#1
Just had to write this. Too annoyed not to. spent weeks researching import/export issues, customs, duty and tax in two countries, and was prepared to spend the extra $900 to take a new Gibson home with me..

RP Elliot of the Gibson guitar company on *25th January 2011 passed as "high quality" a Gibson Nighthawk guitar in 'St Louis Sauce' finish. The top is supposed to be a flat maple cap. It wasn't. It had a wave-top uneven finish that was absolutely unacceptable. Not only could I feel the uneven surface, I could see the undulations on the body when I looked along the neck to make sure it was straight.

*This was bad enough on its own.*But it was exceeded by the poor quality lacquer finish, which had visible lacquer checking, and serious, significant 'orange-peeling' on at least 70% of the top. No amount of polishing or buffing will fix that, it was just a poorly applied finish from day one.

The guitar played well, and sounded great. But when I played it at Guitar Center in Syracuse NY these flaws in the finish were immediately apparent, as was a chip on the underside which went through the lacquer to the wood.

The chip may not have been Gibson's fault. The guitar was shipped as 'brand new in box' from Guitar Center in LA to Guitar Center in Syracuse for me. The guys at the Syracuse Store were thoroughly unimpressed, as was I. It seems that the LA store was happy just to get a lemon out of their inventory. So much for that.

But the quality control on the planing and sanding of the maple top, and the poor quality lacquer finish was incredibly disappointing from Gibson.

I had wanted a 2010 Nighthawk since the first time I saw one on the Gibson website, and was only in the US for three weeks (from Australia). The guys at Guitar Center, Syracuse did well to track one down and get it to NY with four days to spare. But the finish was so bad I couldn't buy it, with or without the 10% discount they offered.

I walked around the GC store and looked at guitars costing form $200 to $2500, from every guitar maker out there. They all had a perfect finish, glossy, smooth and well- finished. Cheap Mexican Fenders, Epiphones, even old second-hand Gibsons. All were much better than the Nighthawk.*

Yes, I know that cheaper guitars have a cheaper polyurethane finish which is smooth and shiny, and that nitro-cellulose lacquers are tricky to get right, but this is the company that says*"Only a Gibson is good enough." And has more experience and expertise than any other maker with this finish.

The Nighthawk came in a black Gibson hard case. The plush lining of the case had four patches, each 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide which were stiff and scratchy where glue had been misapplied.

I know the company is having problems but shipping out shoddy products with poor workmanship and bogus 'quality inspection' tags just damages the company's reputation even more.

Just for the record, my point of comparison is a black Gibson Blueshawk (1991) and a wine-red Gibson "The Hawk" (mid 90s). The finish on the Blueshawk is excellent, with the only flaw a chip in the gold-plating on the tremolo, and the "Hawk" while being a bottom of the range guitar, at least has a flat top and a good, even nitro-lacquer finish.

I could order a new 2011 Nighthawk with the tobacco-burst finish. But why would I trust Gibson to do any better this time?
#2
bummer.

you should have grabbed two of the used gibbys and flipped them for large cash down under.

I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Oct 22, 2011,
#3
I could order a new 2011 Nighthawk with the tobacco-burst finish. But why would I trust Gibson to do any better this time?


I would get somebody at Gibson on the phone, Email them pictures of the guitar and let them know exactly how disappointed you are with one of their instruments. I'd venture a bet that you will get results. Having worked in Manufacturing for the last, well for a long time, If I get a customer call that one of my company's products made it to the end customer in that kind of shape, I go to the line, and hand pick a replacement, then take it to our quality department and let them go over it before hand packing it and sending it out myself. A company like Gibson doesn't want any bad press from anyone, even you.

You still believe that Gibson makes quality stuff, or you wouldn't be as torn up about it... Give them a chance to make it right... but get personal with them...

