Gibson is one of the world’s most famous guitar brands. The list of famous people who used and still use their guitars is endless. Just to name a few Slash, Jimmy Page, Angus Young, Joe Bonamassa, the list goes on forever.
In their portfolio, they have numerous of the world’s most famous models. Les Paul, SG, Explorer, 335, Flying V. They’re most known for the guitars with humbuckers. That’s why many of the best rock bands throughout history used their guitars as the primary choice.
Back in Black by AC/DC, Paradise City of Guns n’ Roses, Paranoid of Black Sabbath, My Generation by The Who, Sunshine of your love by Cream are just the tip of the iceberg of the songs recorded and played with Gibson guitars.
There is so much I can say about Gibson, and I will do it in this article.I will cover if they are reliable or overrated. Why are they more expensive than the Fender? Will talk about their tone and do they go up in value over time. And much more.
So here are the headlines I will cover in this article;
- Is Gibson A Good Guitar Brand?
- Is It Worth Buying A Gibson?
- Reliability Of Gibson Guitars.
- Do Gibsons Go Up In Value?
- Are Gibsons Overrated?
- Why Are Gibsons So Much More Expensive Than The Fender?
- The Tone Of The Gibson Guitars.
- The Price Of The Gibson Guitars.
Is Gibson a good guitar brand?
Gibson is a great guitar brand. Their products are reliable and roadworthy. Buying a Gibson guitar is a great value for money. Their guitar sounds are incredible.
The natural response and sustain of Gibson Les Paul pickups are legendary. And every Gibson guitar keeps its values on a secondary market.
They were one of the first companies to produce electric guitars. First in the 1930s with hollow-body guitars, and in the 1950s the solid-body electric guitars. But it all started even before that with their mandolin and acoustic guitars production.
Gibson was founded in 1894 by Orville H. Gibson. In the beginning, they were producing acoustic guitars but mainly mandolins. As time went on, and the music was evolving they adapted and started producing Hollow body Archtop guitars in the 1930s.
The first of its kind was an ES 150, later followed by ES 175 and others. But Gibson, as we all know and love today, truly began with their introduction of a solid-body electric guitar. It was a Les Paul guitar released in 1952. And from this point on the history of guitars will never be the same.
Newly formed bands of the 50s and 60s soon began using Gibson guitars for their rock and roll sounds. Today Gibson is a brand synonymous with rock music. You just can’t beat a Les Paul plugged into Marshall’s amp. It’s as good as it gets when talking about rock music.
Is It Worth Buying A Gibson?
Gibson guitars are worth buying for sure. The money spent on a Gibson guitar is always a good investment. Because the guitar will hold its value while delivering a great feel and tone.
That said, in my experience it is always good to go to a music store yourself as opposed to buying a guitar online. Yes, the production of guitars today is mostly mechanized.
But each Gibson guitar is handmade to some point. And each is a little bit different from the other. Different looking guitars top. Different necks and pickups.
The best way to know what will be best for you is to go and try multiple guitars for yourself if you can of course. Still, if it’s not possible, you just can’t go wrong buying a Gibson. If in some cases a guitar won’t bond with you, you can sell it and buy another one.
A few years ago I bought a Gibson SG from an online shop. After owning a Les Paul for years, I just didn’t connect with my SG. So I put it on sale. The same day I sold it for more than I paid for.
Reliability Of Gibson Guitars
Gibson guitars are reliable and last long – they rarely have any defects and last a long time.
I have had more than 10 Gibson’s through the years, every single one was a good guitar. On only one there were some issues with the wiring, and I was a second owner. It was an easy and cheap fix. So I give Gibson 10/10 for reliability.
In the past years, there were some lines of products from Gibson that had some issues, but this was mostly part of the design. It was a dark part of Gibson’s history in the 2010s. The heads of the company went in the wrong direction, and for that guitars were not selling that good.
But it’s all in the past today. The new president and the core of the company were changed. And it all went for the better. The key thing was that they listened to the buyers. And guitars that Gibson is making now are just what people are looking for. Great reliable rock machines.
Do Gibsons Go Up In Value?
While most Gibson guitars won’t go up in value over time, Gibson guitars will hold their value better than many other guitars on today’s market.
The majority of guitars lose half or more of their value once they have been owned by somebody. Some inexpensive guitars are worth almost nothing in the resale market. But an average Gibson guitar will hold its value on the used market between 80-90 % of the price of a new guitar. And this is great.
Of course, there are quite a few Gibsons that go up in value. Some because they are anniversary guitars, some limited collections, and some one-of instruments from their Custom shop. Most of these guitars go up in value and will be more in the years to come. Because of their rarity.
Are Gibsons Overrated?
Gibson guitars are expensive, but I don’t think they are overrated at all. They do a good job of delivering excellent instruments. You have to take into account every single one of them is made in the USA.
