Why Gibson Did Not Get It Right in the Late 60s?

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by zakkrhoads, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. zakkrhoads

    zakkrhoads Member

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    Hi guys! First of all I'm not trying to cause any polemic threads here! :hippie:
    Honestly, I could not find an answer to this question so here it goes: why did Gibson relaunch the Les Paul model in 1968 the way they did? Why solid colors? Why P90s? Why mini humbuckers?

    Wouldn't make sense to think that the players of that time wanted exactly what Clapton, Green, Bloomfield and others were playing in terms of features and looks?

    In the 70s things changed a lot so I want to focus in the first couple of years after the relaunch!

    Many thanks MLP community! :cheers:
     

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  2. Thermionik

    Thermionik Not Fade Away Premium Member

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    One has to suspect the marketing gurus consulted were neither players nor music lovers...
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  3. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    At that point, they were just throwing a bunch of ideas around, just to see what would stick?
     
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  4. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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  5. goldtop0

    goldtop0 Senior Member

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    The Gibson people didn't talk with their dealers or take heed of advice from them so out came the GT with P90s.
    Maybe they just didn't want to go through the whole curly maple top process as the Custom was reintroduced a short time later.
     
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  6. DADGAD

    DADGAD Senior Member

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    Was Ted McCarty still involved with Gibson at that time?
     
  7. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    According to WiKi McCarty retired from Gibson in 1966 and went on to own/run Bigsby.
     
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  8. DADGAD

    DADGAD Senior Member

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    I think that may be the answer. McCarty was the man behind some of the most iconic guitar
    designs.
     
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  9. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    Also do not forget that the Burst was a sales flop in 1960 & was subsequently dropped in favour of the Les Paul SG.

    Gibson still had Bursts available in the early '60's that came to Australia as a job lot because they couldn't sell them in the US. They went to Harry Landis Music in Sydney.

    Jo B's Aussie '60 Burst was picked by the young Aussie girl because she preferred that over the White SG Custom they had. Apparently her Father liked the SG more but she got the Burst. I think that was in 1962 from memory.

    So to assume they should have released a Burst is not that straight forward when you think back 8 years prior to falling sales & then nothing, followed by what are we going to do with the unsold stock etc.

    Easy to comment now in hindsight.

    :cheers2:
     
  10. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Yeah....given that the original was discontinued and that the Hendrix thing was in full flight during the years where its re-launch was coming together, I can see why the Gibson guys would want to try and reach new audiences. It seems silly to try and relaunch a guitar in the very guise that caused its sales to drop so low. Hence the p90 goldtop (which sold well in its original run) and then the Deluxe (using up stockpiled pickups).
    The whole 'hard rock' thing only came about after the LP was well back in the shops. And the Custom found its niche based on that.
     
  11. d1m1

    d1m1 Senior Member

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    There is imo some reasons more in addition to the ones already named. Gibson did not produced a les paul for almost a decade. Many employers dont work anymore there and the others dont do it for couple reasons right. Also meanwhile they used different materials and techniques such as inlays, different wood, rosewood (no longer braz), mahagony (in avarage heavier), maple (no longer expensive porn flames), binding (wider on the cutaway etc.), finish (gold oxidates sharp bright greenish), different wire in the pups, different pots and caps, different hardware and so forth... So in fact many many things changed at gibson so the late 60s reissues were in fact different guitars. Also dont forget it was economically hard times for gibson. Thats why in 1969 norlin industries bought gibson. So reasons are that the continuity of les paul development/tradition broke for almost a decade, when reissued them they did already many things different (materials and craftsmanship), plus cash liquidity they had to save money. In the 70ies things became worse (by all respect for late 60ies/norlin lp's). When the custom shop was found in 1993 the first historics were also "incorrect". But they became better and better. Back in the late 60ies and 70ies the became worse or if you will more inaccurate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  12. Mick51

    Mick51 Premium Member

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    It wasn't Gibson. It was Norlin. And, it wasn't about history; it was about sales, about profits, about costs.
     
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  13. Who

    Who are you? Who who who who.... Premium Member

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    For the same reason a 1969 Chevy did not look like a '67.

    For the same reason an iPhone 8 isn't an iPhone 7.

