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Thread: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

  1. #676

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    So what's the longest thread in Cafe history?

    Edit: Compulsive Purchase Flatiron 1N is at 47 pages. Only 20 more to go....
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    This one is not even close. I'd have to really look to answer that question.

    To give you an idea of where this stands look at this thread and I do not think it's the longest thread.

    Another is here.

    This one has grown pretty fast but I suspect it won't double in size. I've been wrong before.
    My guess would be Darryl Wolfe's Mandolins in Progress topic, which started back in 2003. I'm pretty it's both the longest and longest-running....

  2. #677
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Reminds me of Barnum's (or whoever) line "There's no such thing as bad advertising. . . "

  3. #678
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    The F5 design, AFAIK, took off because Bill Munroe started using one in the 60s. It's interesting to note that Munroe used a Gibson F5 (not a clone), which Gibson was having difficulty selling for many years
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    Interesting to note that Bill MONROE didn't use a clone since there was no such thing as a clone in 1945. And that he used that mandolin all through the late 40's, 50's and on into the 90's.
    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Thanks for keeping me honest with the details Jim.
    That's a bit more than a "detail," no? Bill Monroe (note spelling of name) bought Gibson F5 #73987, made in 1923 and signed by Lloyd Loar, around 1945, and as Jim says, used it as his primary mandolin for the rest of his life. Before that, he was playing an F7 IIRC. He didn't "start using one in the 60s," he'd been playing Gibson F-style mandolins for decades by then.

    Not to nitpick, but that's a fairly major part of Gibson mandolin history with all its ramifications (hence relevant to this thread), and if you're that far off about the "details" of what happened when, it makes me start wondering about the accuracy of some of your other statements...

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  5. #679

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfboy View Post
    Not to nitpick, but that's a fairly major part of Gibson mandolin history with all its ramifications (hence relevant to this thread), and if you're that far off about the "details" of what happened when, it makes me start wondering about the accuracy of some of your other statements...
    If you are addressing me I'd say you don't understand the concept of a "conversation."

    I'll readily admit I'm not nearly as familiar with mandolin/Gibson history as the rest here and really don't have an interest. I tossed out an idea, Jim corrected me on details (thanks again Jim) which I accepted and it's time to move on. What's the issue?

    What I'm trying to understand is why everybody hates Gibson so much and all I'm hearing is "Norlin and Henry."

    (PS - I know it's anathema to mention it here but I'm not a bluegrass fan and don't know Munroe (purposeful misspelling), his history or really care.)
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  7. #680

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    I think the real reason why the mandolin community has recently been annoyed with Gibson is that, for much of its history, it was the people making "knockoffs" who cared about and perpetuated Gibson's legacy, through making really good F-5's, during the time when Gibson didn't care about good mandolins.
    So that's strike number one -- after the initial Orchestra waved died down by, say, 1935, so did Gibson's interest in mandolins.

    Other people stepped in to fill the void, and made some great (and some not-so-great) Gibson-like instruments.

    Then they eventually did invest, decades later and started making good mandolins (after a lot of persuasion from Roger Siminoff and others). They hired some really good people, Danny Roberts, Charlie Derrington, Bruce Weber, Steve Carlson, David Harvey, etc.
    They have a great reputation for making great instruments in recent years. If you can find a new one, which is a big IF, it's going to be a great instrument.

    At some point, around 20 years ago, Gibson unfortunately lost a lot of goodwill they'd built up by threatening legal action against those very people who kept the torch & wire burning for them while they let their attention drift elsewhere for 40 years. The intellectual property they claimed ownership of wouldn't have been worth anything unless those craftsfolk were out there doing the work to respect the original intent of the Loar-era and earlier instruments we all know and love.

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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Actually, Marty, the orchestra craze really died out pretty quickly in the early 20's. World War I disrupted things quite a bit, but more people were getting phonographs and other musical styles began to take hold, primarily Dixieland.
    If Gibson had been smart they would have never made the F-5, and gone whole hog with banjos.

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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Verne, in some ways I support Gibson in fighting against cheap import knock-offs and I'm glad they've always remained in America.

