Mastodon's Kelliher: I Left Gibson Because They Treat Artists Like Shit. That Company Is Falling Apart

UG exclusive: "I think they're on their way downhill honestly."

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Mastodon's Kelliher: I Left Gibson Because They Treat Artists Like Shit. That Company Is Falling Apart
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Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher was asked by UG interviewer Justin Beckner about leaving Gibson and joining the ESP fold last year, to which he replied:

"It was a lot of reasons.

"I never really felt like I was accepted at Gibson. The communication over there is terrible.

"They kept fucking up my guitars that I was asking for. I didn't ask for a lot - I just had a few certain things that I would like with my guitar - I told them I didn't want it chambered and they made my second guitar chambered.

"All the guys I worked with over there - the A&R guys were getting fired left and right and the company just seemed to be falling apart to me. There were new guys who would come in and they didn't know shit.

"It was a breath of fresh air working with ESP. They were interested and would ask me what gauge strings I played and what tunings I play - Gibson never cared about any of that stuff.

"Kids would get my guitar in the mail and ask me how to tune it because it wasn't tuned and then I would tell them how to tune it and they would say it still doesn't sound right and it's because they're not putting my gauge strings on there.

"They weren't even tuning the guitars to my settings or specifications – just little things like that. Things that make the guitar a Bill Kelliher model, like put it in my tuning so that when it shows up, it's different.

"ESP wanted to know all that stuff. They're just friendly and nice and they're interested in me and my band and what they can do for me rather than this company.

"Gibson just wasn't... I don't know, I think they're on their way downhill honestly.

"Every guy I talk to - I mean, look at James Hetfield. He was at Gibson, played Gibson stuff and they didn't want to work with him, so he went to ESP. And he's one of the biggest fucking guitar players in our kind of music.

"It seems like there are a lot of bad decisions being made over there.

"But ESP is really great. They treat me really well. I love my Sparrowhawk that I designed. It's the best playing guitar that I own."

Asked whether he reached out to ESP or the company contacted him, Bill replied:

"They had been approaching me for a couple years now but I was with Gibson. I was happy with Gibson at the time but I was also in the middle of making guitars with Gibson.

"I was ready to jump ship and then it just kind of came together when they didn't renew my contract.

"We sold every guitar that I designed - both types, and I did everything they ever asked me to do.

"And they were just like, 'Eh, we don't need you anymore.' So it was like, 'Fuck you guys.' I mean, I did every clinic and anything they ever asked me to do.

"I don't know why, but they treat their artists like shit, basically. ESP doesn't.

"So I do a lot of stuff for ESP, I do clinics and whatever they want because they're good and they're good to their artists and that's how you keep business going - you're good to your employees and you're good to the people who bring you success or money or your shit's going to go down the drain."

