The sad state of Gibson

It’s pretty well-known in guitar circles that if you want a Les Paul you look for a used Historic, which are Gibson custom shop replicas of classic Les Paul models. (That, or you find a good luthier to make you a replica.) And even if you do that, you are 80% likely to replace pretty much all the parts that are not wood: pickups, wiring, tuners, bridge. I did exactly this back in 2010, and the end result is one of the finest guitars I’ve ever owned.

Compare this to most Fender guitars, which are pretty much good to go right off the rack, whether it’s a $500 made in Mexico model, a circa-$1,000 US model, or something from their custom shop.

While I think the article and some of the comments overstate the quality issues at Gibson a little bit, the fact is that nobody in their right mind buys Gibsons new, for list price. They’ve been coasting on their brand legacy for decades. And, yes, the “new” models have been batting zero for a while now.

(I found this via Jim DelRosso, who shared an article about how Guitar Center has circulated a memo asking its employees not to share this Gawker story on social media.)

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