I’ve been accused of Gibson-bashing in the past, but I’m just reporting the news, and the company always seems to keep coming up with things that worthy of point out. In the latest twist in the saga, it’s been reported and confirmed that Gibson will not be exhibiting at NAMM this year, instead choosing to exhibit at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) instead.
Actually the decision to show at CES isn’t all that surprising given that Gibson Brands is trying to be a consumer electronics company, but leaving your core customers and main source of income in the dust makes you wonder just how much the company is taking the guitar market for granted.
On the other hand, the company could be experiencing a cash crunch where the guitar business is shrinking, NAMM is very expensive, and there’s no new business to be had there, while CES represents potential new revenue for roughly the same expenditure. That said, you can bet that dealers and users alike aren’t going to happy with the decision not to see their favorite new guitars in Gibson’s usual NAMM room.
This is just one more reason to wonder just how badly the company is overextended. After selling off two warehouses in Nashville and its Memphis factory last year, then having the prospect of some huge notes coming due soon this year, the waning guitar market (which has seen sales almost cut in half in the last 10 years) isn’t looking very promising for a company that tried so hard to expand beyond it.
That said, we all want to see a healthy, prosperous Gibson churning out guitars for years to come. It’s a backbone of the industry, and it’s a shame to see it treated any other way. One thing’s for sure, it looks like we’ll be looking at Gibson in a different way next year at this time.