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119 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HugoPan
    I really think that the only thing that is holding Gibson is their 'cultural relevance'. I mean, the greats played Gibson, so it's natural to view them as this high quality brand, or like a piece of art by itself. 
    HimitsuUK
    That's how a lot are sold, even high end. "Slash played that".
    Ponchibego
    That's the reason I got mine. It's a great guitar, but if I could go back I would definitely pursue a different route. There are a lot of great guitars out there for a much lower price. I was new to the guitar world and went big right off the bat.
    Jmoarguitar
    The only gibsons I like are SGs, which happen to be my favourite type of guitar. I'd never pay full price for a gibson, especially since SG Standards (the only SG you'll ever need) pop up on Kijiji for almost half price constantly. 
    solicitr
    Except Slash didn't-- he played a replica.
    Prostheta
    Yeah, the famous Derrig LP replica is probably one of the only reasons that Gibson have survived till today, ironically enough. Slash cemented Gibson back into the popular consciousness, so perhaps getting/keeping him onboard was the last good decision they ever made.
    gjetsonrocks
    Slash's Appetite Guitar wasn't a Gibson. It was made my Chris Derrig. He made some great '59 Copies. Gibson made a lot of shit guitars in 70's & 80's.
    Gtubahsbro
    I can't justify paying $3000 for one Gibson(or just any guitar for that price, but I'm kind of a cheapskate lol), could get me 6 really good $500 guitars for that, or 12 good $250 guitars! Epiphone seems to be the better alternative to Gibson. Edit: Hell, I even bought a BC Rich Warlock Bronze series bass used for $150 in 2014 and it stays in tune perfectly! Kept it at my parents' place after I moved out, I played it for a bit during Christmas 2016, came back in May 2017 and even going through cold as fuck winter to warm spring it managed to stay almost perfectly in tune(only one string was slightly off)
    Charlie4
    If you're willing to put down 3k for an axe I'd by anything except an ol' Gibbo. Not because they're necessarily bad, but because there are a multitude of companies that offer WAY more bang for the buck - Carvin/Kiesel being one of them...  
    Gtubahsbro
    Halo Custom Guitars seem great for if you want a custom guitar for 1K or higher. Just tried making the most expensive guitar possible, ended up with a ridiculous abomination of a guitar costing $5474 (The basics of it; 10-string, multi-scale, Kahler 10-string multiscale tremolo, full scallop, 27 frets, crazy expensive top wood, contoured top hollowbody Jazzmaster)
    kramer242
    I personally buy nothing but schecter and Jackson.... Mentioned in an earlier comment having a km7 frs.... Absolute steal at 1200.... Lol at the price of the materials and parts to build it.... If you were to special order one from anywhere with the same set up you're looking at a minimal of 4 grand... And the build quality is excellent.... Far better than the few gibsons I've touched, no customization necessary and its an absolute steal at the price
    Jmoarguitar
    Buy Gibsons used and wait for the one that feels magical. Save the 3 grand for guitar companies that care!
    stondagain
    I bought a Les Paul Studio in '99.  It plays like a dream.  I go to the store & play the new LP Studios, and they just...don't feel the same. I also have an '85 Gibson Custom Shop Flying V (purpleburst) that was my main guitar back in the day; beat up as hell but still stays in tune & plays great. But I agree - I haven't been impressed with the newer versions.  They're missing something. I've been VERY intrigued with the Sparrowhawk.  for $1200, I just might have to grab one.
    kramer242
    That's also the thought that is likely going to kill them.... While quality fails off and they sell at the same price based off a name, there are far better guitars at lower prices.... For example I pitched up a schecter km7 frs.... While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, one look at the materials and hardware used to build it will show you that at 1200 USD the guitar is an absolute value and alot of bang for the buck, not to mention the build is extremely sturdy.... Gibson in the other hand seem to have regressed and have been losing artists like crazy, which says alot....I mean who ever thought they'd see zakk wylde with anything other than a Gibson in hand
    negativefx
    You can get a Heritage if you want a real Gibson.  Most of the original Gibson Kalamazoo builders started Heritage when they moved.  They're not cheap but they're fantastic.
    PRSguitars87