    The more important question is.... why do you think the features you list are "wrong"?


    [​IMG]
     
  14. HardCore Troubadour

    HardCore Troubadour Senior Member

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    Not correct at all, the new specs were in place before the aquisition.....those were Gibson changes....Norlin went with what was in place already.


     
  15. madmusicltd

    madmusicltd Senior Member

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    This should answer your question, straight from Wiki...

    In 1969, Gibson's parent company (Chicago Musical Instruments) was taken over by the conglomerate ECL. Gibson remained under the control of CMI until 1974 when it became a subsidiary of Norlin Musical Instruments.

    [​IMG]
    The pic above shows the pancake-like layers, seen on the edge of cross-banding, multi-piece body in the Norlin made guitar. These ownership changes, often called the "Norlin Era", caused Gibson products of the time to decline in quality. Les Paul designs were altered and a reinforced upper neck volute to decrease head stock breaks was added. Neck woods were changed from one-piece mahogany to a three-piece maple design. The body was also changed from one-piece mahogany with a maple top to multiple slabs of mahogany with multiple pieced maple tops. This is referred to as "multipiece" construction, and sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "pancake" body.
    The Deluxe was among the "new" 1968 Les Pauls. This model featured "mini-humbuckers", also known as "New York" humbuckers, and did not initially prove popular. The mini-humbucker pickup fit into the pre-carved P-90 pickup cavity using an adaptor ring developed by Gibson in order to use a surplus supply of Epiphone mini-humbuckers. The Deluxe was introduced in late 1968 and helped to standardize production among Gibson's U.S.-built Les Pauls. The first incarnation of the Deluxe featured a one-piece body and slim three-piece neck. The multipiece body (a thin layer of maple on top of two layers of Honduran mahogany) arrived in 1969. In late 1969, a reinforcing neck volute was added. The Deluxe could be specially-ordered with full-size humbucker pickups; such full size versions of the Deluxe were "Standard" spec. By 1975, the neck construction was changed from mahogany to maple, until the early 1980s, when the construction was returned to mahogany. The body changed back to solid mahogany from the pancake design in late 1976 or early 1977. Interest in this particular Les Paul model was so low that in 1985, Gibson canceled it. In 2005, the Deluxe was re-introduced.
     
  16. zakkrhoads

    zakkrhoads Member

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    Thanks for the contributions, guys! I agree with the risky move in re-launching a not popular model with the same specs as the one that fails 8 years ago.
    However, as we understand the history now, people should have been crazy for the "Beano tone"! Is it possible that in a not globalized world (e.g. no internet, no facebook) the hype took way longer to get spread out? :hmm:
    Or maybe the "Beano tone" was no longer the thing to have as Hendrix was coming strong...? :slash:
     
  17. goldtop0

    goldtop0 Senior Member

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    Well yes the Strat was the guitar de rigueur ......all of the Brit guitar slingers of the time and Bloomfield were LP users but that didn't have a wide market impact(only among the afficianados, serious guitar players slightly older than myself) and Hendrix hit like a bombshell in '66/67, it wasn't until Page in '69/70 that people began to look at the Standard again and wonder what all the fuss was about.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  18. geddy402

    geddy402 Senior Member

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    Hmmm, changes made for more efficient production process, increased strength and improved finish durability. Makes sense to me.

    I think the logical reason for the goldtop reissue is that they probably wanted to cover up as much of the wood as they can, since figured maple,was probably getting more expensive to acquire at that time, and they probably had bins of P90s. Only things I can think of why they went with the goldtop LP instead of bursts.
     
  19. eric ernest

    eric ernest V.I.P. Member

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    Because when things get "big" they often get sloppy, lose focus, and general go into decline in many ways.

    In 1959 Gibson had around 150 employees, in 1966 they had around 1500.

    That combined with a prevailing philosophy that appears to have gone from "Only a Gibson is Good Enough," to, "Yeah, that looks good enough."
     
  20. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    It would be interesting to know if Beano was actually popular initially. And by that I mean internationally. It really only been later that a lot of these albums have become iconic.....and for a lot of the early blues artists it was only once the white artists who were influenced by them gained popularity that the originators got the right level of appreciation for their art.
     
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