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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:13 am 
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Having seen and participated in the recent LMII and Gibson threads play out for a number of days, I am struck by the profound difference in the treatment these two corporations are receiving from those posting in the respective threads. On the one hand, I see obvious delight on the part of some participants at the possible demise of Gibson, while on the other, LMII is for the most part assumed the victim of either economic necessity or circumstance re: their pricing structure for commonly available articles of shop equipment. In examining archived threads on similar topics, the same pattern plays out time and again, so I am quite satisfied that this difference in treatment is a persistent pattern of believe and action as applied to the two companies and more broadly across other similar companies and vendors.

I won't ask the obvious question about why these particular corporations justify the very overt and gleefully applied disparity in treatment which they receive, but instead ask whether this inconsistency serves the best interests of our community?

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Last edited by Woodie G on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:04 am 
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I spend a lot of time at my real job thinking about things like the obvious question you are not asking. Here are some unscientific opinions, based on that experience:

1. People instinctively favor David over Goliath. Whether it is real or merely perceived, LMII is perceived as a smaller company.

2. LMII directly serves the OLF community as a vendor and sponsor. People here interact directly with people there to buy things and get advice, the experiences are mostly positive, and the bargaining strength of the individual feels pretty strong. In contrast, most folks here interact with Gibson as merely consumers (purchasers of guitars) or repair people (repairing Gibson guitars), both from a position of unequal bargaining strength. Maybe some folks here have a personal connection with someone who works at Gibson (I used to, for instance), but most probably don't.

3. In comparison to other Goliaths with which members of the OLF community might interact, like Martin or Taylor, Gibson does not fare well. Martin and Taylor, as large companies, both show characteristics that the OLF community favors.

To your larger point: Is Gibson bashing productive? Probably not, but allowing it to happen a little bit, and allowing peer pressure to rein it in, is more productive than trying to squelch it from the top down.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:30 am 
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That is an interesting comparison, Mr. Parker, and if the notion of competition to the death is ignored in favor of using David and Goliath as short-hand for large corporation versus small company, quite apt. I have to wonder if this behavior might also be the sort of virtue signaling which has grown so common across social media?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:35 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
Having seen and participated in the recent LMII and Gibson threads play out for a number of days, I am struck by the profound difference in the treatment these two corporations are receiving from those posting in the respective threads. On the one hand, I see obvious delight on the part of some participants at the possible demise of Gibson, while on the other, LMII is for the most part assumed the victim of either economic necessity or circumstance re: their pricing structure for commonly available articles of shop equipment. In examining archived threads on similar topics, the same pattern plays out time and again, so I am quite satisfied that this difference in treatment is a persistent pattern of believe and action as applied to the two companies and more broadly across other similar companies and vendors.

I won't ask the obvious question about why these particular corporations justify the very overt and gleefully applied disparity in treatment which they receive, but instead ask whether this inconsistency serves the best interests of our community?


Not sure that I agree with your assessment of how these threads or these companies are perceived.

You said: "I won't ask the obvious question about why these particular corporations justify the very overt and gleefully applied disparity in treatment which they receive, but instead ask whether this inconsistency serves the best interests of our community?"

Now go back in the LMI thread and count how many times someone felt that defending a sponsor, LMI who has specifically "earned" our business was instead an attempt to suppress honest opinion and dialogue. With this said to me it's not about what's good for the forum when it comes to folks relating honest opinions it's instead about .... try to stop it and who would that serve? Of course my answer is no one, we are here to "respectfully" discuss stuff and I see experienced service levels, value of products, services, etc. received fair game for respectful discussion and sharing. I also see lousy service as something that people have the right to share as well. I would of course ask them to attempt to resolve things off-line before flaming anyone here and to be mindful that the OLF is not intended for dispute resolution and we agreed to this. If this was not good for the forum you might find that we have very little to talk about.....