So, with that in mind, there are some models that for an average buyer are too expensive. But not overrated. Because if they wore overrated and overpriced nobody would be buying them. And that is certainly not the case with Gibson. They can’t catch up with demand.
At the moment, most likely if you want a specific model that your dealer doesn’t have in stock, you’ll have to wait a couple of months to get one.
So, in my opinion, they are not overrated, and they are fairly priced for a good USA product. Some of the Custom shop models are a bit pricey, but they all have their buyers.
Just like in the car industry where you have cars some of us can only dream of. Here is the same way. But buying a Gibson is always a good investment.
Why Are Gibsons So Much More Expensive Than The Fender?
Average Gibson guitars are more expensive than Fender, because of the materials, construction methods, and country of origin.
Like I said, Gibson guitars are all made in the USA. Fender guitars aren’t. Fender has factories in Mexico, Japan, China, Korea, and of course the USA. The cost of labor in these countries can vary. But they are all cheaper than the USA when it comes to guitar production.
The second thing I have to mention is the materials used in making an instrument. The typical material in Gibson guitar body production is mahogany and figured maple. And a typical wood in the Fender guitar body production is alder and ash. These are far cheaper than mahogany and maple.
The same is for neck production. While the majority of Fender’s necks are maple or maple with Pau Ferro with plastic dots, Gibson is using more expensive mahogany with rosewood combination. And in most models, there are Pearloid inlays on the neck’s fretboard.
The construction methods are different too. Typical Fender guitar is a 3 or 4 piece alder body with contoured. And Gibson is 2 piece mahogany body with a costly flamed or quilt maple top. And with the binding around the body and neck, all handmade, increasing a labor time for making the instrument.
Wiring in Gibson guitars is within the body cavity so more time-consuming than the Fenders pre-wired pickguards that are wired separately and later put on the body. And the construction on the set neck Gibson is more expensive than the bolt-on Fender design.
So I see a lot comes into the equation of why a typical Gibson costs more than the typical Fender. There are of course exceptions. But the majority of Gibsons are more expensive, and I can say a Gibson is a more exclusive guitar brand.
The tone of the Gibson Les Paul guitars
The pickups on a Gibson Les Paul are two humbuckers. So they are great for distorted tones. They are noise canceling so are suitable for a gain rock sound. The tone that comes out of this pickup is creamy midrange, and pleasant for the ears.
Ok with that said, you can play cleans just as well on your Les Paul. Depending on which pickup you are using, the sound of the guitar can be darker on the neck pickup, and brighter but not ice picky on the bridge pickup.
Most associated with rock music, Les Paul’s sound is preferred by many players. Les Paul is one of the most copied guitars in history. Almost all guitar companies have their LP-style guitar that is their take on a Gibson. They all are aiming for the sound of the original Les Paul.
And although they are best known for rock music, this guitar can do so much more. Bob Marley used one for his reggae music. Mark Knopfler is using one for his melancholic folk solos, and Robben Ford for his fusion/blues music.
The sound of Gibson Les Paul is becoming a legend of its own. So much of the world’s most selling records were recorded with Les Paul. Here is the list of some of the best songs recorded with the Gibson Les Paul:
- November rain – Guns n’ Roses
- All right now – Free
- Whole Lotta Love- Led Zeppelin
- Something – The Beatles
- More Than A Feeling – Boston
- (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
For me personally, one of the best albums of all time is “Use Your Illusion I” from Guns n’ Roses. Most of this album is recorded on a Gibson Les Paul. So I have great respect for anything Gibson-related because most of my guitar heroes used or still use a Gibson Les Paul as their primary guitar choice.
The Price Of The Gibson Guitars
The price of Gibson guitars varies a lot. The cheapest Tribute guitars are from 800$ upwards. As for the most expensive, it is hard to say. Their Custom shop models can cost 5000$ and sometimes price exceeds the 10000 $ for one-off guitars.
But the majority of their production guitars are Junior and standard versions of their models. Such as Les paul Junior or SG Standard. These prices are from 1000-3000$ per guitar. It’s something most of us can afford.
The price can vary depending on where you live in the world. Shipping and handling are not cheap with these guitars. But the product and wait time is well worth the money. And the joy of playing the original Gibson is something that’s hard to put in words.
While there are many guitar companies today in the world, few of them can get in the conversation with a brand like Gibson. From their early years, they are the pinnacle of guitar production.
For me, it was never the question if I’ll buy a Gibson. From my early years of playing it was only a question: when will I buy one? I was lucky enough to have quite a few of them during my years of playing guitar. Never been disappointed with any of them.
And when people ask me why I sold some of them, it was never because the guitar had any issues. It was always me wanting to try something else, or my music style changed.
So if you are on the verge of buying one, I encourage you to give it a try. If you won’t connect with the guitar after some time, you can always sell a Gibson. It will hold its value. It’s a timeless classic.