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Gibson Guitars To Be Built By Echopark as “Kalamazoo Spec” In Detroit

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4 hours ago, cynic said:

What percentage of their product goes unsold?

Unknown.

Gibson's a private company, so we only really got a peek into their books as a result of bankruptcy filings, which is how we learned how awful the audio side was.  They claimed as part of the reorganization that the instrument business was profitable.

Where it goes from there, though, is conjecture. Sooner or late they'll run out of baby boomers willing to spend $6K or more to look like something Jimmy Page bought in a pawn shop when they were kids.

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15 hours ago, cmatthes said:

EchoPark guitars are fucking ugly, amateurish and overpriced.   Gabe is a rip-off artist of the worst kind.  I wouldn’t own anything he’s built if you paid me.

I don’t see this ending well for Gibson...

Seeing my name I have to mention this has NOTHING to do with me. 

Gabe 😎😇😀

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, JohnnyB said:

Gibson has been having issues at least since selling to Norlin, which goes back to 1969, 50 years ago. Each subsequent owner nearly goes broke trying to find a winning formula to no avail, and then sells to the next sucker.

If they would only realize they don’t need to reinvent the wheel, they just need to make the best wheels available. The ideology of more/faster/cheaper may work in other consumer goods. But it hasn’t for Gibson Or Fender USA. There are some Asian guitar manufactures that are putting out some high quality great playing guitars. As a brother of the Great Society of Cork Sniffers I insist that “Made In America” alway’s means “The Best” It used to be that way, pride in craftsmanship was synonymous with the Gibson and Fender brands. When that changed to pride in market earnings things really went to hell!!  

Edited by Dutchman
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The reason they go broke trying to find a new formula is because we fickle ass guitarists don't want a new formula. Has there ever been any consumer segment in history that wants you to keep making the same thing, over and over, over and over, for what, 70ish years now?  Consider at the same time, guitars are non-perishable goods, meaning all those units are adding up, stacking up, over time. Doesn't Gibson make about 300 guitars a day, times what, 250 production days a year, times, what, 70 years ... that's 5.25 million units. Even if you lose 25 percent market inventory for whatever reason, that's a LOT of virtually identical inventory in the marketplace with which your "new" product at non-depreciated prices competes. Face it, if you're Gibson and you even try to change, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Our - I said "our" because I'm just as guilty - idea of Gibson boners is fueled by vintage reissues, closet classic things, i.e. doing exactly what you used to do? We should be driving 70 year old cars, or heating and cooling our homes with 70 year old HVAC systems too, right?

 

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7 minutes ago, Jeff R said:

The reason they go broke trying to find a new formula is because we fickle ass guitarists don't want a new formula. Has there ever been any consumer segment in history that wants you to keep making the same thing, over and over, over and over, for what, 70ish years now?  Consider at the same time, guitars are non-perishable goods, meaning all those units are adding up, stacking up, over time. Doesn't Gibson make about 300 guitars a day, times what, 250 production days a year, times, what, 70 years ... that's 5.25 million units. Even if you lose 25 percent market inventory for whatever reason, that's a LOT of virtually identical inventory in the marketplace with which your "new" product at non-depreciated prices competes. Face it, if you're Gibson and you even try to change, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Our - I said "our" because I'm just as guilty - idea of Gibson boners is fueled by vintage reissues, closet classic things, i.e. doing exactly what you used to do? We should be driving 70 year old cars, or heating and cooling our homes with 70 year old HVAC systems too, right?

 

And also keep in mind that the last generation to give two craps about guitars may already have been born and that when the boomers need to pare down their amassed luxury items/collections, the market will be flooded by all those guitars...and more.

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Posted (edited)

I grew up believing Gibson was the best because all my favorite musicians were getting free guitars to tell me so in their liner notes.  Turns out they were lying.

From the solid body perspective, Gibsons are widely considered very hit and miss in every era.  Their sales sucked so bad in the 50s that they changed the entire formula  only to return to the original formula by the end of the 60s.  Then we had the (boo-hiss) Norlin years which nearly drove them out of business before Henry swooped in to save them and no one is going to claim Henry J cared about quality.

The only thing that's ever kept them in business is people like us wanting the instruments of our idols.  No more idols, no more Gibson.

 

Edited by cynic
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And a lack of demand. The next wave of buyers will be offended that "our" guitars came at the expense of delicate rainforests and threatened species in economically-strife areas of the globe, and they will subsequently opt out. I need to start stockpiling Newburgh-era Steinberger paddles as they hit the market LOL

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30 minutes ago, cmatthes said:

And also keep in mind that the last generation to give two craps about guitars may already have been born and that when the boomers need to pare down their amassed luxury items/collections, the market will be flooded by all those guitars...and more.

That's already happening. Ain't just the addition of sales taxes that are slowing down private sales of guitars.

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3 hours ago, Jeff R said:

.....We should be driving 70 year old cars,......

Yes. Yes we should.

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Really it's just a licensing deal, Gibson announced it last month at NAMM. It goes along with their lawsuit against Dean, trying to claim exclusive ownership of certain shapes. They claimed they will be doing this with other small/boutique builders. Not sure what it will mean if/when their lawsuit fails miserably and said shapes effectively become public domain.

I've read some of the TGP stuff about Echopark too. I usually attribute a lot of their opinions to the inherent weirdness there, but when that many people have similar issues, there's usually something to it.

I do wonder if Gibson knew that Joe B had a copy of the Amos V built by Echopark, Gibson logo and all,  for when he was touring with less security or something. It's for sale of anyone wants to try it out. 🤩

https://entertainment.ha.com/itm/vintage-guitars-and-musical-instruments/joe-bonamassa-s-2016-echo-park-amos-flying-v-replica-natural-solid-body-electric-guitar-serial-not-amos/p/7214-14001.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

spacer.png

 

Joe Bonamassa's 2016 Echo-Park "Amos" Flying V Replica Natural Solid Body Electric Guitar, Serial # Not Amos.
Custom built Flying V replica by Echo-Park Guitars for Joe Bonamassa, circa 2016. This is an exact replica of Joe's "Amos" 1958 Gibson Flying V. Joe had this guitar built "...as a spare/safe and reliable instrument for situations when I did not feel comfortable bringing out my original '58 Gibson Flying V "Amos"". This guitar was played live by Bonamassa and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Echo-Park Guitars and a signed letter from Joe Bonamassa. 6.2 lbs. Original Replica hard case included. Condition: Very Good. 
Open for bidding around 10/29/2019

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8 hours ago, Jeff R said:

The reason they go broke trying to find a new formula is because we fickle ass guitarists don't want a new formula. Has there ever been any consumer segment in history that wants you to keep making the same thing, over and over, over and over, for what, 70ish years now? 

Motorcycles, particularly the Harley-Davidson ones. They want them to sound the same, look the same, be engineered mostly the same, etc. Their ability to make use of technological advances of the past, uh, century? is very hindered by the idea that everyone wants to have one 'just like in the movies' or 'just like my dad had'.  It's a market that had a lukewarm reaction to the very well made and designed Victory brand, but went insane when they bought the "Indian" motorcycle name, and resurrected it. 

I have seen that lately, they have actually been able to fit some type of WATER COOLING into their highest end motorcycles. However they still need to have that same offset firing order, and other things that honestly really hinder their ability to make a better motorcycle.  The owners want them to shake the right way, make the right sounds, roar the right way, etc.

Also for some reason they still insist on having a primary drive chain and separate transmission, whereas virtually every other motorcycle maker put those into the same housing many decades ago.

What makes it even sadder is that Harley owned Buell, a cutting edge AMERICAN motorcycle brand, and closed it down because their new CEO didn't understand anything other than they sold for less than Harleys, and that the riders didn't "move up" to Harleys, which made it a competitor of Harley. The fact that the people who bought Buell bikes specifically did NOT want cruisers or Harley's didn't even cross his mind.

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I truly believe this is just a legal maneuver.  Gibson shows that they can "license" products from outside vendors and Dean and anyone else they choose to destroy isn't one of their vendors.  That has to be it.  The Echopark guy isn't going to hand them more than 1K on each guitar ordered.  So, profit isn't really the goal.  Protection of the "brand" might be paramount to a new investor. 

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1 hour ago, tbonesullivan said:

. The fact that the people who bought Buell bikes specifically did NOT want cruisers or Harley's didn't even cross his mind.

Eric Buell was friends with some folks I knew in the 90s.   He told stories of things like how the motorcycle was designed with a very specific geometry, then Harley demanded that the bars be wider. "Our market research said our riders like wide handlebars" etc.

That gen of Buells was "known" to be twitchy and have a lot of feedback in the corners. Magazines all talked about it, etc.

Well, no shit it was twitchy! The bars were 6" wider than they should have been, so you had way too much leverage. But HD did all of their design based on market research in an attempt to maximize the market that had suddenly opened up to them in the era.

What Buell was able to do with the Harley engines was fantastic, and he was the guy who came up with the V-Rod, though Harley decided to make it a cruiser engine with similar characteristics to what their other bikes were at the time and that kind of killed it as a performance machine. As an aside, we have folks here who know quite a but about HD engines and about performance they can make. Part of the fun of it was modding and making parts, kind of like souping up a VW bus or beetle. When the checkbook mechanics entered the market the whole ecology around these bikes changed, so that was that.

The thing is, Harley has its market. And, for a while, motorcycling was growing and their market share grew with it. In the Evo days, you literally had to wait in line at your local dealership for delivery, they couldn't make enough for a couple of years. If you went to a different dealership they'd have to check your zip code and say "Nope, get on the list back home."  Eric Buell was part of that engine revolution (the Evo was much easier to maintain than previous HD engines, cooled better, etc, and he used engines from the era) but the company was making money hand over fist selling to the nostalgia crowd. They did invest in him, taking his house as collateral, and then bought Buell outright, but it was never going to work. He was a misfit, as were sportbikes, no matter how much fun an S1 was to ride.

Once the new HD came back from its near death in the 80s, they set their course. They became a lifestyle brand.  It's a totally different thing to being a motorcycle technology company.  Just like Gibson.

Ducati has done something similar. They made a big push 20 years back to be a lifestyle thing, with the monsters that you were supposed to trick out, very much like HD did in the 90s. Hell, even Apple did the lifestyle marketing thing for quite a long while.  Companies latch on to what makes them money and run with it. Such is the way, and it's all easy to see in hindsight, but after near death I  don't blame a company from cashing on on the one thing that's saving it. Even if it is baby boomers and their last grasp at the trappings they missed out on in their youth.  God help you if you try to cash in GenX nostalgia, we're a bunch of cranky assholes as far as marketers are concerned. That's why they skipped us and everything is always about "Millennials are killing this" or "What millennials are doing to that market"  anymore. I wonder what silly nostalgic shit someone will try to sell them in 30 years.

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WTF is Echopark Guitars? Is it a TGP thing? Never heard of 'em.

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12 hours ago, RobB said:

WTF is Echopark Guitars? Is it a TGP thing? Never heard of 'em.

Word.

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On 8/11/2019 at 12:56 PM, cmatthes said:

And also keep in mind that the last generation to give two craps about guitars may already have been born and that when the boomers need to pare down their amassed luxury items/collections, the market will be flooded by all those guitars...and more.

Born?  In twenty years they'll be dead.  

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When they create an app that allows someone to play guitar without spending the time and the discipline to become proficient at it guitars will be in again!

Guitars do not give immediate gratification... you have to work at it!  

Back on topic I had never heard if Echopark before either. I would have imagined it was a park in the Grand Canyon that had great echo qualities....

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Man, all my life Ihave been obsessed with music and music gear. Yet, playing in two bands (one as guitarist, one as bass player) I am sort of tired playing music. One band (the one I play bass in) does blues rock in a trio format, with very few gigs. It is okay, most rehearsals get cancelled recently and it is tiresome, as we mostly play the same tiny setlist for almost 3 years. The other band wants to do cover stuff. The bass player can't really play, and the drummer also has deficits in playing, no gigs in the forseeable future, not even a real setlist, and most rehearsals get cancelled. I don't even miss playing. I am a smalltime gear hoarder (16 guitars, 5 basses, 4 guitar amps, 3 bass amps). At 50, I have the gear I always dreamed of and yet I have a hard time to enjoy it, as it just is frustrating to play in front of an audience of 20 people who are just there because they didn't know where else to go. And it isn't fun to play with others anymore. I am not the guy who's great at music theory, I am not a fast player or a great soloist, but when I play with others it is often surprising that many don't even know what key they are playing, so the jams often end in a terrible cacophony. Many guitar players  I played with had their heroes from the 90's, not guitarist idols, but whole bands. About 10 years ago I said to my band buddies that the (then) new generation of local musicians only stay active in music when they're in their 20's and then evolve into other interests. And in many cases I was right. No wonder I feel like a dinosaur at times in my opinions of musicianship. The guitar heroes seem to have been long gone. Those young rock bands of recent times don't seem to creatively evolve, most of them play their Black Sabbath-inspired riff over and over, for the whole song. I don't feel part of all that at all. And I came to point when it feels good not to be part of all that. Maybe it is just, that I didn't musically evolve and now, as I got older, my interests shift to something else.

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Posted (edited)

                                    Don't worry about it boys, it's all going to work out just fine.  ;)                           giphy.gif

Edited by ARM OF HAMER
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On 8/11/2019 at 11:36 PM, Moose said:

  Companies latch on to what makes them money and run with it. Such is the way, and it's all easy to see in hindsight, but after near death I  don't blame a company from cashing on on the one thing that's saving it. Even if it is baby boomers and their last grasp at the trappings they missed out on in their youth.  God help you if you try to cash in GenX nostalgia, we're a bunch of cranky assholes as far as marketers are concerned. That's why they skipped us and everything is always about "Millennials are killing this" or "What millennials are doing to that market"  anymore. I wonder what silly nostalgic shit someone will try to sell them in 30 years.

Well, this is true. And the fact is, Gibson doesn't really NEED better technology for anything. They just need to make guitars that don't suck, so I really don't see why they are even touching Echopark, with their history of production and customer service issues that honesty makes Gibson look like saints.  I've never heard of Gibson having a finish go bad during production of a custom guitar, and even thinking of somehow trying to pass that cost onto the purchaser. The stories out there from Echopark are real ugly things.

With a motorcycle though, it's a LOT more technology based. Also If my guitar breaks a string, I don't die, but on a motorcycle, it is that type of thing.

I just can't believe so many companies are so freaking stupid. They buy something that works and makes money, and manage to completely Ruin it. Gibson and Fender have managed to do it several times. Harley had Buell, bought MV Augusta and Sold it at a loss, and was even rumored to want to purchase Ducati. I just don't understand how companies can buy things and make every move based on "market research".  You never get innovation that way, and ultimately Harley is a slave to their market, which unfortunately is not as well off as it was, and now is often selling off their motorcycles, resulting in a glut of Harley-Davidson bikes on the market.

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3 hours ago, tbonesullivan said:

. I just don't understand how companies can buy things and make every move based on "market research".  You never get innovation that way, and ultimately Harley is a slave to their market, which unfortunately is not as well off as it was, and now is often selling off their motorcycles, resulting in a glut of Harley-Davidson bikes on the market.

 

You're not wrong on any point.

But, as I said, that's the way it goes some times.   Look at entertainment industries for an example. How many movies are made that are original, not based on a "property"  or following a formula?  How many super hero movies do they need to make? How many bad reboots of Star Wars with an "inclusive" cast?  But they do just that because bean counters are running things and they see past performance, where something new and interesting is a gamble. Creatives will gamble, bean counters will not.

The same is very true of Music. Look at what CC did to radio. Look at what makes hits these days -- in pop they're all written by just a couple of swedish dudes for fuck's sake -- or what's happened  with other genres. The bulk of pop music is very heavily over produced, and that goes from bubblegum Katy Perry stuff all the way to Nashville Bro Country. Everything is tightly quantized, heavily tuned (they don't even hide the Melodyne even on vocal pop) and mixed LOUD. All genres match the formula, even what would have been "alternative" in a different era has quantized, four on the floor kicks, loud beats, and the millennial whoop. I won't even get into the writing of "country" songs, which are completely formulaic. Mostly, the singers and players that get heavy backing are chosen by how they look or whether they can dance. It works for those markets, too, in no small part because tween pop always has a new crop of kids to market to and country.... shit, I don't get country. Not the pop bro country shit.

Anyway, when someone like Mumford and Sons sneaks a hit in to alternative radio, it's a huge surprise. But then 20 bands in the genre will start to get heavy rotation on the radio and appear in the backgrounds of every tween drama TV show. Or when Chris Stapleton gets an album out based on 20 years of writing songs for other people, and it isn't over produced and loud, it seems like the bean counters are surprised it actually sells. Somehow they forgot what happened to country when O Brother Where Art Thou came out and shook up overproduced pop country that time. Bean counters don't understand the role novelty plays in entertainment. A formula is the goose that laid the golden egg and, while they don't slaughter it, they do keep squeezing it hoping more eggs pop out until the thing produces nothing but shit. See Star Wars.

Alas, this is every industry. HD trying to buy new markets is no different than Tumblr having been bought by Yahoo for billions and sold for like $20 million, or any one of a million other examples. I can criticize because I don't have a pot to piss in nor have I any money on the line in any major business enterprises, so I'm a perfect critic.

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Earlier this month the new owners of Gibson gave back the rights to the Oberheim name to Tom Oberheim.  No licensing, no deal just here ya go. This deal looks fine to me they are Echopark guitars very expensive distressed replicas.  Not outsourced production they aren't Gibson guitars. Take a breath and repeat after me: they aren't Gibson guitars.  How this "ends badly" for Gibson is beyond me. Echopark can build with korina which Gibson no longer uses so there's that.  Any issues with the build or CS is on Echopark.  Some people will make it about Gibson, naturally. 

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