Gibson has certainly had it’s share of self-inflicted troubles over the last few years, but it’s possible that the company finally got the message as it tries to get out from under bankruptcy. Gone is former co-owner and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz (the hunt for a new CEO is on), and the company is trying hard to get back in a market that it almost about priced itself out of with a new product lineup for 2019 that features more reasonable prices.
One of the big problems for Gibson’s core business in recent years has been the fact that many die-hard fans and users were alienated by both the price and quality of its instruments. Since the company’s main focus was on trying to become a “lifestyle” brand, it seemed to take it’s eye off the ball of its core products while thinking that the market would gladly pay what many felt were inflated prices. Perhaps that strategy could have worked if the quality of the instruments it was manufacturing wouldn’t have suffered. And, offering guitars that had little appeal to buyers (the series with “robot tuners” certainly didn’t help) caused hardcore customers to seek alternatives.
The recently announced lineup aims to change all that though. Many guitars that players have loved but found unavailable or priced too high have been reintroduced. For instance, Gibson is reintroducing its ES studio series, which includes the ES-235 Studio, ES-339 Studio and the ES-335 Studio models, while declaring that the price of the standard production ES-335 will be reduced.
Gibson will also be introducing two new thinline models, the ES-235 and ES-275T, and the newLes Paul Junior Doublecut. As an example of how the prices have been lowered, the 235 is starting at $1,399 (inexpensive for Gibson), while the Doublecut will be available for just $799.
That’s not all, there’s a whole slew of new acoustics, but the one I’m most excited about the J-45 Studio with a price of only $1,499, which is about the lowest price this instrument has seen for a long time.
The bottom line is that the new management at Gibson seems to get it and is out to make things right again in the guitar world. This is a grand old company that we all want to remain strong and healthy. This looks like a good first step.