Good vs. Bad

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by WrayGun, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    so i've been seriously considering trading my way into the world of Gibson guitars, and I keep hearing about good years and bad years for Gibsons in general, and good/bad years for wood in particular. Is there any truth to these rumors, or just bad feelings towards the company? Are there specific years to avoid or seek out?


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  2. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    What kind of Gibson do you want?
     
  3. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a crapshoot ... you can get a gem or a turd from any era ..
    Shop carefully !!!
     
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  4. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know about years but I'd avoid the lower end models like the SGJ and Firebird Zero, they were pretty much junk. $1k list seemed to be the magic number at which Gibson started putting any sort of effort into a product. They'd sell you something cheaper than that if you really needed something that said "Gibson" on the headstock, but you didn't really want it.
     
  5. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I wish I had bought one of these Gems new for $500 when I had a chance. A store I visited in 2000 was blowing them out.

    Gibson-Les-Paul-Studio-Emerald.jpg

    I agree with the idea that you can't assume anything by year. In that $1000 price range, you really should consider each guitar on its individual merits.
     
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  6. teletail

    teletail Tele-Holic

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    Try before you buy! I’ve got three Les Pauls. I heard pre 1990 are the best, in general, but I had a 2007 that I really liked. I currently have an ‘88 standard, ‘85 Custom Shop and a ‘73 recording guitar.

    As far as Gibson’s in general I also have a 335, 175, BB King and aHoward Roberts Fusion III. All but the 175 were purchased after trying them. I played a lot more that I set back down.
     
  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Gibsons are great guitars, generally speaking.
    My favorite eras are pre-1969, and post 1983.
    The middle “Norlin” era are good, too, just not as good, IMO.
    Again just my opinion, some folks love their Norlin guitars.
    If you want a “vintage” Gibson, the Custom Shop Historic reissue models are excellent replicas.
    Vintage Gibsons are extremely expensive.
    The CS reissues aren’t cheap, but I still see them on CL for $2000-3000.
    That’s way less than them sell for new.
    Lastly, the current production models all seem very to be well made and they sound good.
    Good luck!
     
  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I get to work on quite a few guitars and I have been particularly unimpressed with the quality control on recent Gibsons (lets say the last ten years). I don't know if any of that has changed with new management but I would stay away from the Henry era. (Ironically the Epi's I've seen from the past few years have been remarkably good).
     
  9. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Quality control issues doesn't mean there weren't some great guitars made ... just not enough of them...
     
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  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ive had several Gibsons, Les Pauls, SG. The best Les Paul I ever had was a Greco eg500 from 1980 that cost me $2500 less than I sold my Gibson Traditional for.
     
  11. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    The difficulty here is if you go on Ebay and look at any Gibsons from the last thirty years you'll read things about 'good wood era', 'great year for these' etc and it's largely optimistic marketing. Gibson have made consistently very good guitars, and they've consistently been a bit rubbish at the finer details but most of the QC niggles that dog Gibson have long since blended into general wear and year so don't sweat that too much. Incidentally, Gibson have never been great at QC - it's not a Henry thing. I've seen as many silly mistakes from the factory dating to to 50s and early 60s as I have the Henry or Norlin eras.

    If you're bothered by things like richlite, baked maple or laminated rosewood fingerboards there are years to know about for that reason but if you're not already bothered by those things there's no real reason to be, they're still very good guitars.

    Gibsons from the late 80s to early 2000s get a lot of love, but I think that's largely because the company itself was in a healthy place in those years - they had a nice balance of classic guitars made the way people wanted them and new ideas that kept things fresh, they didn't load the guitars with bells and whistles that a majority of the market didn't really want, and they didn't hammer their dealers with enormous stocking plans or get into political spats over dodgy wood deals. But that's not to say Gibsons made after that period aren't great guitars - spec aside they're still usually pretty good.
     
  12. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm no Gibson expert, including their woods, but recently got to work on and revive a friend's '69 SG Special that had sat in a closet for 30+ years. By the time it was done and I'd had it for a few months and played a final group jam with it (thru AC10) before returning it, it was true love and painful to give it back. During my research for parts, I saw prices generally anywhere from $1200 to 3-4K for sixties SGs, depending on year and condition. Something to consider, going old and finding a good one, there seemed to be plenty out there. In any event have fun shopping for your first Gibson!
     
  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Well, "Gibson" is a wide range. From V's to SG's to LP's, to ES333's. Very different guitars.
    I love Gibson acoustics though.
    I do have trouble bonding with the solids, I think it's the combo of Mahogany and HB's neither of which I like much.
    You just need to play some I guess. Be aware, some of the less expensive models like all maple L6S's and other walnut oddballs are cheap for a reason. ....many people don't like them.
    But the first question you should ask yourself is "do I like HB's"? I have not found that changing HB models makes a huge difference really. I've tried at least a dozen... So you want to be able to say you like the guitar as is, then maybe do a minor tweek with pup change.
     
  14. Torren61

    Torren61 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I prefer mid 1990s to mid 2000s. They seemed to be consistent in their quality and most were good. You can find extraordinary guitars in any of the years they were produced but there’s a majority of guitars that may not have been as well built in the years before and after the years I’m talking about. I don’t care for roasted maple but you might love it.
     
  15. Mpd2378

    Mpd2378 TDPRI Member

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    I own a 2017 LP classic gold top, bought new, I tried about a dozen other gibson guitars that where in the shop both more/less expensive and I chose the one that as to me it felt the best out of the lot.
    Try as many as possible, choose the best for you.
     
  16. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I had the saphire one. it was okay. I didn't keep it long... it was okay... but nothing to long for....
     
  17. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Holic

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    Guess I'm going in the other direction. I've got a flying V I was considering trading for a Telecaster.
     
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  18. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    This store had 6 or 7 of them in stock. Apparently they had to take them a couple of years earlier to keep their Gibson dealership. The emerald one, like the one in the pic I swiped from Reverb, was the creme of the crop. I hesitated on buying it and when I came back a few days later someone else had snagged it.
     
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  19. gitold

    gitold Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Henry era was from 1986 until 2018. That’s a whole lot of guitars to stay away from.
     
  20. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    Judge Gibsons with your hands and ears and against each other. When I bought my first in 1977 I was given that advice and it has proved out. Right now I have four ranging from 1974 to 2018. All are great guitars. Some have excellent finishes, others don't. It's the cost of admission. You aren't getting a CNC-perfect instrument. The necks are still shaped by hand and the shoulders rolled by hand, for instance.

    I'll add the advice that you shouldn't look at bottom of the line instruments, Gibson or Epiphone, and make your judgement on all Gibsons based upon those. I can't tell you how many threads I see with a Fender person saying, "I don't get the whole Les Paul thing," that turn out to be from a person who owns an inexpensive Epi LP which he is comparing to his prized custom shop Fender. C'mon.

    Bob
     
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