I also don't see how G*bson and LMI can even be compared in terms of how people feel about them on this forum. One is a valued company that for over a decade has been bending over backwards to serve our industry offering products and services that in a market economy would not sell if the perception and realization of value did not exist.

The other is G*bson....

Perhaps I'm biased ;) but the term "gleefully" would not be accurate when I think of Henry ruining a former Michigan company that produced some of my personal favorite guitars of all time. You might best describe me as a disenfranchised and disgusted... fan boy.... of G*bson..... Instead at least for me when I think of G*bson there is no glee even if they may have to reorganize and seek bankruptcy protection at some point. I think it's a crying shame that an organization that holds the trademarks, patents and design rights to some of the most popular instruments ever produced but can't build a quality product to save their lives..... is nothing to be gleeful or happy about.

If I were to compare North Korea and Japan and one would elicit perhaps some favorable memories and experiences from forum members and the other would make you remember drilling to get under your school desk.... is it fair to compare the two countries? I feel the very same way of LMI and G*bson, they are not comparable to me, they do very different things AND one is client centric with customer satisfaction very high on the list and the other is an outright pariah and despised in the industry by many.

Do you know the story of Elderly Instruments and G*bson? Needless to say Elderly, one of the top music stores in the world does not carry G*bson.....

Lastly you also said "commonly available articles of shop equipment." I don't think that this has been established. No one has done any testing of balance or runout, no one has produced side by side drawings, photos, weights, measures, performance data and produced manufacturing specs of tolerances, etc. It's still in question if what LMI offers does indeed produce superior results or not.

I'm not trying to argue with you Woodie, far from it but I think that comparing these two companies and assuming that what LMI offers is no different than what I can excrete on our lathe is a reach.

Happy Labor Day to you and everyone else too!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:59 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
That is an interesting comparison, Mr. Parker, and if the notion of competition to the death is ignored in favor of using David and Goliath as short-hand for large corporation versus small company, quite apt. I have to wonder if this behavior might also be the sort of virtue signaling which has grown so common across social media?


I bet most folks here on the OLF would say that, whether LMII engages in virtue signaling or not, it is a company that, in fact, has virtues they like. In other words, if they are doing it (and I don't know that they are), their virtue signaling is backed up by the company actually having those virtues.

Regarding the practice itself (i.e., trying to convince people to do business with you because you share values), I am as often convinced by it as I am deeply offended by it. I think it is a dangerous game.

In my real job, I don't hide my politics or views on social issues, but I don't advertise them, either. If things come up in conversation, I am OK sharing. But I really don't like using that sort of thing to win new business. I like to succeed based on the relevant merits of my work.

But I am not selling wood or tools or guitars, so I doubt anyone should take marketing advice from me.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:19 am 
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Now if we were to add Ovation to the mix ...

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These users thanked the author johnparchem for the post (total 2): dpetrzelka (Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:37 pm) • Hesh (Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:47 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:41 am 
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Although it may be a bit nuanced, Mr. Breakstone, please note that I most certainly did not claim any equivalence between Gibson or LMII in terms of products & services rendered, customer relationships, or indexes of behavior which might constitute some arbitrary scale of goodness/badness. My observations were solely on the disparity in their treatment.

Nor did I pass judgement on whether the product in question offered by LMII is appropriately priced as compared to offerings from other vendors.

What I did suggest was that we consider the tougher issue here - whether the sort of reflexive attacks on Gibson, Guitar Center, or other corporations often singled out for broad criticism here is of service to the community. To be self-critical absent self-absolution seems far harder than to be merely critical, but that is what I suggested we do.

