The oft maligned Les Paul and Gibson quality

dlsnyd2003

TDPRI Member
Joined
May 12, 2022
Posts
17
Age
48
Location
Littlestown PA
Gibson management has been the main problem they've had over the years, a lot more than a few relatively minor design flaws in some guitars. More than once, their management style has managed to destroy both employee morale, consumer confidence and goodwill. Disillusioned and demoralized manufacturing employees grow to not care, resulting in quality problems. Consumers are more likely to complain when they perceive that a company doesn't care about them or their products.


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The top shot with the bulldozer makes me want to cry. That is sacrilege!
 

Awkirk

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Posts
73
Location
Philadelphia, PA
In 2004 or so I saved up for a gibson sg faded with the crescent inlays. Fret work was terrible. I eventually traded it for my 50's classic telecaster (MIM) and haven't looked back since.
 

DBDM

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2020
Posts
17
Age
51
Location
Nashville Tennessee United States
I have about seven or eight Gibson's but only one is pre 2010, and it's a 1995 studio, which is kick ass besides having the headstock repair from a previous owner. The rest are all 2010 and up the only thing wrong with any of them, I can't stand the damn neck profile on the 2018 tribute. Feels like a rounded rectangle. Other than that no quality issues not even tuning which is what everybody gripes about before someone drums it into their head long enough to put graphite in the nut slots.
I had a 2018 Tribute that I let get away (traded it to buy my son a proper Gibson mandolin). Although I would rather have my son playing his mandolin--it will always be the "one that got away". If anyone bought a 2018 Tribute at Gruhn's in early 2021, let me know. I would love to buy it back. SN is 180020425
 

OhioTennMac

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2022
Posts
20
Age
72
Location
Tennessee
Much has been made of quality control issues at Gibson over the years, particularly during the latter years of the previous leadership.
It's odd because I've never experienced a problem with Gibson workmanship. I'm not saying there were no issues but rather I've never experienced such problems. I own or have previously owned 6 different Gibsons since around 1992.
I have owned three Les Pauls. My first was a '93 Les Paul Standard. I understand that was considered a very good year for the Les Paul and I can say it was excellent. It was a plain top (no flame) but it played well and sounded great. My lust for an R8 lead me to sell the '93. The R8 had a subtle but beautiful flame and it's tone was great. As much as I loved it's tone and looks, I never got fully comfortable with neck profile. My current Les Paul is a '21 Slim Taper Les Paul Standard. I really love this neck profile. There is good tuning stability and it's got a classic Les Paul tone. The workmanship is great.
There's just something about the Les Paul tone. I think it gets pigeonholed but the Les Paul is far more versatile than it's given credit. I've actually been playing it more than my CS Strats or my CS Telecaster.
As for quality, I've actually had better luck with my Gibsons than with the many numerous Fender guitars I've owned over the years.
I've been retired for about 8 years. My fretting hand is not as limber as it used to be so I've been downsizing. I think the three guitars I'll end up keeping until I can play anymore will be my Gibson Special Edition Southern Jumbo, the Les Paul and my CS 61 Relic Strat. Does that make a Gibson guy?
I have never had an issue with a Gibson, but recently I attempted to communicate with the Nashville company to inquire about a potential purchase of a “Black Beauty”from a private seller. I apparently wasted my time. No response, zip, nothing. It didn’t feel good. I don’t think it would happened with, let’s say Martin or other well known brands.
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
I have never had an issue with a Gibson, but recently I attempted to communicate with the Nashville company to inquire about a potential purchase of a “Black Beauty”from a private seller. I apparently wasted my time. No response, zip, nothing. It didn’t feel good. I don’t think it would happened with, let’s say Martin or other well known brands.
A few months ago I emailed Martin asking them why the binding on my 2016 Custom Shop OM28 was coming loose and . . . crickets. Not like it's an isolated incident. Hundreds of others have reported the same thing. Actually I do know why it's happening. I just wanted Martin to tell me for themselves that they used sub-standard glue to save the planet - glue that doesn't hold binding to wood. But I digress . . . no customer service at all.
 

SnidelyWhiplash

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 18, 2009
Posts
4,592
Location
Hoggtown, KY.
Gibson, like almost all companies could care less about your desire to purchase a used guitar. Only interested in selling new ones to shore up the bottom line & increase the dividends.
 

OhioTennMac

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2022
Posts
20
Age
72
Location
Tennessee
A few months ago I emailed Martin asking them why the binding on my 2016 Custom Shop OM28 was coming loose and . . . crickets. Not like it's an isolated incident. Hundreds of others have reported the same thing. Actually I do know why it's happening. I just wanted Martin to tell me for themselves that they used sub-standard glue to save the planet - glue that doesn't hold binding to wood. But I digress . . . no customer service at all.
I shouldn’t be surprised I guess. QC everywhere is going to hell.
 