    I have hated Gibson ever since they filed a lawsuit against PRS for making a better quality instrument. Does it look similiar? Sure it does, 100s of brands make a les paul style guitar. They sued PRS because they knew they were making a better quality version of it
    T-Unit33
    I bought one of said PRS's that looked like a les paul (2008 SC245) and I love it. So comfortable and the quality is really great.  
    SGstriker
    Same here, except a 2011 instead of a 2008.  Such a masterpiece of a guitar.  It wasn't cheap, but unlike a Gibson, it actually feels like what I paid for.  Gibson on the other hand...I had an Explorer and it basically fell apart on me.  
    lyytheprozai
    At this rate Gibson is going to go bankrupt. Gibson really is shocking in terms of quality control, I have seen a $3000 LP that has some paint spilling over onto the binding, I thought that was a Chibson or something at first but upon seeing the Cert of Authenticity... I don't even know whether Gibson is being complacent now, like what is there to be complacent about. I would assume that Gibson wants to be known as a high-end brand but its half-hearted and feeble attempts at doing things right has got nothing on boutique makers or PRS and Gibson's middle of the line products are frankly just shit. 
    Kalluh
    But those mistakes give it loads of CHARACTER and make it feel HUMAN... right?  
    kramer242
    3000 dollar guitar... Fuck no lololol I'll let the little dings it gets over the years give it character....3 grand to pay for a name and that thing better look flawless when I first get it lol
    GenerationKILL
    Some people will say "the guitar is dying." I think it's because companies like Gibson or Fender market the instrument as some sort of nostalgia trip too hard. How many times are we going to get the same "1959 reissues" from these companies? If you wanna know why the guitar is dying, it's because it's been marketed as a throwback nostalgia trip by all these big companies and shit like Rolling Stone. How many times can we read the same issue of "100 greatest guitarists" that are filled with guys from like 40 or 50 years ago?! The guitar is dying because the industry surrounding it refuses to progress and embrace the future. An 18 year old kid today doesn't give a shit about "reissues from 1959" over and over again. 
    bugo73
    The guitar isn't dying. EDM is a fad. It will fade. Guitar-based music isn't going anywhere.
    svelle
    Electronic based music won't go anywhere either. It'll just evolve just like guitar based music.
    GenerationKILL
    EDM isn't a fad. It's growing as a genre because software to make it is becoming easier and more intuitive to use, while also sounding more professional for cheaper and cheaper. EDM festivals like EDC are getting bigger and bigger each year, not smaller. Even Tomorrowland is now two weekends instead of one. EDM isn't going anywhere, despite what musical snobs think. Maybe if people also stopped comparing EDM shows to The Who live at Leeds or some shit, they'd realize it's a completely new and different thing. You're not supposed to compare them with rock concerts. Instead just realize they're big dance parties.
    jordo246
    Rolling Stones lists are complete shit, they're so biased and it really shows. I looked at their 100 greatest guitarists list not long ago and right off the fucking bat they have Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols one place above Alex Lifeson. I'm not saying people can't like the Sex Pistols more than Rush but from a guitar playing point of view it's moronic. Also off the top of my head I only remember 3 metal players being Dimebag, Hetfield and Iommi none of which were ranked high for who they are. I would say it's a popularity contest but half the list is blues players from the 50s I've literally never heard anyone talk about and the top 10 is the most predictable thing you can think of. They just fucking suck.
    Deceived91352
    Was about to comment something like this. It almost appears their primary target market is doctors and lawyers who worship Page/Slash and want a custom shop reissue to hang up on the wall, just to admire the AAAAA flame top. All other buyers who dont meet that criteria are treated to robo tuners and all sorts of redundant switches and toggles.
    nathandavis87
    What is wrong with Fender? I just got a MIM strat and it is fast becomingy new favorite.
    Gtubahsbro
    Fender still offers a lot of stuff below $1000 that is still good, and even their new Squier $100-$200 guitars are pretty good. Gibson seem to not do anything below $1000 and their quality has apparently plummeted in recent years so they're probably actually $300 guitars sold for up to 10x the price
    Holybeer
