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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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!

Gibson Super Goldtone GA-30rv

Probably the most underrated guitar amp. I own 3 of these and they are keepers! Not so successful as their smaller sisters: Goldtone 15 and Goldtone 15 RVS (stereo). The Gibson GA30RV is a vintage style amp and very very British sounding!  No wonder,  these were made in the UK.  In the late 90’s, early 00’s Gibson acquired Trace Elliot.  In fact this is a Trace Elliot. The Goldtone 15 was a straight copy of the Trace Elliot Velocette amp.  The Super Goldtone range consisted of two combo’s (30 and 60 watt) and a 30 Watt head.   I purchased these most priced amps in Ol’ England.IMG_7332

This GA-30RV is a class A two-speaker combo with a bunch of features. First thing to notice is the old style speaker configuration – a 12″ Celestion V30 and a 10″ Celestion Vintage 10.  It has a luxurious finish – thick leatherette covering, brass style speaker grills and a gold plated Gibson logo on the front.  This dark brown version has Gibson tophat control knobs. The earlier version amp in two tone brown finishing has the Gibson speed knobs and basket weave speaker cloth.

The class A circuitry features four EL34 power tubes, five ECC83 and two ECC81 preamp tubes. The long Accutronics reverb tank provides a lush reverb with individual control per channel.  The controls are sectioned in seperate preamp channels with level controls for each and a Master Volume.  Each preamp channel can be activated with the controls or the footswitch. If you can find a Gibson 5 way footswitch you can even combine the two preamps and expand the sonic possibilities of this rock- and blues machine. These rare footswiches sell for crazy prices online but if you can find a Trace Elliot 5 button bass amp footswitch it will work also, … and cheaper!

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DCIM100GOPROGOPR1301.JPG

This combo is a classic rock and blues amp. A very British tone and pairs perfectly with a Gibson Les Paul guitar. It can be clean and it can be mean. Solid as a rock, dynamic and unforgivven if you have a bad day.  It does require some muscle to carry around, … so eat your meat!

In the demo clip I use a CS Fender Stratocaster ’64 with lipstick pickups. Very thin sounding pups but the Super Goldtone can make it fart! More on this guitar in a next episode.  Enjoy and keep the comments coming! What is your favourite amp!

Features: Four EL84 power tubes; five ECC83 and two ECC81 preamp tubes; single input jack; preamp select switches; boost select switches; preamp one controls for volume, treble, middle, bass; preamp two controls for gain, level, treble, middle, bass; separate reverb level controls; master volume; line out; loop select; series/parallel switch for loop; separate level controls for send and return; send and return jacks for loop; three-spring reverb tank; 12″ Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, 10″ Celestion Vintage 10 speaker; footswitch jacks for preamp 1/2 Boost (two-button footswitch, included with amp).

Gibson Custom Shop Modern Double Cut Standard

Haters gonna hate but I love this guitar from the Gibson Custom Shop!  In 2017 Gibson introduced the Modern Double Cut at the CES show in 2017.  A mahogany body with a two piece maple cap is traditional Gibson, so is the nitro lacquer finish and the humbucking pickups. These instruments feature a 12″ radius rosewood fretboard with 24 frets. The Apex headstock has some kind of “volute” to reinforce the neck. A traditional Gibson neck is prone to break at the headstock, Less chance this is gonna happen with the Apex headstock.GOPR1062.jpeg

The long neck tenon drives the neck deep into the cutaway body. The pickups are placed closer to each other and it takes a while to get used to if you are used to the classic Les Paul guitars. The pickups are a pair of 57 Classic and 57 Classic Plus humbuckers and they are wired to a 500K CTS volume pot and a 500K CTS tome pot. Hand wired, no mini pcb in these guitars.

Gibson gets a lot of critique when they change a proven design but they nailed it with these guitars. Guitar players are very conservative regarding their instruments. They are a limited run and probably are going to be collectors items in the future. Excellent playability, perfect balance, tons of sustain and beautifully crafted at the Gibson Custom Shop. GOPR1065.jpeg

This one comes in Metallic Alien Green, it is an eye-catcher on and off stage. I know Gibson gets a lot of comments on their quality control and their prices but as an owner of 20+ Gibsons (and many sold instruments) I have never encountered a single problem with any of my Gibson guitars. Except one time when I got an instrument with a broken headstock due to the brutal handling by the courier service. Other than that, no problems at all. I guess it is trendy to do some Gibson bashing on youtube and social media… well I don’t care! If we all had the same taste wouldn’t we all be married to the same woman/man?