It's worth a shot..
I Play Guitar
Some Like it
Some don't
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#4
Gibsons have quality control issues all the time. Next time I go into my local Long & McQuade I'll take pictures of a few Gibsons there. One of the Standards is supposed to have a flame maple cap, but there's only a small amount of figure under the bridge on the right side of the bookmatch. The rest just looks like plain mahogany. Two others have in insanely uneven bookmatch and one of them has a foggy patch near the selector switch. There are also pretty clear issues with finishes on the necks of a couple, that Gibson obviously didn't care about enough to fix. They've had this attitude for years, and it's the reason that I'll never buy anything from them.
Last edited by Pat_s1t at Oct 22, 2011,
#5
Quote by Pat_s1t
Gibsons have quality control issues all the time. Next time I go into my local Long & McQuade I'll take pictures of a few Gibsons there. One of the Standards is supposed to have a flame maple cap, but there's only a small amount of figure under the bridge on the right side of the bookmatch. The rest just looks like plain mahogany. There are also pretty clear issues with finishes on the necks of a couple, that Gibson obviously didn't care about enough to fix. They've had this attitude for years, and it's the reason that I'll never buy anything from them.



this thread is so full of win.

gibson, they travel to the store and fix the things that happen in transit.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#6
Checking of the finish indicates the guitar was exposed to a temperature extreme, perhaps during shipping, then removed from the case too quickly - perhaps in an air conditioned environment. I really doubt that a guitar with checking was allowed to leave the factory.
#7
At my local L&M, there used to be what I think was a Gibson ES-335, but I don't really know, up behind cash, never played, with a huge, 4-5 inch gash that you could see from across the store.
#8
Quote by KG6_Steven
Checking of the finish indicates the guitar was exposed to a temperature extreme, perhaps during shipping, then removed from the case too quickly - perhaps in an air conditioned environment. I really doubt that a guitar with checking was allowed to leave the factory.


Thank you for being a voice for sanity. The damages described sound like typical exposure to temperature changes and a dented or chipped finish is also very likely the result of shipping damage.
Any 'flaws' I've seen in Gibson in the last few years have been of a very minor nature and are the result of the hand work done vs robotics in other brands.
I've played and seen plenty of GIbsons and have worked on a couple of friends LPs as well Gibson quality is fine and considering the numbers they produce (1000's) the slip is very small.
Most people spouting off about "Gibson's quality control is so bad these days" are meerly repeating the BS spouted by others who either have never played them or played one with a poor setup and couldn't tell the difference between Quality and setup & think $300 is alot of money for a guitar..
For every one basher there are probably 1000 happy Gibson LP owners, if you can't afford one don't be like the fox in the fable.

EDIT and OH BTW here's my 3. 1- USA Model and 2 -CS models from different years and all purchased from different Vendors. Absolutely no issues.

Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Oct 22, 2011,
#9
Yeah, that's completely unacceptable on an instrument that expensive. I know if I were dropping 2 grand or so on a guitar - hell, if I was dropping $650 on a guitar - I'd expect it to be damn near perfect as far as fit and finish goes. If it's expensive I'd expect it to be set up before I bought it.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#10
Quote by oneblackened
Yeah, that's completely unacceptable on an instrument that expensive. I know if I were dropping 2 grand or so on a guitar - hell, if I was dropping $650 on a guitar - I'd expect it to be damn near perfect as far as fit and finish goes. If it's expensive I'd expect it to be set up before I bought it.



Not everyone likes the same setup. Some younger kids and metal players like action so low I can't bend or do vibrato properly on it. GIbson has a standard factory setup that's a tad high for me and with shipping and climate changes it may shift even more from the factory setup. How does Gibson control that and satisfy everyone with a setup? Answer they can't. Most music stores also don't bother to do anything to a guitar till someone buys it and then many will set it up to their preference. An experienced player should be able to see past a setup and assess the guitar anyway. IF they can't they probably shouldn't be buying expensive guitars.
Moving on.....
#11
My 2003 Gibson Flying V is a fine instrument in every aspect, but it's not 100% perfect either. If you look closely at some of the lines (body corners near the neck, headstock edges) you can tell where it was sanded by hand and slightly uneven. Does this make it an unfit instrument? No, it's called making things by hand and it's where that extra $$$ comes from. Somebody has to pay the American that took the time to handcraft your instrument.

