Gibson's Fall From Grace.
The Gibson brand is synonymous with ‘chapter 11.’
There have been numerous articles written, with and without quotes from the previous owners, regarding finances and production quality - but, what about the works and craftsman? It’s easy to look at the bankruptcy of your favorite brand in terms of dollars and how it will affect you, but that’s super selfish. That’s the ugly side a capitalism we’ve all become accustomed to in the guitar manufacturing industry - cheaper, faster, newer, better. But, this mind set has shattered the growth of our industry.
The majority of big manufactures have monetized on the same marketing for decades - saving money on Research and Development, on a full Engineering and Design team - using the terms “hand-crafted” and “traditional” as if those companies numbers actually care about their employees. The horrible truth, these companies treat craftspeople like fast-food workers - paying them low wages, not offering retirement, non-exisitant wage raises, and limited mobility within the company - most of the mainstream guitar manufactures take full advantage of the passion that craftspeople have.
So, instead of looking at how many millions of dollars the CEOs pissed away, or how many laws they could afford to break along the way to destruction; instead of looking at a ‘bottom-line’ that is more like a fabrication than an evaluation. Let’s look at how the lives of the people who are actually make these instruments are affected - let’s place our attention on who really matters. Because, to be quite honest, the corporate talk of “millions of dollars” is usually fake money, and the people usually talking about it or getting the attention for it are upper management who usually haven’t work as a manufacturer, and drove to the interview or meeting in a Porshe - they have no idea what its like to budget for a trip to Save-Way, buy furniture at Odd-Lots or milk for the dollar store — and yet these are the people attention falls to.
NOT IN THIS MAGAZINE.
No matter how devastating a title or how deeply researched an article, one will never be able to grasp the amount of heartache Gibson guitars has left in it’s wake, all in the name of big-business capitalism.
This article is not a critique of capitalism, it’s a critique of exploitation and opportunist tendencies that have helped build one of the biggest guitar brands in 20th century - this article was written to show the perspective of craftspeople behind the headlines.