Monthly Archives: July 2010

1st Nashville post flood Guitar goes to Slash for Birthday?`

The Gibson USA factory is shipping!!!!

From our really great General Manager Gary Feder:

“It is with great pleasure that I inform you that Gibson USA is back in business!

We restarted Final Assembly today and moved product through that department into the DC and ready for shipment.”

The first guitar off the line:


·         Slash celebrated his birthday recently.  With all he has done for this division and Gibson, we are giving this instrument to him for his birthday.  Happy Birthday!!!

Product being staged for shipment:


“We have reached this milestone exactly 90 days after our facility was devastated by the worst flood to hit Nashville in hundreds of years. The only way we got here is through the dedication, focus, determination, and plain old hard work of the amazing Gibson USA family, and the support of the entire Gibson organization. To everyone who has contributed to getting us to this day, thank you very, very much.

Gibson USA is back and thrilled to be getting our great guitars back into the hands of our fans.”

Gary Feder

General Manager

By |July 30th, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Can innovation be successful in Guitar industry rooted in tradition?



Disruptive Innovation


I am trying to evolve Gibson from a company with good execution, and a dedication to our legendary past, to a company which has innovation and positive change as a core principal.  In fact, the history of Gibson was about brilliant disruptive inventors which were passionately dissatisfied with the status quo.  From the founder Orville Gibson, designer Lloyd Loar in the 1920’s, and most recently Les Paul, these men changed the way the world made music.








Change is difficult in our industry, with a respect for the past bordering on fixation.  In thinking about it, however, this is not so different from what many industries and many companies face.  Often change is about a single individual with a vision and the ability and tenacity to push the change through.  Orville Gibson did not want to start a company and had no interest in business.  He brought an exceptional product to the world and that was all he wanted.  In contrast, Steve Jobs has led numerous disruptive product programs with very different consumer targets.  To me, his brilliance is establishing an organization that is dedicated to disruptive change which can continue to function long after he is gone.


Another great example of  the vision of a great innovator birthing an organization that continues  to innovate and deliver the vision long after the founder passed away, is the Disney company.  Despite intense corporate politics and financial ups and downs, Disney delivers Walt’s dreams and values going far beyond the success he saw when he was alive.  [An interesting note: Steve Jobs is now on the Disney’s board and their latest hit movie “Toy Story 3” combine Steve’s Pixar and Disney’s distribution.]










I frequently hear about how our product was perfect at some point in the past, and that Gibson has lost its when something new is introduced.  The reason for change on our part is always to improve the product experience for our fans, period, but it is not always perceived that way.


We have just finished an extensive number of focus group sessions giving professional musicians, retailers and consumers a preview look at what I believe will be a game changing product.  Of course, many essentially commented with “don’t mess with a great product” and a sincere reverence for our history and designs.


Yet, these same fans really appreciated and were excited about the fact that we were obviously investing a great deal of time and money to make the product better.  Even they did not see a “retro market” as being healthy for either a company of its fans in the long run.


There was also a surprising openness to try something new.


While our previous technology products have been criticized by many on the internet, they have all been commercially successful, some exceptionally so.  More important, the fans that invested in these products are extremely happy with their investment.


It is my contention, and it is reinforced by recent events, that product that is really better is valued and will eventually change the industry.  Our fans want to see us lead in this area.


For those fans that want something from the past we will continue to provide that in product in even better ways.  The fans are always right, and we will give fans what they want.  We will, however, give them choices.  We will invest heavily to insure that they have the opportunity to participate in technological revolutions and getting even better product experiences.






I continually think about how some product like the iPad, the original Palm Treo, the first gaming revolution with Atari come to be.  How can we learn from this obvious genius.


Looking closely, it seems to me, that the technologies used, while cutting edge, we not the keys to success.  What these game changing product ideas did was to put a lot of technologies that were already in use into a package that provided a shockingly great consumer experience.  These products were not technology products, but products that used some technologies to achieve customer experiences never before possible.


It is about sweating the details, and understanding your fan/customer on a deep emotional level.  This can guide you in bringing exceptional joy that the world has not previously experienced.


