A guitar, whether made by Gibson, PRS, Fender, etc., is just wood and glue, right? The other components all add up to make the sum total of an instrument. Guitar manufacturers would like us to believe that fancy figured woods and exotic fretboards all have superior tonal properties. I say hogwash. Don’t get me wrong, the aesthetics of any instrument does play a part in the guitar’s desirability. But trying to sell me on some marketing mojo that exotic woods possess? Sorry, I ain’t buying it. If you want to make music you can do it as successfully with an upgraded Squier as you can with a PRS Dragon. Don’t get me wrong, I love eye candy as much as the next player but as I’ve gotten older (and I’m really old) tone and playability have become much more important than the aesthetic of my guitars. In a free market society manufacturers must hype their mojo in order to compete in the world guitar market. And as the Asian guitar manufacturers have gotten better at making their wares, the American manufacturers are being faced with competing on the world stage. Throw in the fact that China manipulates their currency. $100 USD in China will buy somewhere around the equivalent of $300 to $400 worth of goods in China. It’s not a level playing field and I fear the Asian manufacturers will gain more and more market share as a result. Add to that all the patent and licensing fraud along with the fakes being sold, this paints a very dire reality for many guitar manufacturers worldwide. As they scramble to carve out market share companies like Gibson have made some not so smart decisions. Take the Robot Tuners and the much failed Firebird fiasco. Those were just bad marketing decisions. But can we really fault Gibson for trying to stay relevant? Gibson should focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. Produce a solid instrument, they need to get back to their roots. Refine the instrument, don’t add fancy electronics, just give us more of what made Gibson, well Gibson. Instead of adding new unwanted electronics why not put more effort into QC. The QC of their guitars seem to have been sacrificed on the alter of economics on R&D for all those fancy add-ons. As guitarists we seem to forget how good we have it. Today in 2021 you can get a decent quality guitar for not a lot of money. The advent of CNC has made the manufacturing process simpler and cheaper as well as more predictable. All that said, it’s a great time to be a guitarist! Plug and play! Don’t get caught up in all the minutiae. Remember, it’s the talent, not the tools!