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

JIMMY JAZZMAN

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Posts
876
Age
70
Location
Baltimore
It's not the guitars, it's the music of today. When that gets kicked aside, then perhaps Les Paul, Stratocaster
and Telecaster will be back. Off-shore guitars have gotten so much better and being so inexpensive,
I don't blame the youngsters of today to go that way. Every person's' sound is between the ages of
13-25. This isn't the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's no more. Time for revolution in the music world. Just kidding,
I think.
 

Hodgo88

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Posts
177
Location
Eastern Oregon
I've read five pages and come to the conclusion that Gibson made too many weird choices but also is too traditional and they're too expensive except when they're not and nobody plays them except a whole gang of people.

FWIW, I really liked some of the weird stuff. The Firebird and Explorer HP were kind of awesome minus the robot tuners. But I love those necks with the zero frets, they're so nice!

Dollar for dollar I'd take a Tele, every single time.... but I've played far more crap with a Fender logo than I have with a Gibson logo
 

Lawdawg

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Posts
2,308
Age
51
Location
Atlanta
Gibson guitars are not overpriced for what you get, and the price points of Squier through Custom Fender and Epiphone through Custom Gibson are very similar. That said, by including MIM guitars under the 'Fender' brand, Fender puts more Fender guitars in the hands of more players. There are valid marketing/business reasons for Gibson to remain exclusively MIA, but it does shift more sales from Gibson to Epiphone than Fender shifts to Squier.

The smartest thing Fender has done in the last 5-10 years (at least in my opinion) is aggressively marketing to young and new guitar players. Fender's marketing strategy isn't to compete with other guitar manufacturers so much as it is to compete with other leisure activities. Using the old economic analogy, Fender isn't trying to grow its piece of the pie so much as it's trying to grow the overall size of the pie.

Lastly, I do think there's some truth to the notion that Fender guitars are more versatile than Gibsons. Obviously it's a highly subjective opinion, but as much as I love my Les Paul, I still think I can cover more ground with my Strat or Tele.
 

JDB2

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Posts
1,052
Location
Arizona
Fender's marketing strategy isn't to compete with other guitar manufacturers so much as it is to compete with other leisure activities. Using the old economic analogy, Fender isn't trying to grow its piece of the pie so much as it's trying to grow the overall size of the pie.
Brilliant point. I don’t see anyone else employing a comparable strategy. Other guitar brands market to guitar players. Fender is blurring the distinction between players and non-players and marketing to everyone they think they have a good chance of selling a guitar too. That’s good for the whole industry and frankly the future of guitar music.
 

bgmacaw

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
9,551
Location
Near Athens GA USA
If you take a ‘standard’ model, a Fender Player here is £550 give or take.

Maybe the most recent 2022 price increases haven't made it across the Atlantic yet but it should be more like £675 give or take now, if you're talking new ($849 to $1099 is the current US price range). If you see a new Player that low over there and are in the market, better snap it up now because the price is going to go up substantially soon.
 

burntfrijoles

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
9,128
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
that most subsequent guitars have followed (broadly) either their or Gibson's general approach.
Exactly. Toss in a Gretsch or Rickenbacker and those four brands have defined modern guitar music.
Just as Martin and Gibson (plus Guild 12 strings) have defined modern acoustic instruments. Those are THE instruments heard in countless classic tracks played by countless artists.
 

Wrighty

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 17, 2013
Posts
5,425
Age
67
Location
Essex UK
Maybe the most recent 2022 price increases haven't made it across the Atlantic yet but it should be more like £675 give or take now, if you're talking new ($849 to $1099 is the current US price range). If you see a new Player that low over there and are in the market, better snap it up now because the price is going to go up substantially soon.
I bet it will!
 

sax4blues

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Posts
5,874
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Late to the discussion but I think this is what I've learned:

-Fender is preferred by younger people because they are less expensive.

-Gibson is purchased by adults with jobs and income who appreciate premium appointments. I believe Les Paul always was a premium guitar.

-Gibson is in trouble because young people of today will never get jobs, or at least nothing with reasonable income. And possibly this young generation will die before it gets old (enough to buy a Gibson).

Am I missing anything?
 
Last edited:

Wound_Up

Tele-Holic
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Posts
863
Age
40
Location
Shreveport, LA
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.

That's where I differ from most. I buy my guitars to keep. If I want a new one, I save and buy a new one. Selling doesn't exist for me lol.
 

ReverendRevolver

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Posts
2,978
Location
Ohio (Nerk)
I've circled back to this thread with a theory:

What if Gibson as a company is just too shell shocked from recent (robot firebird) related failures and is steadfastly refusing to push on?