    Sad but true.  same thing with Fender. Even if I own a gibson and a fender, I would  prioritise stringed instrument makers who can make awesome instruments  for the same price. I would even pay $100 bucks more to have excellent quality.  My gibson which I paid around 800 euros, has a good sound but damn, it keeps detuning, and it's such a pain in the ass to tune it correctly. I own an ESP LTD, paid may be 260 euros, changed pickups for EMG 81 and 85, and well, it's my main guitar. 
    Metal_Lo
    I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio since 2004, it is my main guitar 'cause I like its sound but it has some issues (detuning, pick up selector). I was thinking about buying a LTD TE with EMGs, and reading your comment probably has convinced me. 
    Holybeer
    Glad I've convinced you :p  I wanted a gibson, because yeah that's a gibson I like the sound but I had to choose between my LTD and my SG, I would definitely take the LTD.
    danieljt98
    Are there any issues with EMG's clean tones? I remember looking into them a while ago and that was a main concern for me.
    Holybeer
    Nope, I don't have issues with the clean tone. A friend of mine did the welds and it works perfectly. I bought the zakk wylde bundle.
    damillion
    I was worried and ended up getting the EMG 81 in the bridge and 89 in the neck. The 89 is like the 85 but you can put it in split coil mode, which I find produces the best cleans in a lot of situations.
    svelle
    If you want nice clean tones I wouldn't go with EMGs. I mean they're okayish but nothing more. Have a look at Seymour Duncans they offer some very versatile Pickups in the same price range. But if you only play clean on occasion go with the EMGs they're awesome for crunch/distortion tones. I got myself a SD-JB a few years ago and put it in my first guitar (Ibanez beginner guitar <100€) and it did wonders to the sound and also holds up really well against other more expensive guitars, soundwise.
    nathandavis87
    I would like to DiMarzio to the mix. I have a Super Distortion and that thing is probably my new favorite humbucker. Solid cleans but big distortion with a bit a vintage roar still. Perfect blend of old school versus modern.
    svelle
    Yeah good point! Friend of mine also put a Super Distortion in his first guitar and it was a difference light night and day.
    cesarochoa200
    I also have and esp Ltd. An Ltd mh 330 fmfr with factory settings. And prevouiously I owned the les Paul and I can surely say that the Ltd quality and sound makes that Les Paul a fucking piece of shit.
    tommyhouse1988
    I have a couple gibsons from the 90s and I love em, but the tuners were trash, I replaced em with grovers. Tuning issues solved. Awesome guitars now.
    kramer242
    Yeah but difference being.... There are plenty of lower priced fender instruments that are pretty decent.... Also fender puts alot of bang for the buck in the Jackson pro series.....I really wouldn't include fender too heavily on this conversation because their are real fender guitars that carry a good value....I wouldn't spenda dime on a newer Gibson
    nathandavis87
    I know I just got a min strat used and it destroys even at full price. Granted it has a little JB Jr in the bridge.
    axe_man7777
    Unfortunately these stories are all too common. I love my gibsons (2 LPs, 1 SG) and nothing has ever been out of the box and ready to go. When I ordered my first gibson (the SG) I was really pumped. Long and McQuade placed the order for me, but i was immediately warned "they will not give Canadian distributors lead times, or commit to delivery dates." I waited almost 6 months. I was ready to cancel my order and take an in stock model.... BUYER BEWARE. QA is not up to expectation. YOU WILL HAVE TO SET UP YOUR GIBSON, AND LIKELY REPLACE ELECTRONICS.  I have heard of myths where Gibson come out of the box with a perfect set up... but I have never actually seen/ met someone with this experience. that situation is the Unicorn. 
    Gtubahsbro
    That's one weird expectation I see many people have, especially on Youtube; expecting their guitars that have been through different temperatures and been shook a little during transportation to arrive perfectly in tune. You're gonna tune it anyways, why even get upset if it arrives out of tune?
    axe_man7777
    I dont get upset if it is out of tune. Infact youre completely right; chances are your guitar will be out of tune if shipped to you. But intonation and pickup height are another story....
    d.floresumana
    I think Fender is having a similar problem, John Mayer have been playing some sort of stratotype from PRS lately. I believe I saw him saying that he had trouble with Fender or something.
    stixhogan
    John Mayer's Super Eagle from PRS was going for like $12,000 I think and it was very limited.  
    AVman9
