Conversation with friend at Gibson USA

DBDM

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I was very encouraged by a conversation that I had yesterday with a friend that works at Gibson USA (she is a 25+ year employee). She was discussing how morale is up over there and how much money Gibson is investing in the factory and attempting to spruce it up and improve on the process. One thing that she was happiest about is that apparently they have built a special area of the factory just to build and work on Prototype models. Also apparently new break room/lunch facilities. Apparently now the Prototypes just kind of float through the factory and different the different areas. She was excited that they will now be built in their own area. In addition they are apparently planning on adding tours soon (if/when COVID dies down).

I, for one, have been very concerned with the future of Gibson--the current CEO has a track record of moving production overseas. I am reassured that they are spending money on the current facility and seem to be invested in making Gibsons here for the immediate future. (Companies planning on moving overseas rarely spend money building break rooms)

This was strictly about the USA shop, not the custom shop which is a totally different building, and the 2 do not mix together much. That is all, carry on!
 

DBDM

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(Previously some of the USA shop employees were disillusioned with some of the changes made in the transition between the old Henry era and the new JC era. No one likes change and workers are normally leery of new bosses coming in. Hopefully that is now passing)
 

rockstar232007

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Notice the influx of "JC-bashing" threads in the past few months/weeks/days"?

...Yeah. Me either.:rofl:

Dude knows what the customers/employees want, and isn't too much of a pretentious prick to deliver.:thumb:
 

mudface

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Oh No!............. now we're gonna have questions like.........."my guitar was made during the "happy employee" time....how much more is it worth over the "mad employee" time ??"

A happy guitar is gotta be better than a mad guitar.....:rofl:


But seriously.... I'm happy they're happy.:cheers:
 

DBDM

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My experience with Gibson is not just what I see in stores and read but also with a few friends that work there. (I live in Nashville). I can assure anyone reading this that there was much "JC fear" in 2019. He changed a few things. Again, many "fear the unknown" and he was an unknown. There was fear (among workers) that he would lower quality and a separate fear that his goal was to move Gibson production of the USA shop to Asia. This was made worse when Gibson started making a few Epiphone models (obviously not all) in Nashville. The fear was he was saying, "lets make some Epiphones here...oh wow that went great, now lets make some Gibsons over there" That is obviously not the plan or they would not spend money on the USA shop.

People forget that Gibson employees love Gibson, too. Likely more than most of us since it is their jobs. They had fear of decreasing quality of the guitars and fear of losing their livelihoods.
 

DBDM

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(i am guessing that those reading this know that JC has a history of taking over iconic US companies and moving production overseas. This was a VERY real fear in Nashville.)
 

Pappy35

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The proof is in the pudding as they say. I never owned a Gibson until this year (40+ years playing) precisely because every one I ever touched had some kind of huge problem or another (orange peel is one biggie that sticks in my head for example). This new batch of late '19 and 2020 models are off the chart flawless, and now I own one. Whatever mojo the new senior management introduced seems to be working. More power to them. I dig being able to buy high quality mass-produced 'Merican-Made guitars!
 
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TMS

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This was made worse when Gibson started making a few Epiphone models (obviously not all) in Nashville. The fear was he was saying, "lets make some Epiphones here...oh wow that went great, now lets make some Gibsons over there" That is obviously not the plan or they would not spend money on the USA shop.
I don't get this. So they start making Epiphones in Nashville and that means he would want to make Gibsons there as well (there = Nashville or Asia?).

And Gibson would be done if their USA made guitars would have been made in Asia. No one would buy them, that's one thing that needs to remain in the USA. It's their identity.
 

Brek

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Hopefully a few efficiency improvements can be implemented to increase the production rate and so profitability by cutting out wasteful processes. I worked in Lean before taking a leave of absence to do a degree. Watching a few videos of the factory on YouTube my old lean head was saying, why are they doing that? Amazing what effect happy workers can have on production levels, inc quality. Glad new boss is not the same as the old boss.
 

Pappy35

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Ahhh...they were purchased by KKR. Their game plan has always been, buy, rebuild, make money. Some past acquisitions include MTU (a major international aerospace manufacturer of jet engines and aircraft components), Fiat Chrysler, and many, many others. We're talking the Big Leagues of corporate acquisition and strategic investments. They have a solid reputation of rebuilding poorly run, but fundamentally sound, companies for the long run, we're not talking about Gordon Gekko-like slash and burn; they're more akin to the Warren Buffets of the world.
 

Lester

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Then again, there's the Fender model of USA, MIJ, MIM, etc... that seems to be working for them. Sadly, I could see GIbson doing that to compete (Epiphone aside).

Corporate decisions are rarely what the customer wants, or the employees want, or what's best for the company or products... they're about product ignorant CEO's and Board members who often know next-to-nothing about the particular business making decisions to benefit upper crust portfolios.

It sounds hopeful, but we'll need to see where they go.
 

Pappy35

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That's a stretch... Here's a shot of a 2020 Standard currently in Sweetwater's demo/deals section. Not exactly flawless, and there are others with similar fit & finish issues.
Yeah, that's exactly like what I used to see all the time. I can't refute this, all I can say is that I looked at about 20 different guitars and not one of them had this kind of issue. In the past, half of them would have. I know it's anecdotal, but it's what I've seen and it was enough to get me to buy both a 2020 Epi LP and Gibson LP this year.
 

jstarr823

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Yeah, that's exactly like what I used to see all the time. I can't refute this, all I can say is that I looked at about 20 different guitars and not one of them had this kind of issue. In the past, half of them would have. I know it's anecdotal, but it's what I've seen and it was enough to get me to buy both a 2020 Epi LP and Gibson LP this year.
I hear you, but this stuff shouldn't be getting past QC and it still is. I've owned at least 8 2020 Gibsons and most have been really nice. Not perfect, but still really nice. Having owned over 100 Gibsons in the past several years, I can honestly say that QC hasn't changed that dramatically. Some real turds still sneak through.
 

Renegade

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I was very encouraged by a conversation that I had yesterday with a friend that works at Gibson USA (she is a 25+ year employee). She was discussing how morale is up over there and how much money Gibson is investing in the factory and attempting to spruce it up and improve on the process. One thing that she was happiest about is that apparently they have built a special area of the factory just to build and work on Prototype models. Also apparently new break room/lunch facilities. Apparently now the Prototypes just kind of float through the factory and different the different areas. She was excited that they will now be built in their own area. In addition they are apparently planning on adding tours soon (if/when COVID dies down).
Good to hear, Gibson kind of hit a rough patch for awhile.
 

mudface

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I hear you, but this stuff shouldn't be getting past QC and it still is. I've owned at least 8 2020 Gibsons and most have been really nice. Not perfect, but still really nice. Having owned over 100 Gibsons in the past several years, I can honestly say that QC hasn't changed that dramatically. Some real turds still sneak through.
I will attest that jstarr is a notorious flipper and searcher of outstanding Gibsons.... i'm betting closer to 1000 than 100,.. but hey who's counting.

Still his opinion has some serious weight.

:cheers:
 


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