Thoughts on Fender and Gibson to the new generation of players.

rawgerpaper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Posts
33
Location
Irving, Texas


This makes sense to my generation, teenagers to young adults, everybody wants a strat or tele or an offset. Every kid and friend that I hear, wants a strat or a tele. For humbuckers, we would prefer an HH Tele or a D'Angelico or an Ibanez semi-hollow or a PRS SE or a Les Paul copy. Starting musicians won't even prefer buying a Gibson coz of its price tbh and the genre of R&B, rap, indie, and pop that our generation plays these days. (A few young jazz musicians play Gibson 335s but mostly they have Ibanez Artstars or D'Angelico). I felt as well that the designs of Les Pauls and 335s and SGs, the color finishes are too vintage (burst, yellow, cherry, red) that most kids won't even consider that even I would not consider buying any of these colors. I don't know why Gibson/Epi doesn't ever release or release limited solid-color versions of their guitars. How I wish they would make another blue 335s.

On the other hand, Leo Fender really did a good job in making the most versatile and durable guitar, teles, and strats (I think the tele is the most versatile but strats do something as well that are versatile haha). The humility on the Fender Corp was commendable to receive feedback from the new generation of players like "we want a lighter guitar", "we want more color", and "we want pickups that sound more on this genre". I felt like for e.g. the Ultras were designed as a response to feedback of session and professional guitar players coz I heard for e.g. Rob Gueringer and Cory Wong wanting light guitars, (Rob hates heavier guitars, and I never saw him with Gibsons in interviews) (Cory mentioned that he wanted a lighter strat, and his signature strat has an Ultra body and neck with Cory Wong's pickups made by SD. The new generation of players such as Melanie Faye, Rob Gueringer, Cory Wong plays either a Strat, Tele, or D'Angelico.


Here is a compilation of session guitarists of my generation that I look up to. Mostly Strat, Teles, or offset or a non-Gibson semi-hollow.

This made me ponder about still buying either a Gibson 335 or a Les Paul coz these guitars would be a rarity that I feel like Gibson would be gone someday. But still, I don't know why Gibson don't ever do something about this, I hope they would improve their guitars and price points. Personally, I would buy a Gibson but have a paint job, and change its pickups. This puts me in a struggle to buy an Ibanez or D'Angelico semi-hollows instead of doing those modifications.
 

bgmacaw

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
10,007
Location
Near Athens GA USA
This made me ponder about still buying either a Gibson 335 or a Les Paul coz these guitars would be a rarity that I feel like Gibson would be gone someday. But still, I don't know why Gibson don't ever do something about this, I hope they would improve their guitars and price points. Personally, I would buy a Gibson but have a paint job, and change its pickups.

Gibson did have a brief period of experimentation a few years ago that didn't go that well for them, especially with corksniffing traditionalists. They had the M, Zero and X series that failed miserably. This seems to have made them cautious about venturing there again. And, it seems that Gibson has pretty much left the young and modern market to their Epiphone division while moving most of the Gibson brand into the realm of wealthy collectors.

I can't imagine that the people responsible for this debacle are still employed at Gibson.

gibsoninnovation.JPG
 

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
9,149
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
If you model your musical experiences on the gear choices of others, you are doing yourself a disservice. I own guitars that I enjoy playing and speak to me. This includes old Silvertones, recent and old Fenders, and recent and old Gibsons. The guitars I don't like don't last long in my small collection. I am NOT a professional, nor do I even consider myself a real musician.

Gibson has many problems, but it can still make a good guitar. One reason you don't see many new Gibson's in circulation is they have a poor distribution system. In MANY areas, you have to search long and hard to find a Gibson dealer with significant inventory. With guitarists who will not buy a guitar until they play it, this is obviously a prescription for poor sales. I have spoken to a few dealers in my area (there are very few) that don't have a good thing to say about dealing with Gibson. They don't hate the guitars, just the distributor system. I believe when Gibson re-tools their sales/distribution system to provide more availability to consumers, you will see more Gibson logos on stage.
 

PhredE

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
1,936
Location
Suburban PDX, OR
Great gear is nice, and every player aspires to having nice guitars and such, but..
Time spent fussing about gear takes away from practice and study time.

Conversely, great players can sound quite good on even modest or mediocre gear.
 

rawgerpaper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Posts
33
Location
Irving, Texas
Gibson did have a brief period of experimentation a few years ago that didn't go that well for them, especially with corksniffing traditionalists. They had the M, Zero and X series that failed miserably. This seems to have made them cautious about venturing there again. And, it seems that Gibson has pretty much left the young and modern market to their Epiphone division while moving most of the Gibson brand into the realm of wealthy collectors.