    I get the feeling that Gibson likes to play favorites with artist endorsements. The "big" players like Slash and Alex Lifeson probably are very well catered to. Bill probably isn't in that category.
    blackone666
    I bought a new Studio recently, it was way worse than a Chinese Epi custom. Chambered mystery-wood body, uneven frets, intonation problems etc. Gave Gibson a second chance and bought a 2002 Studio and I'm relatively happy with it, yet I'd be happy to throw it in the sewer if I could afford a Japanese Custom epiphone. What's the point of making hollow les pauls ffs?
    Anjohl
    I've no problem with the chambered Ultras, as it's marketed around that as a feature. Chambering a regular LP without advertising as such is criminal.
    Droste
    James Hetfield said the same thing about them when he was still on Instagram. He was contacting Gibson to make his original Gibson Iron Cross a signature model. He even got a prototype which you can see during the making of Death Magnetic. (The part where Rob plays acoustic flamenco style and James then plays it amplified) He said their artist relations suck and had the same problems Kelliher has, so he went to ESP again. It's sad to see a company with such a big heritage and mojo just completely losing it. If you want a Gibson Les Paul Custom these days you're better of buying an old model with some patina than a brand new one, talking about the price of Gibsons these days.
    Anjohl
    Tokai, and even Epiphone have been out-Gibson'ing Gibson for years.
    Droste
    Absolutely. My friends and I own Edwards Les Pauls, fantastic guitars under 1000 bucks.
    sheehanje
    I love my SG.  It's my go-to guitar.  It's one of the most hated models - a 2015.  I had an EBMM Majesty, great guitar, but when I had to see something from my collection, the EBMM went and the SG stayed.   I of course don't have Gibson endorsing me - but I have some suggestions to anyone getting ready to buy a guitar: Don't order it online.   Go to the store, sit down and play what your looking at.   Even two guitars of the same model and year will have some differences. Try the guitar with a similar or same amp and effects chain as your own.   If the store has nothing close, drag your stuff there.   Guitars have a lot of nuances, and I've found some that sound great on one amp, but not the same on another.   After you purchase - get a pro setup.  Must.  My SG took about a month to get it were I really like it - I didn't have to add or subtract much - but the setup is crucial - one players setup may not work for another.  Also, any Gibson with the classic headstock (SG, Les Paul) - you are going to want to get some lubricant to nullify nut binding - another MUST if you like your guitar to stay in tune. Don't listen to internet know-it-alls.   My 2015 SG was panned - but it works perfect for me - it was an odd year where they made the neck slightly wider and added a ZFAN and titanium bridge.   The G-Force tuning system is panned - I didn't hate it but ended up putting on regular Klusons as I couldn't stand manual tuning adjustments with servo motors (the unit as designed worked for me as advertised but just wasn't my thing).   People didn't like the Les Paul hologram on the neck stock - I really didn't care.   It's my favorite guitar, and I've owned a lot of guitars.   The only one that comes close is a prototype 70's Dean ML I had that got stolen. A $2500 guitar doesn't exactly mean it's 5 times better than a $500 guitar.  Yes, hardware will usually be higher quality, bindings and inlays will usually be better - but I've bought plenty of great middle of the road guitars that I was able to put a little money into and make them really what I want.   I have a Epiphone Hummingbird acoustic that gets played way more then my Taylor.  Go figure - again, go to the store, listen with your ears and not your eyes.  Don't let the pricetag determine what you are getting.  Yes, resale value will be better on the mesa amps, the gibsons and fenders of the store - but you don't have to break the bank to get great equipment. Make sure you test the guitar while it's not plugged in, make sure the neck isn't twisted (I've seen too many of these even on high end guitars - a lot are in an unrepairable state - at least for a reasonable repair job). Check the used market - a lot of great gear is available - just don't be fooled, some people want way too much for crap or they are selling knock offs as the real thing.  If you aren't experienced enough to know, find someone who is. Good luck and great playing!
    Anjohl
    But it should be 5x better. Or at least 2x. Otherwise, you're just paying for a headstock.
    sheehanje
