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Thread: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

  1. #151
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    Why?

    So odd what the Cafe thinks it needs to protect us from.
    Maybe hundreds of rambling posts about a topic on which we can have no impact?

  2. #152
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    I feel bad for Dave Harvey. I imagine he isn't in the most comfortable position at the moment. I don't know the man but have always appreciated his input here, mutual friends all seem to hold him in high regard, and he also builds a mighty fine mandolin. So, my sympathies to him if he is reading this.

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  4. #153
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Much like Bob A., I've written a couple of posts and never posted them.
    We used to hash this same stuff out here 10+ years ago, but what I try to get across is other guitar companies, especially offshore corporations make Gibson clones because they are popular but they can offer them at a more affordable price.
    But that's not why F-5 mandolins were ever made by individual builders and later larger companies. It was Gibsons abdication of making a quality version of their own invention at a time when a demand for these instruments slowly began to gain steam.

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  6. #154
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    Much like Bob A., I've written a couple of posts and never posted them.
    We used to hash this same stuff out here 10+ years ago, but what I try to get across is other guitar companies, especially offshore corporations make Gibson clones because they are popular but they can offer them at a more affordable price.
    But that's not why F-5 mandolins were ever made by individual builders and later larger companies. It was Gibsons abdication of making a quality version of their own invention at a time when a demand for these instruments slowly began to gain steam.
    A similar scenario where an owned property was allowed to lie fallow for years, has played out more recently with the Dobro brand. Gibson bought it, and seemed to take it seriously for a short while. Then they gradually slacked off and allowed it to die on the vine with no new models, just the cheaply made and imported Hound Dog left. I'm not sure even that one is still around.

    Independent luthiers took up the slack on high-end models based on the original Dobro design with improvements here and there, but basically just high quality builds. Cheap imports filled in the entry level.

    Gibson abdicated, although they still control the name. I suppose there must not be a solid Dobro mechanical design trademark in existence along with the name, or else they'd be out there harassing all the "spider cone resonator guitar" makers.

  7. #155
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Beard seems to be doing a fine business making resonator guitars.

    Nobody cares about the Dobro name anymore. The resonator guitar community has moved on, and now relates the Dobro brand to instruments of mediocre [at best] quality.

    As far as the "iconic" Gibson name in the resonator banjo community, they have also moved on, and have a great selection of fine new banjos to choose from. The banjo world is getting along just fine without new Gibsons.

    And the mandolin community has no shortage of good new instruments to choose from. And for those who insist upon a modern Gibson F-5, Carter's has a dozen used ones in stock. Some have been there for quite a long time.

    Gibson is not showing much interest in making mandolins. They are not even listed as an available model on their website.

    These legal threats are an attempt to raise capital and scare competitors. They may succeed in winning some judgements and raising some capital and knock some competitors out of the way, but their problems will remain. And their brand may not be as "iconic" as they would have us believe. If they go under, there will be enough used Les Pauls to meet the demand for many years.

    Gibson must adapt to a changing market to survive. They would be better off trying to earn good will from the musical community than attacking the rest of the industry. They might start out by making instruments that people want at a price they can afford.

    If they go after the mandolin makers and win, the mandolin makers can adapt and make a product that meets legal muster.

    If Gibson loses the suit against Dean, Gibson will be in a worse spot than they are now.

  8. #156
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Is Henry back ?

  9. #157
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    Is Henry back ?
    I'm pretty sure Henry will look a whole lot better than these guy will and that is really amazing.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  11. #158
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Maybe he's "consulting." They are paying him a "consulting fee" as part of the settlement.

    Kudo's to Gibson for winning the "good will of the year" award.

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  13. #159

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    One of the ways KKR operates is to have a company they own buy goods and services from another company they own, so perhaps they have a stake in a large law firm, who they then hire to do litigation and thus prop up the law firm value. They do this with software. They will have Gibson buying productivity software from a company they own, paper from a company they own, buy real estate from a company they own, computers from a company they own,and on and on.
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    I wanted to jump in here. Why not? Everyone else has!

    Not much to add to whatís already been said about the threatening letters, but I did want to comment in response to comments made about Gibsonís instrument quality. To me, the shining star of their company is the Montana Acoustic shop. The folks working up there really have it going on. They make absolutely fantastic guitars at pretty reasonable price points. My absolute favorite guitar right now has been and still is a 2016 J-29, which they unfortunately no longer make. J-45 slope shoulder body shape, Gibson short scale, spruce over rosewood, gloss natural finish, simple appointments but it exudes quality and understated elegance. Built in electronics too. It was 2200 street, I got for much less, and Iíll bet Taylor or Martin would charge 3500 for a similar guitar. My wife has the J-15, spruce over walnut, and itís very nice too. Iíve tried a lot of recent guitars of theirs that I didnít buy, but most were tempting and there wasnít a clunker ever. Itís always seemed to me that, at least up to now, the corporate types left the Montana shop alone to do what they thought best. Now theyíre adding an ďentry levelĒ line, the G-45 in a standard and studio version. If they can deliver on their promise of a USA made solid wood Gibson guitar for under a thousand, I donít see how theyíll be able to keep up with demand.

    Now, the Nashville factory is a different story. I love Les Pauls, but I have bought a few that have been returned due to electronics issues. What is up with that? Electric guitars donít have very sophisticated circuits. Youíd think they could get that right. That said, if you get a good one, you just canít do much better than a Les Paul.

    Iíll admit, their old adage ď Only a Gibson is good enoughĒ rings a little hollow these days, because we live in an unprecedented age of high quality instruments at all price points, but Iím still a fan and they really know how to make a fine guitar when they want to. The mandolins, well, I havenít had the opportunity to play many. But Iím sure their fine too. You know, folks complain about having to pay extra for the name on the headstock. Have those folks priced other brands lately? Taylor guitars used to be much more reasonably priced years ago. Now I think theyíre charging for their name, too.
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  16. #161
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    "I'm pretty sure Henry will look a whole lot better than these guy will and that is really amazing."

