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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With Gibson restructuring from bankruptcy it's a good time for a thread where Gibson articles can go. Starting with this one with interesting info including almost 10,000 Joe Bonamassa Gibson guitars sold in the last 10 years. Wow!

Joe Bonamassa: "I know the people that are taking over Gibson, and they're good guys"
By Michael Astley-Brown (Guitarist, Total Guitar) 6 hours agoGuitars
Blues-rocker addresses rumours he would buy troubled guitar company
www.musicradar.com/news/joe-bonamassa-i-know-the-people-that-are-taking-over-gibson-and-theyre-good-guys

Blues-rock mogul Joe Bonamassa recently joined former Sex Pistol Steve Jones for an episode of Jonesy's Jukebox, where, among other things, he teased his insider knowledge of the future of Gibson, who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in May.

"I know the people that are taking over Gibson, and they're good guys," Bonamassa enthused. "They're guitar guys. What a lot of people don't realise about Chapter 11 [bankruptcy] is people go, 'Oh, Chapter 11. Oh my God. The place is going out of business. There won't be a Les Paul, there won't be a Flying V.'

"No, Chapter 11 is basically designed to keep the wolves at the door at bay. And allow a company that's a very good company ultimately to just have a chance to kind of restructure before they have to pay their light bills and everything else. So it's gonna be great.

There was a rumour that I was buying Gibson. It circulated around the internet… And I just go, 'How well off do you think I am?' I play blues-rock for a living. It's like a vow of poverty

"There was a rumour that I was buying Gibson. It circulated around the internet… And I just go, 'How well off do you think I am?' I play blues-rock for a living. It's like a vow of poverty. And I'm like, 'How am I gonna buy a guitar company?'

"But the people that are gonna take it over are gonna be great and there'll always be Gibson. There'll always be a guitar. They have to kind of rename some management and stuff like that. But it's still functioning; they're still making guitars every day.

"I have friends over there. We've sold almost 10,000 Joe Bonamassa Gibson guitars in the last 10 years. Which is crazy; it's a testament to the fans. It's been a great relationship because I'm a guitar geek, and I've embraced that."
Bonamassa's comments continue the good vibes sown by Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, who recently detailed the company's forthcoming models.

"We've done a lot of work on those models for eight months, so it is not something that has been impacted by our financial situation, and we expect to carry through on those plans. We've had excellent reception from the consumers we've surveyed on test panels and so on, and many of the dealers have seen these new models and been very complimentary."

Despite the restructuring, there's been no let up in new signature models, with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong unveiling his latest take on the Les Paul Junior, and Bonamassa's next signature Epiphone already teased by the man himself.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

LOL... Quote of the year! "How well off do you think I am?' I play blues-rock for a living. It's like a vow of poverty."
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Lemme tell ya, I follow Joe on Facebook. He's doing okay for a bluesman.
Yeah, I hear his name thrown around a lot. Must be a popular guy... and I love bluesy-rock guitar, but never could connect with his style of playing for some reason. Just didn't grab me like others... Jimmy Thackery, etc. (disclaimer - had a religious experience seeing Thackery in a tiny club... 3 times, so, ya know)
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

I saw that Gibson owned part of Onkyo which is a consumer audio company. Growing up, my family had a stereo with floor standing speakers and I really had no opinion about it. I know it was not expensive or high quality because music was not high on the priority list and sound quality was not really a concept. A couple of weeks ago, I heard my first home stereo system as an adult. The system consisted of an Onkyo CD Player running into an Onkyo A/V Reciever playing back through 4 Polk Audio bookshelf speakers. Every component was made in 2004ish.

:surprise:

It sounded amazing! I was expecting mediocrity but what I heard was far better than any consumer audio product I've ever heard. We have digressed in our standards for the sake of convenience....but to be fair, home A/V is the most complicated industry normal people have access to. (As opposed to weapons development or the space program.) So to some degree, I understand. Managing a consumer electronics company and a guitar company was optimistic at best, but if they had been successful at it, things would be very different today.

Gibson will be fine.
If you can sort out consumer electronics, you will be a very wealthy person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Very good read in the Music Radar full interview of HJ, linked below...

https://www.musicradar.com/news/in-...ur-quality-today-is-better-than-its-ever-been

Some notable takeaways from current Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz

we have roughly a 60 per cent share of the market in instruments above $2,000 in electric guitars, and that is really what Gibson has been known for historically, so I challenge you to find inexpensive Gibsons anywhere in our history.
At the same time, we are the only guitar business that has our own factory in China.
Q. How do you respond to accusations that quality control has been patchy at times? Is there a case to answer? And, if so, what steps are being taken to fix that?