    It depends on perspective.  You're paying for subjectively better woods and real inlays compared to plastic ones.  Also, electronics are usually better in more expensive guitars - but me saying my EBMM Majesty which cost me close to $3000 was 5X better then my $500 Schecter would be wrong.  Yes, it is better but not that much.   Same thing with amps, I paid a lot of money on my Mesa Amps, but my Blackstar HT Venue was a very capable amplifier too - not quite in the same class as my Mark V or JP-2C - but you pay a very big price for smaller incremental gains over a certain price point. It's true in almost anything - computers, cars, etc. 
    l0ld4v3
    I got a cheap Wasburn X-30 and it has very good woods: Mahogany, Rosewood and Maple. For a cheap guitar as it is, I found it plays better for my style than a Jazzmaster, an ESP LTD or a Hammer (Hammer's got a lovely sustain, just had to say it) Perspective indeed
    dewitt
    I like the way he starts out talking like it was his decision, then by the end, he says he left after they didn't want him back. It's like quitting after you get fired. Gibson still sounds terrible, though.
    ozzfest434
    I’ve played a lot of Gibson’s and recently tried a chibson (friends guitar) if it had an ABR-1 bridge you wouldn’t tell the difference. He had the stock pickups changed out to gfs fat pat, the guitar sounded and played amazing. The body was made of a one piece mahogany. The Chinese are getting better, and in my eyes the chibson was better quality than some 2000$ made in the USA Gibson’s I’ve played!
    philcorcoran
    And I had a Chibson that was made out of mahogany alright, but the grain ran diagonally, it was three piece back with a veneer stuck on it to make it look one piece. I put decent pups on it and it sounded a total piece of shit. No sustain, no body. Nothing I did to it made it sound good. Sometimes you’re lucky, but most often you’re not. The case was nice.....
    Gtubahsbro
    People have been praising Bad Cat Instruments recently, used to be a Chibson brand but they started selling them as their own brand and now they have damn good guitars for less than $400, except two models where one is exactly $400 and the other slightly above
    MyUserName777
    This brings me so much joy. I started out with an Epiphone and eventually moved on to an LTD which I still love. 
    Ghostmaker
    Most new Gibsons that I’ve played were fine. But I’ve found more bad guitars by Gibson than by any other brand. Brand new guitars with reversed pickup switches, knots in the top-wood, muffled pickups, and frets that are hanging off the side so far and so sharp that I could have easily sliced my hand open with an enthusiastic slide. I want to say that I’d expect this from a cheap Asian-made guitar and not a Gibson. But I think the Asian-made guitars are actually beating Gibson on quality control.
    Skrazor
    My first guitar was a LTD and to this day, 10 years later, I still love it. Honestly the only thing holding me back from buying another ESP or LTD is the neck shape. Every model I find has a d-shaped neck but that just doesn't "feel right" for me. I prefer thin c shapes, it's just a completely different feeling. Apart from that they're building great guitars, so maybe one day, when I'm famous, I'll get the chance to have my own custom model
    mattm1234
    I have an LTD explorer from way back.  Hate the neck on it.  The edges on the front of the fret board are so sharp.  Gets uncomfortable after a while of playing.  My first guitar, so it's all I knew.  My Schecter is way more comfortable to play... more rounded everything.
    ddbrock201
    Take a Phillips head screwdriver with a round shaft (or any rounded metal shaft. Butter knife handles work goo too) and GENTLY but firmly roll the edges of the fretboard with the shaft of the screwdriver. All you are doing is slightly compressing the wood to soften the feel of the edge. A little goes a long way.
    justinwhite86
    Gibson gets worse every day! i switched to PRS in 2010 and never looked back! sad for them but great for some other companies. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    IslanderX
    I recall going to a Guitar Center wanting to try out an expensive Gibson LP and I was VERY disappointed. There was nothing special about it and I ended up having more fun with an ESP LTD model. Eventually I bought an Ibanez RG, but if I had to get a second guitar I would go with an ESP model even if I could afford a high end Gibson. The Gibson brand seems to be more of a symbol of when rock was dominating the music scene but in reality. Gibson seems to be stuck in the past while players have evolved and are looking for instruments that can keep up.
    DrCOOL
    I'm a Gibson fan for sure. But the problems like in the dude running the company. That guy has needed to go for years now. 
    AsOneIStand