If you want an instrument that was mindlessly built on a machine and 100% perfect, buy a PRS and don't complain about Gibson.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Oct 22, 2011,
#13
Quote by KenG
Not everyone likes the same setup. Some younger kids and metal players like action so low I can't bend or do vibrato properly on it. GIbson has a standard factory setup that's a tad high for me and with shipping and climate changes it may shift even more from the factory setup. How does Gibson control that and satisfy everyone with a setup? Answer they can't. Most music stores also don't bother to do anything to a guitar till someone buys it and then many will set it up to their preference. An experienced player should be able to see past a setup and assess the guitar anyway. IF they can't they probably shouldn't be buying expensive guitars.

I don't really mean action considering that is a personal thing. I'm talking things like the nut slots being done correctly, decent (read as: crowned, leveled, polished) fretwork, a bridge that's intonated correctly. That is unrelated to the action. That can make a guitar sound horribly out of tune or make it hard to play. I dunno about you but I'd like to think that a manufacturer would want to make their guitars easier to sell by making them easy to play.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#14
I remember hearing gibson isn't as good as they use to be, but that was mainly how they processed the wood before they used it to make guitars.
#15
^^ OK. Nut slots and frets are different but since they started plek'ing their guitars most people seem to be pretty happy with what they got. However, intonation is directly affected by action. Height at the nut, height of the strings affect deflection which affects intonation. Same with neck relief, a bowed (fwd or bkwd) neck is shorter than a straight neck so that also affects intonation. Therefore climate changes, older strings etc can result iin a new guitar noot arriving at it's destination perfectly intonated. If you're polanning on setting one up when you buy, you're going to need to intonate anyway.

As to the poster that scoffed at handwork in Gibson USA, take the factory tour online (See MLP Forum sticky)
The things that need to be perfect (body, location of bridge& tailpiece holes, pu routing and neck pocket are cncn'ed. Contour sanding of the top, all finish sanding, binding and inlays, shaping and final sanding of the neck and all spray finishing are done by hand. Same with the custom shop.

Instead of just passing on 2nd or 3rd hand inof try checking out some real sources.
Moving on.....
#16
Quote by zomgguitarz1234
I remember hearing gibson isn't as good as they use to be, but that was mainly how they processed the wood before they used it to make guitars.


No naturally dried woods to the levels required are available in any qty today & haven't been for years. Gibson has kiln dried it's raw stock for along time now and moisture controls the factory to maintain the wood at the required levels.
What's changed in recent years (not too recent though) is the availability of the light weight,low mineral content mahogany! Another factor is the tree sizes being cut down, many are alot smaller. This has forced Gibson save the really nice mahogany for their CS line exclusively and go to more 2 piece bodies (& sometimes more on the less expensive models) adding in either chambering or weight relief to make them manageable.
These days buying premium woods in some species is becoming less viable forlarge scale production.
Of course recent raids by DOJ under the Lacey Act haven't helped Gibson to keep using premium woods either.
My R0 is Madagascar Rosewood but I'm pretty certain my R7 is Indian. The Trad could be Mad but I'm not 100% certain.
As for Mahogany all mine are 1 piece bodies with the Trad being heaviest at ~10lbs with weight relief (nice looking wood but heavy), the R0 at 8.6 LBs solid and my R7 8.0-8.1LBs solid. So there's still some nice wood there just have to pay more to get it.
Moving on.....
#17
I love how people expect the guitar they buy to be perfectly set up. Seriously?

Like uber lulz. Set up your own friggin' guitar when you get it. It's absolutely coincidental when a guitar you buy is "perfectly" set up. And it's probably not even perfect, it's probably just better than how your guitar is set up.
#18
Quote by KenG
^^ OK. Nut slots and frets are different but since they started plek'ing their guitars most people seem to be pretty happy with what they got. However, intonation is directly affected by action. Height at the nut, height of the strings affect deflection which affects intonation. Same with neck relief, a bowed (fwd or bkwd) neck is shorter than a straight neck so that also affects intonation. Therefore climate changes, older strings etc can result iin a new guitar noot arriving at it's destination perfectly intonated. If you're polanning on setting one up when you buy, you're going to need to intonate anyway.

