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Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Merc, Jul 24, 2020.
See, all the more reason to pick up a new one while you know they’re good.
Yea , looks like they'll be on the hunt for someone . But I understand Chris will still oversee most things
One thing to keep in mind, with regard to the video above, is that YouTube videos are motivated by attracting viewers. There’s a guy that does videos about various Classic Rock bands and brings up all sorts of salacious rumors, except that anyone with half a brain could Google these questions and find answers. He’s not providing information, he’s just stirring up settled controversies and the uninformed run up his views.
There are bound to be disruptions with the current quarantine measures in place. I wish all companies well during this situation, and hope that we come through this eventually and the restrictions can be lifted.
Of course. But it’s the first that I realized that factories really shut down for this. Maybe it’s me, but I do see a relationship with the apparent recent frustrations that have popped up on here with new purchases.
I called your wife, Rich. She said it was OK to get another guitar.
Not in THIS household, I assure you.
I xon't do any New anything till it get here.
I would certainly guess that the production of guitars has slowed and, in some cases, stopped temporarily. But on the other side of the market, I am guessing demand has fallen as well, as most rich countries are seeing significant falls in demand. A shortage is not just a fall in production; it is when production fails to meet demand. And when that happens, prices go up. I.e., if there were a real shortage, I would expect significant increases in prices.
As far as which firms survive and which fold . . . IMO, that usually depends as much on each individual firm as it does on the industry. They are each owned, managed and financed differently, and have different abilities to respond to economic shocks. Over-leveraged and poorly-managed companies are more likely to fall (and Gibson went bankrupt will before coronavirus - in fact, in the middle of a boom economy).
If Martin falls, coronavirus will merely be the straw that broke its back - it would only fall if it already had weaknesses, before all this started.
Guitar shortage? Pshhh, i got like 50 of them
Demand is way down, at this point, so I would suspect that production of new instruments is constrained, if it’s happening at all. I would say that Fender will probably find its way through, they tend to be very agile.
I don’t know enough about Martin to even comment, but if they haven’t leveraged themselves in anticipation of growth, they probably are on as solid of ground as possible.
Even before this, I wondered what would happen with Gibson. It see,s that they have a fairly narrow product range, right now, and some of their better gear is quite expensive. COVID or not, the question which comes to mind is whether people will pay those prices, especially when the historic quality of the brand is reputed to be questionable, or if buyers will seek alternatives.
I would not be surprised to see Gibson sold, which would place the production facilities, etc. in question. The intellectual property is an asset, but the overhead of current facilities may not interest most buyers. If Gibson ended up off-shored, I wouldn’t be shocked by that outcome.
Sorry to hear that
The shortness of supply applies to guitar parts, too. I am waiting for an aged PAF pickup-cover since months.
My parts-dealer told me that there are various reasons for it. Not only the disease. Some of his suppliers wrestle with flood catastophes and other problems.
We haven't had a recession for 27 years, until now. Even through 2008/9, government spending meant we didn't have a technical recession (i.e. two consecutive quarters of negative growth). It was rough - for me, personally (and in my industry), 2010 was rougher than 2008, and rougher than right now. But if you're tied to events, tourism, etc (like Audept), you're horribly exposed right now.
And there's no likelihood of improvement until there's a vaccine. Not for events of that scale. Some churches are returning (not in Victoria!), but there's very strong Covid requirements (not including masks), which suppress scale. A church which might've held 300 will be closer to 100. The same's true for pubs, clubs, other venues, and as such the revenue required to make such events profitable just isn't there. Even though the government's put forward a stimulus package to help get the industry going (when and where permitted by health regulations).
Whilst we all know China's history with the virus, have questions about figures from there, and have some understanding that there's undoubtedly some impact on supply chains, no one really has the full story from Indonesia. That's at least partly because they have some of the worst doctor to population figures in the world. They've got no hope of knowing exactly how many people are infected, when they're infected, where they're infected. And given how many guitars come from there, it's likely to have an impact.