    I bought the LTD BK-600 and it scares me how good that guitar is. Yeah, it's not the ESP version, but I've loved it from the day I got it. That guitar with the thick slab of mahogany for a body, ebony fretboard and Lace Dissonant Aggressors through a 6505+? Fucking brutal. That word is overused, but it's a big chunk of grind. It doesn't even sound like your typical metalcore setup. Plan on getting the Sparrowhawk when I can. 
    Kornholic
    That LTD BK-600 guitar is sexy as hell. I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I had the extra cash.
    marko767
    I think where Fender and Gibson were the industry standard, I'm finding a lot of new guitar players choosing brands like ESP, Ibanez, and other newer brands, over the old standard, and I think it kind of does boil down to artist relations. With any of the new bands that have risen in the last 10 years, i really struggle to point out any signature models belonging to the Fender or Gibson brand. And I can only speak for myself, when i say that when i started playing years ago, the way I chose my guitar was to look at what my favorite guitarists were playing. I don't think Gibson or Fender will ever become irrelevant, but unless they change certain aspects and keep certain things the same; like quality as i've noticed certain, 'Fender', lines that may have the name but are sub standard; i think they must be over taken by other brands.
    dennis.1960
    When I finally decided to buy a Les Paul Custom, I bought the Epiphone and haven't regretted it once.  I just couldn't convince myself that paying 3 times as much to see the Gibson name on the headstock was worth it.  It's sad that a company with such an amazing history has gone so far down the tubes.
    Nemesis44UK
    I seem to read more horror stories about Gibson than any other guitar brand. The Gibson HP was my holy grail for a long time - the guitar I would buy if I could save enough money.  However, having read dozens of horror stories about the whole Gibson range - SGs that won't stay in tune, terribly finished Studios, hard to restring Fusions (which are now cheaper than Epiphones in Andertons) plus the usual exploding necks - I've changed my opinion.  I would love Gibson to stop crapping on its customers and start doing rigorous QC and hey, why not try innovating for a change? Use graphite, carbon fibre, brushed aluminium and take some risks, maybe create a new product line, so traditionalists can still buy their Les Pauls.  Edit: If anyone can point me to a new dream guitar, I'm open to suggestions. I'm into rock, metal, humbuckers - not necessarily in that order
    derek_domino
    I'm currently equally represented by Fender, Gibson, and PRS (who I view as the three major US manufacturers).  I have two of each brand. Fender's quality has gone up in recent years IMO.  There used to be a time where you could play half a dozen Mexican Strats and at least two of them would outplay a US Strat.  I feel like those days are gone.     Gibson's quality has gone down hill.  My last major Gibson purchase was a LP Classic that came in with an obviously replaced nut (razor marks on the side of the neck) and the G string buzzed because the nut was cut too low from the factory.  I've bought two SGs, a LP, a Firebird, and a Flying V over the past four years and only one of the SGs came out of the box "ready to play".  The other SG and the Firebird had nut problems.  The V had electrical problems. I have a higher end PRS and I have an S2 series PRS and as far as playability goes they're nearly identical.  Obviously the higher end one looks prettier.  Once people can get past Gibson's name and realize the "lower end" US made PRS guitars can fill that space Gibson will be in real trouble.  
    tonello
    I love classic Gibsons because they just sound so ballsy. But my experiences with PRS and Schecter recently have left me blown away by the quality.
    OriginOfFeces
    I really loved Gibson but lately they seem like a parody of their former selves. I still love my Gibson Les Paul Studio from 2008.
    Muzak
    I own a Japanese made ESP horizon NT-II. Freakin amazing guitar and better than any other brand I've played.
    kbg32
     I have 3 Gibsons. All play beautifully. My newest is a 2015 LP DC. After taking off the robo tuners and changing the brass nut to a Tusq, my tuning problems disappeared. A really lovely guitar. 
    hoonin_hooligan
    Awesome that you have and enjoy you Gibson guitars and in no way is this comment meant to be antagonistic in nature but...with the price you probably paid for a Gibson guitar is it acceptable to you that you had to make further modifications to it? I'm just thinking that if I shelled out the coin needed for a Gibson it had better play perfectly and not need me to modify anything on it.