I've always been a fan of offsets. They are a million times more common and accessible now than they were 20 years ago. And I'm referring to all price ranges of fender and squier. Offsets are popular. Really popular. Cobain, Marr, Mascis, Root, and probably people I'm forgetting, have had signature fender Offsets.

Gibson has but 1 Offset equivalent, the firebird. The last risk taken with it ended poorly. Also, Firebirds as well as all non-typical Gibsons (junior2s, marauder, s1?) Never got as cheap in the 80s as Mustangs and jags did, and if they did weren't picked up by the guitar anti-heros to be that swung offset fenders in the 90s.

So, I even think Gibson could do with a better color pallet, but maybe thier recent failure has put them on a calculated course to not try new things or appeal to the younger crowds like Fender?

Just a thought. Low stakes with low gains beats high stakes and total loss?
 

1 21 gigawatts

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Posts
1,171
Age
48
Location
Florida
I've circled back to this thread with a theory:

What if Gibson as a company is just too shell shocked from recent (robot firebird) related failures and is steadfastly refusing to push on?

I've always been a fan of offsets. They are a million times more common and accessible now than they were 20 years ago. And I'm referring to all price ranges of fender and squier. Offsets are popular. Really popular. Cobain, Marr, Mascis, Root, and probably people I'm forgetting, have had signature fender Offsets.

Gibson has but 1 Offset equivalent, the firebird. The last risk taken with it ended poorly. Also, Firebirds as well as all non-typical Gibsons (junior2s, marauder, s1?) Never got as cheap in the 80s as Mustangs and jags did, and if they did weren't picked up by the guitar anti-heros to be that swung offset fenders in the 90s.

So, I even think Gibson could do with a better color pallet, but maybe thier recent failure has put them on a calculated course to not try new things or appeal to the younger crowds like Fender?

Just a thought. Low stakes with low gains beats high stakes and total loss?
I think that Gibson is using the mod shop to try out unique colors and hardware combinations. Pretty smart on their part. They found a way to sell demos and returns and gain valuable customer insights without having to make a production run of something that might flop.

They also are more experimental with the Epiphone line, which is more of a price point where people will try new things. When someone decides to pay the premium for a Gibson, it is because they want the nostalgia and history that comes with a Les Paul, 335, SG, etc. You don't get that with a completely new model.
 

THX1123

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Posts
965
Location
Gibsonville
I always wonder why companies who are fortunate enough to have a insane level of history and brand recognition (the kind you cannot buy) rarely just focus on making their Cash Cow models as well as they can. Like, say, Porsche has done with the 911. We've seen this failure in the history of both Fender and Gibson. Now they are both pricing themselves into the luxury brand level.

Rickenbacker might be an exception to this. They basically make the same awesome guitars and basses they always have, they play, look, and sound unique, and they make just enough of them at a high standard to make them worth what you pay (IMO). They've never had a foreign-built entry-level brand, and they don't dilute their designs by offering tons of different imported products at the entry level pricepoints.

Anyone who plays electric guitar knows about Fenders and Gibsons. Eventually you'll probably want one. Maybe you will buy from other companies who do what they used to do better, or an imported version for a much cheaper price. Maybe you won't. But I suspect most players will still want a Fender or Gibson, eventually.
 

ReverendRevolver

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Posts
2,978
Location
Ohio (Nerk)
I think that Gibson is using the mod shop to try out unique colors and hardware combinations. Pretty smart on their part. They found a way to sell demos and returns and gain valuable customer insights without having to make a production run of something that might flop.

They also are more experimental with the Epiphone line, which is more of a price point where people will try new things. When someone decides to pay the premium for a Gibson, it is because they want the nostalgia and history that comes with a Les Paul, 335, SG, etc. You don't get that with a completely new model.
I agree 100% on the mod shop thing. Older business models would take a huge hit, but Gibsons current one charges an amount that doesn't leave them at a loss (an assumption based upon current Gibson pricing) and is priced in some cases comparable to high end Japanese guitars. This is the best example I can make, because the 2 best looking mod shop LPS there right now are green, and priced similar to Gretsch Setzer signature in bright "coolant" green sparkle.
Also, Gibsons do tend to cost prohibitively more than Fenders, so having a fun looking guitar and a serious one aren't within reach if a player can buy 2 fenders to 1 Gibson.

But they could still take risks in the lower tiers of Gibsons. That's the boat they're missing. Historically, oddball LPs or SGs have sold. They currently have appreciated in value. (Or they're keeping up with inflation compared to specials).sonex, bfg, gem, sg 90 double. You get the idea. None of those were "classic " but sold ok and the some could even be reissued.
They certainly have been more adventurous with epiphone over the years, and epiphone was putting out great $600 guitars before squire did anything more exciting than a jagmaster, so I don't have much concern there.
Seems like thier worste times are behind them, fortunately.
 




Top