I just bought a Helix LT, managed to get floor stock at a significant discount. That never happens. I feel that was just an attempt from a company (Victorian company, where they're most heavily effected - we had no community transmission in the country until the Victorian quarantine system for travellers returning from overseas broke down, so, Victoria's completely closed, NSW is partially closed, everywhere else is returning towards normal) to maintain some turnover. I don't believe they made much (if any) money on it (Victoria's a long way away, I tried to get someone closer to price match, they couldn't get remotely close), but it means they can pay for their current stock and buy new stock to replace it.
I've also purchased some stage lights for my church. Cheap LED PAR's (Australian supplier, but I'm sure they're from a Chinese manufacturer). Half the order wasn't in stock (retailer), and I'm now told they won't be supplied (to the importer) until November/December. So it's not just guitars that have delays in availability.
Apparently, Ukulele sales from one supplier down here went up 700% in April. It wouldn't surprise me if some sections of the guitar market are similar? But probably more the lower end of the market.
Gibson's saving grace is Epiphone. They arguably won NAMM with their updated range, they're profitable...
Good point. I saw something about floods in SE Asia and China the other day... But our news services are dominated by other stories (more local).
They (Elderly) may have been promoting their vintage and used stock. That is a big part of their business.
They are in a bit of a quandary, with or without the pandemic. Their archtop line seems to be extinct, with the exception of the Chuck Berry ES 350T. This is probably a combination of market forces (low demand for L-5s and Super 400s) and the fact that they have to concentrate on models which will offer a more immediate return on investment.
Their Les Paul, SG and the semi-hollow ES 3X5 series are the backbone of their lineup, and if I were an investor in the company I would probably want them to do that. But that leaves a vulnerability.
Historically, Gibson was an industry leader. They grew out of the mandolin craze and the archtop guitar was basically their melding of mandolin construction with the strings and scale length of the guitar. They were prominent in the development of the archtop acoustic, the electric archtop and were a bit late to the game with the solid body, but their solid body (Les Paul) was based to a great extent on their archtop heritage. The ES-335 was a development which brought the archtop into the realm of feedback resistance even greater than the laminate ES-175, which itself was designed to allow greater volume and less feedback than a carved top instrument would offer.
The Explorer and Flying V were major departures, followed by the SG and Firebird. They established themselves well in these areas, but the options were expanding. Fender guitars were earning respect and, of course, Gretsch had developed the electric archtop in their own direction. The guitar buyer on the early ‘60s probably was not all that influenced by Gibson’s legacy products.
The question which comes to my mind is simply; will the market see Gibson as essential. If I was going to buy a bespoke, single pickup, Jazz guitar, I’d probably buy a Sadowsky. Gretsch has some great center-block models, so I doubt that I’d ever buy an ES 335. I have a set neck Tele that I prefer over a Les Paul and the list goes on.
As the market emerges from the current COVID situation, what will Gibson’s place in the new market? The legacy of products they no longer produce may have lost most of its impact and the question which comes to my mind is whether people will feel they have any reason to pay the price of entry into Gibson’s higher end instruments?
Henry J was such a disaster for Gibson, especially after appearing the savior when he first took over. Psychologically they died when they abandoned Kalamazoo, chasing a cheaper workforce in union-free Tennessee and then Montana. They next tried to be something they weren't, an innovation driven guitar company as well as a media company. Now other people make better versions of Gibsons than Gibson (e.g. PRS or Sadowsky, as you said.) I assume they'll carry on, much diminished.
I get all that. When I was referencing Epiphone, I was considering that Gibson USA may not ever be fully safe. They definitely rely heavily on their legacy, and their attempts to modernize have generally been poorly received (robot tuners!). The only way they seem to be able to try innovating (basic things, like slimline neck joints and coil taps) without complaint about damaging their heritage is by branding them as Epiphone.