A. "Well, to quote some politicians, I would say that's 'fake news' ".
Of the calls we get, less than seven per cent are about some kind of issue with a guitar.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Interesting read. Overall I too think Gibson will be fine but there are a few points where he divorces himself from reality.
He claims CITES as a problem. Well, everyone had the same problem.
Also he says Gibson bad QC is fake news? I wouldn't say that. They probably have as many issues as any guitar builder on that level these days. Now if I saw a QC issue on a $3k guitar over, say, a $1,200 AZ then I'd be way more pissed at the former. And Gibson has a deep heritage which makes that QC stand out more. It's like the Mitch Hedberg joke about cold sore medication cream really being like cold sore highlighter.
I think they're right to focus on the $3k plus market but, again, lots of builders are set up that way. PRS, Fender, Ibanez, etc all have their own version of Epiphone.
I think if they can get their MIA QC solid they'll be okay. Provided this dude doesn't make another robotuning blunder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Interesting read. Overall I too think Gibson will be fine but there are a few points where he divorces himself from reality.
He claims CITES as a problem. Well, everyone had the same problem.
Also he says Gibson bad QC is fake news? I wouldn't say that. They probably have as many issues as any guitar builder on that level these days. Now if I saw a QC issue on a $3k guitar over, say, a $1,200 AZ then I'd be way more pissed at the former. And Gibson has a deep heritage which makes that QC stand out more. It's like the Mitch Hedberg joke about cold sore medication cream really being like cold sore highlighter.
I think they're right to focus on the $3k plus market but, again, lots of builders are set up that way. PRS, Fender, Ibanez, etc all have their own version of Epiphone.
I think if they can get their MIA QC solid they'll be okay. Provided this dude doesn't make another robotuning blunder.
Mike, i wonder if some of your concerns are colored by what HJ calls "fake news" (an alternate reality based on vocal minority)? I generally think he is correctly being replaced as CEO as a new face is ideal after bankruptcy but they're not only OK but they are growing in sales with people buying more Gibson's. In spite of everything.

Seems like the "fake news" (unbalanced/sensational) coverage didn't explain the Nashville factory being sold as it's not viable in an upscale area transformed from prior warehouses.

His point on acoustics for newbs is spot on.

And if 7% of their calls are about problems and a caller from the USA gets a fellow American speaking legibly and it's handled as said... well I'm just not seeing the problem. For reference, I just saw an article where like 40% of iPhone 6 had mechanical failures & problems LOL. If i buy an axe i prefer the option to be able to call the maker not dealer if needed right?

CITES - Gibson has mostly rosewood fretboard axes (you see many maple fretboard Gibsons?). He's not wrong saying it compounded their other (self-inflicted non-guitar) mistakes at the worst time.

That said, I agree the obsession over "technology" has created some self-inflicted gunshot wounds. But the failed robotuners (small percent of their axes offered and removable) seems to just fuel the news bias though. All companies - Ibanez for sure - do stupid things trying to hard with technology and change.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Mike, i wonder if some of your concerns are colored by what HJ calls "fake news" (an alternate reality based on vocal minority)? I generally think he is correctly being replaced as CEO as a new face is ideal after bankruptcy but they're not only OK but they are growing in sales with people buying more Gibson's. In spite of everything.

Seems like the "fake news" (unbalanced/sensational) coverage didn't explain the Nashville factory being sold as it's not viable in an upscale area transformed from prior warehouses.

His point on acoustics for newbs is spot on.

And if 7% of their calls are about problems and a caller from the USA gets a fellow American speaking legibly and it's handled as said... well I'm just not seeing the problem. For reference, I just saw an article where like 40% of iPhone 6 had mechanical failures & problems LOL. If i buy an axe i prefer the option to be able to call the maker not dealer if needed right?

CITES - Gibson has mostly rosewood fretboard axes (you see many maple fretboard Gibsons?). He's not wrong saying it compounded their other (self-inflicted non-guitar) mistakes at the worst time.

