Gibson from the point of view of MIJ fans

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by Andy California, Jan 1, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Andy California

    Andy California Senior Member

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2017
    I've owned several non-vintage low-high end MIJ Tokai Les Pauls, and only tried about 3-4 Gibson Standards/Traditionals/Studios. By "tried", I mean I spent no more than 3 minutes with each. I liked my Tokai guitars and I didn't like some of the Gibsons.

    What I see is that there are people who swear by MIJ Les Pauls, and 99% of them go as far as say that non-Custom shop Gibsons are rubbish. However, on the other hand, I see a ton of people in the Gibson section swearing by their Gibson Standards/Trads/Studios. I realize that most of them have never played a MIJ LP, and some of them might be blinded by the Gibson brand image. However, I assume most MIJ fans have actually tried real non-Custom shop Gibsons. What I wonder about is: are non-CS Gibson really that bad? Or is there some fanboism going in the MIJ "community" as well?

    I know I have been a fan of Japanese culture in general, and when I found out that the Japanese make great guitars, which are supposedly better than "the real thing", I went Tokai LP for my first non-low-end guitar (I've only owned $200 guitars prior to that), and became a MIJ fanboi. In fact, I was anti-Gibson without even having played one.

    Later on, I tried several Gibsons. I couldn't fault the Traditional one that I played, but I didn't really spend enough time with it. I was actually surprised that it didn't feel even close to rubbish to me. However, I played it in a shop, using an amp I wasn't used to, and I didn't have any Tokais to compare it to. Therefore, I have no idea whether it would have been good for me.
    The other two Gibsons felt like a fake Les Paul as they were literally too light and sounded bland to me. However, I cannot rule out the possibility that my perception of the sound was affected by the fact that they felt wrong in my hands due to excessive weight relief. Either way, I wouldn't want to own one. But these were Studio (no surprise) and Standard.

    I am aware that Gibsons are overpriced and have bad QA, and MIJ LPs are such a much better deal price-wise and the QA is top notch. However, price and QA issues aside, I wonder if non-Custom shop Gibson guitars are really that bad compared to MIJ as musical instruments? Does that apply to other models, like SGs, Flying Vs and Explorers, as well?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  2. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    gibson standards are weight relieved and the wood is new and oven dried, custom shop stuff is far far better, but there are still qc issues with sharp fret ends etc etc .. vintage mij are all non weight relieved, and air dried wood, new high end mij ie same level as custom shop are all immaculately finished in my experience.. I have had 30-40 custom shop gibsons, and only 1 has been as good as my best MIJs, i have tried a few standards and really am bemused that people will pay that much for them.. but the name is everything for some people...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    dsmcl77, daithesaes and sttar like this.
  3. daithesaes

    daithesaes Senior Member

    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    159
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Hi Mark,

    Out of curiosity, which of your MIJ's (so make/model) were on a par to the 1 CS Gibson?

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  4. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy I am no longer @ Gibson V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    1,566
    Likes Received:
    1,842
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Sorry Villager, this is simply incorrect. Gibson uses Vacu-Kilns, not "ovens".
    Also, what is "new" wood?
     
  5. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    kiln oven same same and new wood is recently grown timber ie not old growth trees as used by the 80s MIJ guitars..
     
  6. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    all the newer top ends and a lot of the vintage ones.. i kept that last custom shop guitar for 8 years but just didnt play it so off it went...
     
  7. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,949
    Likes Received:
    2,083
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Can you name one of these “top end” you are talking about?
     
  8. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy I am no longer @ Gibson V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    1,566
    Likes Received:
    1,842
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    #1 Where are you getting your information from that 80's MIJ guitars used "old growth, air dried" wood?
    #2 if MIJ did "air dry" their wood, I have to wonder; For how long? I have major doubts that they let their lumber "air dry" for very long, if at all
    #3 Gibson and MIJ brands both use old growth and new growth wood and everything in between. Your statements of Gibson using one wood and Tokai using another is simply not accurate.
    #4 Vacu-kilns and regular kilns are VERY different
    #5 if you cut down a 200 year old tree. The outer ring is 1 year old. Let's say you make guitar body billets from that tree...would you consider those bodies "new growth" or "old growth"?
     
  9. Jock

    Jock Senior Member

    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    71
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    I did have 2 Gibson Les Paul Customs, one was a 68 Custom and that was a quality instrument. I also had a Gibson Explorer and a Tokai 105 Explorer, I sold them all and now I have a Bacchus Classic, 2 Momose MLS1 STD and a Bacchus Classic Korina Explorer and I feel that they are better guitars. Had a few Gibson Standards over the last 20 years years but I do believe that the Japanese Build guitars are better for me. I have also kept my PRS SC58 which also is an excellent build quality.

    I am a vain guitar player who wants their instruments to look good and feel play and sound great.
     
  10. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,815
    Likes Received:
    15,913
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    FWIW, I don't think Gibson makes garbage, I just feel that they are wildly over-priced.

    The CS guitars should be priced like the USA guitars, and the USA guitars should top out at a grand.

    I am basing my pricepoints on what that money gets you elsewhere.

    The MIJ guitars I've had and played were very excellent, and were priced really well, for the quality.

    Gibson wants to price everything like PRS's high-end stuff, but they just don't match up.

    I know lots of people feel a sense of brand loyalty, and that's fine. I do not. I don't owe anything to somebody just because they bought the rights to someone else's designs and ideas.

