Quality Control Questions

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by Skintaster, May 24, 2010.

  1. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    Hi everyone. I know Gibson has gotten a reputation for iffy quality control issues over the last few years. Do y'all think this is a deserved reputation, or has it been blown out of proportion?

    Also, if QC has been a problem, why do you think that's the case? Are market demands making them churn out guitars quicker, or are there other forces at work? Didn't Gibson abandon the "factory second" category back in the early 80's? Do you think they should bring that back?

    Just curious what everyone thinks. I love Gibson guitars, and always have. I've been pretty lucky buying them over the years, and have only encountered a few dogs in that time, which is to be expected. The only "sloppy" looking recent work I've personally seen was on the last Classic (A 2008 model) I owned. It had rough binding flaws, and a couple of small paint blemishes. Perhaps it was a fluke. But I know that Gibson has been criticized about their recent QC, and was curious what the perception was within Gibson enthusiast circles.
     
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  2. Last

    Last The Cleaner

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    With the amount of instruments that Gibson produces on a daily basis I personally feel that QC @ Gibson is pretty amazing.

    Take it for what that's worth but do you want it fast or do you want it right?

    You will almost never be able to achieve both.

    I guess they could make less instruments but dropping volume would only add further to costs.

    Finding a "good one" is (as it should be) up to the consumer.
     
  3. SkyNet3D

    SkyNet3D Senior Member

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    Uh-oh.

    Prepare to be insulted/told to buy another brand.
     
  4. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I'm not trashing Gibson, most of my own experiences have been great... But I hear a LOT of bitching about recent QC issues, so I was wondering what everyone else thinks.

    I mean, obviously this is a Les Paul enthusiast forum, so I expect that most people are into Gibsons (As am I), but I was wondering if people here think this is a fair perception or not.

    Frankly anyone that slams me for asking about this needs to grow up. It's cool to have brand loyalty, but loserville if a person can't allow for the discussion of dissenting opinions. The main reason I ask, is that a LOT of players that are not Gibson die hards bring this criticism up constantly. I think it's an unfair trend, but was wondering what the underlying reasoning is behind it. Have forum members (Who presumably check out a lot more Gibsons than the average player) seen a lot of guitars with QC issues, or has the issue been blown out of proportion?
     
  5. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Senior Member

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    Just over the last few years? Did you forget about the '70s?
     
  6. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    It's a specious argument.
    I remember in the 1970s the SAME story.
    "Man, they made them much better in 19 (insert year here)."

    People like to have something to bitch about.
    My faded was perfect, quality of build-wise.
    My Squier wasn't. Should I start a thread?
     
  7. SkyNet3D

    SkyNet3D Senior Member

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    Here's my perception of most of the answers on this subject (that has been discussed quite a bit).

    Some people think Gibson can do no wrong, but at the same time some of them will say you'll need to play a bunch of them until you can find a good one, or will say you should buy used because the new ones aren't as good. Somehow they can ignore the contradictions between these points.

    Others will say that Gibson has shitty QC, and that they should really fix something in the way things are done. Some will include former employees. These people are usually insulted by the ones i described before. Somehow wanting Gibson to do better is not a sign of them liking Gibson guitars. If you like something, apparently it should be above any criticism.

    I don't own a Gibson, and i live in a small country without direct representation through an licensed dealer. The few places i've seen Gibsons on sale, after a few conversations with the employees about Gibson guitars was enough to put me off buying one. The general consensus is that Epiphones are more consistent than Gibsons, a lot of Gibson guitars are returned due to defects. I would love to own a proper Gibson, but due to these problems i have no confidence to buy one sight unseen, and the selection available here is miserable. So the Gibson experience will probably never start for me. Maybe someday Gibson will be different and i'll try.

    I do love the Les Paul, and Gibson is an iconic brand, i have no reason not to want them to do good.
     
  8. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    Good point.

    It was my personal perception that Gibson had gotten a good reputation again for great QC, and that the bad press had popped up again recently.

    Look, sorry if I ruffled any feathers by starting this thread, but I think it's a legitimate question. I want Gibson to continue to be known for manufacturing great iconic guitars, but they shouldn't be seen as "sacred cows". People on these forums seem to have strong opinions about everything from the color of plastic Gibson is using for binding, to the kinds of pickups used in individual models.

    I think it's possible that the availability of information and opinions on the internet is largely responsible for negative feelings about Gibson's QC anyway. 15 or 20 years ago, it wouldn't have been possible for some dude to put a bad review on say, Guitar Center's website, and today it can happen in a matter of seconds.
     
  9. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

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    These forums have no shortage of Gibson owners who spit on Gibson's QC of the last few years. Popular consensus amongst them seems to point to 2005 as a threshold year.

    In truth, though, it's nearly impossible to get an accurate picture of the situation because each person's experience is very limited. To make a valid comparison of Gibson QC from year to year, someone would have to handle a statistically significant number of guitars from each year of production. I'm not sure that even a large music store employee/owner would touch enough Gibsons over enough years to make statistically valid conclusions.