    sheehanje
    hoonin - I got my 2015 used for $1100 - that was in 2015 - someone returned it 5 months after purchase because they didn't like the robo tuners.   I got the store to do my modifications and pro setup for free- and Gibson themselves sent me a newer ZFAN for it because of problems with the original.   I had no problem with the modifications, it's what makes the guitar my guitar.  See my other post on buying a guitar - my SG is my go to guitar now. 
    kbg32
    Extremely acceptable. I got a great deal on the 2015. The mods I made on the guitar made it more to my liking and took care of the tuning problems. The extra $100 I spent was totally worth it. I play this guitar everyday. Not everything is perfect out of the box. Gibson was trying something different on the 2015 guitars. Not everyone thought it was the best. Some small mods made major differences.
    sheehanje
    2015 was a great year IMHO.   The purists were outraged at some of the changes, but for me it was a great lineup.   I see the 2015's going on Reverb and Craigslist all the time now fairly cheap.   I got rid of the robo tuners also - but that wasn't the cause of the tuning issues on mine - it was the original ZFAN.  Gibson released an updated one that matches the titanium saddles on the 2015 standard models and it's held up great since swapping it out.  9 times out of 10 tuning issues are nut related - especially with gibson headstock.
    kbg32
    I replaced the brass nut with a Tusq. I didn't bother with the ti nut. The Tusq solved all the tuning problems. I wasn't a fan of the robo tuners. Mine didn't "tune" very well.
    sheehanje
    Mine actually worked really well after changing the accuracy setting, calibration and replacing the nut - but I've been manually tuning for 30 years so just couldn't get used to using the tuning keys to turn a servo motor.   Ended up putting Kluson's on it.  Still have the G-Force system sitting in a box somewhere.
    PRSTremontiSE
    This is the shitting on Gibson thread, you're in the wrong neighborhood bud. (Kidding, of course)
    mskelleher
    have the BK-600 as well, it is a BEAST!!!! also I live in Atlanta and have had the pleasure of running into Bill, great guy, down to earth, will talk to you all day about everything, refreshing.
    kramer242
    I'm personally a schecter guy.... I'm not sure how they treat their artists, but they also seem to be on a tend of pulling away Gibson artists....I mean I never thought I'd see zakk wylde with anything other than a Gibson....I can say from dealing with their customer service that if their artists relations are half as good they treat them pretty well ... Schecter has the best customer service I've ever dealt with.... Jackson is in a close 2nd
    TargetHHH101
    Eh I've had both an Esp Eclipse which I loved but I got away from the metal sound and now I have a non chambered Lp Traditional and I love it, My strats both usa and mim get some play too. all comes down to preference and if youre not treated right, time to leave. But im just a local rocker so its all good to me
    Anjohl
    Gibson has been in the shitter since around 2003. When they started chambering without making the guitar as such, and raising the price. No Gibson should be more than $3,000. You can get an American Deluxe Strat for $1700, a set neck and the Gibson headstock doesn't cost $1300.
    jhaneline
    I'm curios if his complaints about Gibson, which I completely understand and agree with, extend to Epiphone as well.  I have one Epiphone and it's Matt Heafy's 7-string model.  I really want to get Björn from In Flames's new signature coming out next month but if Epiphone is to be subject to the same behind-the-scenes management then I don't want it. Matt Heafy's 7-string is  beats though. I love that guitar!
    Separatistmike
    I feel like I've read a lot more positives about Epiphone lately than in the past. Which was surprising to me. It's possibly just anecdotal but they seem to be getting better all around.
    Humbug808
    I'm not sure if Epiphone has completely different QC/marketing/ownership, but they sure  seem to make better instruments than them. Despite that, basically any other quality brand (ESP, PRS, Jackson, Ibanez) actually seem to care about modern music/artists and they instruments they make reflect that.  Gibson to me represents an over-inflated, egotistical asshole that thinks they're the shit with no respect for anyone else. Their guitars are the most boring/plain, over-rated instruments. They don't give a rats ass about any of their artists that aren't from a band that was formed 35 or more years ago, or the current scene.  I'm glad Kelliher (and Hetfield for that matter) are with ESP. They're just an all around cooler company.