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Gibson Guitar Returns to Basics

Steven Stone gets the inside scoop on Gibson’s future direction straight from the horse’s mouth…

If you’re into guitars in even a small way you are probably aware that the Gibson guitar company is in big trouble. They have debts, big debts, coming due. Even selling excess real estate and reducing the middle management head-count didn’t seem to do much to reverse the inexorable march toward insolvency… 

AR-gib1a copy.jpgBut, today Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO and “voice of Gibson” announced a radical restructuring that he called “A sure-fire, no-brainer, approach to eliminate all Gibson’s financial challenges…” Juszkiewicz calls it his “Totally green forest to end-user production chain plan.” 

Along with this new way to sell guitars comes Gibson’s revolutionary warranty program – they will replace, no questions asked, any of the new series that are not made of wood. 

The gist of the new program is this – Gibson will ship, direct to end-user, the wood for their guitar, directly from the country of origin to their home, just like Amazon does with kitty litter. Of course, Gibson will also send along assembly instructions, a genuine Gibson decal for the headstock, and a small jig-saw. 

AR-gib3a.jpgThe new “Create your own dream Gibson” lets the end-users decide exactly what kind of instrument they want. It also allows users to build that instrument to whatever level of fit and finish they feel comfortable with. 

Obviously, the new program makes factories, skilled workers, and retailers all obsolete, but Gibson ex-employees will all have the option of joining Epiphone, who will still manufacture guitars via the old-fashioned factory method, in Korea. 

Another option that will be available to end-users will be the “Rent a Gibson guy” program, which will be kind of an Uber for luthiers. Anyone who opts for the “Create your own Gibson” program gets a special discount on the first 100 hours of the “Rent a Gibson guy” program. From the employee point of view this may be somewhat less attractive than their previous positions, but it offers them the option of staying “in country.” 

AR-gib5a.jpgPerhaps of greater concern to audiophiles, Gibson has similar plans for Teac and Onkyo. Cakewalk (another Gibson company) has been refocused on developing an AI that creates, tests, and produces via 3D printing, future generations of audio products. Again, the goal is to be able to deliver to the end-user an involving musical experience without human interference. 

While some critics may claim that the new direction is too “Hands’ on” for prospective purchasers, Juszkiewicz pointed me to a series of research articles that proved conclusively that guitarists always need something to do with their hands to keep from actually playing the guitar…

April Fools…one day late…and in Gibson’s case, a pound short…

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