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  13. #683

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    I think the real reason why the mandolin community has recently been annoyed with Gibson is that, for much of its history, it was the people making "knockoffs" who cared about and perpetuated Gibson's legacy, through making really good F-5's, during the time when Gibson didn't care about good mandolins.
    So that's strike number one -- after the initial Orchestra waved died down by, say, 1935, so did Gibson's interest in mandolins.

    Other people stepped in to fill the void, and made some great (and some not-so-great) Gibson-like instruments.

    Then they eventually did invest, decades later and started making good mandolins (after a lot of persuasion from Roger Siminoff and others). They hired some really good people, Danny Roberts, Charlie Derrington, Bruce Weber, Steve Carlson, David Harvey, etc.
    They have a great reputation for making great instruments in recent years. If you can find a new one, which is a big IF, it's going to be a great instrument.

    At some point, around 20 years ago, Gibson unfortunately lost a lot of goodwill they'd built up by threatening legal action against those very people who kept the torch & wire burning for them while they let their attention drift elsewhere for 40 years. The intellectual property they claimed ownership of wouldn't have been worth anything unless those craftsfolk were out there doing the work to respect the original intent of the Loar-era and earlier instruments we all know and love.
    I follow your point but let's, for a moment, consider this as though Gibson were Rolex.

    Rolex makes extremely good albeit expensive watches which many people covet but few can afford. Let's say Rolex introduces a new state-of-the-art analog watch that is extremely expensive to produce. The market is small and after an initial burst, sales dwindle to the point Rolex (being in business) decides to put that model on hold while it focuses attention on what the market is actually buying. As time goes by cheap digital watches arrive which all but wipe out the market for analogs. Rolex has to scramble to stay in business so it focuses on lesser expensive models.

    In the meantime a few propeller-heads get the idea that analog watches are cool and showing off an expensive one on your wrist is a great way to advance your personal cred. Problem is that Rolex isn't marketing expensive watches because there is no market and used ones cost huge amounts of money.

    So some entrepreneur decides to go off-shore and get some knock-offs made which are smuggled into the US (pretend Rolex is a US company for this scenario). This creates a new market for cheap "expensive" Rolexs that is difficult to track so Rolex can't really police it's brand. When the knock-off makers (who everyone now loves because they're making cheap copies) reach a point where Rolex can legally go after them, the market accuses the company of being heavy-handed by doing what it's legally and morally obliged to do. In the meantime the copies are denying Rolex its rightful market by copying their product and selling it for cheap.

    As a Rolex CEO, what do you do?
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  14. #684
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    If you are addressing me I'd say you don't understand the concept of a "conversation."
    Well, that comment certainly comes out of nowhere. This looks like a conversation to me...did it cease to be a conversation in your eyes when I questioned your accuracy? Is it only a conversation then if everyone agrees with you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    I'll readily admit I'm not nearly as familiar with mandolin/Gibson history as the rest here and really don't have an interest.
    Gibson's history, mandolin and otherwise, has a direct bearing on how people perceive them now. Marty's post #680 addresses the mandolin community's perception of Gibson, both positive and negative, based on their history as a company (and if Gibson is going to boast about their supposed legacy, as they did in the Agnesi video, they need to accept that people have the right to comment on the less stellar parts of it too). I would suggest that if you don't have an interest in Gibson history, you're less likely to understand people's responses to Gibson's recent bullying actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    What I'm trying to understand is why everybody hates Gibson so much
    Speaking for myself, my own personal history with Gibson as an employee at one Gibson dealer and as a close friend of another has convinced me that they don't care about the tonal quality of their acoustic guitars (by the company rep's own admission) and that they treat their dealers with open contempt. That's why I'm less likely to give them the benefit of the doubt in conflicts now. Perhaps it's unfair on my part, but displays of contempt for consumers and dealers on a company's part tend to remain in the memory.

    (And that's not even getting into the crap they were putting out in the 70s, when I first started out playing professionally. I haven't forgotten that part of their legacy either.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    (PS - I know it's anathema to mention it here but I'm not a bluegrass fan and don't know Munroe (purposeful misspelling), his history or really care.)
    Well, again, if you don't care about Monroe's history, you won't fully understand Gibson mandolin history, and if you don't understand Gibson mandolin history, you won't understand a lot of people's legitimately expressed opinions in a discussion about Gibson on a mandolin forum.

