1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Are Gibsons worth their price point?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by tele-nova, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    Yep. Gibson does more hand work than any other mass producer that I’m aware of.
  2. fjblair

    fjblair Tele-Holic

    Dec 29, 2010
    NC High Country
    Complete BS. Watch a factory tour video. Ask around.
  3. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Dec 7, 2009
    or, take that money to @Ronkirn and use the savings for your next purchase w/ Gil
    If everything electric was swept away, I'd seriously consider trolling CL for a cheap bass and go heirloom w/ these all-stars from this page.
    Peace - Deeve
    19sixty3 and fjblair like this.
  4. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Meister

    Dec 27, 2017
    North Texas
    My one and only Gibson was a closeout on a discontinued, Guitar Center-specific model. It's an ES-139, if you're interested.

    At the time, I was looking for a semihollow. I was planning to pony up for a Godin Montreal but I couldn't find one in stock to try anywhere. When I came across the Gibson, I decided to jump on it.

    It had the following issues:

    Too much neck bow. The truss rod needed significant tightening. It took a few days of tweak/settle/tweak again to get it right. I also had to replace the truss rod nut because the original wasn't long enough and got pretty chewed up.

    I wasn't pleased with how the nut was cut. Once I decided the guitar was happy with 11s, I paid a professional to replace and slot the nut.

    The finish was not fully dry. It took a few weeks before the guitar stopped feeling soft and tacky. This was the most obvious example of the poor-QC "Just ship it" mentality that Gibson is often accused of.

    After addressing those issues, it played really, really well.

    I see this model now selling used for around $1,400. I think they were originally asking $1,600 new with a gig bag instead of a case. Personally, I think there were/are better values in that style of guitar at that price point. Obviously, the market agreed with me because Gibson doesn't make it anymore.

    For the closeout $900-ish I paid, though, I'm good with it.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
    SRHmusic likes this.
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 22, 2018
    Yes and no.

    My perspect, I build and repair guitars. I have built several Gibson clones - LP, 335, 175. To buy the materials for a typical gibson style guitar domestically (meaning mahogany for the body and neck, a nice piece of maple for the top, good quality PAF style pup's, rose or ebony f/b, yadda yadda), I will frequently spend 800 or a grand). Granted I'm buying wood from a lumber yard, don't get any discounts, but the point is, the materials are expensive. Contrast that with a fender style guitar which was designed to be made out of cheap materials.

    Modern gibson construction is highly automated but it is still a lot more work than a fender. Carved tops, binding, inlay, multicolor trans finishes all take man hours and equipment. Again, I build by hand but easily put 3 or 4 times the number of hours into a gibson style than a fender style.

    So, in my humble opinion as a builder and looking at domestic labor rates (ie built in the US of A) they are worth their price.


    The past few years in my opinion the quality has gone to hell. I get to see a lot of brand new and slightly used guitars and frankly I'm disappointed by what I see on 2500 les pauls. I fix 'em as required, do the setups, make them what they should be from the factory or the dealer, and wonder why.

    Last comment, if you simply want bang for the buck Gibson style and sound I think the current epiphones blow gibson out of the water. In fact I had to chuckle when I saw this one


    Your milage will vary, just my two cents
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
  6. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Holic

    Jun 17, 2009
    I would have said yes, back when they were hand made, but now they are all done on CNC machines just like any other mass manufacturer. What's weird to me is that the cost has done nothing but go up, even though the hand crafted element has gone down. I bought a new Les Paul Studio Worn Brown years ago, and paid about $600 for it. That's the only time I've bought a new Gibson. I quickly realized that I preferred the sound, and playability of my partscasters. I sold it a few years ago, and I'm also getting ready to sell my ES-135. The only advantage to a Gibson is that some of them appreciate, or, at least, retain their value. These days, I would be more tempted by brands with a more reasonable price like Eastman, or D'Angelico.
    Rockinvet and marc2211 like this.
  7. Catawompus

    Catawompus Tele-Meister

    Nov 29, 2014
    I don't think it was really expensive. It was new and cost me about a third less than a new Gibson LP Standard.
  8. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

    Dec 10, 2017
    Tokyo, Japan

    I’m kinda of the opinion that there are two answers to your question.

    One is that the retail prices probably accurately reflect their production costs plus the margins needed at each stage for everyone involved to stay afloat.

    The other is that only you can assess whether the ratio between what you pay and what you get is worth it to you.

    That ‘value’ is entirely relative to you, it doesn’t really matter what other people think.

    Personally, that sort of money does not fall anywhere near the bounds of easy discretional spending for me, so I guess that introduces a third answer: Epiphone.

