Gibson “Playing Authentic”

Man, I love Gibson guitars! I own and play 30+ original Gibsons, all modern or vintage instruments and I never had any complaint about quality, playability or whatsoever. Sure they don’t come cheap but I enjoy the tone, the look and the feel of a real Gibson guitar. I am a fan of the brand and I got a LP Custom headstock tattooed on my shoulder. Never felt to go into discussion with the numerous Gibson Bashers in cyberspace.

There is nothing wrong with a company trying to protect its intellectual property, they have every right to protect their legacy and take action towards counterfeiting and unfair competition. Counterfeit guitars flooding the market can even decrease the value of my authentic collection. 

Today I came across the Gibson “Play Authentic” video featuring Gibson’s Director of Brand Experience Mark Agnesi. (see the video below) The clip carried out a warning to rival brands that produce guitars with body shapes and designs similar to Gibson models. “You have been warned, we’re here to protect our iconic legacy!”  Pretty strong words and from a marketing point of view maybe not the best decision in re-branding the Gibson company.  The public reaction was pretty hefty and the video was pulled off of Youtube.  Sending out a cringe is not a good move when you are in an attempt to revive your company.  The video may be gone but the first trademark violation lawsuits are filed against Dean, Schecter and Luna Guitars. More to be followed soon. 

The Gibson and Fender models are being copied for almost fifty years now. We had the Japanese lawsuit guitars in the seventies. The headstock shape and the logo are both considered as a trademark but there are already a number of court cases that decided things like an SG, LP or Strat shape are not enforceable trademarks.  Why decide to claim your “authenticity” when your competitors have been doing “variations” for more than 5 decades? 

I don’t see the point in making money by filing lawsuits against competitors? Isn’t that old-style management from the HJ-era?  On the other hand Gibson itself used to copy other manufacturers designs. In the eighties Gibson issued the Gibson US-1, a Superstrat.  In 2009 the Gibson Guitar Company did a short run of the low-end Jimi Hendrix guitar, a Stratocaster with a slightly different headstock.  Slash, the Gibson brand ambassador himself used a luthier LP copy when playing Guns’n Roses! What about the issues with the German company that developed those dreaded Robotuners? And in my opinion the 2019 Gibson EB Bass looks more like an Ibanez or Yamaha…

Gibson US-1

Gibson should take action towards the Chinese counterfeit guitars, they steal their logo and trademark. But companies like Schecter make good quality instruments based on a traditional design. Gibson should be flattered by that!

Gibson Play Authentic Video
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PRS Standard 22 – Ron Fellows

Another one from the Château PGC vault! Today we have a 2007 PRS Corvette Standard 22 model. This one in particular is from a very limited run of less than 50 guitars. It is the PRS Corvette Standard Ron Fellows model. 

PRS Corvette Standard 22 – Ron Fellows

PRS presented NASCAR racing driver Ron Fellows with a one-off Corvette Standard 22 guitar to commemorate his career.  The guitar is painted to match his Corvette race car.  The new Corvette was unveiled at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show and PRS was there to present Mr. Fellows, who is also a guitar player, with this instrument.  After the event PRS received a lot of requests to build this guitar and they did a limited production run.  This guitar is a hard to find and highly collectible instrument.

The PRS Corvette Standard 22 Ron Fellows features a carved mahogany body, 25” mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard with Z06 inlay. The headstock is equipped with PRS 14:1 locking tuners.  Electronics: 2 dragon II pickups, volume-, tone control and a five -way rotary pickup selector. This one has a PRS stoptail bridge, some models feature an optional PRS tremolo bridge.

In the next days I will put it up for sale on Reverb. The guitar is in mint condition and comes with original hardshell case and hangtags.  

Cheers!

Gibson ES-335 Semi-hollow body bass

It’s the bass player who makes your girlfriend dance! That is why I love the bass…  Today I went into the vaults of Château PGC and discovered this beautiful Gibson ES-335 bass guitar from 2013. Memphis made and Brussels played! 

The Gibson ES-335 is a modern (?) take on the legendary Gibson EB-2 bass that was in production from 1958 to 1972. The EB-2 was a short scale bass, the ES-335 has a full 34 inch scale which nowadays is the standard in bass guitars. Today’s 335 has a vintage and tight sound delivered by two humbucker pups. The neck pickup was moved to the middle position (aka P-bass) and another one was added to the bridge. It delivers a punchy and balanced tone. It features a 3-way toggle switch and the regular tone and volume controls for each pup. 

These instruments don’t pop up very often and I am surprised it had such a short production run. Gibson is always associated with guitars and is not the bassist’s favorite brand. I think this bass deserves more love. It is a great instrument and at a very good price point. At the time you could pick one from the shop at prices below €1,500.00. Today the sell second hand way over €2K.  A future collectable? 

Here are the specs: The ES-335 four string bass has a laminated maple body and top. Rosewood fingerboard and a maple neck. The headstock sports four open “clover” tuners and pearloid inlays. The neck and body have bindings and the guitar has a nitrocellulose lacquer finish to add some vintage mojo to the instrument. 

The ES-335 is a great player, the center-block body is well balanced and the action is perfect. The 3-point bridge is easy to adjust and can be set to your preference in a jiffy. 

It is big, it is cool and it sounds like thunder. I can’t wait to get some flatwound strings on it and “jazz-up” the weekend!  

Cheers, ‘till next time…

Gibson LP Standard CS Splatter

Gibson Les Paul Splatter

Another beauty from the Gibson Custom Shop! A 2011 Gibson Les Paul Standard one-off guitar in a striking “Splatter” finish.

I don’t have much information on this one. It resembles most a ’57 ebony but with a slightly thinner neck. The headstock has the vintage style Kluson tuners and a pearloid logo inlay. Rosewood fingerboard and 22 frets. Not sure what pups are in this but to my ears it sound like 57 Humbuckers.

Gibson Les Paul Standard CS Splatter

If you want to get noticed on stage, this is your guitar! Look at the striking color of the top. It is an ebony guitar splattered with a sort of “watered down” green ink and covered with a gloss finish. The weight of this Pauly is very comfortable, it might have some sort of chambering or not… I can’t “hear” any cavity when tapping the top or back. The action is low and the playability is superb.

But who cares about the specs? This is a guitar you play to get noticed and to look cool. Plug it into a Marshall and you are ready to rock! Under a stage light it will make you shine like a Chevy on snow chains in a tunnel! It will turn heads, even by those who don’t like… how Rock’n’Roll is that!

Would you rock this guitar? Let me know!

Fender Classic Player Rascal Bass

In 2013 Jason Smith from the Fender Custom Shop created an oddball!  A bass guitar with everything from somewhere else. The headstock of a Fender Coronado, the bridge from a Guild, Pickups from a Danelectro… combined with an offset Bass VI body. The Fender Rascal is the “Frankenstein” among bass guitars.

This weird bird was a huge success at the music trade shows and Fender decided to put it in production as part of the Mexican “Classic Player” series. It is a four string short scale bass with lipstick pickups. A bass with guitar pickups? Yes, and the sonic range is awesome!  Besides the “normal” five position switch you can expand your tonal range with another two  by pulling the volume knob.

I like these oddballs, they look cool, play great and sound fantastic! For the demo I plugged this one into a vintage (1969) Marshall SLP and a 4×12 Marshall cab. To my ears it sounded great. It has a very old skool sound, almost like an upright bass. As Antoine says at the end of the demo: “it is not a slapper bass”, … but for anything else it will do the job and make you look cool!