    And just in my own opinion, intentionally continuing to misspell the man's name when you know the correct spelling reveals some hostility and a lack of basic courtesy on your part. You might want to think about how that makes the rest of your contributions to this conversation come off.

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  16. #685
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    I suppose I missed it - this is a long thread to read - but what mandolin builder has been threatened with legal action? Seems to be guitar makers....
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

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  18. #686

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfboy View Post
    Well, that comment certainly comes out of nowhere. This looks like a conversation to me...did it cease to be a conversation in your eyes when I questioned your accuracy? Is it only a conversation then if everyone agrees with you?
    You get out of bed on the wrong side this morning? Jim didn't agree with me but did so in a courteous manner. That's having a conversation IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfboy View Post
    Gibson's history, mandolin and otherwise, has a direct bearing on how people perceive them now. Marty's post #680 addresses the mandolin community's perception of Gibson, both positive and negative, based on their history as a company (and if Gibson is going to boast about their supposed legacy, as they did in the Agnesi video, they need to accept that people have the right to comment on the less stellar parts of it too). I would suggest that if you don't have an interest in Gibson history, you're less likely to understand people's responses to Gibson's recent bullying actions.

    Speaking for myself, my own personal history with Gibson as an employee at one Gibson dealer and as a close friend of another has convinced me that they don't care about the tonal quality of their acoustic guitars (by the company rep's own admission) and that they treat their dealers with open contempt. That's why I'm less likely to give them the benefit of the doubt in conflicts now. Perhaps it's unfair on my part, but displays of contempt for consumers and dealers on a company's part tend to remain in the memory.

    (And that's not even getting into the crap they were putting out in the 70s, when I first started out playing professionally. I haven't forgotten that part of their legacy either.)

    Well, again, if you don't care about Monroe's history, you won't fully understand Gibson mandolin history, and if you don't understand Gibson mandolin history, you won't understand a lot of people's legitimately expressed opinions in a discussion about Gibson on a mandolin forum.

    And just in my own opinion, intentionally continuing to misspell the man's name when you know the correct spelling reveals some hostility and a lack of basic courtesy on your part. You might want to think about how that makes the rest of your contributions to this conversation come off.
    To reiterate what I've already said several times already, I'm like a judge coming cold to this case. Judges have to deal with all sorts of cases and it is expected of the parties to present the evidence they want the case to be adjudicated on. According to the above any judge who tries this case that isn't as conversant in the history of the mandolin, Gibson and Munroe as you are should be disqualified. In reality that doesn't happen.

    Again, I don't know Munroe beyond the few snippets I've picked up here, am not a fan of bluegrass but am trying to understand the "history" based on facts others decide to put forward.

    These cases are tried on the preponderance of the evidence. If you are expecting the "judge" to be as expert as you without the benefit of the history being laid out in the statement of facts, you will lose your case before you even start.

    If you have points to make and facts to bring forward, great. If you want to "shoot the messenger" for admitting a lack of knowledge and asking for details I would ask you to recuse yourself because continued posts like this will only tend to kill what could be a constructive and educational discussion for all.

    (ps. Munroe, Munroe, Munroe...)
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    You guys are going to get this conversation shut down if you don't cool it.

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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    What I'm trying to understand is why everybody hates Gibson so much and all I'm hearing is "Norlin and Henry."
    Well, that's a reason isn't it?

    If you want some specifics, here's one person's view. For me, "hate" is too strong a word. Strongly disappointed maybe. Occasionally mad at what they have done with some classic brands they've bought at times. But not hate. Here are a few of the reasons whey I'd never buy or recommend a Gibson guitar (mandolins are different, they're currently making good ones, just not my type):

    -----
    1) They bought and then effectively killed the Dobro brand of spider bridge resonator guitars. You might have to be a Dobro fan to understand. I am, although more a fan of the metal 1930's models. They bought the brand and then let it die. They didn't do what National Reso-Phonic did to resurrect National guitars. You can still buy very good spider bridge resonator guitars, but the Dobro brand should have lasted into the 21st Century like the other guitar classics of the 20th Century.