    JL_LI and Rustbucket like this.
  9. driver8

    driver8 Tele-Holic

    Sep 30, 2007
    Definitely. Because if it doesn't say Gibson, you're not a real guitarist.
    Danb541 likes this.
  10. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2019
    Land of Mary
    To me it was

    Everyone always thinks in terms of the sum of parts which they say isn’t worth it

    You’re buying more than the sum of parts your buying into a legacy and your paying for a quality USA product which with all the things that go into it is reasonable

    Everyone always seems to see guitars and forget that it’s a BUSINESS! There’s employees to pay, utilities, workers comp, other insurance and other maintenance/operating cost that goes into deciding what a guitar will cost

    Anyone that’s ever been involved in a business understands this, makes me furious when people say stuff like “it’s too much for a piece of wood”

    Sorry my rant is over

    I like gibson
    MilwMark, Jared Purdy and Jakedog like this.
  11. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
  12. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Aug 27, 2019
    Hanover, PA
    I don't think they're necessarily not worth the money, but I don't want one bad enough to pay that much (yet). I do want to get that style of guitar soon, but I'm looking more at Reverends and Guilds right now, for my needs they make a little more sense financially. Now, if I decide I really like that style of guitar, I might shell out the dough for a nice Gibson, but at the moment its not my bag.
  13. Twin52

    Twin52 Tele-Meister

    Mar 4, 2020
    I bought a Les Paul Trad Pro 4 on sale at around $1400 off the wall at GC, my favorite of several I tried. And it’s a great guitar. Easy to play. Great tone.
  14. guitarist232345

    guitarist232345 Tele-Meister

    Nov 21, 2019
    Les Paul guy here. They are a dream to play but I don't think they are worth the price in the same way supercars are not worth the price. ie: I am 23 - I would not buy one and feel it is worth the money as it would be just short of a whole month's pay check. However, Fenders of the same calibre are not worth it either - like the Broadcaster.

    2020 Epiphones are amazing and so are Gibson Tributes. Take your pick between these.

    If you can afford a true Gibson LP, DO buy one. They are complex, multi-component pieces of art in a way unseen on any Fender guitar. Truly magnificent - especially the nice woodgrain bursts. My LP Tribute is absolute butter to play. The P90s in particular are worthwhile. The bridge can twang whereas the neck gives this 'dusty' undertone that is just ear porn.

    Personally, I think any guitar over ~£1000 is not worth it due to the law of diminishing returns, and that is why I say Gibsons aren't worth it. A £330 Squier is worth it as everyone can afford it and you get a lot for your money. With Gibsons, you can get something similar for much cheaper, however that would not be a Gibson. The combination of how they play and their heritage is unmatched.

    If you can afford them you need one though, they have a certain level of charm only a Gibson of that price range can bring - but that itself is not worth it if you cannot afford it.

    I really do LOVE goldtops. I cannot afford a Gibson so will just get a 2020 Epiphone. I played one in a store and they are VERY good. It felt a bit more stiff and less dynamic but it was STILL amazing. When I play my Gibson I feel everything - the vibration through the body, the woodgrain in my hand, the prolonged sustain. On Fenders I have played it isn't the same playing experience.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
  15. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2011
    europe endless
    but the past year, they did manage to get some of the prices down again to something reasonable, which might indicate something funky going on (especially with all that stupid “lifestyle” branding BS that they had to recoup losses from). i think for the last 10 or 15 years they were pushing out a lot of substandard instruments for rich people to buy and just hang on their wall. i’m personally glad to see Henry J go, he’s long outlived his usefulness, and I think they’ve gotten enough of a wake up call to change direction.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
  16. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    I don't personally think so but others love their Gibbys. To scratch that itch I picked up a Guild Bluesbird instead. Lester-shape body, Duncun JB/59 pickups, and it's lighter than a Lester. Sonically I'd say it sits somewhere in between the Lester and SG, so just a little tone tweaking gets me both depending on what I'm playing. It also has some nice chime, the tone pots are push-pull and can switch between series and parallel on the pickups.
    And, no Gibson Tax.
  17. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 4, 2020
    Midwestern United States
    My last Fender cost a lot more than my Gibson Explorer. They are both fine guitars and worth every penny to me.
    Electric Warrior likes this.
  18. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    If people are buying them (and they are), then they are worth their price point.
    Fretting out likes this.
  19. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 23, 2003
    I have had a few swift replies to my post about the quality of current Gibson guitars, from @loopfinding, @Jakedog, @fjblair and others. This is enough opposition to cause me to question my impression of Gibson production. I know you all to be intelligent and aware people (which I am sometimes NOT!) so I am going to withdraw my statement posted above, and try to learn a little more about how Gibson Les Paul guitars are built these days. Thank you for pointing this out to me.
  20. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 27, 2019
    No, they're not worth it. Buy a late 70's to early 80's Ibanez artist. Much better guitar. Even better than the Gibsons from that era. You can find set neck Ibanez Les Pauls from that era but they're more rare. I wouldn't buy a bolt on neck Ibanez Les Paul.
    The Ibanez Les Paul you will want is model 2650 or 2651. Those are set neck.
    Here's mine along with some Artists and a 2405 Custom Agent
    IMG_9546.JPG IMG_9550.JPG IMG_9548.JPG 1978 Ibanez 2618 CW.JPG 1978 IBANEZ ARTIST 2619 .jpg 1981 Ibanez Artist AR100 Natural.jpg 2618.jpg 2405.jpg
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.