New Information About Gibson's Lack of Quality Control

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by edselman, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. afjungemann

    afjungemann Senior Member

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    Just as a heads up, these aren't a "bad treatment of photoshop" or and issue, you are seeing the glare of the light used when photographing the guitar. With an arch top guitar, you will have that especially on certain colors/gloss level.
     
  2. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    That is a steal of a price. I’d buy ten with finish flaws all day for four bills!
     
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  3. rock40

    rock40 Junior Member

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    Yea I was surprised to say the least..I know zzsounds took it in the shorts on that deal
     
  4. scottatgc

    scottatgc Member

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    Wow, in the past two years, I have bought 3 Les Paul's and 3 SG's from zzound. Every one of them were flawless as far as finish. The only issue's I had was a poorly cut nut on one Les Paul, really sharp frets on a studio and Nashville bridge installed on a 2017 traditional instead of the wired ABR as advertised, but Gibson was quick to send me the correct bridge, and zzounds refunded me $75 for the inconvenience of having to install the new bridge and reset it up. The studio with the sharp frets, I just filed the shit out of them and it is ok now, and the other, I just installed a Bone nut so all was good. The SG Standards had no issues at all and were set up perfect right out of the box.
     
  5. fleahead

    fleahead Senior Member

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    Are you sure that was not polish compound residue? I've seen that a lot.
     
  6. jackcrowder

    jackcrowder Junior Member

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    Sweetie said I could get a Les Paul for my Christmas present this year. Spent a lot of time looking at Sweetwater, found one I liked. Read more about what Henry has allowed his company to become.
    I decided I couldn't/ wouldn't support him, so I bought a beautiful 2008 Sunburst Standard. Great looking and playing guitar.
     
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  7. roadhog96

    roadhog96 Senior Member

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    Hell, I might as well give my 2 cents not that it will change anything. I bought 2 Gibson's, a 2007 LP Custom 68 RI Limited run from the Custom Shop. In 2008, a Custom Shop 335 Dot. They were both sent back and replaced because of defects.

    Who ever set the jig up on the LP fretboard must have been half blind. As soon as I opened the case I could see that all the block inlays were off center between the frets. Thats right, they were closer to one fret rather than being centered. It didn't even leave the store, I showed the manager and ordered another.

    The second one was better but I was somewhat disappointed. This one didn't have the Custom Shop Art & Historic case and headstock decal, it had their new Custom logo, YUK. The binding was more of an off white color rather than an amber yellow like the 1st LP but the rest of the guitar, Ebony fretboard and nubs looked good. The nut like everyone of them sucked. 1, 2, and 3 string hung up in the slots and they told me the slots were done on their new Plek machine. Sometime between the time I bought the LP and 335 the neck on the LP developed a hairline crack on both sides, the full length of the neck between were the binding and wood meet. When I bought this guitar, I couldn't feel any transition between neck and binding.

    What I think apparently happened was the fretboard shrank width wise a tiny amount and the binding pulled inward with it causing the lacquer to crack. Now you can feel a slight difference were the binding and neck meet that wasn't there.

    First thing out of Gibson's mouth was it was due to being in a to dry of an environment. I expected that from them but little did they know I had my music room set up prior to receiving the Gibson with a humidifier and 2 humidistats. I kept the water full everyday and constantly monitored those instruments. I owned a nice Martin acoustic that I kept in the same room, humidify? No kidding, a constant 55%.

    I believe the neck wood wasn't kiln dried properly so it shrunk. When they kiln dry wood they do large stacks at a time and do random sampling. Theres no guarantee every piece is going to be in spec. It's very slightly noticeable but it just pisses me off that they wanted to put the blame on me when I actually took all the right precautions prior.

    The 335 had a bad bow on the bass side of the neck so the plain strings were closer on one side and the wound strings had a larger gap. The fretboard had file marks all over it. Can't believe they do work like that and think its ok. The nubs at the end of the frets were not uniform looking, they filed them all differently, some wide some narrow. So that guitar was replaced with another.

