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Gibson's quality control: has the mojo gone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by andreluckman, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Hey talkbassers,
    after many years just reading, this is my first post.

    All because I'm somewhat desolate: I just bought a 2013 ES-335 (semihollow) announced as "mint, floor model" from Chicago Music Exchange via Reverb.com. The bass looks really mint and unplayed, but arrived with action VERY high (bridge was almost popping out) and the intonation was terrible. For an instrument promised to be "inspected and setup before it leaves our facilities", I became very impressed (negatively, of course).

    Ok, this is not my first Gibson, so lets pick up new strings and make a good setup, but... I realized the scale wasn't good, very poor fret dressing, after 3 days working patiently I'm just unable to get a reasonable setup on this bass. I can't believe I'll have to put a NEW GIBSON in my luthier's hands to work the fretboard.

    Do you have something to share about it? I've played vintage Gibsons, I also own a 2012 G3 reissue, bought from a player, with impeccable action. I never thought I would get a poor instrument accompanied by a fancy certificate of authenticity, "gold warranty" checklisted and so on.

    If it were not for the problem of living far from the United States (I live in Brazil), I would be considering a return.

    Ok, bad vibe outflow completed. Thanks for your time and keep on rocking.

    (EDIT: I mentioned just Reverb and forgot to say I bought from Chicago Music Exchange via Reverb).
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  2. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Yikes! I've never heard of such poor quality from Gibson. I don't like them, but always thought their quality was top notch. Sorry to hear of you predicament. Best wishes for a good rework by your luthier.
    andreluckman and Roberto Nunez like this.
  3. Mastodon2


    Feb 27, 2008
    I can't speak for the bass operation, but Gibson guitars are known to have extremely poor QC.
  4. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    Sorry for your trouble. Ive had several Gibsons, with only minor issues.
    Hopefully it turns out well, the 335 is a nice model
    andreluckman and dukeorock like this.
  5. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    That's why some people buy Epiphone basses...quality.
    SonnieJ1966, ICM, PoppaJoe and 17 others like this.
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The basses and guitars are, as far as I know, all made in the same factories by the same people.

    Their US production QC runs hot and cold. Terrible for 6 months or a year at a time while they're trying to save money on labor, then ok for a while, then back to bad, etc.
    Dieboy, alesreaper9 and petrus61 like this.
  7. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If something has been sitting around unsold for 4 years there has to be a reason. And you've found what that reason is.

    What does "the scale wasn't very good" mean?

    You aren't taking a new instrument to get worked on. It's 4 years old and you knew it was a floor model before you bought it.
  8. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    From almost everything I've heard and read (no personal experience), Epiphone is by far the better value, in many cases literally the better guitar.
  9. You bought a four year old used bass that has never had an owner. I hear the same rumors about Gibson as everyone else, but I’m not sure this is QC as much as four years of knuckleheads noodling on it.
  10. I bought a 2017 gold top Les Paul and it came out perfect from the factory. Very gorgeous instrument even though it’s one of their cheapest instruments.
    talkbox_64 likes this.
  11. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    That's what I continue to hear as well... Gibson is using sub-optimal parts on the guitars these days... quality has gone south... they're riding on their history these days.

    Might have something to do with this gem of a human being. Along with how we've heard he's treating his employees, would you trust a guy with a mustache like that?

  12. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    It's at least possible that some of the problems were caused or aggravated by the storage conditions and handling of the bass during the shipping to Brazil. I once bought a new classical guitar built in Spain that didn't like the winter climate in Connecticut---the fingerboard shrank so much that most of the frets came loose.
    gustophersmob likes this.
  13. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    I think you should be considering a return, especially if the bridge is almost popping out. It seems to me if a bass or a guitar is that messed up, there was no reason to spend three days trying to fix it, the bass should have went back immediately. I hope you didn't void your warranty if it still can be honored.

    Good luck, I hope it works out.
    andreluckman likes this.
  14. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    The Crapification Of Everything.

    From the comments:

    "This whole business model of taking a revered American brand name and raping it seemed to really take off in the 1990s, when I first began to notice it. As a musician, I saw a lot of well-known, formerly quality musical instrument brands begin to cheapen their products and send the manufacturing offshore. In addition, people are copyrighting old musical instrument brands from the 30s, 40s, and 50s and putting out new crap with these names on them. There was a time when these companies would never have attached their names to such garbage instruments… but it’s been a race to the bottom for some time now. Brands are now meaningless in many cases."
  15. inanimate_carb


    Aug 11, 2016
    As mentioned before, Gibson’s QC has been abysmal for years now - it’s just a known and expected thing. I’ve seen numerous high-dollar examples that simply can’t function as useable guitars because of design and build flaws. Although the Epiphone line seems to be OK, I wouldn’t imagine the basses that Gibson puts out to receive better treatment in the factory than the guitars do.

    A brief Google search will reveal much.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    Dieboy and Nomad98 like this.
  16. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    The truth!!!!
  17. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    my husband has a 1971 gibson black beauty and there are a couple quality issues with it. it sounds great, though, and everything works. gibson has made great sounding instruments for decades, but i never noticed that their QC was particularly tight. the stuff i notice are things like inlays that aren't placed quite right.

    i wouldn't think the very high action the OP writes about came from gibson, though. it was a floor model that could have been adjusted wrong.
  18. A brand used to mean a product made by a company with their own employees in their own factory, of their own design. Today, marketers have turned “brand” into some amorphous, meaningless business school concept completely removed from production or the people who make it.

    Marketers are the kind of people who use words and phrases like “synergy” and “value proposition” and “lifestyle company.” They’ve never made anything, had to meet a payroll, look a customer in the eye or make good on a promise.
  19. inanimate_carb


    Aug 11, 2016

    Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has said many times that he wants to make the company a “Music Lifestyle Brand”. That’s where the problem starts...
  20. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    IME, any Gibson QC issues are related to cosmetic issues. I'm not sure it is fair to "pile on" with respect to Gibson QC over setup issues on a 4-year-old NOS instrument.
    ThinCrappyTone and ajkula66 like this.

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