    2) They bought the Echoplex brand of loopers in the early days of that tech, and let it die. Again, you might have to be a fan of looping tech to understand (I was, for a time).

    3) The one Gibson electric guitar I ever bought was a Custom Shop Part Martino, the version with caramel tiger stripe finish. This was maybe 15 years ago. As a design, it's a cool interpretation of the Les Paul as a thinline "jazz" hollow-body electric. An expensive guitar, and with the Custom Shop label I thought it would be something special.

    Design-wise it was special, and much of that is due to Pat's input, not Gibson's. Build quality, not so much. Parts of the guitar were beautifully made, mainly the body. The fret installation was so bad when it arrived, that I had to have the upper frets leveled by my local repair tech. The binding between the fretboard and neck wasn't completely flush. There was a slight ridge at the transition, a constant annoyance under my hand. The guitar felt like it was put together by two different companies -- one with craftsmen who cared about the product, and another company with poorly trained newbies who didn't know what they were doing, or didn't care. In the end, there wasn't a QC sign-off on a guitar that should have been a lot better at that price.
    -----

    So that's one person's view of Gibson as a company. They killed a couple of my favorite brands, and the last guitar I bought was disappointing. On top of that, the "suck it dry" approach of the current ownership isn't anything I can support. I hope the mandolin division survives, or is bought out by someone who can keep it going at a high level.

    As far as any moral or ethical issues surrounding other luthiers' use of the F-style shape, I consider it an abandoned IP that allows luthiers to make their own interpretations and improvements of the design. Like I said somewhere up-thread, nobody is going to mistake my redwood-top Lebeda F5 for a Gibson.

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  23. #689

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Thanks foldedpath.

    I understand your frustration and see the same type of thing in all markets, like the automobile. If you buy a Chevy Impala and get a "lemon" you will likely stay away from that brand. But that doesn't give Ford the right to start marketing "Chevrolet" branded cars, which seems to be some of the logic being forwarded here.

    As noted above, I believe we're talking about Gibson taking Dean to task over a few of their guitar designs yet the "condemnation" of Gibson seems to be about their long mandolin and corporate history which I think is really distinct from, and quite irrelevant to the proceedings with Dean AFAIK.
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Adams View Post
    I suppose I missed it - this is a long thread to read - but what mandolin builder has been threatened with legal action? Seems to be guitar makers....
    I believe the owner of the Cafe has said that he wouldn't name the people that he was aware of that got the letter. He would rather that information would be made public by them.
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Adams View Post
    I suppose I missed it - this is a long thread to read - but what mandolin builder has been threatened with legal action? Seems to be guitar makers....
    This was addressed in the opening post.

    It's clear that a few dominating the conversation would benefit from reading more and talking less. If you just can't understand something, it's no one's job to convince you otherwise, and trying to win arguments by volume of posting isn't going to endear yourself with this community. Figure it out. Some of this has gotten pretty annoying.

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  27. #692
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

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  28. #693
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

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  29. #694

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Thanks foldedpath.

    I understand your frustration and see the same type of thing in all markets, like the automobile. If you buy a Chevy Impala and get a "lemon" you will likely stay away from that brand. But that doesn't give Ford the right to start marketing "Chevrolet" branded cars, which seems to be some of the logic being forwarded here.

