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Gibson acoustics, asking for advice, please.


baldbloke
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Hi, Curiousity only at this point. Not really g.a.s. I have zero experience of them myself other than seeing and hearing them on tv and radio. Internet discussions suggest that finding a "good" Gibson acoustic is a search that may require much time and trial. Is this really the case? Can they really be more varied in manufacture than other high end brands? Also, they appear to be relatively expensive in comparison to other quality brands. Are they worth the price? Currently I have one all mahogany Martin and two Stonebridge (cedar/rosewood) guitars. These were love at first touch/sound. Years have now passed and i have absolutely no regrets. I love them. But maybe I'm just used to them or perhaps easily pleased. Interested in trying out Gibsons. Just a hankering. Not gassing (yet). Opinions, encouragement, discouragement, please? Thank you.

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gibson is a great brand. like every guitar you buy, you should play it before you buy it

yep for gibson you pay a share for the name, but you also do for a real martin

 

as of quality, new instruments seem to have fairly high quality, but still there could be a lemon. if you look at the used market, there are periods where gibson production quality was hit and miss....

 

no matter what, to be on the save side you have to play it yourself and build your own first hand experience

if you like it and the price is ok to you, hit it

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I would not mail order one with great expectations but if you're curious enough to make the search you might find one that you like.

 

Edit: If you want a true and compelling accounting of Gibson's quality reliability, consider the functionality of the edit feature of this site. They are on a par favoring this site.

 

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367965

Edited by Idunno
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T-e-l-e, thank you for your input. I recall reading something about thier inconsistent period.any idea when that was? Inconsistency seems to be a recurring theme with Gibson user reviews. Much more so than any other high end brands. E.g. Martin, Taylor. Woods are never consistent. I recognise that. It does create interesting variations for certain periods. Not a a bad thing. Just fact. Are Gibsons bit more reliable, consistency wise, these days? I expect (would like to think) so. but internet conspiracy theories can sometimes linger and distort facts.

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Idunno, that link, whilst no manufacturer can be perfect all of the time, leans heavily towards Gibson as being more problematic than others. Seems discouragidiscouraging. Even after years of feedback, how can they not evolve? I might need a bit more encouragement before I try out a Gibson after reading that.

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What I have heard is that the "Norlin era" ('70's and maybe 80's) was the low point in Gibson's quality (but that was true for other brands including Martin and (OMC). The other thing that I hear is that acoustics built at the Bozeman Montana facility are supposed to be the best. Personally I've never been impressed with new Gibsons that I've played - I have played a couple of vintage ones that were outstanding however. (And I am partial to their electrics and semi hollows)

 

What specific model(s) are you interested in? Do you have the option of trying them and actually evaluating them or are you internet shopping?

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My experience with the 90s era Bozeman models were all excellent. A friend of mine owned a music store back then and I got to play quite a few of them. Hummingbirds, Doves, J45s, J150 & 200s, mostly. These were produced by former Flatiron employees in the Flatiron mandolin facility Gibson purchased. My favorite was a lovely rosewood back and sides J45 that I still wish today I had purchased. Since that time I've only picked up one occasionally in guitar center. Most were good, a few were dead but they had typical GC neglect with dead rusty strings, etc so I can't really say how they really compare with the Bozeman era. I've been well acquainted with a few well played 50s and 60s era J45s and they were wonderful. A friend used to own a 70s Hummingbird that wasn't very good. Be aware with the exception of the Advanced Jumbos which have a big boomy Martin like sound, Gibsons are different animals. Shorter scale, more compressed when strummed hard, which is part of their charm. That new Walnut J15 looks like a great guitar at a reasonable price.

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From your responses it does seem that buying a "good" Gibson is not a simple prospect. Personally, due to inexperience, I fear I might just buy a wrong 'un. And then regret it. Sounds like it might be a gamble. (Perhaps that is an overstatement). I like the idea of short scale though. Freeman, no particular models in mind. (Feeble) fingerstyle, Celtic/folk, instrumental is what I enjoy/aspire to.. Taylors don't do much for me. I prefer a bit more bass. . Martins are nice, however, i don't need quite as much bass as they offer, generaly speaking. (My ears and lack of ability. Not criticism) picky, picky, picky, ain't I. . My thumb likes a guitar with a bit of bass. But not too much. My thumb tends to be a bit heavy. J15 might be worth a try, maybe?

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. . . "J' = Jumbo. Did not realise that. Thank you. Not for me then. Smaller body is my preference.

With Gibsons, the "J" in many cases means slope shouldered dreadnaught rather than the narrow waisted wide lower bout shape most of us think of as a "jumbo." The J15 is the former, the J200 is the latter. Looks like the LG-2 is the least expensive small-bodied Gibson currently being built: http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Acou...can-Eagle.aspx.

Edited by DeepEnd
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QUOTE=baldbloke;n31342286]Idunno, that link, whilst no manufacturer can be perfect all of the time, leans heavily towards Gibson as being more problematic than others. Seems discouragidiscouraging. Even after years of feedback, how can they not evolve? I might need a bit more encouragement before I try out a Gibson after reading that.

