Gibson change of ownership over the years and quality

Limeshack

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Why do you buy so many bad guitars?

Speaking of….. Fender has much worse QC issues, if you ask me.
When you buy and sell instruments regularly you just end up with a few duds. I routinely buy guitars with the intent of cleaning them up, playing them and reselling. All guitar manufacturers have QC issues.
 

Leumas

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Good thread, I dig it. I have my opinions. I played a real deal ‘59. It was good. Perhaps the “best” or “perfect” as far as Les Pauls go, but for me it’s more the mystique or rarity of them, and being an Everyman I don’t think for a second that they give you anything that any other guitar doesn’t.

As far as ownership/extensive play goes…

73 gold top deluxe - pancake-ish, heavy, great tone. I really dig the mini-hums. This is my co-guitarists number one. It works great for his parts, but I would have cycled it out of my collection by now. Tonal pallet is very cool but limited for me.

86 studio standard - good quality, ebony board with dot inlays which was my favorite part of the guitar. I love ebony. Very good build quality. Nice tone, a little brighter and snappier than your average standard. Thin neck, thin body, and the killer was fretless wonder frets. I couldn’t get along with them and I didn’t love it enough to have a refret and hope for the best. Sold.

‘94 Studio - my number one. It’s not pretty, but everything else about it is perfect for me. Ebony board. Good frets, fat neck just shy of baseball bat, killer pickups. I swapped the 490/498 out and have had at least four other sets in. Ultimately the stock pups have a magic to them that works for the guitar and I won’t be taking them out again. I’ve heard a lot of say that the early 90’s were great years for studios, and I can’t disagree.

2001 classic - yes, snot green inlays. The neck is a wee bit thin for my tastes, but it’s so good in every other way I deal with it. It had the same 490/498 set my studio has, so I swapped them out for phatcat p90’s. It’s got that perfect p90 roar that comes out of a full bodied Les Paul.

2015 SG standard P90 - I don’t know where this guitar went wrong. P90’s are my favorite pickup, but this guitar never worked while I owned it. The tone was thin and shitty. I’ve played other p90 sg’s that I wish I could have bought but this was not one of them. Build quality was good overall, but this was the year they did that weird wide neck thing with the exaggerated string spacing. Independent of the tone problems I had, the neck width was the worst.

2020 60’s Standard - good guitar. Very good guitar. Fit and finish are perfect. Burst buckers are a bit sterile, but it’s a keeper. I may or may not swap pickups eventually, but it fills in nicely since I’ve retired my irreplaceable studio from gigging duties.

2022 SG standard - perfect. I picked this up on a whim. It’s my go-to humbucker guitar. Flawless build, lots of mid-range punch, and light as a feather. I’ve been playing fenders and single coils almost exclusively for years and I wanted something with the humbucker punch without going quite as full and low as a Les Paul. When I got this SG it just slid right into its place in my lineup. I don’t know if this is consistent for the new ones as I didn’t compare at all, but this one works.

I’ve been very lucky, I’ve never had a total dog, save that one SG, just different gibsons that showed their highs and lows for my playing style and tone needs. Never had bad QC issues.
 

filtersweep

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When you buy and sell instruments regularly you just end up with a few duds. I routinely buy guitars with the intent of cleaning them up, playing them and reselling. All guitar manufacturers have QC issues.
I usually discover duds when I preview them— and I don’t buy expensive guitars without trying them first.
 

PauloQS

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For this discussion, a guitar someone played made in X year is completely irrelevant, be it the guitar was a dog or an absolutely perfect. Every year or production you’ll find both extremes and everything in between. That is not to say that every year is the same. In particular what we should be interested is in the distribution of the quality. How likely is the guitar you pick up of a certain yer good or bad.

Even though I’ve played examples of years, my experience with 2016-2018 is quite interesting, because I played a whole lot of them. Of the current ownership 2019-present, currently own 2 Gibson Customs and 2 Gibson USAs, but I had owned another 6 USAs and played a bunch of that period as well. Even then, I believe I have played even more guitars from 2016-2018.