As to the poster that scoffed at handwork in Gibson USA, take the factory tour online (See MLP Forum sticky)
The things that need to be perfect (body, location of bridge& tailpiece holes, pu routing and neck pocket are cncn'ed. Contour sanding of the top, all finish sanding, binding and inlays, shaping and final sanding of the neck and all spray finishing are done by hand. Same with the custom shop.

Instead of just passing on 2nd or 3rd hand inof try checking out some real sources.


i've owned so many gibsons.

never have i ever played a gibson usa thats better then a custom from nashville.

know all the facts. just don't care.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#19
Oh look, this again.

If you're standards are too high for Gibson, then by all means, avoid them. I promise you, you can easily get a custom made Les Paul from an experienced Luthier for nearly as much as a new Standard.

But people want the Gibson name, so that's what they buy. I Like Gibson, I think they are still doing great things, but I believe many companies out there are producing better guitars for the same price. I'm in the US, so Gibsons aren't too expensive, but if I was in a foreign country and they were limited and cost too much, I'd be finding something from Japan.
#20
Quote by Pat_s1t
Every guitar company has quality control issues all the time.

Fix'd.

The only guitars I would buy without playing them are the Japanese Ibanez because they're so consistent. I bought my 2120X without even seeing one in person and it's one of the most comfortable guitars I've played.

Even then, I prefer to play the guitar in person.
#21
I can't say I have a huge Gibson collection but I've tried out a fair few in shops, borrowed from friends and the like. The main 'problem' I've noticed isn't inconsistency in quality, just inconsistency in spec. It seems pot luck whether a Gibson has a 1-piece body or a 2-piece or even 3-piece one, whether it has a thick or thin neck, whether it's light or heavy and whether the maple tops have nice figuring or not. I've never noticed any particular construction flaws though. The only reason I would never buy a Gibson blind is simply because I'd want to make sure I got one of the light ones.
#22
Quote by Pac_man0123
Fix'd.

The only guitars I would buy without playing them are the Japanese Ibanez because they're so consistent. I bought my 2120X without even seeing one in person and it's one of the most comfortable guitars I've played.

Even then, I prefer to play the guitar in person.

True, but they aren't nearly as common in my experience (which, to be fair, is fairly limited). I've never come across a Fender (for example - let's not turn this thread into a fender vs gibson debate) with huge playability or fit and finish issues (again, this is in my limited experience).
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#23
Quote by KenG
Thank you for being a voice for sanity. The damages described sound like typical exposure to temperature changes and a dented or chipped finish is also very likely the result of shipping damage.
Any 'flaws' I've seen in Gibson in the last few years have been of a very minor nature and are the result of the hand work done vs robotics in other brands.
I've played and seen plenty of GIbsons and have worked on a couple of friends LPs as well Gibson quality is fine and considering the numbers they produce (1000's) the slip is very small.
Most people spouting off about "Gibson's quality control is so bad these days" are meerly repeating the BS spouted by others who either have never played them or played one with a poor setup and couldn't tell the difference between Quality and setup & think $300 is alot of money for a guitar..
For every one basher there are probably 1000 happy Gibson LP owners, if you can't afford one don't be like the fox in the fable.

EDIT and OH BTW here's my 3. 1- USA Model and 2 -CS models from different years and all purchased from different Vendors. Absolutely no issues.



I share your frustration with these types of misinformed comments.

I hate to use the phrase "uneducated comments" as it sounds a bit harsh. People need to realize that these guitars are often exposed to the extremes during shipping. The guitar may've been exposed to high altitude during its travels in an aircraft. The guitar may've spent several days in the back of a semi truck, then it's placed on a truck for delivery, where it may be exposed (again) to the heat or cold. The instant the box and hard case are opened, exposing the guitar and its delicate finish to a new environmental extreme, the finish begins to contract or expand faster than the surrounding material (wood) and it cracks - to relieve the stress. Understand that most manufacturers, Gibson included, utilize tight environmental controls in their manufacturing facilities. These environmental controls help maintain consistency during manufacturing and prevent these types of incidents from occuring at their facilities. Manufacturers also employ quality control inspections at various steps in manufacturing process to catch mistakes and errors early. For example, it does absolutely no good to send a bad neck through, to a finished guitar, when it could have been caught early in the manufacturing process. With that said, do understand that Gibson used to allow guitars with minor defects through to the final inspection. These guitars were labeled and sold as "factory seconds." The serial number typically included a special identifying mark. I don't know if Gibson still follows this practice, but they used to back in the 60s and later. I've seen some of these guitars and, for the life of me, could not find the blemish or defect. They used to sell them to the employees, so it's possible a worker could've marked a guitar as a factory second with the intentions of buying it later at a greatly reduced price. That's pure speculation and I have no proof to support it.

