Skip to comments.Gibson Guitars
Posted on 09/12/2011 4:11:49 AM PDT by Kaslin
On the mantle above my fireplace there sits an old picture of my grandfather, Joe Dee Adams, Sr. The picture was taken some time during the Great Depression when he was a professional musician. It was actually his promo picture for the radio show he hosted on WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama. In it, he is holding an old Gibson acoustic guitar.
No one in our family has any idea what happened to that old guitar. It was lost along with his purple heart from World War I some time before he passed away in the fall of 1978. His death was just a year or so after I bought my first guitar. After my grandfather passed away, I remember my father saying how unfortunate it was that he never had a chance to hear me play. He could have taught me a thing or two in his later years.
Just a few years later, Dan Fogelberg wrote a song called “Leader of the Band.” It was a wonderful tribute to his father. Dan always felt that his father was a vastly superior musician and he felt guilty over the fact that he (Dan) became richer and more famous than the older Fogelberg.
Less than ten years after Dan wrote that song I found myself playing music for a living. I remember playing one night in a bar called the C&G in Greenville, Mississippi. Without really thinking about it beforehand I started telling the audience the story of my grandfather’s short career as a musician.
My grandfather used to play with the likes of a young Red Foley. He was that good. And then he quit playing because he needed steady work to support a family. Later, Red Foley would become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He even got two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – one for recording music and one for television. But my grandfather would die in an old run-down house in Tarrant City.
The line that separates fame from obscurity is a thin one that is often drawn by the hand of fate. I suspect that most people already know that about life. And I think that is why some people were visibly shedding tears that night when I finished telling my grandfather’s story and then starting playing “Leader of the Band” in my grandfather’s honor.
So many great musicians, both well-known and unknown, have played those great Gibson guitars over the years. From Chet Atkins to B.B. King to Roy Orbison to Jimmy Page to Slash – the list seems almost endless. How many greats have we never heard because they never caught a break in the industry? God only knows. And I mean that literally.
The number of great musicians playing Gibson guitars could soon be diminished thanks to the Obama administration. The Obama Department of Justice recently raided Gibson’s Nashville plant seeking allegedly illegal rosewood that was used to make Gibson fingerboards. The problem was that the fingerboards were supposed to have been fitted with inlays in India before they were shipped to America. Gibson is now in trouble for doing the work here. And the government has seized massive quantities of Gibson’s work materials.
Many have asked this pointed question: Is the Obama White House committed to shipping American jobs oversees to India?
The answer to the question is simply “no.” The Obama administration does not oppose keeping jobs in America. Its conduct is simply a function of the fact that it opposes businesses that are run by Republicans that donate heavily to Republican candidates and causes. But the administration is not opposed to using the Department of Justice to wage political warfare on private businesses. The Republican Gibson CEO is simply the target of government conduct that is more in line with Third World practices than with enlightened democracy.
It would be tempting for Republicans to simply bash the Obama administration and Eric Holder for this most recent politically motivated transgression. But that is not enough. Gibson Guitars needs our help and they need it now. And that help can only take the form of buying Gibson guitars.
Personally, I was on the verge of buying a maple-top Taylor t5 until the recent raid on the Gibson Nashville plant. But I am now going to take that money and buy a Gibson J-45 that looks a lot like the old guitar my grandfather used to play. I know many readers cannot afford to buy guitars that run between two and three thousand dollars. But most can afford to buy the fine Epiphone guitars that are also made by Gibson.
Veteran guitar players are not the only ones that should be buying these all-American made guitars. Novices should be buying them, too. Those who have long wanted to learn to play guitar should use this as an opportunity to end their procrastination. Others should be buying them for their children and grandchildren. Christmas is just around the corner.
Regardless of what model they choose, new Gibson owners should remember to take a picture of their new purchase. And they should display it prominently on the mantle above their fireplace. New pictures of new guitars eventually become old pictures of old guitars. They can only be distinguished by the stories they have told and the ones that they will tell.
And rosewood is illegal because...
Would like to see all those musicians that own Gibsons have a concert to support the company.
Apparently rosewood was over harvested and is now a protected species. Of course if Gibson sends the work offshore or became a union shop there wouldn’t be a problem.
The CEO of Gibson Guitars is a Republican
The answer to the question is simply no. The Obama administration does not oppose keeping jobs in America."
I disagree. I think the President is all about destroying the United States as we know it.
Humorous side note: I heard an interview with the CEO of Gibson last week on the radio. I kept seeing mental images of Tommy Chong. ;-)
“’Dis is a reel nice factory youze got here, It would be a shame if sumpin’ bad happened to it......hey, I notice dat youze been baggin’ up for the ‘publicans.....now dat’s gotta stop” - Eric Holder
Isn’t rosewood a tree? Can’t rosewood trees be planted?
Also, as an aside, just to increase my understanding of rosewood, how strong are it’s boughs. How many environmentalists can be hung from a single rosewood tree?