I can't imagine that the people responsible for this debacle are still employed at Gibson.

View attachment 976364
I think they should have tried to build signature guitars for new guitarists. But it's sad that these guys don't even try.
 

Telecaster88

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 9, 2019
Posts
1,764
Age
53
Location
Midwest USA
Now that I think about it, as much as us Fenderheads complain about the company being stuck in the past, Gibson is really stuck in the past. It's hard... As people have noted on this forum forever, guitarists want something new, but not TOO new! That's a hard line to walk for a company, but at least Fender is trying.

Something like a Strat or a Jaguar is a perfect blend of retro looking and modern (still! That's how forward thinking those designs were!) to appeal to younger guitarists. Gibsons are not only the same old models as forever, but the same old colors, etc.
 

rawgerpaper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Posts
33
Location
Irving, Texas
If you model your musical experiences on the gear choices of others, you are doing yourself a disservice. I own guitars that I enjoy playing and speak to me. This includes old Silvertones, recent and old Fenders, and recent and old Gibsons. The guitars I don't like don't last long in my small collection. I am NOT a professional, nor do I even consider myself a real musician.

Gibson has many problems, but it can still make a good guitar. One reason you don't see many new Gibson's in circulation is they have a poor distribution system. In MANY areas, you have to search long and hard to find a Gibson dealer with significant inventory. With guitarists who will not buy a guitar until they play it, this is obviously a prescription for poor sales. I have spoken to a few dealers in my area (there are very few) that don't have a good thing to say about dealing with Gibson. They don't hate the guitars, just the distributor system. I believe when Gibson re-tools their sales/distribution system to provide more availability to consumers, you will see more Gibson logos on stage.
A bit of gear choices of others (coz I was inspired and learned to play guitars by them) but a bit of my musical choices as well (the tones that I look for) or sometimes none of them just like my Ultra Tele that I bought coz I just felt it was it just like you say (I had to opportunity to buy a custom shop or a sig tele or strat but went for the ultra). And yes I agree sadly with their poor marketing and distribution. Hopefully this would change someday.
 

David C

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Posts
529
Age
66
Location
Coraopolis, PA
Lots of companies make bone head decisions and they fall out of favor. Look at Ovation Guitars. They made the first acoustic guitars with preamps built in. Everyone picking up an acoustic used them in the 70s and 80s. They made the mistake of trying to make electric guitars, amps, and lost their focus on what they did best. Their demise became final when Fender purchased them in 2008. They have had two owners since Fender and never recovered.
Same with Gibson. They had really great guitars in the 70s. But they got a little mixed up by being bought up and tossed around by ill advised management.
Enter PRS, who now seems to be the standard name besides Fender for many guitar enthusiasts. I bought one of the Silver Sky models and doubt I will ever own a Fender Strat. They are finished very well. May get a Fender Ultra Tele, but that will be it. They can do no wrong at the moment, but then again, it's a private company. Wait until Paul decides he wants to retire like Leo Fender. Then things will likely change.
Fender suffered the same fate back in the 60s and 70s with CBS and being passed around by different managements. They have recovered today and seem to be THE force to reckon with. But it wasn't without pain. Gibson suffers the same fate at the moment. They may or may not regroup.
 
Last edited:

Killing Floor

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 3, 2021
Posts
8,976
Location
Austin, TX
Lots of people are making great sounding guitars. I know Fender and Gibby brands are still sought after by kids but there are high quality options and many cost points. They’re not the all or nothing choices they once were.
Heck, if you really want to be objective go compare a Charvel to a MiM Strat. Both made in Ensenada plant. For less cost you can get more features but skip on the better known decal. It’s not crazy to think that way. I love my Fenders but I won’t tell you they don’t have good competition.
 

JL_LI

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 20, 2017
Posts
8,851
Age
72
Location
Long Island, NY
Fender is doing a better job marketing than Gibson. It’s incredibly difficult to keep a traditional product fresh and make it relevant to a young market. Fender does it with colors and finishes and also by bringing noiseless pickups that take gain well into some mid level models. Kudos for that. I think it’s mostly older wealthier customers buying Ultra series guitars. Keeping a few more traditional finishes for that line for the older and wiser clientele could only help sales. Paying extra to Mod Shop and having to wait doesn’t sit well.