Volcanicash01

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2022
Posts
70
Age
78
Location
Mayenne France.
Much has been made of quality control issues at Gibson over the years, particularly during the latter years of the previous leadership.
It's odd because I've never experienced a problem with Gibson workmanship. I'm not saying there were no issues but rather I've never experienced such problems. I own or have previously owned 6 different Gibsons since around 1992.
I have owned three Les Pauls. My first was a '93 Les Paul Standard. I understand that was considered a very good year for the Les Paul and I can say it was excellent. It was a plain top (no flame) but it played well and sounded great. My lust for an R8 lead me to sell the '93. The R8 had a subtle but beautiful flame and it's tone was great. As much as I loved it's tone and looks, I never got fully comfortable with neck profile. My current Les Paul is a '21 Slim Taper Les Paul Standard. I really love this neck profile. There is good tuning stability and it's got a classic Les Paul tone. The workmanship is great.
There's just something about the Les Paul tone. I think it gets pigeonholed but the Les Paul is far more versatile than it's given credit. I've actually been playing it more than my CS Strats or my CS Telecaster.
As for quality, I've actually had better luck with my Gibsons than with the many numerous Fender guitars I've owned over the years.
I've been retired for about 8 years. My fretting hand is not as limber as it used to be so I've been downsizing. I think the three guitars I'll end up keeping until I can play anymore will be my Gibson Special Edition Southern Jumbo, the Les Paul and my CS 61 Relic Strat. Does that make a Gibson guy?
I have had several Gibsons in my long life. Now 78 and still doing gigs in France. Some have been good, some horrible. In earlier times you had to have what the local music shop ordered for you. The first awful one was a 70’s Norlin era Custom. Dead as a doornail. No matter what pickups I put in. Fretboard rotting between nut and first fret. Weighed 12 lbs. The second was an SG Standard. Terrible open grain neck of rosewood. 1970’s Les Paul Recording. Decade switch never worked properly. Heavy as hell. My last one, a 1993 Standard Birdseye has overspray on the upper frets. Also the fingerboard does not seem to be fitted squarely on the neck, leaving a slight overhang on the treble side. Another 12 pounder. In between these, I have had some great Gibsons. I have played mainly Kramers since the late 70’s including an 850G through to Barettas and Stagemasters. Never had a single problem with any of those.
 

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DigTheTele

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Posts
42
Age
44
Location
Greece
My 2021 50s standard. I took these pics the first day. Amazing instrument. Great QC and amazing tone. It took me a few hours to get used to the 50s neck as i was a Fender guy till then. I agree, there’s something with these new Gibsons. My next purchase will be a 60s one. Cheers

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NoTeleBob

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Posts
3,334
Location
Southwestern, USA
The top shot with the bulldozer makes me want to cry. That is sacrilege!

Cancelling the line... getting rid of defective guitars. It isn't worth it to them to part them out (labor cost to remove what would have to be sold as "used" parts). So they destroy them.

Definitely not the only manufacturer who does this type of thing.
 

Randwulf

Tele-Meister
Joined
Oct 29, 2015
Posts
235
Location
ontario
Much has been made of quality control issues at Gibson over the years, particularly during the latter years of the previous leadership.
It's odd because I've never experienced a problem with Gibson workmanship. I'm not saying there were no issues but rather I've never experienced such problems. I own or have previously owned 6 different Gibsons since around 1992.
I have owned three Les Pauls. My first was a '93 Les Paul Standard. I understand that was considered a very good year for the Les Paul and I can say it was excellent. It was a plain top (no flame) but it played well and sounded great. My lust for an R8 lead me to sell the '93. The R8 had a subtle but beautiful flame and it's tone was great. As much as I loved it's tone and looks, I never got fully comfortable with neck profile. My current Les Paul is a '21 Slim Taper Les Paul Standard. I really love this neck profile. There is good tuning stability and it's got a classic Les Paul tone. The workmanship is great.
There's just something about the Les Paul tone. I think it gets pigeonholed but the Les Paul is far more versatile than it's given credit. I've actually been playing it more than my CS Strats or my CS Telecaster.
As for quality, I've actually had better luck with my Gibsons than with the many numerous Fender guitars I've owned over the years.
I've been retired for about 8 years. My fretting hand is not as limber as it used to be so I've been downsizing. I think the three guitars I'll end up keeping until I can play anymore will be my Gibson Special Edition Southern Jumbo, the Les Paul and my CS 61 Relic Strat. Does that make a Gibson guy?
Gibson makes thousands of guitars a year, right? So if out of any given thousand, 100 are great, 200 are junk, 150 are good, and 550 are average, and you happen to be one of the people who have one of the better ones, of course you'll have no complaints. However, if you're one of the 200 who got a substandard instrument, you will not be pleased, duh!
 

burntfrijoles

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Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
9,666
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Gibson makes thousands of guitars a year, right? So if out of any given thousand, 100 are great, 200 are junk, 150 are good, and 550 are average, and you happen to be one of the people who have one of the better ones, of course you'll have no complaints. However, if you're one of the 200 who got a substandard instrument, you will not be pleased, duh!
That's stating the obvious. The same could be true of Fender, etc.
I doubt that 20% of their guitars are "junk".