    This one was much better but the nut had the same issue. What's up with Gibson, these guitars aren't cheap and all 4 guitars had nut issues. My Strat and Tele are flawless. My Martin is flawless. I'd expect this if it were a cheapo but come on Gibson. Needless to say as much as I'd like an SG or maybe a 359 I don't dare.

    Oh and the 335 nor any of my other guitars ever had any issues with cracking only that LP. There was nothing different with the room temperature and humidity?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 1:58 AM
  8. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    Maybe Gibson should just fly over the entire Epi workforce from Korea.
     
  9. BenjaminW

    BenjaminW Senior Member

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    What if Gibson hired Paul Reed Smith to take over Gibson?
     
  10. ajay

    ajay Senior Member

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    I have six Gibsons, three of which were made in the last five years. Every one is Flawless. I've never had the problem with the inlaid logo being all messed up. They are all just great guitars. When I see people slamming "The Company", sometimes I feel that they want to talk about the Brand X that they bought, and try to say how much better their choice is than the cruddy Gibsons.
    Like I said. No problems here. Ever. Not One. Six out of six cannot be an accident. Just enjoy what You bought, and leave the hard working folks at Gibson out of it.
     
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  11. octavedoctor

    octavedoctor Junior Member

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    I'm impelled to respond, because most complaints I am hearing about Gibson's QC are focusing on things that I consider irrelevant and largely forgivable like the finishing standards. I don't mean to diminish this aspect, people are entitled to expect their guitars to be finished to a high standard but nitro cellulose is a hard taskmaster and Gibson are one of the very few mass produced guitars still using it and many of the problems people complain about are the result of trying to "push" nitro in the context of mass production, which is why companies like PRS (who are often held up as comparison but which are also flawed in other ways) have gone over to to using mainly synthetic finishes.

    What, for me, as a technician, is completely unforgivable is the fundamental lack of technical competence I see in Gibson literally every day, and have been seeing for the last thirty-five years or so. I've only been a professional guitar repairer for about 40 years, so I don't know what they were like before I started but the problems I see a lot of now are things that no competent manufacturer should be doing. There are certain things that it is as easy to get right as it is to get wrong, and which usually costs no more, but which Gibson consistently get wrong. I'll give you some examples.

    About 25 years ago I was working at a shop in Cardiff that was a high end Gibson dealership. I got asked to look at a Les Paul Standard which was "noisy". The guy was putting it through a Mesa Boogie which was noisy anyway and they'd tried all the other Les Paul's in the shop and they were equally noisy so the guy was on the point of giving up and accepting the he was, in his words, "expecting too much", and it was at this point I got involved. I didn't think he was expecting too much so I agreed to take a look inside.

    The first thing I noticed was that the moulded tin box that I had been used to seeing covering the pots was gone. I thought someone must have taken it off so we looked inside some of the other ones. Gibson were no longer fitting it, nor had they replaced it with, say, a graphite paint screen, which is usually good enough unless you're sitting under a neon light.

    The second - and, as it turned out, the critical one - was that the four core screened cable connecting the switch to the control compartment had had the drain wire snipped off at each end. The drain wire is the bare wire that connects the foil screen to the earth circuit so without this you had four lengths of unscreened wire acting as aerials and - according to an electronics engineer friend - the disconnected screen was acting to intensify the noise being picked up from every fluorescent, neon and computer monitor in the area...

    I corrected this fault and the problem pretty much went away.

    Then we checked all the other Gibsons and they were al the same, so we fixed them all, at our own cost as it turned out, because the importers at the time, Rosetti, literally couldn't give a sh!t. I faxed Gibson my findings, never got a response. Compare this with the attitude of the CEO of Brian Moore guitars who, when I had a problem with just one of their guitars, rang me personally to thank me for bringing it to his attention.

    Of course this is just the tip of a very large iceberg for me. One of the things that consistently bugs me about Gibson is the problems of intonation. None of them are ever intonated correctly at the factory and this is because they don't understand the basic principles of bridge placement. The bridge on Gibsons is invariable between 5 and 8mm too far forwards so that the saddles have to be wound back to the limit of their adjustment range, and sometimes even this is insufficient. I was recently asked to work on a Custom Shop ES175. The intonation was almost half a semitone out. Fortunately, the ES 175 has a floating bridge. Except when I went to move this one, it wouldn't budge, because the thumbwheel studs had been put through the base of the bridge straight into two holes in the body, firmly fixing the bridge in the wrong place. Fortunately I was able to shift the bridge back far enough that only the slightest edge of the hole that the trained monkeys at Gibson's Custom Shop had left.