Re: your last, Mr. Parker, I should perhaps have been more concerned with the notion of virtue signalling on the part of those critical/uncritical of a particular corporation - in other words, peer pressure to engage in a particular behavior absent any actual experience with that corporation.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:25 am 
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I think I understand better what you are talking about, Woody (you should really call me Don; we aren't in court). Yeah, there can be a swarm mentality on the internet regarding companies, and it can get ugly. Somebody proclaims on Facebook that the XYZ corporation is bad because of some activity (true or not, nuanced or not, it often doesn't matter) that a particular group of like-minded folks doesn't like. That turns into a boycott, and an economic ripple is caused that is based on a lot of hearsay and (quite often) sheer nonsense. And/or, there is an online assault on the company, with hate mail, lots of trashing on social media, all of that. Hesh went through that not long ago.

I don't think that's what is going on with Gibson. I think we are seeing plain old bad business coming home to roost. If you have a name like Gibson (or Fender or Martin or Guild or Rickenbacker, etc.), you have both the blessing and the curse of having made some guitars in the past that people liked. If you make lower quality guitars today than you did back when people liked them, the backlash is even worse than if you had consistently made "meh" guitars, or had no good history at all. This is just the free market talking, not a swarm of online zealots targeting a company for the purpose of punishing it. That's just my opinion, of course.

The more sinister thing that can happen (and I have no idea if it is happening to Gibson) is the practice of hiring people to engage in online propaganda. These folks charge a fee for going onto social media and either saying nice things about their client or trashing the client's competition. The existence of that kind of business model makes me feel old and out of place in the world.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:00 pm 
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I don't participate in the bashing of Gibson or Guitar Center, etc., and don't believe those types of comments are useful here. I've never called anyone out on such because those companies are not sponsors of this forum. Like most people, I do tend to root for the underdog. It's been a staple of storytelling since the beginning of stories, so it seems there must be something to it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:17 pm 
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It can all be summed up with the following: "The Golden Rule".


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:57 pm 
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I think my issue with folks criticizing LMI/Stew Mac is that often - they really have no idea.

Its kinda like a shadetree mechanic throwing a rock at a rear end gears vendor who sells expensive tools for doing rear ends. Those tools can run close to $1,000.... Who needs that stuff.. You can do it with standard bearing pullers, presses, and crow bars.. Roll eyes... But if that's your business - those specialty tools seriously speed up a job that can be a royal PITA..

The other guy throwing the rock is the pro who loves to make his own tools... The issue there is that time is money... And the hours spent fiddling around on your own tools is hours you cant take paying work...

And so folks like me roll our eyes when this sort of rock throwing rumbles through. Sure - if you don't like nut files or whatnot or don't understand why you would need it - that's fine and good but lots of people here do see the value in this stuff...

Gibson is different.. That's a Ford/Chevy issue. I classify it more under the heading of "forum banter".....


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:28 pm 
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There is bashing and then there is criticism. Criticism should have some objective basis in fact and be presented in a fact-based manner. Bashing is criticism that includes comments that are derogatory, insulting, or abusive and add nothing useful, informative, or helpful to the criticism. Bashing can also be habitual and repeated negative comments simply for the sake of making negative comments that don't provide anything useful for forum members. I don't think either of those belong here. I think there is room on this forum for valid fact-based criticism as long as it doesn't fall into the category of attempting to use the forum for conflict resolution. Giving other forum members a heads up on issues with products or services many of us use can be useful and helpful information. If the heads up sticks to facts (just the facts ma'am) and does not include insults, abuse, or unsubstantiated generalizations, then it's not bashing.



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:38 pm 
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truckjohn wrote:
... Its kinda like a shadetree mechanic throwing a rock at a rear end gears vendor who sells expensive tools for doing rear ends. Those tools can run close to $1,000.... Who needs that stuff.. You can do it with standard bearing pullers, presses, and crow bars.. Roll eyes... ....


I like this analogy, also took me back when I was a young adult and I had to change a clutch as I could not afford a mechanic, I went looking for a special tool to align the clutch plate (looks like the end if the shaft coming out of the transmission). An old mechanic told me to break the end off a broom and whittle it to shape if necessary. It worked out well! Still most shops probably have a drawer of the special bought tools.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:11 am 
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Don makes the point that Gibson has had a history of making guitars that people liked. I'd go one step further, and suggest that they made guitars that people LOVED.