Another problem I've seen is acoustic guitars with really poor action. I'm not talking about cheap guitars, but fairly high end models. Was this due to poor manufacturing processes? No. It was due to the season - Winter. Most areas of the planet tend to dry out in the Winter - that is, the relative humidity drops outside of allowable limits for the instrument. This can result in an instrument with poor action and sharp frets. On certain models, it can cause the top to eventually crack/split. That's why most good guitar stores use humidifiers when the relative humidity drops below 40%. Another good example of this problem is the guy who buys a guitar - it sounded and played great in the store, but a few days after he gets it home, it ends up as I described above. He's now upset, because he feels he bought a lemon. There's nothing wrong with his guitar, other than the fact that it's now outside of its normal operating environment.

Do mistakes occasionally happen? Sure. It's inevitable that a bad guitar will eventually escape the watchful eyes of the inspector - we're human and it's our nature. But the ES-335 with the 5" gash and the Gibson described by TS likely happened in transit to the store.

I realize this was kind of long, but hopefully it helps educate us that there are things outside the control of the manufacturer that can effect your expensive axe. Armed with a little knowledge, we can fix the blame on the right source.

Edit: Nice picture of the Gibson family. Time to grab my Taylor off the wall and play for a bit.
Last edited by KG6_Steven at Oct 22, 2011,
#24
Quote by KenG

EDIT and OH BTW here's my 3. 1- USA Model and 2 -CS models from different years and all purchased from different Vendors. Absolutely no issues.


Show off.....
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#25
Quote by KenG
Not everyone likes the same setup. Some younger kids and metal players like action so low I can't bend or do vibrato properly on it. GIbson has a standard factory setup that's a tad high for me and with shipping and climate changes it may shift even more from the factory setup. How does Gibson control that and satisfy everyone with a setup? Answer they can't. Most music stores also don't bother to do anything to a guitar till someone buys it and then many will set it up to their preference. An experienced player should be able to see past a setup and assess the guitar anyway. IF they can't they probably shouldn't be buying expensive guitars.



Where's the freakin' "Like" button? Wait... this isn't Facebook. lol

Regarding music stores doing setups at time of purchase... Guitar Center used to let you bring a guitar back for setup after you took it home. I seem to recall they gave you a year to bring it back, perhaps it was actually less time than that. Now, they've stopped that practice and make you pay for a setup. No biggie, since I do my own setups anyway, but it's something a new guitar player might need.
#26
Quote by AcousticMirror
never have i ever played a gibson usa thats better then a custom from nashville.


what about when nashville was gibson usa?



you should try some older gibbys.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#28
I'd put that guitar ippon has now and the one bubb has now against everything that isn't per 68.
: )
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#29
I'd put my R0 or my R7 up against any guitar period.
Moving on.....
#30
Quote by Soccerguy
At my local L&M, there used to be what I think was a Gibson ES-335, but I don't really know, up behind cash, never played, with a huge, 4-5 inch gash that you could see from across the store.


I'm not buying this. 1) How do you know it wasn't played? 2) If a business pays for a product and it comes in with a gash that devalues the guitar to the point where they'd lose money on the sale, they'd get a new one.

Gibson still makes one of the highest-quality instruments out there. I've said it a thousand times on here.. I work in a shop that sells more Gibsons than any other brand. We've never had to send one back for any issue. Never. We've sent every other brand in, multiple times.

And this is coming from someone who prefers Ibanez and Fender. But, we've had lots more issues with those two brands than Gibson.

Every company can't be perfect all the time. Gibson's problems are few, but when they have one they get noticed.
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#31
Quote by KenG
I'd put my R0 or my R7 up against any guitar period.


and your trad is nowhere close to those two.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#32
shouldda played my 86.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.