Gibson = quality? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Gibson = quality?

i recently bought my first Gibson guitar - '76 reissue Explorer, and the final finishing of the instrument would be rated at an 8.5 out of 10. i bought the guitar NEW w/ a case at a Guitar Center while near DC last month. i didn't notice these little imperfections while at the store and would have demanded an even lower price on the instrument than i paid. i spent over 5 hours in the store trying different guitars and finally leaving with the Explorer. the guitar alone was talked down under $700 and the case was $125, when you break down the #'s. with the local tax and accessories (strap, strings, strap locks and other small items), i walked out with my purchase(s) for $878. i saw MF sells the same gtr w/ out the accessories for $949 + shipping, which is kinda funny since Guitar Center owns MF catalog sales!
i have never owned a Gibson. i rarely buy a NEW guitar. i love the instrument but am displeased with the finish and care that was spent on this guitar from Gibson.
the guitar is an '04 that was said to have only been on the wall less than two weeks. it wasn't banged up at all but does have a 1 inch sharpie mark on the back that almost looks like it is UNDER the laquer (the guitar is black w/ a white pickguard). the top of the body where the neck meets the body is really rough and looks like it was rushed rather than given the attention expected from a USA made guitar. the pearl dot inlays have filler around them (which i totally understand) and some of them have it slopped OVER the pearl. there are a few fogged spots in the finish and some odd marks that didn't clean off when i gave it the once over at home. the marks aren't dings but some kind of unfinished "scuffs" in the finish that seem to be some factory flaw in the finish rather than a player mark.
i know i'm being really picky about this stuff but you wouldn't expect a top notch ( ) USA guitar company to deliver this kind of "unfinished" product.
has anyone else seen similar quality issues on Gibson? i would eventually like to get a DC Standard Plus - but i will settle for a second hand one so as not to get "pinched" for the extra $ buying it new and already flawed.
i recently had a kid bring in a Gibson ES-175 (i believe that is the model- sharp cutaway hollow-body) that he bought NEW from MF catalog in a stunning red transparent finish. the problem seemed to be that the pups were falling out of the guitar. upon inspection, the center block was made of BALSA wood! the screws wouldn't stay in the body - well NO S#@T!!! you can't expect a screw to stay in balsa!!
is that a standard wood used in the center block for Gibson hollow body guitars? i was amazed.
i'm interested in hearing more from anyone on Gibson (cough) quality. the Hamer USA Studio guitar i just picked up is 10 times the quality and finish - hell, the Epiphone LP i just got is actually built better!
i do love the Explorer but i am saddened by what i expected to be a USA made instrument that i would proudly sing Gibson praise over. again, i do love the guitar and will enjoy playing it for many years to come, but if i had it to do over again, i would find a Hamer Standard made in the USA over the Gibson product any day of the week.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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quick note - the new guitar i bought ended up (almost) cheaper than a used Explorer that i was originally trying to purchase from them - they came off a lot on the price on the new one (originally $899 w/ the case before tax and w/out the accessories) and would only come down $20 on the used beat to hell Explorer they wanted $799 for. go figure.

Music is something bigger and greater than myself and I'm just glad to be a part of it. -TJ

A wise man once told me, "never discuss politics or religion in a disco enviroment" -Frank Zappa
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 11:33 AM
 
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That sounds about right.

That's their deal. All money, image, and marketing, no build quality. That's the way it's been for a long time. You have the right attitude-that you bought a used guitar. That's how you have to think of them, as 1-2yr old used guitars right off the shelf because there'll be issues. Many times if someone has blinders on because they want to "make love" to the gibson logo, they will deny and overlook the obvious flaws. Anyone that isn't in denial will recognize them, and if you can afford the alternatives you'll get a Hamer, or some other quality product. The black marker is likely just that. They sanded through the black during the finishing stage and just markered it before the gloss coats. Would you put your name on a guitar like that? That's what they should be asking at the factory but they don't care. At other companies guys would get fired for stuff like that. Was it "worth it?" Well for $800 you got a pretty nice guitar with good hardware and parts, and it looks cool too. So I'd say it's still worth it. It's still a good purchase, it just sucks that we're having this conversation in the first place. The guitars should be right when they come off the line.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 11:47 AM
 
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Gibson quality defenitely has been dropping considerably. I tried a brand new Gibson Les Paul Standard about 3 weeks ago, and I was just gob smacked really. I thought it was crap. I may have got a dud, but from what people have been saying, the quality is falling all the time.

And this is what annoys me about Gibson, especially the Les Paul models. I am a huge Gibson Les Paul fan, and love them to bits. But there really is no cheap alternative to them. So I thought to myself, lets wait and buy a proper Gibson Les Paul.....and I was dissapointed, and never ended up buying one.

Whats shocks me is that Gibson still knock them out for 1000+ even though the quality and sound is frankly poor on some models. I think that above any guitar, Gibson Les Pauls hold their value better than any guitar.
You would be very lucky if you could get a Gibson Les Paul Standard for under 850 nowadays.

So my question is.....will they/should they fall in price slightly? Because to me the price seems to be rising, and yet the quality falling....thats not right.