In my experience, 2016 and 2017 were awesome. The unbound fretboard models were very well done. I remember there was a 2017 SG faded I played that was particularly memorable. Everything I picked up from the wall of that year was great. I’d pick up a few classics, studios, faded, standards, both in the T and HP category, and they were amazing. They all played and sounded great. That’s not to say they didn’t have Beaty marks here and there. For instance, the 2017 LP Standard T I got during the last guita-a-thon with actual significant good deals, had a little blemish over the biding close to the nut.

Now to 2018, I did not have the same luck with those. I played some fantastic examples. For instance, those Classic Player Plus were consistently amazing. I also played BFG models that were amazing. However, the faded models that I’ve played all suffered from fret sprouts. I still own a 2018 LP faded, but I really had to work on that guitar to make it more comfortable. The 2018 61 Standard SG I had sounded great, but I ended up selling it to get a 2019 61 Standard SG, because the 2018 fought back like crazy. There was nothing objectively wrong with the 2018 SG, but for some weird reason it wasn’t an easy to play guitar. Overall, I think 2018 and 2019 models built in 2018 under previous management were great, but in my experience a step down from 2017 and 2016. Again, I’ve played some awesome guitars from 2018, it’s just that not at the same consistent rate from 2017 and 2016. Particularly the entry level models saw a drop in quality with a huge increase in price. Special models like the classic player plus and the BFG were clear exceptions.

For the current gen of guitars, 2019-present, I think they are amazing. I have yet to play a dog. Here are a few things I noticed. When they were first released, they were well received, but they also received two criticism. Dried looking fretboards and the nut on the pickguard damaging the top. In that same year Gibson started shipping them with a felt over the nut to protect the top. In particular, the change seems to have occurred on the 100th day of the year. Meaning, any serial number above 110090000 will have the felt. However, nitro cures very slowly and even after it cures, it takes a few months to harden and shrink and do its thing. The thick felt in contact with the top didn’t ding the top, but did sometimes create a little matte spot where the felt maintained contact with the top. Now they’re using a thinner felt and they are also installing pickguards properly, preventing the nut of the pickguard to be in contact with the top. A nice little improvement for pickguard off people, like myself.

As for sound a playability, they are amazing, imo. I couldn’t get a bad tone from my 2019 SG for instance. I eventually upgraded to a Gibson Custom 61 reissue, but I almost didn’t not because the 61 reissue wasn’t absolutely phenomenal, but because the USA 61 was just that good. I had a 2020 Slash November Burst that was too loud to play unplugged in the living room at night after my wife went to bed, because it would keep her up.

I’ve downsized a lot. I have the 2018 faded I keep at my parents’ who live abroad for when I visit and we have family gathers I can jam with my sister. My 60th anniversary R9 is as close to untouchable as it gets. Yet, I have still kept a 2022 USA Standard ‘50s because it’s one of those guitars that play so well you get lost in it. However, it was super hard deciding between the Slash and the Standard ‘50s. My only critique about the 2019-present USA are the bursts. Iced Tea, amazing, bourbon really good and getting better, but while other finishes a getting better, there are still improvements to be made.

I’m gonna stop here before I get into another rabbit hole and extend further this wall of text. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
 

kisschicken

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Maybe I just don't get it because every guitar I have more or less plays the same. I take it to the same guy (a former Collings luthier) and every guitar I bring him, from Peavey Wolfgangs to Les Paul Standards, all play similarly after he sets them up, i.e., fantastic.
 

CoolRene

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Of course, it’s very subjective as quality can vary from one instrument to another, even for the same model, as they are hand-finished (set neck, fret nibs, neck carve, spraying and what have you).
From my experience, back in the ‘70s they were quite bulky and heavy (I had an 11 lbs Norlin LP), 2008 is a good year, so was 2014 (before the calamitous 2015 year).
My preference goes to the end 2012-2013 series that re-launched the manufacturing process of the old instruments (hide glue, aniline dye, VOS finish, PAF-type CustomBuckers, bumblebee caps, light mahogany solid body)… a great
series of beautiful, well built and finished guitars !
 

Pete the Rat

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FWIW, I have a 2005 standard premium plus that I settled on after trying literally hundreds of Les Pauls. It remains, to this day, one of the best LPs I’ve ever played.
 

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