 

I've been wanting to like Gibson for years - actually, for all of my guitar-cognitive years - but there's been no joy in it. I was compelled to get a Hummingbird in 1973 and checked a bunch of them out. They seemed to be calling me. The last one I played was on a wall in a store next to a Martin D-35 and I played them both. The Martin was clearly the better sounding guitar and when they were there on the wall side-by-side it was also evident the Gibson looked cartoonish in contrast to the Martins plain good looks. I bought the Martin ($735.00 w/HSC).

 

Since then I've kept Gibson in the periphery playing samples of them and always in comparison to comparable Martins or other reputabe brands of similar models. Gibson isn't a contender in every single sampling I've done. The reason for it, I've been told, is I don't have an ear for the Gibson sound. Ah! That must be it because otherwise I'm sure they're fine instruments. I wish I'd have thought of that back when I wanted a Hummingbird. It would have sounded great to everyone else but me and that's okay. I'd be playing to an audience anyway and that's all that matters.

 

Gibson sound my ass.

 

RE; The Article

 

The truth of the matter is the company drives it's employees like machines. The old addage that a company consists of the 3-Ms (Men, Money and Machines) places Men at the forefront for a reason. They are the single most important aspect of a company. Lose them and you may as well put ketchup on your money and machines. Gibson's CEO is a person who will ultimately win by circumstances or fail by his own hand. His employees have circumvented the suggestion box and utilized the internet to communicate the problems. One problem is being harrassed to produce guitars with defects. Martin does that as well and I'm sure others have a samping that would embarrass them. The difference lies in the way Gibson treats its work force. When you don't have integrity to give, you won't get any back. The products suffer from the fallout as does the reputation from frequent public disclosure from disgruntled workers.

 

I see China in Gibson's near future as a survival tactic.

Edited by Idunno
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as of period of time i meant the norlin era as freeman said, which was somewhere beginning 70s to mid 80s. but haven't meant that they are all bad. they just hit or miss, some guitar might be great, the next might be garbage

myself i have a lespaul from that time, i love it, its heavy as hell, but that was the wood they used at the time, still i love this heavy beast...

 

whats more important is, that you actually play it, if you play it and it sounds great to you, feels good to play and does not have any visible damage its a great guitar for you...

 

it does not help getting thousands of internet opinions on the best guitar in the world if you don't like everyone elses number one... it must be your number one, and you will not know it before you have played it

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My beef w Gibson is the man running the show, not the product. Sometimes he adversely affects the product, so you have to be careful. Gibson acoustics sound different than Martins or Taylor's. If you are serious about trying the brand go somewhere with a good selection and play some. You'll either find one you love, or not.

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.. Freeman' date=' I have not looked, even online, at any models yet. "J' = Jumbo. Did not realise that. Thank you. Not for me then. Smaller body is my preference.[/quote']

 

I was lucky enough to play a couple of small bodied prewar Gibsons - a Nick Lucas and an L-00 that were simply wonderful. I think Gibson is doing some reproductions of those, but then others are also (including me).

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Dear Mister Keller, with the replies so far, i think i have lost enthusiasm for investigating Gibson made guitars. Hovever, your posts over the years assure me that you are a man of integrity, one who knows his stuff and pays attention to detail. I would be grateful and honoured if you would be kind enough to send me one of your Gibson reproductions for permanent appraisal. Of course, I would offer to pay the carraige costs. ;)

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I have a J45 and J185 that I bought in the early 90's when Gibson moved to Bozeman. The QC is good.

They sound like Gibson stuff. Awesome.

 

I also have 3 Martins.

 

The warranty imo is worth it's weight in gold on Martin stuff. I wouldn't give you a plugged nickle for any Gibson warranty. So look for a good one and hope for the best.

 

If you buy a new one it takes a bit of time to season up too. You'll know in a year or so what ya have.

 

 

 

 

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I own several J-45's and have played all the latest derivations (J-15, j-35) and have not found the quality control to be any different from other manufacturers, both in tone and construction. Quite the contrary, these under $1600 Gibson's have been all above average to great. I'd avoid the rosewood j-45's as I've yet to hear one I like, though. Just personal preference and adaptation to what I've always known I suspect.

 

 

I also suspect that a lot of Gibson animosity comes from Gibson management's less than favorable standing amongst the tree hugger, labor union and granola eating crowd.

 

Bottom line is to play as many as you can, particularly someone's acoustic that has not been hanging in a big box store with dirty strings.

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I haven't found Gibson's to be any more variable than comparable brands like Martin and Taylor. I have a Dove that sounds like a 12-string - it's really zingy with the maple top, and it was the first one I picked up when I went looking - and I also have a J-15 I bought recently, again it was the first one I touched. It's a definite keeper. I'm mostly a Martin guy, but I've played my share of Gibsons. I think the one thing you have to consider is that all of the long-time major builders like Martin, Gibson and Guild have had their bad periods (Taylor hasn't really been around that long in comparison), but mostly we're talking more than 30 years ago.

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