Gibson definitely has major issues with product (reputation takes time to repair), with their corporate behaviour (how many lawsuits?), and they have a lifespan on demand. PRS has John Mayer, Fender had him too. Who's played a Gibson that's top level in the last 15 years? Who are their heroes? Not because we all want to play signature guitars, but because they need their instruments producing music. So people need their guitars for the tones they want to reproduce or produce. Without that, their top level products lose value. Which makes Epiphone, as a budget player, even more key. Because they suddenly become much more price sensitive. So, Epiphone, as a brand and part of the larger company, may be the only reason why Gibson USA doesn't dissolve (sooner).
Oh, and I hate Teles, so even a set neck wouldn't replace a Paul. I'd be much more likely to go a Jet...
It’s funny, because when I was 11 or 12, my father and I visited Bach Music in Rochester, MN and they were trying hard to sell my father on the idea of buying a Gibson for me. They referred to Gibson as the Cadillac of the guitar world, and at the time Cadillac was at the top of the heap in the automotive world. It was an apt comparison.
But look at what has happened to Cadillac. Cadillac found itself with a traditional customer base which was both diminishing and aging, rapidly. Land yachts are out of fashion and there are other options, which were unimagined back when Cadillac reigned supreme. Were I to find myself suddenly wealthy, a Cadillac wouldn’t even occur to me as a choice. For one reason, the lower end of the market has caught up with Cadillac. I’ve driven Toyota Camrys which in not way lacked for comfort and features. I’d rather spend less on the Camry and have a car which cost less to insure and license, not to mention one that attracted less attention.
Moving the illustration back to guitars, why would I bother with the spotty quality of Gibson when I could buy a Sadowsky sight unseen with no reservations? My “Les Paul” is a Korean made Tele with a set neck and a pair of humbuckers that I’ve owned since the early 2000s. I paid $600 for it and couldn’t imagine a way to improve it.
I also have a great Guild. The Guild is another direct Gibson substitute, handling Jazz guitar duties as well as any Gibson I’ve ever played, including a high end Gibson archtop I owned for years. Why would I buy a Gibson when that Guild was every bit as good, at less than half the price?
If all of that wasn’t bad enough, Gibson has two serious image problems. Their quality is inconsistent. I’ve seen some great Gibsons, but I’ve seen some that should never have hit the street. This is not acceptable for a segment-leader and made worse by virtue of the fact that there are durable, high quality guitars coming from Asia at a minor fraction of the cost of a Gibson.
If that wasn’t enough, the Henry J. era destroyed their dealer relations and there are many customers that will side with their local dealer. In the 2000s, I made an informal study of Gibson’s reputation with music dealers by asking about Gibson at every small shop I visited. Almost universally, when the subject of Gibson came up, the reaction was negative and I heard some sad tales. I also heard more than one tale where the Gibson rep was tossed out of the store after coming in and making demands.
I have heard that with the change in management at Gibson, there has been no change in their litigious ways. We live in a different era and it’s a lot harder to keep a secret. If a brand makes life harder for other brands, there’s a possibility that consumers will be offended.
I’m certain that Gibson’s market share will decrease for the foreseeable future. The Baby Boom is not going to be revisiting old memories for much longer. Classic Rock artists are in their 70s now, and we aren’t going to be seeing a lot of new output. 10 or 15 years from now, Classic Rock may well be forgotten.
This sounds like a joke, but I’m quite serious when I say that I wouldn’t be surprised to see pointy guitars and/or rack systems make a comeback.
As much as I love it, Class Rock likely is already being considered oldies by the recent generation. But it will likely live on in places like SiriusXM in the future. I can see it getting back into fashion or coolness just like everything does. Think of the not long ago Rockabilly in the 80’s, Swing revival in the 90’s. I know some people in their 20’s now that think highly of 80’s. I bet there will always be a very small group of people digging stuff from before their time. But great music of the past will likely still inspire those musicians that seek it out and discover.
I don’t think that Classic Rock will be forgotten, but I don’t think it will drive instrument purchases the way it has in the past.