Customers were emotionally invested in the products and the brand.

And when they discover that emotional investment is not reciprocated or rewarded or even acknowledged by company management, they get seriously ticked off. The phrase "spurned lover" comes to mind.

What would Martin's promise to their customers be? We're going to live up to the standards we've set for over 100 years and make the best guitars we possibly can? That's probably pretty close. They haven't always delivered, but I'm pretty sure that was always the goal.

And Gibson's? If we can figure out how to sell a bunch more guitars, we can make a bunch of hedge fund guys even richer? That's certainly the vibe they put out.

When people love your products, you better respect that. Because if you don't, the backlash can be pretty ugly.

And maybe it's just me, but Apple seems to be sniffing around in that territory these days. I hope not. The same way I wish Gibson would go back to their pre-corporate values. But I'm not holding my breath.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:52 pm 
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"General Motors is not in the business of making cars. It is in the business of making money."

Thomas Murphy, CEO General Motors

Might be Gibson's credo, minus the making money part.

Alex

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:34 pm 
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That Gibson logo on the headstock carries a lot of weight as far as snob appeal and coolness.

I have a good friend that is a great guitarist and wants an archtop. He knows that a 70's Greco or Aria L5 or ES 175 copy will be just as good and a lot cheaper than any Gibson he can find and that new Eastmans probably are equivalent but he just has to have Gibson on the headstock.

I've built a number of archtops and whenever I've seen an L5, L7, or ES 175 I have always played them. Nothing has really bowled me over.

I play one of my own archies as well as a 79 Aria PE 175. I have never played a Gibson that I liked more but dang, I still find myself looking at L7Cs and L4Cs on Reverb and Archtop.com.

The guy I gig with has a 60's 335 and there is always a line of droolers at the end of the night.

Go figure. That logo still has power. Do you use it for goodness or badness?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:18 pm 
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A very wise man once told me: Businesses which are primarily out to make money seldom do...

Businesses which make things or provide services to customers are rewarded for such with money.... But generally - those conpanies never do better when upper management decides their purpose is to make money rather than making products/services which customers want to pay money to get....

Take GM for example... They did a study and found that truck rear axles hardly ever wore out... Leaving money on the table and all... So they made their rear ends junkier... And this comes out publically with much fanfare - much to the chagrin of... The Customers.. Really - make the product worse "To make more money" was the actual plan! Predictably - this lead to gigantic warranty issues (at high cost) on very expensive vehicles and angry customers who felt ripped off over paying "premium" money for these substandard vehicles. All because they forgot that their "Business to make money" relied upon those pesky customers buying their products..... .



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:32 pm 
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What Truckjohn said. X10

Steve


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:45 pm 
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It's a two sided coin though: companies that don't make money don't make anything.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:40 pm 
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If nobody wants to pay for what you are selling - yes... You have problems....

The reality is that nobody espousing Capitalism has ever defined it as the unfettered, unconditional pursuit of money... You can't formally incorporate a business for the purpose of robbing banks, forging money, or defrauding others.... You may believe that the lack of value you receive for your money equates to highway robbery... But - it's not actual highway robbery as my Mexican friends remind me.....

The hope is that these expensive executives nominally understand what to do..... And that they themselves are not simply practicing the unconditional pursuit of money. ;)

In the case of vendors like Stew Mac and LMI - its pretty obvious to me that they offer significant service.... Good service costs money... Fast shipping costs money... In stock inventory costs money... If you don't want to pay for all that stuff - that's fine and all.... But don't come crying when you don't receive it.... (That's my current beef with the discount internet vendors... Its not really clear what you aren't getting until you don't get it.... Case in point - the painted/stuck truss rod nut on the Gibson Les Paul... A Mom and Pop store would have taken care of that - because they all come this way... Doing the 1st inspection/setup is part of the price at the local store...)


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