    As noted above, I believe we're talking about Gibson taking Dean to task over a few of their guitar designs yet the "condemnation" of Gibson seems to be about their long mandolin and corporate history which I think is really distinct from, and quite irrelevant to the proceedings with Dean AFAIK.
    Ford marketing Chevy branded cars isn't the same thing here really; not in regards to why Gibson is going after Dean. Dean isn't slapping "Gibson" on the headstock of their instruments but Gibson has claimed to have made way in minimizing the counterfeit instruments coming out of China and that really is great news.
    On the legal side of things, this will be an interesting case to see played out. In the situation of the Explorer and the V; they were initially flops and Gibson had more or less abandoned their manufacture with the V seeing a small number made after the initial market tank. Hamer came out in the early 70's and was seeing some decent success with their "Standard" model which was their version of the Explorer. The first guitar ever made by the company was a V type instrument but it wouldn't go into production until the early 80's as the "Vector"
    It is considered that due to the success Hamer was seeing with their "Standard", Gibson returned to production of the Explorer. It's important to note that these were not cheap alternatives to, but rather well crafted American made instruments which commanded a fair penny. Hamer and Gibson had a long standing 20 or 25yr agreement where Hamer was allowed to use the body designs of the Explorer and Flying V without issue. Somehow, the bozos at KMC Music (owner of Hamer after sale of the company) forgot about this agreement and when they relaunched Hamer guitars a few years ago, they included the Vector and Standard models and Gibson very quickly went after them with a $1 million law suit. Gibson had no intention of sharing these designs any further and KMC had no intention of fighting for the rights to build these body shapes.
    It will be interesting to see how Dean navigates this and as we're 50yrs+ and some many of those years where Gibson had no qualms about others using the design of their engineers; I'm rooting for Dean on this one.
    Personally; I don't like the very public manner in which Gibson has tried to throw their weight around in this latest display. And when one looks at the instruments of their Kramer brand, which I posted a photo of the Summer NAMM display earlier in this thread; the hypocritical nature of the company really bothers me.

    I personally don't feel they are making good enough instruments these days to be on the horse that stands so tall. But as I mentioned at the very start of this thread; I don't want to see the company go anywhere. It's been a long time since I would have considered buying a new Gibson (electric) compared to instruments built in the fashion of a design by a Gibson engineer. In the 70's; I would have taken a Hamer or something from Japan. In the 80's & 90's, a Hamer or an Orville if I really wanted the look to a "T" or again; something from Japan (other than Orville). In the 2000's and beyond; it's a very long list. For me; they're not making anything new or exciting enough and they're not making anything well enough that I'm interested.
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  31. #695

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    As someone who has worked with US Federal Judges for over 30 years, you are incorrect. A judge does not hear a case cold. There is a reason the court system has clerks. Whether the clerks properly research cases and help is beyond the scope of this list. But they do exist.

    If you are claiming to be a Federal Judge, then I apologize in advance. And will make sure to have my friends try to avoid your court.
    While I'm fully aware of what you're saying (which is outside the scope of this discussion) my point is that these actions are decided on the preponderance of the evidence submitted by the parties. While courts may rely on other information and may raise/consider legal issues/arguments on their own it is ill advised to rely on that as a winning strategy.

    I've been asking tough questions because if the mandolin community wants to prevail it needs to be realistic. Simply saying you don't like Norlin/Henry, that the product was "abandoned" or has become "generic" without knowing what evidence the other party will bring forward won't survive scrutiny.

    I care very much for the mandolin community, am not a fan of the way trademark laws are moving or big corporations that care only for the bottom line, but the only way I see forward is to be realistic, get your ducks in a row and muster a winning legal argument backed up by evidence.

    I wish everyone affected by this turn of events all the best.
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  32. #696
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Some more reading: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...-program.shtml
    Interesting comment thread there too.

  33. #697
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Okay. I removed my last post within one minute. Am not sure how someone was later able to quote it. Can the moderator or list owner please remove it?

    Thank you.
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  34. #698

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    just wondering if the eia,andrea johnson,swat team raids on gibson back in 2009 have had any impact on gibson being more litigious. the feds came down pretty hard on gibson.

    some say martin was using the same woods but they were not raided.

    my apologies for no caps. my shift key is not working.

  35. #699
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    just wondering if the eia,andrea johnson,swat team raids on gibson back in 2009 have had any impact on gibson being more litigious. the feds came down pretty hard on gibson.

    some say martin was using the same woods but they were not raided.

    my apologies for no caps. my shift key is not working.
    I'm sure it has no impact. This is the same company in name only. The working folks might be the same but the senior management team is totally different. It's new people directing this.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  36. #700

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    just wondering if the eia,andrea johnson,swat team raids on gibson back in 2009 have had any impact on gibson being more litigious. the feds came down pretty hard on gibson.

    some say martin was using the same woods but they were not raided.
    Maybe Martin was operating within the law instead of outside it?
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