Gibson gets a lot of heat because the quality of their guitars has wavered quite a bit over the last five years and the prices are through the roof. With that said I don’t want to see them go under, I would like to see them restructure their line and lower their prices. I had a conversation with a friend about this last night. Fender, who’s had some financial issues as well but nothing like Gibson has their made in Mexico line and they’re able to produce excellent instruments at the $599 price point…and they have the Fender logo on them, the same head stocks as their American counterpart, and the parts (necks) are interchangeable with the American stuff and vice versa. I have a MIM Strat, it’s an awesome instrument. Gibson has Epiphone, while Epiphone is an old company that makes very good instruments (primarily made in China) I think it bothers a lot of people that the Les Paul head stocks are different on the Epiphones and the Gibson name isn’t anywhere on the guitar. It personally doesn’t bother me, but if you can only afford an Epiphone Les Paul Standard but want the Gibson name on it I can see why this would be annoying. Consumers don’t want to be reminded that they can’t afford a American made Les Paul Standard and by changing the shape of the head stock and leaving the Gibson name off the guitar it does exactly that, it reminds people it’s not a “real” Les Paul. I don’t think the answer should be that you need to spend $1600 + more to get a American made Les Paul Standard with the proper head stock and Gibson name on the instrument. The only thing really in the sub $1000 area for Gibson that looks halfway decent is the Les Paul Tribute T which is $899 which I don’t think is in production anymore. Still a large amount of money for a lot of people. Again a Fender MIM strat is $599 and I don’t hear or feel much of a difference between that and the Fender American Standard Strat. There’s quite a few other guitar manufacturers that seem to be able to make great affordable guitars at or under the $599 price point and keep their name on the head stock, Ibanez is a big one that comes to mind, Schecter, G & L, Jackson, Sterling by Music Man (excellent guitar for the price) among others.
The used market is also killing Gibson. Why are people going to spend $2200 + for a new LP Standard when you can buy a used one for $1500 – $1900? Gibson needs to get low priced quality instruments into people’s hands. Dropping prices of their high end American made guitars and making simple changes to the Epiphone line would probably help a bit. Also, not having twenty variations of each Les Paul and not spreading yourself thin with an electronics division would help as well…~TS
According to Moody’s, Gibson Brands is seriously “running out of time” to restructure their debt and avoid bankruptcy. Avoidance of bankruptcy now highly unlikely.