That said, I agree the obsession over "technology" has created some self-inflicted gunshot wounds. But the failed robotuners (small percent of their axes offered and removable) seems to just fuel the news bias though. All companies - Ibanez for sure - do stupid things trying to hard with technology and change.
It's not really fake news. As you pointed out it's likely a vocal minority. Still, it's there and there are plenty of examples easy enough to find on the internet of unhappy customers. Again, I would emphasize what I said that they probably have the same QC issues as any company at their price point. I'm just saying I wouldn't downplay those issues. Everyone is so ass-on-fire busy and worries about taking a loss in eating material that was poorly assembled that I don't doubt a few things go out the door that shouldn't.
If there's anything "unbalanced" it's that Gibson has a reputation as being a premium and when QC issues show up for them it looks worse. (cold sore highlighter.)
Gibson, like Fender, Ibanez and a host of others, are private companies - so I don't take much stock in his claim it's only 7%. Not exactly verifiable. It wouldn't surprise me if its low, though.
Very true on Gibson not using maple - but they DO use Richlite which IIRC isn't on CITES list as its made of general cellulose product and made not grown, yeah? (I'd love to see an RG use Richlite on a few models but I suspect it ain't happening any time soon. But with CITES, maybe....It looks cool.)
I think the danger with Gibson is that the premium luster of their name isn't what it once was. THAT'S really what they need to protect.
Also other big problems are Boomers are dying or selling off gear to downsize. You mentioned Ibanez had that problem in another thread I think. I think the problem is worse for Gibson. Why spend $3k on a guitar when someone is unloading four of them to move to Florida?
Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not trying to sound ageist but Boomers, and Gen X, getting older is shifting things a bit too I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

I'll agree to disagree.

Just to clarify a couple things imho... I don't see boomers/collectors being an issue since that's an entirely different market & small piece of the picture (drives new sales not vice versa). I actually can't think of one trend working AGAINST Gibson myself. In their favor is real manufacturing quality and capability (China & USA all bases covered), never diluting the Gibson brand (premium brand like Apple... cheap but good for Epi), good acoustics & timeless designs in many price ranges. Just follow Gibson on twitter & you'll see new creations that like HJ said actually hold value. Dave W. just posted to Inst a video with his custom shop Gold Top. Even if you disagree with any of that there is no denying their appeal.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

I think we agree on a lot of your points. I just don't think Gibson's problems are unique. They're the same a lot of guitar makers have. And I don't dispute Gibson makes top notch instruments. They do. They're just not my cup of tea.
And with the Boomers thing I'm mostly running on my own perceptions.Of all the people who were playing out when i was in my twenties only a few are still doing it now. And when I go see local bands I don't see many millenials in the audience or on stage. That's just how it is I guess. Not sure if that's everywhere but I hear it's fairly common, hence the many "learn to play" programs by Gibson, Fender, and the like I suspect.
But if overall sales are way up then maybe I'm wrong. Maybe everyone's just on YouTube now. :D
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Not sure if that's everywhere but I hear it's fairly common, hence the many "learn to play" programs by Gibson, Fender, and the like I suspect. But if overall sales are way up then maybe I'm wrong. Maybe everyone's just on YouTube now. :D
This is a pretty accurate assessment. I have to admit, Gibson and Fender, asking their customers to "learn to play" is not very encouraging. That is not their role and seems to be a symptom of larger problems...
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Local bands... LOL. Times change but industry sales are going up & if that sustains all the better.

I have to admit, Gibson and Fender, asking their customers to "learn to play" is not very encouraging. That is not their role and seems to be a symptom of larger problems...
I think you're not seeing the target, here's why. Half the first time purchasers stop playing (stop using your product)… so it's BRILLIANT to not only to offer training/help/excitement to said newbs BUT also simultaneously improve customer ENGAGEMENT while also adding incremental (subscription) revenues. This drives future product sales of course (buy another guitar).

I say this first hand from a running a software co that transitioned from "sales and upgrades" to yearly licensing over 12 years ago. A huge obstacle after initial sale a high % of customers hesitated "upgrading" (i.e. Windows XP user of today) thus making our experience for them poor and eventually not even supportable. Going to a subscription was a win-win for both customer and business. No downside to either.