    A"greed".


    I have owned and enjoyed more than a dozen fine Gibson instruments over the years. However, Gibson has alienated me with their antics which I find a deterrent to purchase.
    I might suggest focusing on producing top quality instruments at fair prices and stop the corporate nonsense fueled by greed.

  17. #162
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community


  18. #163

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    The Harvey era mandolins I've played are very nice, and the signature Gibson tone is bluegrass heaven. The newer acoustic guitars are also very well built, my only gripe being I like the very dry tone of the older ones. The new J 45 that rocks my boat is the j 45 vintage, which I would have bought had I not found my 65 Epiphone Texan.

    I think the danger is in destroying what is good by chasing a quick buck.
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  19. #164

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    We’ve all forgotten to note the suit against Dean was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the favorite jurisdiction of patent trolls. I’m sure Gibson has a substantial business presence there and wasn’t just shopping jurisdictions.��
    Play it like you mean it.

  20. #165
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Just a little bit of extra information. One item I didn't know or overlooked was that Gibson sent a letter to Dean and Luna dealers.

    https://guitar.com/news/industry-new...-need-to-know/

  21. #166
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    We’ve all forgotten to note the suit against Dean was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the favorite jurisdiction of patent trolls. I’m sure Gibson has a substantial business presence there and wasn’t just shopping jurisdictions.��
    Apparently it's been going on for a few years with Dean pre bailout.
    https://guitar.com/news/the-key-date...-dean-guitars/

  22. #167

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Looks like leather jackets are the new Gibson uniform.
    From the looks of it, all of these corporate big shots are owed a 'Cease and Desist' letter from Marlon Brando.
    Last edited by FLATROCK HILL; Jun-21-2019 at 2:21pm. Reason: Neglected to quote Philphool
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  24. #168
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    I know large corporations are filing copyright infringement law suits all the time, but I know an individual who after one small success suing for income, decided to make it a career, needless to say that didn't workout so well for them.
    I see $99 Fender Squires and Bronco Basses everywhere - hint hint Gibson.
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  25. #169

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    If non-gibson makers were on the ball, they'd start a group legal defense fund to combat these threatened lawsuits. It would do them all good to put some money together to assist Dean to take the suit to court and invalidate the patents. At the very least, it might make Gibson stop extorting them if they think there is a chance they might have to put real money behind defending their suit.
    Best, Stevo

  26. #170
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    According to the source linked in post #166, Dean Guitars was making instruments with flying-V and explorer-inspired shapes for some 20 years before Gibson managed to somehow convince the USPTO to grant a trademark on these. Given this history, it will be nearly impossible for Gibson to prevail in any trademark dispute should this matter go to court, because trademarks are invalid if they are 'diluted' by previous/other users, nor are they valid ex post facto. You cannot, for example, go out and trademark the classic shape of a wine bottle!

    It seems that Gibson is doing some loud posturing here, signifying little. One wonders what their practical motivation could possibly be? Yes, they might be able to scare off a few small-shop luthiers here and there, but they're not going to be able to extract any payments from larger companies that can retain lawyers, like Dean Guitars. So this is not going to be a money-winner, and it is not going to inhibit competition in the marketplace, either. Furthermore, Gibson is garnering a whole lot of very bad publicity -- not to mention bad karma! -- which is not going to help their brand.

    Of course, the new Gibson management could just be acting stupidly. I would not put that past them.

  27. #171
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    It seems that Gibson is doing some loud posturing here, signifying little. One wonders what their practical motivation could possibly be? Yes, they might be able to scare off a few small-shop luthiers here and there, but they're not going to be able to extract any payments from larger companies that can retain lawyers, like Dean Guitars.
    The motivation, at least judging from the YouTube video that was pulled, seemed to be aimed not just at small shop luthiers, but at driving guitar buyers to buy the Gibson brand through FUD tactics (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

    "Hey guitar buyers out there, maybe the brand you're buying will go away and you won't get warranty support, after we sue them into the ground. Maybe it won't be worth much on resale when everyone thinks it's a counterfeit Gibson. Maybe we'll send black helicopters in the dead of night to take away your counterfeit copy of a Gibson guitar."

    None of this said out loud, but it can be read between the lines in that video. Maybe aimed at store owners too, suggesting dark outcomes if they continue to stock "non-authentic" guitars. Although enough store owners are PO'd at Gibson's distribution tactics that they probably don't care.

  28. #172

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    There's no such thing as bad press. They are front and center in just about every music publication. One can debate the wisdom of attracting this type of coverage but there have been many stories that should have torpedoed the subject that didn't. I seriously doubt this is the sole motivation but if the goal is to attract attention they have succeeded.

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  30. #173
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Maybe aimed at store owners too, suggesting dark outcomes if they continue to stock "non-authentic" guitars. Although enough store owners are PO'd at Gibson's distribution tactics that they probably don't care.
    Do you think Martin is pleased that they’re promoting “Authentic” guitars? Think I’ll comply and drag out a D-18 1937 Authentic.

  31. #174
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    You know what I find odd? I don’t remember getting emails from Gibson before but today I did. I deleted and hit the unsubscribe button but I have no memory of ever having signed up for emails from a company that has products I have never been interested in.
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  32. #175
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Ultimately, this has no effect on me, but I have found all the reading to be very interesting and fun to discuss with Guitar-aficionado friends.

    And I must say there is something of a sociopathic glare in the eye (as well as in the timber of his voice) of the leather clad Guitar bearer of that video.

    It's like watching a subcultural history unfold... or implode.
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