It’s hard to imagine recorded music without Gibson guitars. The list of famous Gibson guitar players reads like a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame roll call! Who can forget Chuck Berry’s sliding introduction to Johnny B Good? Few guitar brands, can quite match Gibson’s blend of heritage, quality of sound, beauty and iconic appeal. But thanks to some bad business decisions, musicians might soon have to do without their precious Gibson’s. The company, which was founded by Orville Gibson in 1902, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, to hold off its creditors while it restructures.
While rivals like Fender Guitar have seen increased sales by diversifying and targeting all of the women who are picking up the guitar these days, while Gibson decided to re-position itself as a life-style company. According to reports, its Gibson Innovations business, which sells audio products like speakers, headphones, and DJ products, was the source of its financial woes – owing as much as $500 million to creditors.
Research conducted by Fender, Gibson’s biggest rival, found that while 45% of new guitars went to first-time buyers, 90% of them stopped playing within nine to 12 months of getting their first instrument. But the guitar industries bottom line depends on players buying six, seven or eight guitars in their lifetimes – and increasingly expensive new guitars.
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