Gibson might do well to experiment with youth appeal on the LPJ line. This would be a place to try noiseless P-90 type pickups or hot humbuckers. The line would also lend itself to eye catching finishes. Doing it wrong doesn’t mean you can’t come back and do it right.
 
Last edited:

knopflerfan

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Posts
2,355
Location
In the woods
Gibson did have a brief period of experimentation a few years ago that didn't go that well for them, especially with corksniffing traditionalists. They had the M, Zero and X series that failed miserably. This seems to have made them cautious about venturing there again. And, it seems that Gibson has pretty much left the young and modern market to their Epiphone division while moving most of the Gibson brand into the realm of wealthy collectors.

I can't imagine that the people responsible for this debacle are still employed at Gibson.

View attachment 976364
Whoever was behind this idea should be "virtually" tarred and feathered - what a waste of beautiful guitars. If I could afford one, I would buy one(first choice: red, second choice: blue). The prices on Reverb are completely out of hand. However, if I won the lottery, I would buy both, in a heartbeat. That's coming from someone is typically a traditonalist, when buying/looking for/playing guitars.
 

loopfinding

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Posts
5,026
Location
europe endless
Young people don’t have money. Gibsons are expensive. I think it’s about that simple. Kind of reminds me of those “why aren’t millennials buying [expensive luxury item]?” articles. Their market is middle aged people with disposable income.

In the days of the hb SG special/special faded, every other band had one. They were like 5-600 bucks new while MIMs were 4-500. If I meet a millennial with a Gibson, chances are they have one of those from high school or college days. If they are a jazzer and a bit more serious, they might have a dot reissue 335 - you could get one for not much more than an AVRI. Neither are flashy marketing ploys, they’re about as “boring” as anything.

There are no similar gibsons at those comparable price points/value anymore. So it follows people are opting for fenders.
 
Last edited:

1 21 gigawatts

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Posts
1,251
Age
48
Location
Florida
Let's face it. Gibson and Fender have both been making the same guitar models for 70 years. The problem for Gibson is that they have never been allowed to innovate; purists do not like it when Gibson strays from the original designs. Other companies (like PRS) have been left to pick up the evolutionary process, while Gibson is stuck making the originals. Fender gets a bit more leeway/freedom due to the super strat offshoots. Luckily, for Fender, their price point is more obtainable for most, so it isn't surprising that they are more popular with new artists. Same with other brands like PRS, EVH, etc.

Gibson falling out of favor is nothing new. The SG replaced the LP because of low sales until people saw their rock heros in the 60s (Clapton, Page) using them. They again fell out of favor until Slash introduced a new generation to the Les Paul.

With the era of processed music and no MTV, can it happen again?
 

arlum

Friend of Leo's
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Posts
2,014
Age
67
Location
O'Fallon, MO
Gibson's not going anywhere. The Les Paul and ES-335 alone would keep them in good company for many years to come. Throw in their recent purchase of Mesa Boogie Amplifiers and I see a great future coming their way. I will say that current bands are favoring Fender, Ibanez, etc. but I think a lot of that has to do with price point. With the influx of computer generated sounds and electronic instruments in general bands are looking closely at what they spend on what and Gibson's are probably out of many of their price points. At some point quality of build, tone, etc. will pull many guitarists back to Gibson. Bands don't really seem to care what they use as long as they can make a dollar but, guitarists as instrumentalists looking back at the beauty of the instrument as used and demonstrated by so many Mega Name Guitarists, will make the necessary jump to prove / compare their own skill level to the past masters.
 

nojazzhere

Doctor of Teleocity
Ad Free Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Posts
18,369
Age
70
Location
Foat Wuth, Texas


This makes sense to my generation, teenagers to young adults, everybody wants a strat or tele or an offset. Every kid and friend that I hear, wants a strat or a tele. For humbuckers, we would prefer an HH Tele or a D'Angelico or an Ibanez semi-hollow or a PRS SE or a Les Paul copy. Starting musicians won't even prefer buying a Gibson coz of its price tbh and the genre of R&B, rap, indie, and pop that our generation plays these days. (A few young jazz musicians play Gibson 335s but mostly they have Ibanez Artstars or D'Angelico). I felt as well that the designs of Les Pauls and 335s and SGs, the color finishes are too vintage (burst, yellow, cherry, red) that most kids won't even consider that even I would not consider buying any of these colors. I don't know why Gibson/Epi doesn't ever release or release limited solid-color versions of their guitars. How I wish they would make another blue 335s.