    There really is no excuse for this degree of monumental incompetence.

    There is more. Some Les Pauls (don't ask me which model; I don't know and don't care, I focus on fixing them and leave all that to the anoraks) have a kill switch. The purpose of which is to produce the stuttering effect that, I think, Tom Morello pioneered. A kill switch is a very simple thing to wire. It's probably the simplest mod you can do on any guitar, electrically, because it just shorts out the output using a momentary push to make switch; so you have one tag of the switch going to earth, one to the signal path and you're done. Except that's not how Gibson, in their wisdom choose to wire it. No, Gibson chose to wire them as signal path breakers, so that when you activate it instead of shorting out the output of the guitar it breaks the signal path leaving the input of the amp facing an open circuit with about eight inches of unscreened signal path leading all the way from the three-way up to the kill switch, then back down to the control compartment. In a final twist, to display their incompetence to the world, they fit transparent cover plates, so everyone can see that they don't know what they're doing. I've seen amateur bodges done by fourteen year olds for school projects that are better thought out than this.

    FYI, for those of you have bought one of these POS, the fix is simple. Cut the red wire at about where it passes the neck vol control and solder that to the tag where the white wire is on the master tone. Remove the white wire at both ends. Pull the other part of the red wire through and solder it to where the white wire was on the master tone. Alternatively, keep the white wire and move it to the middle tag of the kill switch. Noise is reduced, and the kill switch works properly.
    17191236_10155131883404036_4303072322873443086_n.jpg 17190494_10155131883289036_391163014197478097_n.jpg

    Sadly, I have a million of these stories. I was working on a Les Paul about eight years ago and, as usual, struggling with the intonation. I wondered if Gibson was using some kind of special fret placement formula so I began checking the frets and putting the measurements into a spreadsheet that I use to calculate the position of the nut (sometime you'l get a guitar that some amateur has butchered and the only way you can be sure of the exact scale length is to calculate it from the fret placement). to cut a long story short I established that this guitar had had it's frets placed not with the twelfth root of two, the modern standard for equal temperament, but the rule of eighteen, a principle developed by Vincenzo Galillei inthe 16th century for fretting Lutes and long superseded by modern mathematical techniques. I published my findings on the Seymour Duncan forum and the following day I got a call from David Collins of Collins Luthierie in Ann Arbor, MI. We had a long chat in which David revealed to me that he had done a lot of research on this and that Gibson were using three different scale lengths according to his findings; one based on the 12th root of 2, one based on the rule of 18, and another using their own "compensated" scale which, I was forced to observe, was a bit presumptuous for a maker who can't even get something as basic as bridge placement correct.

    To anyone who works on the technical side in this buisness, Gibson are literally a joke, but not for the reasons most people on the internet complain about.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 11:32 AM
  12. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    This is an even bigger part of the problem, assuming that because you didn't get a bad one, bad ones don't exist and everyone else is a whiner. This is exactly why Gibson charges on and they don't care that their quality sucks, 87% still think they are awesome. This is normalizing poor quality. This is making it acceptable at Gibson to fire the artisans and hire cheaper, inexperienced labor which is exactly why their quality sucks.
     
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  13. ivandolz

    ivandolz Junior Member

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    I can understand that you consider it irrelevant as an opinion. But as a fact, a high priced instrument sold as new should be flawless. I can't imagine anyone saying " I don't mind if my new Omega has a ding on the case becasuse I can see that the time is correct and the movement works fine" or " I don't mind that my BMW has a scratches in the finish because the motor works well".

    We are not paying for Toyotas (nothing wrong with that). We are paying for US made instruments a high price because in theory the US workforce is much better and the finish instrument is going to have better quality and be flawless.

    And they are pricing aesthetics... Just for an Slash signature you almost pay double the price for the same guitar (the new US Anaconda). A guitar without binding is much cheaper also... Those are aesthetics.
     