Yep its a tree. We probably do need to plant more of em, way too many environmentalists around.
I dream of the day this administration will be held to account for their actions against America. Can you just imagine old jug eared Zippy being prosecuted and denied his teleprompters?
Gibson is an EXTREMELY environmentally friendly company, contributing heavily and working with a variety of “green” causes.
Its use of woods is identical to its competition.
The only difference is that its CEO contributes to Republicans, unlike the competition.
Gibson Blues King
“Would like to see all those musicians that own Gibsons have a concert to support the company.”
EXCELLENT idea! Proceeds go to legal support....
EVERY maker of high-end guitars, CF Martin, Gallagher, Taylor, etc. uses these exact same Indian rosewood blanks in their fingerboards and in the past often used rosewood on the sides and backs. Perhaps mahagony.
Spruce is generally used on the tops (front) of acoustic guitars.
Yeah, but the CEO of CF Martin is a democRat and O-bama supporter, I don’t know about the others.
An even more disturbing aspect of this for traveling musicians is a rumor (I read this somewhere but cannot verify) the DOJ has instructed the geniuses at TSA to inspect Gibson guitars in transit. If the owner cannot prove its provenance, and it includes “protected” wood, it will be confiscated. I’d leave the vintage ES-355 and Les Paul Custom at home.....bring the Telecaster instead.
“Yeah, but the CEO of CF Martin is a democRat and O-bama supporter, I dont know about the others.”
What about Bob Taylor? As the proud, satisfied owner of two Taylor acoustic-electrics, I don’t want to switch. But, sometimes principle has to surmount desire...
I’ve got 2 Gibsons. I’m selling my Martin.
“But most can afford to buy the fine Epiphone guitars that are also made by Gibson.”
Epiphone guitars are made in China.
Pround owner of two gibsons. Let’s JAM!
Two Gibsons here and two Fenders and two Martins....I feel like such a slut. Which is my favorite you ask? All of them.
Where are the Dixie Chicks?!
I was thinking of buying an American Fender Strat, but I may have to switch up and go for a Les Paul Gibson instead.
I was considering buying an American Fender Strat, but I may have to reconsider and buy a Les Paul Gibson instead.
The CEO of Martin Guitars, Chris Martin IV, contributes exclusively to the Democrat Party.
The blogger that uses www.opensecrets.org to say Henry Juszkiewicz was a Republican somehowneglected to note things like Juszkiewicz's $2,000 donation this year to Democrat Congressman Jim Cooper. With some work, I can find you a quote from Juszkiewicz that says he donates to both parties.
Juszkiewicz is know for his support of liberal causes.
He's a founder of the Rainforest Alliance and was a board member until he resigned from that position after Gibson was charged with illegally importing Madagascar ebony.
Juszkiewicz is also a member of The Environmental Defense Fund, which battles global warming, and a board member of the We Are Family Foundation, whose mission is "respect, understanding and cultural diversity."
Along with positive programs, it sponsors "Mattie's Poetry Slam for Tolerance and Diversity" for children in hospitals; the International Day for Tolerance at the United Nations; national recognition for "We Are Family Day," for teachers, parents and educators of all kinds to teach our youth about different cultures, different religions and the importance of respecting our fellow human beings; and more.
Juszkiewicz was an early supporter of the Clinton Global Initiative and as is a member of numerous environmental causes. ('We are passionate about our commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative' - Henry Juszkiewicz).
Juszkiewicz was one of the presenters at the 2005 MTS Rock the Vote Awards, which celebrated registering 21,000,000 young people to vote (well, to vote against George W. Bush). The 2005 Rock the Vote Awards gave Bill Clinton Lifetime Achievement Award and honored Barack Obama.
Gibson Guitar, itself, runs the Gibson foundation has been involved in replacing musical instruments lost in Katrina since 2005 (I say, thanks, Gibson), and promoting the John Lennon Education Bus Tour.
You'll find some of this in Gibon's own corporate media kit for Juszkiewicz.
The rest required a few minutes of research . . . which bloggers don't appear to be willing to do.
I've also read bloggers who claim Gibosn is the only non-union guitar manufacturer.
Wrong, the guitar industry is non-union.
Fender is non-union.
Martin is non-union.
Taylor is non-union.
Collings is non-union.
Gibson was already non-union before juszkiewicz and his two Harvard Business School buddies bought it.
If anyone knows a source to track political donations before 2006, I'd love to know what it is. I'll bet dollars to donuts that juszkiewicz supported Clinton. juszkiewicz and Gibson never brought Obama and the Obama DOJ into the argument until after conservative bloggers did. He found an argument that resonated with the people and he's going to ride that argument as long as he can.
An even more disturbing aspect of this for traveling musicians is a rumor (I read this somewhere but cannot verify) the DOJ has instructed the geniuses at TSA to inspect Gibson guitars in transit. If the owner cannot prove its provenance, and it includes protected wood, it will be confiscated. Id leave the vintage ES-355 and Les Paul Custom at home.....bring the Telecaster instead.