    I feel that the only thing any of us can do is be patient and diligent in our search for good guitars and only buy the ones that we really bond with. I think that's true for any instrument, not just Gibson guitars.
     
  10. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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    Personally, I think it's blown out of proportion.

    Sure, there will be some issues, that's why there's a warranty.

    But I think most stem from:
    - the nut isn't cut right - these are expected to be 'pro' quality, ie, go out and get it cut to where you want it. Much better they start high than low, right?
    - I can't afford a Gibson, so I'll blame QC.
    - I can't afford a Gibson, so I'll blame what I've read on the internet, or heard from some guy that read it on the internet.
    - I expect a musical instrument to be dead nuts perfect so I can just hang it on the wall and admire it. A scratch, a blemish, a fingerprint are not acceptable. I don't really care how it plays or sounds.

    :cool: HEY! Be careful in here. Don't forget, we're the forum that has a Norlin section.
     
  11. SkyNet3D

    SkyNet3D Senior Member

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    But Gibson charges pro-prices, so why aren't people supposed to expect 'pro' quality?
    So many other brands make guitars consistently without nut problems or blemishes. Most of them are nearly perfect. ESP, Jackson, PRS etc.
    I can understand you not caring how it looks, but you can't expect that other people feel the same, not at those prices.

    And the 'you can't afford a Gibson' is just crap, everyone here using their own computer can afford a Gibson, on credit, having to save for a while or whatever but they can afford one if they want it bad enough.
     
  12. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    I couldn't agree with you more. My one personal "bad" experience was with a Classic that I ordered from an online source sight unseen. I bought it because of my trust in Gibson's inherent quality. I was stupid to buy a guitar without thoroughly checking it out first.

    I agree with you about it being difficult to get an accurate idea of what the real story is... I guess I just get tired of defending Gibson to my non Les Paul playing friends. :)
     
  13. loucamaro91

    loucamaro91 Senior Member

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    How many people here will admit that any Gibson they own right now is lacking in quality or a dud? How many people will admit that a Gibson you sold was a dud? Have you ever bought a used Gibson?
    What if you bought a used Gibson from someone who thought it was a dud but it is your cherished Gibson, you would never know that because that would affect the chances of it selling in the first place.

    All my Gibson's are great to me. I have bought many of guitars and especially Gibson for that matter and yet to find a dud.
    Most people who complain about Gibson either don't own them or??
    And in my experiences any Gibson's I've encountered played badly because they needed to be set-up properly... that's it.

    Just my two cents,
    Oh Btw the way I hate those traditional pro's from GC. They don't lack quality, I just don't like the satin back and sides.... but if the price was right I would own one.
     
  14. River

    River Senior Member

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    Ding-ding!

    But I've nowhere near the experience with new Gibsons that some here have. Nonetheless, if anyone's quality control has gone down, it's the dealers'. They pass stuff on without checking for shipping damage, let people paw and drool all over the guitars and then sell them as new, etc. Would you pay full price for a car that'd been used for demos for a month? A "perfect" guitar can sit in my local shop and it WILL develop fret problems from lack of humidity. My shop fixes them.

    I'm far from a Gibson fan-boy - my current stable only has two Gibsons out of seven. But I'm pretty bored with folks bashing Gibson for things the dealers are responsible for.
     
  15. mraajr

    mraajr Senior Member

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    Gibson made great guitars before the internet (with zero QC issues). Even in the 70s to alot of folks. ;)

    But seriously, the random internet babble of a lot of people has caused doubt in many minds.
     
  16. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    I agree with all of the above. The reason I started this thread was because I noticed that the criticisms seem to have been greater as of late. I was wondering if there was a real problem at the root of it.

    I also agree that the dealer is a large component in the QC line. I was at a high end shop in Houston recently. The place is expensive, but they have an awesome selection of high end Gibsons, and I've never seen a guitar with problems come from them. They were fixing to return a very expensive Acoustic, because it had a small finish blemish. Most other places (Like Guitar Center) would have sold it without blinking an eye.

    I think that a lot of the bad guitars that get distributed are caused by indifference by retailers, and ignorance on the part of the purchaser. The only Gibson I ever had QC problems with was one I ordered from an online dealer I was unfamiliar with. My mistake.
     
  17. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    I think you're absolutely right. :)
     
  18. mraajr

    mraajr Senior Member

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    Oh yea....I jsut went to GC and pulled a Trad Pro off the wall. The strings were rusty and the action was so high I could barely fret the thing beyond the 7th fret, Gibson just doesnt make them like they used to :laugh2:.
     
  19. kirs

    kirs Senior Member

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    I got two guitars direct from Gibson with some pretty blatant QC issues. Was about to give up hope before #3 was near perfect.
     
  20. Skintaster

    Skintaster V.I.P. Member

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    Yeah... GC is a crapshoot regardless of the gear in question.I recently bought a Trad Pro from them, but I got it the same day they did. I lucked out, and happened to call to see if they had one with the specific finish I wanted (Gold Top), and they'd just gotten one in. I drove in, checked it out, and made sure it was in pristine condition... Then I bought it!

    Hate to say it, but most of my other experiences with GC haven't been that good. :D
     

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