#1
I know that Gibson had IP rights to the Explorer and V shapes (as well as others) when they sued Ibanez and ESP a few decades ago because they were loosing money to them.

What I've been looking at is that Gibson obviously not making the product that guitarists wanted and here come these two companies making "knock-offs" that were obviously better made then the originals if that many people were jumping ship and buying the new "fakes" by these other companies.

Do you think that Gibson would be as strong today if this hadn't have been stopped, or even be as strong in business? They were obviously loosing enough money to get their attention thus killing their profits big time. Do you think had this continued unabated they would be around or as strong?

I'm not trying to start any sort of flame war, everyone has preferences but it seems like these other companies were making something superior and getting their rightful money for the better product for what the public wanted. I am just wondering if you think this would have changed the manufacturer landscape. we know today.
#2
Most of the Lawsuit Ibanez guitars were not superior. All but their top knockoff were plywood bodies with bolt on necks. The company that was making better LPs than Norlins offering at the time was Tokai (better meaning more accurate compared to the original 50's LPs). As for the Flying V & Explorer, they were invented by Ted McCarty in the 60's and discontinued when not well received. They were obviously too far ahead of their time and weren't actually brought back into production many years later.
The biggest reason people originally went to other companies was simple, they were cheaper. In the 70's (when I was a teenager) Japanese guitars went from poorly made inexpensive guitars to well made inexpensive guitars. Eventually their prices increased and that opened a market in other offshore manufacturing in countries like Korea.
Making 100% copies of any manufacturers design is illegal, it doesn't just apply to instruments, it applies to all aspects of life with good reason. Innovators deserve to profit from their ideas and investments, failure to protect that would likely result in the destruction of companies with good ideas in favour of the the lesser companies than can only copycat.
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Jan 7, 2012,
#4
Gibson lawsuits were, in fact, a desperate attempt to stop Japanese companies selling crap for peanuts to amateur players, mimicking the designs of Gibson, Fender or Rickenbacker and jeopardising the status of the electric guitar as a musical, social and cultural icon. Unfortunately, today it isn't possible anymore to do so against countless Chinese, Korean, American and European companies which trade the same crap for the same peanuts, this time using cheap labour from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India or Pakistan.
Ibanez and Tokai quality over Gibson and Fender lack of quality is a myth. Compare the prices commanded by instruments made in the '70s on the vintage market. There's no way an Ibanez from the '70s would sell better than a Gibson in the same condition. Quite the contrary, Fenders an Gibsons command prices 3-4 times higher than any Japanese copy.
#5
Quote by rv_phoenix
Gibson lawsuits were, in fact, a desperate attempt to stop Japanese companies selling crap for peanuts to amateur players, mimicking the designs of Gibson, Fender or Rickenbacker and jeopardising the status of the electric guitar as a musical, social and cultural icon. Unfortunately, today it isn't possible anymore to do so against countless Chinese, Korean, American and European companies which trade the same crap for the same peanuts, this time using cheap labour from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India or Pakistan.
Ibanez and Tokai quality over Gibson and Fender lack of quality is a myth. Compare the prices commanded by instruments made in the '70s on the vintage market. There's no way an Ibanez from the '70s would sell better than a Gibson in the same condition. Quite the contrary, Fenders an Gibsons command prices 3-4 times higher than any Japanese copy.

And of course, the higher the pricetag, the better the guitar, it's a common fact!



Also, there was never really any 'sueing' going on, between Gibson and Ibanez.
Last edited by Y00p at Jan 7, 2012,
#6
Quote by Y00p
And of course, the higher the pricetag, the better the guitar, it's a common fact!



Also, there was never really any 'sueing' going on, between Gibson and Ibanez.