What is other peoples opinions?
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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i couldn't justify buying a new Les Paul. it would have to really stand out in all the right places. i would buy one for the right price used - but not what people THINK they should be selling them for - definitely far less.
IMHO - the Epiphone i have - not all Epiphones - is just as good as MOST of the Gibson models i have personally played. the tone is AWESOME!! the pups aren't original and the frets have been replaced (were replaced by the original owner, a luthier that replaced them right out of the box). the tuners were replaced with Gotoh tuners as well which i would take over the ugly Kluson style ones on the expensive LP guitars off the shelf. the funny part is Samick actually builds ALL Epiphones (from what i have read)!
this is like the same scenario that Fender is pulling. if you guys remember Fender actually discontinued the Japanese made Strats due to the outselling #s over their USA models. why? because guitarists that aren't blinded by a name can see, hear and feel quality. the Japanese Fenders were higher quality built instruments over the so-called top o' the line USA Fenders.
these big companies make me sick. Ibanez seems to be doing a lot of the same stuff - charging more but building lower standard instruments and cutting corners all over the place. ask anyone who has an early 90's or early 80's Ibanez. i'm told that even the Ibanez LP copies were better built than the Gibson originals and that is what really pissed Gibson off enough to sue Ibanez.
bottom line - choose an instrument by its personal merit and not by name of the manufacturer or origin. you'll get a better built guitar and appreciate it more in the long run. i personally plan to build customs (at least finish them myself) or order customs from a reputeable (sp?) source (i love the new LGM models - sweet! - wish i could try one out ). i would like a lot of other guitars but i plan to be very picky on the production models that i'm interested in from major manufacturers.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 01:15 PM
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Funny you'd say that about the Japanese built Fenders and Ibanez, considerring they're all made in the same factory
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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i also stated that OLD Ibanez guitars were of better build. the Japanese Fenders were built when Japanese quality was top notch. not so true nowadays - at least with standard production stuff.
we know what they are capable of building, but i guess the rising costs of production have had them cut corners and raise prices. it's hard to compare the quality of the OLD stuff to the stuff that is in production now.

Music is something bigger and greater than myself and I'm just glad to be a part of it. -TJ

A wise man once told me, "never discuss politics or religion in a disco enviroment" -Frank Zappa
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 03:03 PM
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I disagree that anything produced at Fugijen in the 70's 80's or 90's is anywhere near the quality and QC that has been seen since 00'
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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you are the expert on Ibanez - i'll always take your word.
i am going on what most of the "old school" forumites say about the old school Ibanez guitars - that the feel and tone is better - so i have taken it that they are better quality - i guess i assumed too much.
it's always good to have you join the topic Rich to keep some of us straight on these things

Music is something bigger and greater than myself and I'm just glad to be a part of it. -TJ

A wise man once told me, "never discuss politics or religion in a disco enviroment" -Frank Zappa
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 04:47 PM
 
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What do you consider an "old school" Ibanez, and when did anyone ever say their tone or feel was better?
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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i'll hunt down some of the many posts i've read that state the feel and tone is very liked and some like it better than some of the new models. i have read that about older Jems and RG's especially. "old shool" meaning block heel RG and Jems and from what i have read - the LP copies were/are held in fairly high regard. there has been many threads about this issue - this isn't one of them.
i had actually tried to make a point about Gibsons and a parallel with Ibanez - i guess i could have used a better example. the whole point of Gibson not showing the best finishing to ALL their instruments is what i started the thread about. simply put, some dissapointing finishing processes and shotty QC. most companies would not let their product out the door with some of these flaws. i have read about Jems and RG guitars - even DNA and Chromeboys being flawed from the factory - what's that?
Ibanez is probably one of the better QC companies around - but under todays strain of high production, i think they are still human and want to save a buck. wasn't that what the talk about moving to Korea is all about - to save money?

Music is something bigger and greater than myself and I'm just glad to be a part of it. -TJ

A wise man once told me, "never discuss politics or religion in a disco enviroment" -Frank Zappa
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 05:18 PM
 
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Oh, the block heal thing. I assumed you meant old Roadstars and stuff.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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i've never been a Roadstar guy. i like a real Strat for that vibe.

Music is something bigger and greater than myself and I'm just glad to be a part of it. -TJ

A wise man once told me, "never discuss politics or religion in a disco enviroment" -Frank Zappa
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-06-2004, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by screamndemon69
you are the expert on Ibanez - i'll always take your word.
i am going on what most of the "old school" forumites say about the old school Ibanez guitars - that the feel and tone is better - so i have taken it that they are better quality - i guess i assumed too much.
it's always good to have you join the topic Rich to keep some of us straight on these things
IMO the 80's and 90's were Ibanez worst years for QC only improved when JD took the job as QC manager for all Ibanez production. Fit improved dramatically where today sloppy neck pockets are almost never seen, as well as the rest of the tolerances being much tighter and cleaner. Not to say that current production is perfect, nope, but, it's far better in the details than it used to be.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 08:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by screamndemon69
i'll hunt down some of the many posts i've read that state the feel and tone is very liked and some like it better than some of the new models. i have read that about older Jems and RG's especially. "old shool" meaning block heel RG and Jems and from what i have read - the LP copies were/are held in fairly high regard. there has been many threads about this issue - this isn't one of them.
i had actually tried to make a point about Gibsons and a parallel with Ibanez - i guess i could have used a better example. the whole point of Gibson not showing the best finishing to ALL their instruments is what i started the thread about. simply put, some dissapointing finishing processes and shotty QC. most companies would not let their product out the door with some of these flaws. i have read about Jems and RG guitars - even DNA and Chromeboys being flawed from the factory - what's that?
Ibanez is probably one of the better QC companies around - but under todays strain of high production, i think they are still human and want to save a buck. wasn't that what the talk about moving to Korea is all about - to save money?
SD69 I hereya, But ALL guitar companies are going to have some guitars that dont meet up to standards. I dont care who makes them or where there made...........sad but true
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