Anyone who knows anything about guitars will have heard of Gibson and will know that they run at top dollar.
Whether you are a loyalist to Gibson or Fender, you have likely wondered what makes these guitars so special. Are Gibson guitars worth the money?
Gibson guitars are worth their high price tag. Gibson Guitars are expensive because they are extremely high quality. The careful manufacturing practices and high-quality materials that Gibson uses to make their products are the reason why the guitars are so expensive and impressive.
Diving into the details of how a Gibson is made reveals a lot of the reasons why they are so expensive. Let’s take a closer look at this legendary brand to find out why they are worth every dollar.
Why Do Gibsons Sound So Good?
The sound quality from a Gibson guitar comes down to the quality of materials that they use. Both the wood and the electronics are of top-notch quality, which comes at a high price.
Gibson guitars are each made from a single piece of high-quality wood—usually mahogany, but sometimes also rosewood, maple, or ebony.
- Solid cuts of these types of wood are very expensive, but Gibson keeps using them because it is the quality of the wood that gives the guitars their signature rich, full-bodied tone.
A cheaper wood or laminated piece simply would not be able to create the same depth of sound. Gibson guitars do not have a hollow body.
The single piece of wood, with just enough space for hardware and electronics, means that the sound is pure and unaffected by imperfections and echoes. You can feel the quality anytime you pick up a Gibson guitar.
It is significantly heavier than the competitor’s instruments.
Another important component to the rich sound of a Gibson guitar is the electronics. The highest quality parts and construction for the embedded electronics allow the sound to be sustained without ever sounding thin.
Take a look at this YouTube video and listen to the sound quality.
Why Is Gibson More Expensive Than Fender?
Gibson and Fender have had an intense rivalry for many years.
Most guitar players will have loyalties to one side or the other. Both brands are certainly high quality and popular, but there is an obvious price difference. Gibson and Fender are both equally loved and respected, so why do Gibson’s typically cost so much more?
To be fair, some price and quality comparisons will be different if you look at the best Fender and the worst Gibson or vice versa.
Based on the generalization of the brands and their typical output, some clear differences are causing the price disparity.
Looking at the history of the two brands, the differences seemed to be decided early on. Fender came out with the first mass-produced electric guitar. This allowed them to produce quality instruments quickly and cheaply, keeping their retail prices relatively low.
Around the same time, the famous pop star Les Paul declined a partnership with Fender and instead asked Gibson to make him a guitar.
The Gibson Les Paul was revolutionary because it was the first guitar to be able to blow out an amplifier, and also because it solidified the Gibson brand as the ultimate electric guitar company.
When you get into the details, the price to manufacture a Gibson is significantly more expensive and takes much longer to do.
Instead of a single piece of expensive wood, Fender uses cheaper wood that is laminated in multiple layers.
The necks on Gibson guitars also use more expensive materials and are set at an angle that takes a lot more time and care than the Fender bolt-on neck. Fender does not use binding while Gibson does.
There is also a difference in electronics manufacturing. Fender will pre-assemble the whole system before putting it into the guitar. On the other hand, Gibson hand solders each piece inside the cavity of the instrument.
Gibson factories are exclusively in the United States, and they hire skilled workers that are paid much higher wages than people who are working in factories overseas.
Overall, Gibson is committed to traditions of quality and will preserve their process at any cost. Fender can produce their guitars for much cheaper because they are focused on efficiency and mass production.
Are Any Gibsons Made In China?
There are no legitimate Gibsons made in China.
- All Gibson factories are in the U.S., and they source their materials from the states as well, which is one of the reasons why Gibson guitars are expensive.
Materials and workers are both significantly cheaper when outsourced to places like China. Most companies have moved out of the states to cut labor costs, but Gibson has stayed put since the very beginning.
Manufacturing in the States also means hiring in the States. Their guitars require a lot of handcrafting and delicate care that cannot be replicated by machines. Gibson is not just hiring minimum wage workers, they employ highly skilled artists to create incredible works of art. Of course, paying a skilled worker a fair salary is also a reason why Gibson guitars are so expensive.
They currently have three U.S. factories located in Bozeman, Montana; Nashville, Tennessee; and Memphis, Tennessee. In their Nashville location, they have the Gibson Garage.
The Gibson Garage allows customers to become involved in the manufacturing process and make customizations.
The custom shop allows you to choose the wood, knobs, finish, and pickups so you can create your ideal instrument.
At the garage, you can try out the guitars, learn how to play, watch shows, learn about the history of Gibson, and purchase one of their legendary instruments.
Do Gibson Guitars Hold Their Value?
Gibson guitars hold their value well.
The quality of materials and intense care and consideration throughout the manufacturing process ensure that Gibson guitars will last. The brand is respected and popular enough to retain its worth.
As long as you take proper care of the instrument, it won’t lose much of its value. Any item is worth more money new than used, but Gibson’s generally resell well.
A Gibson guitar is a worthwhile investment for any musician that is passionate about quality.