Gibson dropped the lawsuit when Ibanez quit using the open book headstock. Just before then I could've bought the new Ibanez LP copies for just over $200 each CAD at Weiners in Ottawa. (these were the plywood bodied, bolt on neck copies). Shortly after that Ibanez introduced their own designs like the Artist & the Performer (LP like) which we sold in the Music store I worked in but these models were not cheap in price.
Moving on.....
#7
It's hard to say. Personally if its not an exact copy than i think its all fine. Just because a guitar is the of the same shape as long as the dimensions are different its all well and good. Fender didnt sue every company that produced a super strat. Also not all "knockoff guitars" are shit either. I have a lawsuit alder Ibby from the 80's that rapes. I have strayed from being on topic. Yeah, I'm drunk a 5pm yay for me.
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#8
There's one more thing to say: Gibson didn't "sue" Ibanez for making great guitars, they reacted against mimickry. During the same "hot" '70s, another Japanese company, Yamaha, was making a great guitar, competing with the LP in all respects: I'm talking about the SG2000 (dubbed SBG2000 in the US, to avoid confusion with Gibson's GM). But Yamaha's design was original, never trying to mimick the LP it was aimed against. Gibson's didn't react against Yamaha's premium axe, because it didn't try to steal their customers by mimicking a patented design.
Of course the guitar world doesn't mean only Fender and Gibson. And, nowadays, Ibanez makes a pretty good deal of great axes. But they didn't invent anything big (like the humbucker pickup or the fully adjustable bridge). So the guitar world could have been absolutely the same without them, which is not the case of Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, Gretsch and other revered makes of the past.
#10
The lawsuit guitars - from a wide range of companies - weren't necessarily 'better' than the originals, but they weren't all cheap junk either. There were a huge range, from guitars similar to the cheap chinese copies we get today right up to guitars that were comparable to the originals - like some of the Tokais for instance.

As far as I can gather, copyright and all the related things in the guitar world seem to apply to headstocks far more than overall body design, though I'm not sure where that first came about. People generally don't care if you copy a body shape so long as you don't rip off the headstock as well.

So you can see a lot of 80's ESP models with a Jackson headstock, before they stopped that due to the threat of a lawsuit. Andre Olbrich's red Horizon is a good example of one of those. Or how the Jackson PC1 originally used a different headstock to today's, but when Fender acquired Jackson they allowed them to start using the strat headstock.

All in all it makes for a decent system. It keeps different companies' guitars unique and recognisable, without restricting what they can do with the body shape. After all, the 'standard' body shapes are so widely used because they are generally the best looking ones, and the market wouldn't be so wide as it is if the body shapes were restricted more.

Companies producing higher end instruments are obviously aware of wanting to maintain their own identity too, so you won't often see a quality knock-off these days unless it's by some small operation. Fender and Gibson even have an agreement that they'll stay away from each other's renowned body shapes, which applies to all of their subsidiaries too. An agreement which, for example, means that Jackson's custom shop will no longer build you a firebird, even though they'd built several in the past.

Was the guitar world harmed by stopping the lawsuit guitars? Not really. Yes, Gibson got a bit more exclusivity on their body shapes, but most of the people buying the lawsuit models would have been people who couldn't afford the 'real thing' anyway, and so still wouldn't be buying Gibsons after the knock-offs were stopped. And, some great companies like Ibanez got a start from building those knock-offs, and then emerged as leading companies in their own right.
#11
Quote by KenG
Most of the Lawsuit Ibanez guitars were not superior. All but their top knockoff were plywood bodies with bolt on necks. The company that was making better LPs than Norlins offering at the time was Tokai (better meaning more accurate compared to the original 50's LPs). As for the Flying V & Explorer, they were invented by Ted McCarty in the 60's and discontinued when not well received. They were obviously too far ahead of their time and weren't actually brought back into production many years later.
The biggest reason people originally went to other companies was simple, they were cheaper. In the 70's (when I was a teenager) Japanese guitars went from poorly made inexpensive guitars to well made inexpensive guitars. Eventually their prices increased and that opened a market in other offshore manufacturing in countries like Korea.
Making 100% copies of any manufacturers design is illegal, it doesn't just apply to instruments, it applies to all aspects of life with good reason. Innovators deserve to profit from their ideas and investments, failure to protect that would likely result in the destruction of companies with good ideas in favour of the the lesser companies than can only copycat.


pretty accurate assessment. Flying Vs and Explorers were both from the late 50s though. my first "real" guitar was an ibanez strat copy which was a pretty decent axe. as mentioned in the 70s if you didn't have the cash for an american guitar then you got a japanese one that was most likely a copy. some were pretty decent and even some of the cheapies were pretty good (for the money).

to address the OPs ? yes i think we would still have many of the different guitars we have now anyways. it might have taken some more time but someone would have filled the void and come up with different designs. if not the japanese then perhaps an american company would have popped up and started to make some more affordable (or at least alternatives) guitars as obviously there is a desire to be different amoungst guitar players. the old standbys will stay around for the foreseable future but they don't hold the prominence they once did.