Looking specifically at the iPad, let’s look at features like all day battery life, small comfortable form factor, great screen, exceptional ability to handle beautiful graphical and video content, and highly focused app’s that do one thing cheaply, and right.  Parts of all these attributes are in competitive product.  Yet, a package that integrated all of these attributes tightly and beautifully is revolutionary.



It is about sweating the hundreds of details and not stopping until they all work together to bring instant joy to your fans, who will never realize the work behind the curtain.






By |July 28th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

CEO Forum almost 150,000 views, 800 members;

The forum continues to grow and have wonderful dialogue. 


So far I am able to keep up with it on a daily basis, with assistance from our great Executive staff. 


There are many suggestions for change, opinions, and some useful info on Gibson guitars.  The level of dialogue is high and we are listening and reacting to the suggestions.  Over the next six months, many of the issues brought to our attention will be addressed.  There is no doubt that hearing from our concerned fans gives us better insight on what we have to do to improve.


I am particularly gratified to see some killer product suggestions.


The proof, of course, is if we can convert this great feedback to actionable programs and results.  Time will tell, but I can tell you I and our whole Executive team is committed to doing exactly that.


Come join our dialogue!

By |July 27th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Nature gives rebuilt Gibson Plant a work of Art


When the flood came through our finishing department, containers of paint were toppled and spread lacquer all over the finishing department floor.  The enthusiastic team at Gibson USA saw the result as a beautiful work of art produced by nature.  To them, it is a sign of the strength of the team’s ability to overcome challenge and adversity.

Thank you nature!

By |July 27th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The first guitars being sprayed in the finishing department


Here is what our Plant Manager John Alexander wrote:


The first guitars being sprayed in the finishing department.

Oh, the sweet sign of production.

The American icon "Gibson" rises from the ashes!



By |July 21st, 2010|Uncategorized|2 Comments

First guitar neck fit in post flood plant, see pic


Product is starting to flow through the new plant.  We are a little behind schedule, but things are looking great.

Everyone is ready to get back to business and make the best guitars in the world.

By |July 16th, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Forum (Beta) — Talk to Gibson’s CEO ==>

I am trying to reach out and give access to everyone in a forum format.

This is a membership forum that requires a simple registration with authentication to be able to post.  It will hopefully be a wide ranging open discussion.  I hope to get suggestions, comments and opinions that the entire Gibson community (or those who care about Gibson) can participate in.

It may be a bit rough at first, but I would love for you to join us!

By |July 14th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sorry for not posting. Worked piled high and needed to deep dive in.

I am trying to address many projects that require uninterrupted time.

I am in New York City operating out of a small office allowing me to write, conceptualize, etc.  Trying to allow some very capable executives room to operate the business.  Mostly, they are doing a really great job.

I am trying to make my posts informative and meaningful, and not just a recitation of what I am doing lately.  I would like to give my point of view on marketing, technology and music industry issues.  I am hoping to be really helpful and interesting.

More posts coming…


By |July 7th, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Nashville Division Start Up Delayed 1 to 2 weeks

Nashville Division, Gibson’s largest USA plant is still rebuilding production capacity.  Planned startup has been pushed back one to two weeks due to additional cleaning insuring a healthy environment for our Gibson team mates.

We are hoping production starts next week with a very limited amount of shipments being shipped this month.

Dealer inventories would be nearly exhausted by September on a worldwide basis.  As it is production will be filling product ordered before the flood until roughly October, indicating scarcity of product through most of the rest of the year.  We are trying to ramp up to higher levels of production to try to catch up with demand.

It will be great to get everyone back to work.  Many people on the team have gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure we are back.  We have an exceptional group of people.  I am grateful for this outstanding and committed team.

Henry E. Juszkiewicz

Chief Executive Officer

Gibson Guitar Corp.

309 Plus Park

Nashville, TN 37217  USA

Executive Assistant: Leeanne Nichols

615-871-4500  Extension 2405

615-884-9405  (FAX)

By |July 7th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments