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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

Dr. Green

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Dec 12, 2018
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Matt -

I was wondering if Gibson keeps a close eye on the secondary market ?

in other words does upper management take note that a particular limited edition ends up being worth a small fortune on the used market ?

do they take note that a particular type of maple can bring thousands extra to the independent used guitar brokers ?

if so what do they say and does it effect future production numbers or specifications ?
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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392
Matt -

I was wondering if Gibson keeps a close eye on the secondary market ?

in other words does upper management take note that a particular limited edition ends up being worth a small fortune on the used market ?

do they take note that a particular type of maple can bring thousands extra to the independent used guitar brokers ?

if so what do they say and does it effect future production numbers or specifications ?
Good questions! I was constantly evaluating the used and vintage markets long before GIbson, so it's a good thing old habits die hard. Sometimes these observations lead to actions, for example when we see that a certain discontinued model is commanding a significant premium. Outside of that, maintaining a healthy demand curve is my number one priority. As the portfolio manager I have to keep a keen eye on margins and pricing and the very real price justification thresholds that materialize. Right now is a time of great demand, but what would the portfolio look like if not? When we come up with limited run numbers, we WANT the instruments to increase in value, both immediately and in time. But when pricing everything becomes a sliding scale -- what is the complexity of the build, how many *can* we comfortably make with the present order book, what are the costs and labor and overhead, what is the availability of the materials, what is the market feedback/forecast, what value does the artist or instrument bring to the equation by default, what is the experience that we want to create, what is the existing price precedent, etc.

Regarding the value of a uber-flamey maple top, yes we and our dealers are keenly aware. Very pleased to share that the quality of maple we have been seeing from our suppliers, particularly the high-grade Custom Shop stuff, has been the best I've ever seen. Walking around Custom Shop is a jaw-dropping experience. But even though some of these may command more in the secondary market, we price to the average instead of the exception. We want to keep the demand curve strong.

Hope that answered your questions! Thanks.
 

Dmcguitar

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Matt, not sure if you can actually answer this, but do you know if there are any planned price increases this year? Fender just bumped products again, and are rumored to have another planned for summer. I think it's helpful to know, if someones on the fence it may help influence a purchase. (Adding 100 to a R9 / R0 is much different than to a USA standard or Tribute. Obviously same amount of money but it definitely changes the value at different price points)

Also, Since Namm is moved to the summer, will all new product news be held until this as well? If you are able to answer with a yes or no, is there anything for 2022 like the 60th anniversary models of the last 3 years?
 

PVinny

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Jan 5, 2022
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Hi all. Charlie and I thought it might be fun for me to address Gibson (or Epiphone) questions in this thread...whether about current products or mysteries from Gibson's history. I think it's important to hear it straight from the horse's mouth...don't seem to have much luck getting accurately paraphrased or quoted in magazine articles.

If you don't know me, I was a longtime forum geek and I decided to put my passions to use by joining Gibson in April 2016. I started in product management for Custom Shop and Memphis and now I'm doing product development company-wide. I am also a huge Gibson/Epiphone history fan and having access to our archives is an incredible perk of the job. So fan to fan, let's have some fun!
Hello Matt. I’ve got a question about my 2018 CST shop 58 VOS LP. The rosewood in comparison to my 2016 CST Shop 59 335 is very very light. Thinking it was due to the lack of up keep by the shop and the conditions as it has been in a shop for 4 years was to blame. I heard that it’s possible that the fretboard may not actually be rosewood. Did gibson sub for a different wood to help with the output of orders or is this just a piece of light colored RW that needs to drink?
 

matkoehler

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Messages
392
Matt, not sure if you can actually answer this, but do you know if there are any planned price increases this year? Fender just bumped products again, and are rumored to have another planned for summer. I think it's helpful to know, if someones on the fence it may help influence a purchase. (Adding 100 to a R9 / R0 is much different than to a USA standard or Tribute. Obviously same amount of money but it definitely changes the value at different price points)

Also, Since Namm is moved to the summer, will all new product news be held until this as well? If you are able to answer with a yes or no, is there anything for 2022 like the 60th anniversary models of the last 3 years?
Hey there! We had a small price adjustment last year to cover inflation + rising supply & shipping costs. No plans to have another anytime soon but we will continue to evaluate. Obviously our priority is staying competitive as much as possible, but we need to preserve our margins in the process.

We will continue to have new product releases every month, regardless of NAMM. But just some models being released around that time will be announced at NAMM. Thanks for the questions!
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
392
Hello Matt. I’ve got a question about my 2018 CST shop 58 VOS LP. The rosewood in comparison to my 2016 CST Shop 59 335 is very very light. Thinking it was due to the lack of up keep by the shop and the conditions as it has been in a shop for 4 years was to blame. I heard that it’s possible that the fretboard may not actually be rosewood. Did gibson sub for a different wood to help with the output of orders or is this just a piece of light colored RW that needs to drink?
It's just thirsty! Get some Howard Feed-N-Wax (or conditioner of your choice) and have at it. And show us the before & after! ~Mat
 

Morgan24

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Nov 1, 2020
Messages
132
They *might* be ready in time for the 2022 serialized guitars, but I still haven't seen the complete assembly so no promises. As for thumbwheels, as soon as I get a chance I will cut one in half. I had confirmed with our supplier that they are brass. :)
Did you cut one in half yet?
 

NYCBURST

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May 11, 2016
Messages
288
Here's a question.... They spend all this time aging the guitars, Why don't they age the fretboards? I don't mean the inlays yellowing, I mean the fret board themselves.. I think this would be a very smart business move.. The thing about a vintage burst that we love is the worn-in, oiled fingerboards. It could be a real game changer in my opinion.
 

yeatzee

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Jul 21, 2016
Messages
52
Yes we did a ground-up overhaul on the Historic ES models when we moved them back to Nashville. The rim shape, top and back profile (original press plates were recut), neck profiles, heel, the headstock crown was corrected, True Historic parts, and yes pickguard shape. The reason you are seeing variation in screw placement on the pickguards and distance to the cutaway is the neck set/angle. Its placement varies on all ES and archtop models. It is possible that the pickguards in '64 were a small fraction wider than what we're using now. And yes we took away that bridge pickup gap because of quality concerns. But I will compare the print to the scans and see if any tweaks are necessary.

Anyway comparing pictures is not the best way to evaluate accuracy...what's the quote? Talking about music is like dancing about architecture? That's kind of how I feel here. As you said...NONE are identical. And what is accurate really? Accurate to one guitar? Or an average of many? Previously we would ask ourselves *which* vintage example we would reference for prints...but I've learned the best way is to reference the average of many examples.

Regarding the body widths, our spec is 16". That is the nearest large fraction of all that we scanned. But none we scanned were anywhere close to 16.25" -- that is extremely wide. 2020-on Historic ES-3X5 models should have a width that is 16" give or take .1" (the variation in rim bending). It could just be that our ways of measuring differ. Regardless, thanks for inspiring me to take a second look and see if there is room for improvement! Appreciate it and thanks for the questions.
Thanks for the response. Specifically with the pickguards the biggest obvious difference besides the bridge pickup gap is the screw location and lack of space on the pickguard between the screw and the bevel edge. It's like they're shorter on that end, instead of going to the edge of the binding like with vintage ones they stop well short in every reissue I've seen so far. I've not yet seen a vintage one that didn't go to the edge of the binding either, though perhaps there's an example that exists out there somewhere. Certainly the average does though :)

Grabbed a couple photos of body size for reference if that's helpful.

1964:

iqgYJDG.jpg


1965:

rheoQIf.jpg


1964ri (2016)

vyUJdJ5.jpg


1959ri (2012)

fdo57kA.jpg


1961ri (2020)

eBKp8AN.jpg


Perhaps even more interesting, I measured the depth of the guitars and the results were as follows:

1964: ~1.75"
1965: ~1.81"
1964ri (2016): ~1.70"
1959ri (2012): ~1.65"
1961ri (2020): ~1.56"
 
Last edited:

Kutt

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Jun 15, 2007
Messages
278
Hi all. Charlie and I thought it might be fun for me to address Gibson (or Epiphone) questions in this thread...whether about current products or mysteries from Gibson's history.

There has been a notable drop off regarding factory installed '57 Classic / Classic Plus pickups over the last few years. What is the reasoning behind the change? They are incredible sounding pickups that can do it all. I know they are still available as an accessory but again I'm curious about the near total lack of factory installations. Thanks!
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
392
Here's a question.... They spend all this time aging the guitars, Why don't they age the fretboards? I don't mean the inlays yellowing, I mean the fret board themselves.. I think this would be a very smart business move.. The thing about a vintage burst that we love is the worn-in, oiled fingerboards. It could be a real game changer in my opinion.
I have not heard a lot of demand for that, from dealers or customers. On a maple neck guitar, sure...but not even Fender messes with rosewood on their Heavy Relics. Personally I'd rather have a smooth, radiuses fingerboard with perfect frets than a gouged up board. But hey -- if there is demand, we are always listening.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
392
Thanks for the response. Specifically with the pickguards the biggest obvious difference besides the bridge pickup gap is the screw location and lack of space on the pickguard between the screw and the bevel edge. It's like they're shorter on that end, instead of going to the edge of the binding like with vintage ones they stop well short in every reissue I've seen so far. I've not yet seen a vintage one that didn't go to the edge of the binding either, though perhaps there's an example that exists out there somewhere. Certainly the average does though :)

Grabbed a couple photos of body size for reference if that's helpful.

1964:

1965:

1964ri (2016)

1959ri (2012)

1961ri (2020)

Perhaps even more interesting, I measured the depth of the guitars and the results were as follows:

1964: ~1.75"
1965: ~1.81"
1964ri (2016): ~1.70"
1959ri (2012): ~1.65"
1961ri (2020): ~1.56"
I see what you mean but before you speak in absolutes, the distance to/over the binding on the neck side varies widely in vintage guitars as it does on the reissues. There are plentiful examples and in fact three of the very first search results for vintage ES-335s had pick guards that did not go past the binding.

072bde9d5d274cc824a49ddc73d6efd5.jpg MSincasenoflashEB.jpg original.jpg

Regardless, I really think we're getting into banal minutiae here and I will reiterate that all vintage components and placement thereof are different...even the pickguard sizes could be slightly different one to the next. But ultimately we have to choose a path. Frequently there are differing opinions, internally and externally. But it's the nature of the thing.

Regarding body width measurements, respectfully that is not the way our Engineering team would measure things but even so it shows that variation is rampant before but the 2020 example is on spec (16"). That is the original blueprint dimension too, for the record.

The rim depth difference in vintage examples is something we noted as well...wide variety recorded. I was pressed to make a choice, so I went with 1.6" as the spec. I prefer them to be thin and shapely :). Thanks for the dialogue!
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
392
There has been a notable drop off regarding factory installed '57 Classic / Classic Plus pickups over the last few years. What is the reasoning behind the change? They are incredible sounding pickups that can do it all. I know they are still available as an accessory but again I'm curious about the near total lack of factory installations. Thanks!
We try to choose the pickups that best suit particular models or eras. But also we try to refresh what we can, and '57 Classics are over 30 years old at this point. They do well for us aftermarket but we opted to go with newer offerings with (*fighting words*) more character for some of the core models that used '57 Classics in the past. But they are all shades of gray really and '57 Classics could do the job in ALL of our guitars if we so wished. If more artists request them for signature models and we get more dealer/customer/artist feedback about them, you will see them return in force I'm sure.
 

NYCBURST

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May 11, 2016
Messages
288
I have not heard a lot of demand for that, from dealers or customers. On a maple neck guitar, sure...but not even Fender messes with rosewood on their Heavy Relics. Personally I'd rather have a smooth, radiuses fingerboard with perfect frets than a gouged up board. But hey -- if there is demand, we are alway
 
Last edited:

yeatzee

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
52
I see what you mean but before you speak in absolutes, the distance to/over the binding on the neck side varies widely in vintage guitars as it does on the reissues. There are plentiful examples and in fact three of the very first search results for vintage ES-335s had pick guards that did not go past the binding.

View attachment 16504 View attachment 16505 View attachment 16506

Regardless, I really think we're getting into banal minutiae here and I will reiterate that all vintage components and placement thereof are different...even the pickguard sizes could be slightly different one to the next. But ultimately we have to choose a path. Frequently there are differing opinions, internally and externally. But it's the nature of the thing.

Regarding body width measurements, respectfully that is not the way our Engineering team would measure things but even so it shows that variation is rampant before but the 2020 example is on spec (16"). That is the original blueprint dimension too, for the record.

The rim depth difference in vintage examples is something we noted as well...wide variety recorded. I was pressed to make a choice, so I went with 1.6" as the spec. I prefer them to be thin and shapely :). Thanks for the dialogue!

Love those faded reds.

I feel like I made it pretty dang clear I wasn't talking in absolutes, and I acknowledged exactly your point in my post(s). I'm still confident the average does have the pickguard closer to the binding. In fact you pointed that out as a feature on the current CS reissues in your original response....

"...optical illusion but the pick guard of the reissue does indeed stretch to the edge of the binding."

Seems like you're aware of that difference already? Of course we are getting into minutiae, but that's kind of the point of custom shop reissue Gibsons I thought. I've heard you speak many times about the great lengths you/Gibson have gone to to replicate the fine details and get the reissues more and more accurate, I was just curious if Gibson plans to work on this component to get it closer. For what it's worth, I'm looking at a 64ri and 61ri and not a single pickguard above matches the reissues either, the vintage ones all have noticeably more guard after the neck pickup than either of the reissues. Even if they're not reaching the binding on every vintage example, they are all bigger on that side. I'm even willing to speak in absolutes about that ;) One of those things that when you see it, you can't un-see it.

As for the the body width measurements not being "respectfully" the way your engineering team would take them... seems like a pretty condescending and an unnecessary remark, particularly when I literally wrote that i was just trying to be helpful to show some examples since I happen to have several of these guitars from different eras around. The 2020 was under 16", I've now gotten measurements from a couple current gen 61ri's and they were all under 16" (about 1.5-2/16th's short). The photo is a bit deceptive but it's hard taking a picture while holding a measuring tape flush against a curved body. 1/16th of an inch I believe you said was within margin of manufacturing, it's just interesting that all of the more modern reissues I've gotten measurements of have all been under 16" but at least these two vintage guitars are above 16", and then bizarrely the 2012 is much closer at also above 16". As I said, I was never expecting this difference but in person visually I noticed there seemed to be a size discrepancy which made me start measuring and I thought I'd share.

Anyways, all of that to say I was just curious if these were on the radar of Gibson and if there were plans to make any adjustments in the near future, which you kind of answered. If/when the pickguard gets updated let me know and I'll buy one!
 

sws1

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Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Messages
2,751
I never mentioned anything about putting gouges in the fretboard or changing the radius, or doing anything to the frets... I said " worn-in oiled fingerboard" nevermind...

Sounds a bit gross...but that's me.

But that generates an idea. A Pete Townshend re-issue with real blood splattered on it.
pete-townshend.jpg

who-pete-bloody-hand.jpg
 
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