Did you hear this from the same person who said that Gibson was the only non-union guitar manufacturer? Or the person who said that Gibson was the only guitar manufacturer in a right-to-work state? Or the person who said Gibson is being punished because Henry Juszkiewicz moved Gibson from a Kalamazoo, Michigan union shop to a Nashville, Tennessee non-union shop when George W. Bush was president?
On the issue of Gibson, the realm of moonbattery is no longer reserved for liberals.
VA? I'd respectfully suggest that those are two totally different guitars in the type of music they're generally used for. You may want to look at a Gibson SG when you're looking at Les Pauls. I like Stratocasters, but I love SGs. Gibson's sold more SGs than Les Pauls.
Partly a factor of price, I guess, but partly because SGs are simply great guitars.
Yes, that’s true, but they are brought into Nashville and set up by Gibson techs. They are affordable and of a very good quality. I simply don’t have upward of $2,000 to spend on any guitar as much as I’d like to and needed a guitar to “play out” where I only had to plug in to the PA. I’ve owned Gibsons and I’ve owned older American-made Epiphones as well. It was a question for me of whether to spend $300 and have my ‘72 Guild cut up to have the electronics installed or spend the same amount of money to just buy another guitar for the purpose of using it on stage.
For what little it's worth, I'd agree completely with you about most Epiphones. A very good deal for the money. The biggest difference I've seen (heard) is in the electronics - the pickups, how evenly they're wound, etc.
The only catch is that for the price of a higher-end Epiphone Les Paul (particularly if you add a hardshell case instead of a gig bag), you come close to (or above) the price of some of the American-made Gibson Les Paul studios. You just don't get the fancier bindings and other eye-candy.
It is an investment. They hold their value. I bought a Les Paul in ‘77 for under $500, to replace would be about 3 grand. I am cuurently shopping for my next investment.
Mine was the acoustic/electric AJ-200 model. I agree that the electronics on that weren’t all I would have liked. Just not “hot” enough for a guy who does a lot of light finger picking. I has a little money and a guy was offering a Yari DYM-94 on Craig’s List for $400. That is a remarkable guitar with great electronics - Piezo pickup for live stuff, plus a condenser mic for recording. I also had a LR Baggs Active Element system put into my Guild which did not require any kind of cutting. Both are far superior to what was in the Epiphone. As long as I don’t have to play a Takamine. I just have an irrational visceral dislike of those things. The Yari blows them away anyway.
What Guild do you have?
We went through that era when the 'big three' American-made acoustics were Martin, Gibson, and Guild . . . and Guild was by far the little, little bother.
They weighed about twice as much as a Martin or Gibson, but they were wonderful guitars. George Strait still plays a Guild D-55 (I have an American-made D-55, and it's a great guitar). Nanci Griffith switched from Martin to Guild early in her career, before eventually going to her trademark Taylor 512c with the Florentine cutaway. John Denver played Guilds for years, until he went with those koa Taylors with the koa tops.
You still can't beat a Guild 12-string for a 12-string acoustic.
As long as I dont have to play a Takamine. I just have an irrational visceral dislike of those things.
I may be wrong, but don't you have to blame Garth Brooks for America's short-lived love affair with the plywood Takamine? I don't know if it was the whole "mixing board" bit on the upper bout of the guitar, or Garth, that made them popular.
I've played them. I'm not certain that your dislike of those guitars is irrational - visceral maybe, but not irrational.
Mine is a D-25 in mahogany. I blame Garth Brooks for a lot of stuff, including Takamines. All the other “briefcase cowboys” who showed up around the same time. One night after doing a set of my own songs in a Nashville dive, a nice lady was talking to me at the bar and very complimentary. After she left, someone had to tell me that it was Nanci Griffith. Probably just as well I didn’t know or I’d have been a nervous fool. LOL
My son occasionally does an accoustic solo at Browns Diner on Sunday afternoons. Nanci must be a regular there. She has been very complimentary of Allen’s music and seams to be a nice person.
My appreciation for Nanci's music (I'm always attracted to singer-songwriters) goes back to the days when she played at the Cactus Cafe at the University of Texas. She left without a degree in English Literature, if I remember, missing only a couple of hours to graduate.
She's a bona fide mega star in the U.K. and Ireland and generally only appreciated for her songwriting in the U.S. If you want to learn her work, I'd seriously start with early albums like Once in a Very Blue Moon, Last of the True Believers, Lone Star State of Mind, and Little Love Affairs - and of course the fantastic compilations of folk songs she didn't write, Other Voice, Other Rooms, and Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful).
And there you have it.
I’d like to see Slash go “Pete Townsend” on somebody’s ass.
I've got two as well. Looks like a good time to get another.
Armed, JBTs @ a guitar plant. And what do our great Republicans say about it?
They lick the same boots. It’s over for the USSA. All over.