On the other hand, Leo Fender really did a good job in making the most versatile and durable guitar, teles, and strats (I think the tele is the most versatile but strats do something as well that are versatile haha). The humility on the Fender Corp was commendable to receive feedback from the new generation of players like "we want a lighter guitar", "we want more color", and "we want pickups that sound more on this genre". I felt like for e.g. the Ultras were designed as a response to feedback of session and professional guitar players coz I heard for e.g. Rob Gueringer and Cory Wong wanting light guitars, (Rob hates heavier guitars, and I never saw him with Gibsons in interviews) (Cory mentioned that he wanted a lighter strat, and his signature strat has an Ultra body and neck with Cory Wong's pickups made by SD. The new generation of players such as Melanie Faye, Rob Gueringer, Cory Wong plays either a Strat, Tele, or D'Angelico.


Here is a compilation of session guitarists of my generation that I look up to. Mostly Strat, Teles, or offset or a non-Gibson semi-hollow.

This made me ponder about still buying either a Gibson 335 or a Les Paul coz these guitars would be a rarity that I feel like Gibson would be gone someday. But still, I don't know why Gibson don't ever do something about this, I hope they would improve their guitars and price points. Personally, I would buy a Gibson but have a paint job, and change its pickups. This puts me in a struggle to buy an Ibanez or D'Angelico semi-hollows instead of doing those modifications.

Just off the top of my head.....and I haven't thought this through thoroughly yet, so bear with me....
Could we just be in a "trough" cycle for Gibson? We've been through periods in the past, (I'm thinking 1980's) when "traditional"-looking guitars weren't much in favor. Everyone wanted pointy-head and neon-color guitars. But then that "cycle" swung back, and "classic"-styles came back. I don't know how much weight affects younger buyers today, but (as a decidedly NOT younger player) I could never gig with a heavy Gibson anymore. How well does coil-splitting solve the sound difference between humbuckers and Fender single coils? That's one small but definite difference.
A final concern MIGHT be audience perception and expectation......when I see someone get up with a Les Paul or 335, I almost expect to hear a Joe B. or Warren Haynes level of playing. Why does a popular modern singer get up with an acoustic guitar these days?......they're more difficult to amplify and all. It's about an "IMAGE" I suspect. I'll quit rambling now. ;)
 

Doomguy

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Posts
550
Age
22
Location
New Jersey
A lot of generalizations in that first post... I'm 21 and have zero desire for an offset or a tele and am more or less indifferent to strats. My main is a 2018 Gibson SG Standard, completely unmodded. I didn't pay for it myself, a bunch of family members chipped in and got it for me as a collective gift for graduating high school and for getting serious about music. I wanted to sound like Tony Iommi, Matt Pike, Bongzilla, not play the music that you claim the collective 'we' of younger people play.

I agree that Fender does market better and present options at price points that Gibson doesn't, but Gibson will never die because there are plenty of snobs like me that are willing to save up to continue purchasing their product. It's about the vibe, the look, the history, the sound. I could never get the same fulfillment out of another guitar. There's nothing out there like standing in front of a cranked tube head with an SG or a Les Paul.

Maybe it's different because I'm off in the extreme metal world (and that opens a whole new can of worms in this discussion). But keep me out of that collective 'we' next time. I want to see some more Gibsons and Gibson-style guitars out here.
 

Tsteleplayer

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Posts
40
Location
Montana
Guitar brands dont matter that much to me. I have purchased whatever I could afford until I figured out what sounded and played right for me. That is why Ive built parts casters to get my personal options and sounds. I truly love some Gibson sounds but that doesnt mean its for me.
 

Wooly Fox

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Posts
322
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
To be honest, we have so much choice now with guitar brands no one needs to be beholden to Fender, Gibson, PRS etc for them to need to compete for gen Z dollar too fiercely. It's the nostalgia of older players not seeing the brand's THEY want to see in the limelight as that's what they grew up with seeing Gibsons and Fenders as they were the largest brands at the time.

Far East factory made guitars has made sure well made guitars can now get into the hands of Gen Z in any colour or specification they want. Gibson want to hold onto the older player (who has more cash to splurge on nostalgia pieces) and I see no issue in them wanting to hold onto that corner of the market.

I own two Gibsons as they speak to me and do their own thing. Having Gibson on the headstock only means I can sell them later on for more than if it said Epiphone.
 




Top