  14. ivandolz

    ivandolz Junior Member

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    That's what i thought at the beggining... But I think is not glare. Take a look at this link: There are several different photographs of the same guitar, and the "glare" is on the same place, and that is impossible. I could be wrong, but I think it is a bad use of photoshop, although I am not an expert...

    http://www.gibson.com/Products/Elec...58-Les-Paul-First-Standard-8-3096-Replica.asp

    I love this guitar. I still buy Gibson (3 the last month...). But this has to improve, we are not doing ourselves any favour defending them for all this kind of things.

    Sorry if I am new, I discovered the website not long ago. I love Gibson, have 6 of them... But just being new does not mean I am not entitled to give my opinion. I don't now about other newbies, I am just taliking about myself. I am here to learn.
     
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  15. Roshy Boy

    Roshy Boy Senior Member

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    I can't access the link. Taken down?
     
  16. ivandolz

    ivandolz Junior Member

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  17. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    Mostly practical lighting, with a little PS.

    This is all PL:

    917_p53806-1.JPG
     
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  18. ivandolz

    ivandolz Junior Member

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    Sure! But to my eye it has nothing to do to the other example.

    In any case is not that important. Probably if there were no QC issues we were not talking about the pictures in the website.
     
  19. octavedoctor

    octavedoctor Junior Member

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    Did you read the bit where I said "I don't want to diminish this aspect..."?

    My point was that everyone is focusing on the cosmetics (which are often deplorable, particularly the witness marks on fingerboard and binding) and ignoring what I see as a more fundamental problem; the lack of technical competence in design and construction.

    I have seen people moaning about the pronounced ridging at body joints and binding seams, but this is something that happens with nitro cellulose. When lacquer dries it seals in residual solvent in which then slows the subsequent evaporation down creating a kind of half-life effect so that when you first polish it up it's as smooth as glass, but after a few weeks more solvent has evaporated and the lacquer has shrunk in to the join line again. This is why the received wisdom on lacquering is that you put on lots and lots of thin coats, cut back frequently so that you don't end up with a lot of solvent sealed in by a custard skin of hard lacquer. Remember a few years ago when Gibson had a problem with lacquer on the neck picking up fingerprints and white Gibsons turning pink from contact with the magenta dye in the case linings? Both of these were caused by using too few and heavier coats of lacquer, the solvent in the lacquer providing a molecular pathway for the dye in the linings. The same thing causes the "beeswax" damage that occurs when the lacquer comes into contact with certain types of plasticizer-rich vinyl or neoprene. If you are an independent luthier and have an output of one or two guitars a month you can afford to spend the time it takes to produce an initially flawless finish with Nitro, but I'm pretty sure Gibson's output is more than that.

    Nitro cellulose is what it is and companies like Gibson need to produce guitars at a rate that is not ideally compatible with the application of nitro-celulose, which is why I regard those flaws as forgivable, but there is no excuse for not knowing how to plan a very simple audio circuit, not knowing the very simple rules of bridge placement, or not being able to set the things up properly or, in many cases, not even attempting to. Many new Gibson I see have a coating of lacquer on the truss-rod nut, so it's never seen an adjuster since it was lacquered. All of these faults could be corrected if there was anyone at the helm who knew even the basics of guitar design and construction. There just doesn't seem to be anyone who does.
     
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  20. noise5150

    noise5150 Member

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    Interesting thread... here is my experience. I've owned 5 Gibsons since 2007 (I forget the exact year of some of the models)
    -ebony LP Studio
    -White Explorer
    -Natural Explorer (Used)
    -2007 Les Paul G0 Custom Shop 1960 VOS
    -2016 Les Paul Custom w/silver hardware
    Im def no Gibson fanboy but I think the fit and finish on the ones I've owned was excellent overall. I dont know maybe I got lucky? Not quite like my PRS SC245 but I haven't had any major issues. The only issue I had was on the white Explorer which had a bad 3-way switch. I think the quality of my VOS is perhaps on par with my PRS. My new Custom is amazing no quality issues I can discern so far.
     

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