    The Japanese companies execute those designs and ideas much better than the company currently operating as Gibson, IMO.
     
    bluesriffdev, villager and Pop1655 like this.
  11. Andy California

    Andy California Senior Member

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2017
    Are you saying that in general MIJ LPs you've had are better than CS Gibsons?
     
  12. Mosster47

    Mosster47 Senior Member

    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    350
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    I've owned four LP Customs. Three of them were the definition of meh, but the 86 I had was absolutely fantastic. I got it for $1,500 with the intention to flip it. I pulled it off Reverb as I had fell in love with it. A guy messaged me about it ten minutes later and said he had every year of Custom made and someone had recently stole his 86. He offered me $3,500 and I let it go. Looking back I wish I wouldn't have.

    I've owned four Historics. A baseball bat neck, plain top R8, an R9 with a monster top, an R9 with an ok top, and an R8 with a nice top and a slim neck. I never really bonded with them. I got a custom shop Tokai on here from a member that had all the correct specs and it absolutely blew them away. I've never touched or considered a Historic since then. I'm not saying they are bad guitars, but once you have a correct guitar that you love it's just hording after that.

    I've owned quite a few Standards and Trads and replaced all of them but one with vintage Tokai models. I still have my Satin Mahogany Traditional. It's got a really unique sound and my wife got it for my birthday brand new so I would never sell it.

    I did buy a new Tokai in 2014 that was their highest end model plain top with the exact same specs as an R8. It was a very nice guitar, the craftsmanship was PRS level but I just never bonded with it.

    I don't care about price, brand, or whatever. I just look for guitars that fit to me. I've yet to own a vintage Tokai that I didn't love. I've let a handful of them go over time to "upgrade" but they've all been fantastic instruments that honestly have kind of turned me off of Gibsons.
     
  13. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,576
    Likes Received:
    9,265
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    I'm a lover of all. I had a beautiful 01 standard. I've had several what would be considered lower end studios and tributes that I was perfectly happy with. I'm three for three on being blown away by Japan builds. The top 2 in my arsenal today are a Tokai and an FGN. Just happen to really like em. Not a die hard on either team and don't plan to be. Just very happy with what I've got.
     
    truckermde likes this.
  14. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    any navigator, tokai ls 320 or limited run models like the BZ crews wit NFS weep pu, momose MLS models, these are the ones i have experienced...
     
    truckermde and PierM like this.
  15. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    1. from my associate in Japan, his father worked at tokai gakki in the 80s,
    2. no idea how long for everything, but some of the modern crews are using 30 year air dried wood...god knows where they managed to source it from.. but its a fact..
    3. I am talking about vintage tokai, I have no idea if modern tokais use old growth wood or not, i dont think gibson now uses any old growth wood, in fact i would be surprised if any modern maker regularly does as there's not much left, history and the timeless timber series comes to mind, as does the above mentioned crews..
    4 ok I have no knowledge of the different types of kilns..
    5. old growth obviously..
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  16. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    as the op stated .. this is my point of view of Gibson from an MIJ fans perspective, i have owned a lot of each to compare, 40 or so Gibsons and over 1000 MIJ's
     
    daithesaes likes this.
  17. bungle

    bungle Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,832
    Likes Received:
    1,576
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Didn't even know about the level of MIJ that were available till I joined this forum. Was lucky to have picked up on this when a Greco EGF-1000 showed up at a local shop. Put in an offer & took it home. Still one of the very best Lesters I've ever played. IMG_1583.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    free713, scott 351 wins and PierM like this.
  18. BadPenguin

    BadPenguin Senior Member

    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    337
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    I at some point in my life, played or owned just about everything. I have an 81 Paul Custom that will be buried with me, and a 79 or so Manoman goldtop, made by Cushin Gen Gakki, that rivals the best coming out of Gibson. I think the "evolved" player today stops looking at the label, and finds what's best for their hands and ear.

    That being said, I grew up in the "only a Gibson is good enough" days, and feel sickened at the lack of QC coming out of them nowadays. NO ONE should have to spend over 3K for a guitar, to get a "right " one. Which is where companies like Greco, Navigator and Tokai, have it right. For the guitar to leave the factory, it's right right out the door. I wish I could say that the American giant does it best. They don't, and haven't in over 20 years. I had high hopes about the HP line, and was disappointed beyond belief, on how they felt like a bad overseas copy of themselves. Almost like a cheap Charvel copy of a Gibson. The "traditional" wasn't bad, and I thought that maybe in 20 years, it could become a great guitar.

    And I think that's a major point here. The overseas companies are building those guitars, to be 20 or 30 years old from the start. They have a better tone, and feel, then a modern Gibson. Not all of them, but some do. There are Asian lemons too.

    To spend almost 1K for a Faded, Studio, or whatever budget line they are coming out with, Is absolutely ludicrous! For that same amount, you can find an vintage Aria, that will destroy a modern Gibson.
     
    daithesaes and nigelthebald like this.
  19. scott 351 wins

    scott 351 wins Senior Member

    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Andy can you post a few pics of your R9? I would like to see what it looks like. I'm sure you could find another MLP member that has an R0 that you can trade with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  20. villager

    villager Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    2,085
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    in general yes.. but i only stock and play high end mij,s so i dont think the mid range mij are as good in general as custom shop gibsons, although i think they outstrip trads in many ways, but the high end MIJ I certainly prefer ..
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    scott 351 wins likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page