Regardless, the point of my OP was that the constant bashing of Gibson is an exaggerated extreme. Many of those whining don't even own a Gibson. It's the same old tired whining that is posted when someone does a "showroom review" and declares something was junk or they were disappointed, etc. Plus, it's the same generalization often expressed when people compare Squiers, MIM, MIA or CS Fenders.

The truth is even inexpensive guitars are pretty damn good in the present times. Gibson, like Fender etc makes guitars at different price points. It should be no surprise that more expensive guitars are generally better made, with higher quality components etc. No doubt, in the volume that guitars are mass produced, some will have issues.

PS: I guess I'm just lucky that all my of Gibson purchases (8 in my lifetime) have excellent. Not a bad one in the bunch.
 

Alex_C

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Nov 8, 2020
Posts
1,313
Age
57
Location
Florida
I bought a new 2018 Memphis 335 Figured. When I got it in my hands I noticed that none of the tuners were secured. All the screws were loose and you could see light under the tuners. None of the bushings were tight either. This leads me to believe that they were installed by someone who apparently got distracted and never went back to finish the installation of them. How that guitar made it past QC at Gibson is beyond me. I fixed that issue without problem. The other issue (which I don't have a picture of) is one that I've seen on some Gibsons all my life - the cherry-red stain they use on some models bleeds into the binding and turns it pink. This particular guitar has that problem in spades on the neck binding! It's really unsightly. Apparently that's not a "ding" on the QC side of things since I've seen that on Gibsons of many periods. I don't get it.

But, this guitar plays and sounds great - the MHS pickups are fantastic.



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Bought a brand-new Les Paul Standard 50's in 2019 and had to replace the nut the day I got it. It was perhaps the worst cut nut I ever saw in my life. I put an un-bleached bone nut on it. Looks much better - sorta matches the tuners.

Factory Nut Job - looks like it was chopped out with a dull hatchet:

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Boned Nut:
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The cut on that Gibson nut is really bad. I've never seen that level of incompetence on a high end guitar.
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
The cut on that Gibson nut is really bad. I've never seen that level of incompetence on a high end guitar.
I was blown away. I called the Sweetwater guy and asked if they actually inspected the guitar and he told me I could send it back if I wasn't satisfied. Never did address the ****ty job on the nut. Since that was the only issue with the guitar I wasn't going to send it back just for that. But still, what crap, straight from the factory.
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
My 2021 50s standard. I took these pics the first day. Amazing instrument. Great QC and amazing tone. It took me a few hours to get used to the 50s neck as i was a Fender guy till then. I agree, there’s something with these new Gibsons. My next purchase will be a 60s one. Cheers

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It's just like mine. I love Tobacco Burst! How's the nut look?
 

Randwulf

Tele-Meister
Joined
Oct 29, 2015
Posts
235
Location
ontario
That's stating the obvious. The same could be true of Fender, etc.
I doubt that 20% of their guitars are "junk".

Regardless, the point of my OP was that the constant bashing of Gibson is an exaggerated extreme. Many of those whining don't even own a Gibson. It's the same old tired whining that is posted when someone does a "showroom review" and declares something was junk or they were disappointed, etc. Plus, it's the same generalization often expressed when people compare Squiers, MIM, MIA or CS Fenders.

The truth is even inexpensive guitars are pretty damn good in the present times. Gibson, like Fender etc makes guitars at different price points. It should be no surprise that more expensive guitars are generally better made, with higher quality components etc. No doubt, in the volume that guitars are mass produced, some will have issues.

PS: I guess I'm just lucky that all my of Gibson purchases (8 in my lifetime) have excellent. Not a bad one in the bunch.
True enough, but you can't assume you know who is posting the negative review and why. I personally have played three very expensive Gibsons that belonged to friends and they had some obvious flaws that should have never appeared on any guitar made by anyone priced at over $3000, so my personal experience is different than yours, and the criticisms I voiced to my friends were well deserved.....the fact that they chose either to ignore them and/or make excuses largely due to the price and the name on the headstock had everything to do with their egos and nothing to do with fact, much like stating in reply to an obvious hypothetical example " I doubt 20% of their guitars are junk".....unless you checked everyone, how would you know? FYI "junk" can mean a lot of things, inferior workmanship and parts, bad setup, or 200 out of a thousand guitars being made in an Asian sweatshop with a stuck on American logo and inferior woods....or not.
 




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