I couldn't agree more.I've had more than my fair share of Gibsons through the years, but have moved away from them over the last decade. None of these new changes make me want to buy a new one.
Apparently old Henry has decided that he knows better than his customers.It's one thing to offer new inventions and innovations, it's another to make it mandatory on every instrument.
I don't see the comparison as being particularly valid. Flying Vs, Explorers, etc, look different from other guitars, but functioned identically. I've played them, and thought they are not my favorite instruments, they are good guitars.To us old foggies these new "improvements" must be kinda like the Flying V or Explorer back in '50s, or the Firebird in the '60s.
You never know where this stuff is going to go.
Not the first time Gibson raised some eyebrows, thats for sure.
To a kid coming up now, raised on computers, smartphones, iPads, Facebook and Google etc, it may look different.
I'm with you guys on the automatic tuners etc, but how does this stuff look to the new breed of techno-savy kids coming up nowdays?
If I were 10 yrs old again looking at this stuff it might be the coolest Christmas present ever
Forcing auto tuners on all Gibson customers, and a stiff price increase to boot, that's just plain stupid. Tuning is a skill, one I consider very important, even in these days of electronic tuners. When I played a Gibson Johnny Smith, I kept an E tuning fork in the case and tuned from that using octaves and other tricks to work my way from the high E to the low E with everything in between being as close as possible to perfect. It trained my ear and made it so that I notice an out-of-tune string early in the game.
It's also enabled me to restring a guitar and tune it to nearly perfect pitch without an external reference. I can't do this every time, but I've gotten pretty good at it over the years. Sometimes this can come in very handy, such as when guitar shopping. At gigs I use an electronic tuner, but that's more because it's hard to hear well enough to tune accurately at a gig and my Son of Snark uses vibration, not sound.
I understand that the ten-year-old mind would find G-Force tuners appealing, but that doesn't raise their appeal to me. When I was ten, I thought my parents should buy a Corvette for our family car, and I'd ride in the open space under the back window. I wasn't thinking about snow, safety (riding unrestrained in the back of a '64 'Vette), insurance costs, theft risk, etc, I was seeing the gloss and glitter of it all.
When I was in my late teens I thought the my personal ride should have been a Lamborghini Jarama. I wasn't thinking in practical terms, I was ignoring huge realities and, essentially, living in a world of make-believe. At sixteen a Jarama seemed to have it all, at sixty, just the cost of tires would be enough to dissuade me from even considering it.
A ten year old kid might think that G-Force tuners are great, but chances are that kid isn't giving so much as a pico-second of thought to the fact that these will eventually quit working. Just the testimony in this thread tells of them not functioning as advertised and, they won't get better with age. These tuners involve motors, micro electronics and add weight to the headstock of a guitar. If you replace them you will have to pay Gibson's price, and as their 2015 pricing bears witness, they aren't afraid to ask a dear price for anything they sell.
Perhaps some enterprising party will design and market a replacement for these tuners; one which fits their footprint, but does away with all of the electro-mechanical nonsense. But it's a crying shame that Gibson sees fit to impose its choice across their lineup.
Ten year olds are not the prime market for Gibson instruments. Gibson is trying to appeal to a younger demographic, but I doubt it will work. For years, Gibson was the Caddilac of guitar companies. It was the guitar you bought when you were skilled enough, earning enough and had paid some dues along the way. This, BTW, would have described the kind of person that would buy a Caddilac automobile just as well as the person that bought a Gibson guitar.
The world has changed much since then and neither Caddilac or Gibson means what it used to mean. Caddilac has reinvented itself as a seller of luxury SUVs and luxury sports coupes and sedans. But along the way they made many missteps, such as the Cimarron, a Chevy sub-compact with a fancy grill. For decades they floundered until they found their footing and came out with the CTS. They finally found a way to meld their core, luxury, with the realities of the contemporary market, and have built a more successful line because of it.
Gibson, IMO, is still stuck in the Cimarron phase, trying to graft something they perceive as cool onto their core product. What they are failing to see, once agin, IMO, is that the market has changed dramatically and they need to get in touch with the core value that made Gibson a success for many years. What they seem incapable of comprehending is that Gibson, as esteemed as their guitars were, actually was a bargain brand. I don't meant bargain brand in the sense of a Hyundai being cheaper than an equivalent Toyota, but in the sense that a Gibson buyer got a lot for their money.
For example, I drive a Toyota. The reason I drive a Toyota is that it costs me less in the long run than a less expensive alternative. Toyotas are not less expensive than their competition, but they have a reputation for quality and durability that makes them a good investment. People buy Toyotas and drive them until they drop. 300,000 mile Toyotas are relatively commonplace.
If I was going to buy a new sedan today, it would be a Toyota Camry. If I had a million dollar windfall and decided to buy a new car, it would still be a Toyota Camry. If I became stinkin' rich and could afford a Lamborghini, I would still buy a Camry, albeit I might indulge a V-6 Camry at that point. Why? Because it's a solid, reliable product and I would be confident in it. You can buy a fancier car, but it's unlikely that you can buy a truly better car.
If I was trying to build Gibson's market share I would use Toyota as my example. Instead of trying to promote the line as innovative, I'd promote it as being high quality, reliable and a bargain in the long run. I would trade heavily upon the heritage of the brand. I'd look for examples like Peter Frampton, who got his three-pickup Les Paul back after being lost in a plane crash decades before. I'd show people like Charlie Daniels, who has played a Les Paul for decades. I would promote the permanence of ownin a Gibson. I'd seek out stories of people that were playing Gibsons they inherited from their fathers and grandfathers. I'd promote the idea that a Gibson was a lifetime instrument; then I'd subtly suggest that there's no reason you can't own more than one "lifetime instrument".
I'd use photos that depicted a grandfather showing his grown grandson an original '54 Les Paul with the subtle implication that the grandson would inherit that Les Paul someday. In the photo would be a more modern Gibson, the grandson's guitar and the grandson's 10 year old son would be present, witnessing the sense of legacy that Gibson guitars offer. My goal, would be for people to buy Gibson guitars as an investment, not for monetary gain, but an investment in passing a heritage of music forward onto their families. These are uncertain times and many people feel a sense impermanence in their lives. Make Gibson a product that offers permanence and discretionary income will come a knocking. That's Gibson's core value and one cannot stray from the core value of a product without risking rejection.
The sad thing is this; the current ownership of Gibson did honor their heritage for a number of years after buying the company, back in '86 or so. The guitars coming out after the nightmare of the Norlin years were of good quality and represented an excellent value. There were plenty of people waiting to buy a Gibson and the company was working hard to keep up with the demand. Buyers were more than happy to wait for a Gibson, why wouldn't they be? Somewhere along the line, the lure of higher profit margins and grandiosity sought to improve upon this happy situation, so now we have gimmickry and poor value per dollar spent.