two camps will mildly disagree in places and we'll still be talking about it next new year.

 

Ren has stated himself he doesn't make many guitars these days and the vast majority of their output is crafted by other skilled workers. This will continue and they will probably use and revise the specs and designs that Ren has left as his Gibson legacy like they do every other year anyway.

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My bet is that Guild is the obvious brand for Ren to have a good crack at. Guild IMO is the closest (and only) brand to the Gibson tone and approach. Ill bet the F-50 will soon start sounding like a J-200, if its not already.

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I would not expect Ren to show up anywhere for quite a while. I'm sure Gibson has protected itself with a "non-compete" clause in his employment contract, buyout and/or retirement settlement. The "non-compete" clause has become the norm in corporate America these days, especially where "tricks of the trade" or "intellectual property" is involved.

 

When Leo Fender sold out to CBS, his non-compete clause was 10 years. Exactly 10 years later Music Man showed up on the musical instrument market. The standard corporate "non-compete" these days is 2 years.

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I have to say, when I read the title of the thread, I was expecting two screens of "the sky is falling!" [scared]

 

Maybe more of that kind of response will come once we learn where Ren is heading or the reasons behind his leaving, but as a newbie on this board, it's interesting for me to see that there is enough balance (among vintage and new Gibson players) on this forum that folks seem to be keeping the news in perspective -- Gibson has been making great acoustic guitars for a long time, and while we players of newer Gibsons have Ren to thank for improving/restoring the quality of the line, he likely has righted the ship to the point that his departure won't mean a return to the dogs of the 70's and 80's.

 

Well, there's that response, along with some "phew, glad I got mine before he left!" [blink]

 

Either way, the responses here are impressively circumspect, and not typical of what I see on message boards.

 

Thanks and best of luck to Mr. Ferguson wherever he goes next .

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I would not expect Ren to show up anywhere for quite a while. I'm sure Gibson has protected itself with a "non-compete" clause in his employment contract, buyout and/or retirement settlement. The "non-compete" clause has become the norm in corporate America these days, especially where "tricks of the trade" or "intellectual property" is involved.

 

When Leo Fender sold out to CBS, his non-compete clause was 10 years. Exactly 10 years later Music Man showed up on the musical instrument market. The standard corporate "non-compete" these days is 2 years.

 

The flip side being that proposed move to Fender (or perhaps Guild) isn't exactly a compete situation, Martin Yes... Taylor Yes... Fender No... they are seriously disadvantaged in the acoustic market by comparison.

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Im not sure about that, apparently Ren will be standign at the Fender booth at the upcoming NAMM (is that spelt right ?)

 

I would not expect Ren to show up anywhere for quite a while. I'm sure Gibson has protected itself with a "non-compete" clause in his employment contract, buyout and/or retirement settlement. The "non-compete" clause has become the norm in corporate America these days, especially where "tricks of the trade" or "intellectual property" is involved.

 

When Leo Fender sold out to CBS, his non-compete clause was 10 years. Exactly 10 years later Music Man showed up on the musical instrument market. The standard corporate "non-compete" these days is 2 years.

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Non compete clauses are rarely enforceable anymore, if at all. You can't keep someone from their livelihood in most states, for sure in California.

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If he's not receiving a big buy-out (as with Leo's CBS buyout), then he might not be subject to a heavy-duty non-compete in the first place. As I understand it (and correct me if I'm wrong), Ren was already a high-profile luthier at the time he was hired to take over operations. If he was, then he probably would have had some leverage in negotiating with Gibson, and probably one of the main things he would have negotiated for would be flexibility to keep plying his trade after he moved on from Gibson. (After all, while there's a lot of intellectual property at issue here, most of Gibson's would be patented or subject to copyright, and so is protected even without a contract; if I were Ren, I would argue that I am bringing just as many valuable trade secrets to the table as Gibson!)

 

I would view a move to Fender/Guild as a compete situation, but unless he's getting paid on the way out the door, there's a good chance he can go where he pleases. Just a guess.

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A tough one to decide on, on the basis that it appears he will be at this years NAMM show in the Fender booth, suggests not...

 

Like you say, intellectual property is one consideration, but there's only so many ways to successfully build a guitar with a pleasing acoustic tone, there's a world of Martin clones out there that they can do little about, Gibson has some of the most successful designs in modern history, surely the intellectual property would apply to the naming conventions and general aesthetic, if you can't protect D, G & A I highly doubt you can protect forward shift X-bracing seeing as there's so many already doing it albeit its called a different thing, however I wouldn't expect to see a Fender True Vintage or a Fender Southern Jumbo any time soon.

 

You can't copyright a whole trade, so he should be free to incorporate general guitar designs as he wishes, I would imagine... seems everyone else in the industry gets to do so.

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But its not difficult to include a clause in a contract which prohibits working for a competitor for a set period. I have this in my contract, where i would be payed 12 months salary but forbidden to work in teh same industry for a year .... god, i wish i could have this enforced .. :-)

 

A tough one to decide on, on the basis that it appears he will be at this years NAMM show in the Fender booth, suggests not...

 

Like you say, intellectual property is one consideration, but there's only so many ways to successfully build a guitar with a pleasing acoustic tone, there's a world of Martin clones out there that they can do little about, Gibson has some of the most successful designs in modern history, surely the intellectual property would apply to the naming conventions and general aesthetic, if you can't protect D, G & A I highly doubt you can protect forward shift X-bracing seeing as there's so many already doing it albeit its called a different thing, however I wouldn't expect to see a Fender True Vintage or a Fender Southern Jumbo any time soon.