Why would Fender & Ibanez not want to offer this? Imagine if Ibanez had actual CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT for the last 25 years beyond a few artists? The teaching lessons bring this, more importantly for newbs who buy then drop out.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Local bands... LOL. Times change but industry sales are going up & if that sustains all the better.
True but, again, there's nothing special about Gibson that other guitar companies aren't experiencing. Sales are going up industry-wide. So the real story is whether Gibson participates in that upswing along with everyone else. If they don't then there's something wrong.
And local bands, yes. Some people pick up the instrument with the hopes of making it big or, sometimes, possibly impressing the opposite sex. If guitar playing proves a fruitless venture for some they might be more prone to drop it. Millennials don't meet anymore in smoky bars with bands blasting loud music. They meet on Tinder or elsewhere online. Hell, "rock and roll" is a euphemism for sex!
But maybe YouTube is the new normal. I guess if guitars are still being sold I guess, you're right, that's all that matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

I'd say Youtube is actually pretty dated (relegated "for teaching/tutorials") if not off-putting (obsolete). For self video promotion and sharing you have 1. Instagram and 2. snapchat and clearly soundcloud for audio only.

Bottom line is almost anyone interested in guitar has a positive appreciation (brand image) for Gibson (and also Fender). I'm not saying everyone loves these products like some here love Vai/JEMs but i'm saying they have very, very positive brand. That is worth it's weight in gold. So even in the future if new guitar sales themselves are not growing YoY, I still see Gibson (+ epi) not losing market share for all the reasons posted.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

My dad and all the other guitar players I knew growing up played Les Pauls... So when a family friend gave me a '76 wine red LP back in the 90's I was shocked and put my old Ibanez in it's case. I wore the frets off that thing! I recently had it refretted and it just isn't the same anymore. It just hangs on the wall and watches me play all my Ibbys... :)
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

I only mention YouTube as a performing "venue" of sorts. I guess I'm a performer at heart. To me playing live is part of the experience. When I started there were lots of local clubs where original acts could play. Now they've all dried up and you're only really playing covers if you're playing live. And the crowd and performers both are aging; yours truly included of course. :D I find it great to see acts made up of the next generation locally but there seems to be far less of them. Maybe it's just my perception. But then I too am older and have more responsibilities so I don't get out as much either. :D
I'm thinking structural change the way the music business itself has seen structural change. How many gold and platinum records are there for rock acts now compared to the 1980's?
It's just different. That's all I'm saying. How that translates to guitar sales, now and in the long-term, I'm not sure. But then again when I was playing out originals I had like 2-3 guitars and now I have quite a bit more and don't play out as much.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

My issue with Gibson is manufacturing consistency for what is a premium price point. That's where I think Henry is not being honest.

When I got back into guitar five years ago I went out to purchase that Les Paul I couldn't afford in my youth. Went from Guitar Center to GC trying to find a Les Paul where the high e-string wasn't slipping off the fretboard. Many had volume pots that were off-center and not mounted correctly. Wood and finish quality varied widely. The one I bought I ended up taking back within a week.

I then found a used Les Paul hanging on the GC wall that was in perfect condition. Quickly purchased it. For guitars that cost $1800 to $3000 they need much better quality control.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

My issue with Gibson is manufacturing consistency for what is a premium price point. That's where I think Henry is not being honest.

When I got back into guitar five years ago I went out to purchase that Les Paul I couldn't afford in my youth. Went from Guitar Center to GC trying to find a Les Paul where the high e-string wasn't slipping off the fretboard. Many had volume pots that were off-center and not mounted correctly. Wood and finish quality varied widely. The one I bought I ended up taking back within a week.

I then found a used Les Paul hanging on the GC wall that was in perfect condition. Quickly purchased it. For guitars that cost $1800 to $3000 they need much better quality control.
Exactly, though I think it's a problem across all guitar manufacturers - and lots of industries beyond musical instruments. It's really kind of a pet peeve of mine. It seems "progress" these days by a company is measured in how many corners can be cut, not actually putting out a quality product and improving on it. It's a bean counter's world where high-fives are in order for making the cereal box an inch shorter in three dimensions yet charging the same price as the old box. That's not progress.
 

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Re: Gibson New Ownership & more (almost 10,000 Bonamassa guitars sold in a decade)

Exactly, though I think it's a problem across all guitar manufacturers - and lots of industries beyond musical instruments. It's really kind of a pet peeve of mine. It seems "progress" these days by a company is measured in how many corners can be cut, not actually putting out a quality product and improving on it. It's a bean counter's world where high-fives are in order for making the cereal box an inch shorter in three dimensions yet charging the same price as the old box. That's not progress.
It's called value engineering and it's applicable to all manufacturing, when it goes too far a company risks a mass exodus of customers to a competitor.
 
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