 

You can't copyright a whole trade, so he should be free to incorporate general guitar designs as he wishes, I would imagine... seems everyone else in the industry gets to do so.

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I never got the feeling Ren was shackled at Gibson. I could be dead wrong but I always had the impression he was given wide latitude in his designs and ran Bozeman pretty much as an independent shop.

 

It sure is going to be intersting to see what happens with Guild.

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I would not expect Ren to show up anywhere for quite a while. I'm sure Gibson has protected itself with a "non-compete" clause in his employment contract, buyout and/or retirement settlement. The "non-compete" clause has become the norm in corporate America these days, especially where "tricks of the trade" or "intellectual property" is involved.

 

When Leo Fender sold out to CBS, his non-compete clause was 10 years. Exactly 10 years later Music Man showed up on the musical instrument market. The standard corporate "non-compete" these days is 2 years.

 

Non-compete clauses are also notoriously difficult to implement. It will all depend on the circumstances of his departure, the nature of his pre-existing contract with Gibson, and whatever settlement they might have reached.

 

We should reserve judgment on all of this for now. The truth will eventually come out, for better or worse.

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But its not difficult to include a clause in a contract which prohibits working for a competitor for a set period. I have this in my contract, where i would be payed 12 months salary but forbidden to work in teh same industry for a year .... god, i wish i could have this enforced .. :-)

 

 

 

Depends where you are EA, it's a tough one to enforce legally as 'denial of livelihood' is a tough argument, especially in a fast moving industry, we have an even longer period here being that it's quite specialised, however I've known a few who've left already and were re-employed within weeks or a couple of months without any crib from the company. Could even be a case by case type scenario.

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But how can it be 'denial of livelihood' when you get paid out fully for 12 months .... if thats 'denial of livelhood' then i want it, now .. ! :-))

 

Depends where you are EA, it's a tough one to enforce legally as 'denial of livelihood' is a tough argument, especially in a fast moving industry, we have an even longer period here being that it's quite specialised, however I've known a few who've left already and were re-employed within weeks or a couple of months without any crib from the company. Could even be a case by case type scenario.

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The argument is 'an enforced period out with your qualified industry' can harm your chances of re-entry quite seriously. Especially in something like the tech industries... it would appear that the payment is used as 'goodwill' and as a confidentiality 'booster' payment rather than to force you to sit on the couch for a year or two.

 

I think the caveat is that an enforced holiday appears to other potential employers like it was a form of dispute, this harms your chances as they may jump to the wrong conclusions on your character and you're contractually obliged to keep the details private therefore you have no defence against any misconceptions.

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Yeah, these are fair points. I guess being 12 months out of a business could make you fall behind, at least perceived that way, and speculation what happened that led to this. Although I think in Rens case he could take a year off and still pick his gig and his price given his track record over the past 25 years.

 

The argument is 'an enforced period out with your qualified industry' can harm your chances of re-entry quite seriously. Especially in something like the tech industries... it would appear that the payment is used as 'goodwill' and as a confidentiality 'booster' payment rather than to force you to sit on the couch for a year or two.

 

I think the caveat is that an enforced holiday appears to other potential employers like it was a form of dispute, this harms your chances as they may jump to the wrong conclusions on your character and you're contractually obliged to keep the details private therefore you have no defence against any misconceptions.

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I would not expect Ren to show up anywhere for quite a while.

 

For one thing, Ren has got some more healing to do. He busted up his leg, and that has left him unable to be near as mobile as he was prior to his slip/fall. So after some surgery and presumably physiotherapy and that kind of thing, it's unlikely he'll be dancing the Charleston too soon. Let alone being his active self, jetting here and there and so on.

 

So you're right -- I would think he won't be doing much more than 'light work' for the immediate while. As to what he'll be up to after he recovers fully, better to let that unfold as it will rather than to speculate endlessly as to possible permutations and projects.

 

I would just wish him well for his recovery and for whatever the future holds!

 

Fred

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I would just wish him well for his recovery and for whatever the future holds!

 

Fred

 

Amen! He has certainly brought a lot of joy to a number of people on this forum! I only wish I had one of "his" guitars.

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I never got the feeling Ren was shackled at Gibson. I could be dead wrong but I always had the impression he was given wide latitude in his designs and ran Bozeman pretty much as an independent shop.

 

It sure is going to be intersting to see what happens with Guild.

Zomby...I have to dissagree here somewhat....tradition is also a set of design handcuffs.....Gibson headstocks are prone to breaking.....ask any repair luthier......if they thickened the headstock, and put in a thinner truss rod and trussrod nut......the problem would virtually dissappear.......BUT.....they are still building them like they used to, because of tradition......it is an easy fix and would not detract, but his hands are tied......I would love to see what he would do on his own......

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25 or so years is a long time doing anything, and so much has been done over Ren's time at Bozeman to rebuild the Gibson acoustic line. I'm lucky enough to own a Ren Nick Lucas, and its a privilege to pick it up every time. The word of acoustic guitars seems to be a very different place now than in the 1980s, I think the big boys (Martin & GIbson) are producing a much better product these days, due in some ways to the recognition of what made them great back in their glory days, and there are so many great smaller shops out there as well now. From what I've read, mainly in Fabulous Flat Tops and on the net, Ren has played a big part not only in steering Gibson back to making a first rate product, but also transferring knowledge to people at the Bozeman shop who have gone on to produce wonderful instruments themselves.

 

 

And maybe the new person can fix the pick guard placement on the j45...... [laugh]

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