"Best" Chinese Gibson Guitars

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Col Mustard, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    wow, I found this page while looking for something else...

    best chinese gibson guitars - Google Search

    I got so disturbed by it that I forgot what I was looking for.

    In a world of Gibson bashers and cork sniffers who look at their new
    guitar with a microscope to find flaws in it, here is the alternative:
    Chinese Gibsons made by forced labor or child labor, built in fear
    and for sale cheap.

    There have been numerous threads on these boards about Chinese fake
    Gibsons. Most of what I've seen has been so crude that even a beginner
    could tell it was a POS.

    But what if they started to make good guitars? I'm old enough to remember when people made fun of guitars built in Japan. (I owned one, a Crest...)
    But now those command respect (not the Crest, the good ones). And I own a Chinese Epiphone that has responded really well to upgrades and turned into a real player. Ditto for my Chinese made Squier P-Bass. I replaced everything but the wood and the frets on these, and now they both really rock.

    But what if the Chinese started making guitars that didn't need to be gutted and rebuilt. Many of our members swear by their Epis, and there's always a thread where someone says that not only are Chinese Epis 'just as good' as Gibson guitars they are better. Many of us would scoff at that statement, but not all.

    Not trying to revive any Gibson vs Epiphone rancor here, we've all heard the entire debate and made up our own minds. But what if some Chinese entrepreneur said, "Let's make Gibson guitars that are better than they can do in Nashville..."

    Could they do it? Would they bother? Would you buy one?
     
  2. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    My '07 is a Chinese made G400. I got it used for a reasonable price. It's a solid, well made guitar. The bridge and electronics were pretty much junk, but that was an easy fix. I did replace the tuners but I didn't need to. The OEMs worked just fine, but I stuck on a set of vintage Gibson tuners... for a look. I've been told by some of my guitar playing pals, that know a whole lot more about electric guitars, that my G400 rocks the house. Plays great and sounds awesome.
     
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  3. Kerry Brown

    Kerry Brown Well-Known Member

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    If it was a fake Gibson no, I'd never buy one. If it was a well built guitar based on a Gibson but made no attempt to pass itself off as a Gibson and the price was right, why not? The key for me would be is it a direct copy or is it a guitar modelled after a Gibson. There are many main stream manufacturers that make guitars modelled after Gibson models. You do bring up a good point about the type of labour used to build the guitar. I would not knowingly buy a sweat shop guitar. That said my iPhone and iPad were built in China in factories that don't have a stellar reputation. They are not what I would call a sweat shop but they certainly don't have western labour standards.
     
  4. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy. I'm gonna say what normally gets me in trouble in the corporate meetings. (When they ask I tell; if they didn't wanna hear it, why ask?)

    I want made in the USA.

    I've owned imported guitars from various origins. Such as Epi.... I personally don't like the poly finish. Sometimes GAS get's me to lusting for something, but after rethinking it, I always come back to the same line of thought. I have a few MiM Fenders, but more MiA and Partscasters. My Gibsons are all Gibsons.

    I will buy an American made product 9 out of 10 times simply to support our workers.I have nothing against the other products, but I'd rather have one MiA guitar than 5 imports. That's just me.

    Can these companies make an import Gibson? I don't see why not.

    Will they? I say if there's a market with a profit, and it can happen they'll jump on it.

    Will I buy one? Nope. Not as long as there is a USA made alternative, be it new or used.

    Call it thick headed, redneck, or whatever, I look for the label, whenever possible, whether it's a guitar, a car, or a t-shirt. ( Hopefully by having time to choose my words here, it didn't come off as brash or rude as it would have, like when put on the spot in a meeting....)
     
  5. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there's much forced child labor in guitar manufacturing. High tech? That's were the trouble is....as far as bad labor goes. Mfg labor has changed a bundle in china in the past few years. Not that it's a pillar of human or labor rights, but the current climate is fairly anti labor anti union here in the US as well.

    There is nothing magical about guitar making. Once you get the process down it's all about materials, build methods and attention to details.

    Using the same recipe, a Chinese guitar will be every bit as sold as a guitar built anywhere. Now....once we start cutting corners, then all bets are off.

    Could they do it? Yes. Eastman, not Eastwood.... But Eastman, is kind of building a gibson guitar in china right now. All hand made, 335 style guitar. Price point is sub $800. It's not cheap, but cheaper than a gibson 335.

    I've played them and I'd buy one. If they were $600 I'd probably already have one.
     
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  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Col., I know a few Chinese craftspeople, including a luthier, from Shanghai, who makes a very nice living copying instruments for professionals who don't want to take their 72 Les Paul Custom on the road. The sweatshop, while not extinct is much rarer these days in the Chinese economy. I have a preference for mid 1990s Indonesian Squiers, because of the wood used. I have no idea what the conditions in the factory were, although, in the third world, just like in Flint, for instance, any job is better than none. Social conscience might stop some from buying Gibson, too. I have a friend who recently retired from the Gibson Nashville plant and is relocating to Southern Cali, to work for Fender, with their design and production teams. His description of his last two years and surprise exit interview with the chairman would have required Hunter S. Thompson to fabricate. It does not sound like a nice place to work.
    ;>)/
     
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  7. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    There are high-quality Chinese guitar makers -- Eastman is one -- but they don't cost $300. Skilled labor costs are rising in China, the price of equipment, hardware, electronics, good wood , etc. is the same as here. So building Gibson quality there is cheaper but not walmart cheap.

    Here's an Eastman, note the price:

    Eastman AR372CE Electric Archtop - DjangoBooks.com
     
  8. cybermgk

    cybermgk Well-Known Member

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    THis exactly as far as whether I would buy the guitar or not. I have already, with the 100% legal, licensed Epiphones I have. This is a MAJOR no no for me, passing off as someone elses product. BIG no no for me. Quality has nada to do with it for me, it's theft in my mind. Ask me someday how I got shafted out of a big payday for software development because of intellectual theft, if you want to understand the depth of my vehemence on this topic.

    This would make me not, IF true.

    I already question whether the manufacturer pollutes the world or not, when debating on buying a Chinese manufactured item. This is another real issue, for me and the world really, the little to no emission and pollution controls they have in Chinese manufacturing. To date, I don't think the manufacture of guitars and there constituent parts pollutes much. Not so true for other items.

    All in all, I'd rather buy in this preference order, MIA, MIE, MIK, MIM, MIC. Part of that, is whom I do and don't want to have such a global economic clout. Problem is, less and less is MIA, MIE, and even true more and more for MIM and MIK (though still a lot of MIK guitars being made).
     
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  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    yes, I have heard other reports like that (about Gibson). And I'm glad to hear about your experience and knowledge of conditions in Chinese work places. I asked my questions because I wanted to hear opinions on this forum. I don't have a pre-formed
    POV, really...

    We have members from many nations on this forum. And I imagine that the whole
    Made-in-USA issue is meaningless to anyone who doesn't live here, and hasn't watched our economy being gutted by job loss. The laws we have in the USA that prevent child exploitation labor were hard won... and are less than a hundred years old. Before that, the bosses could force kids to work 12 hour days or force anyone. No such thing as a weekend, or sick leave, or a coffee break, or the 40 hour week.

    Other places it's still like that. But maybe not in Europe? When you pay your workers diddly squat, you can undercut manufacturers who treat their people fairly. And the Chinese seemed to be getting all the wood they wanted even when U.S. manufacturers were scrambling to find substitutes.

    Lots of guitar makers offer Les Paul type guitars: PRS, Schecter, ESP, Taylor, Ibanez etc..
    So does our favorite company have any real competition? Or did they raise prices in order to seem more high end, and sell to the rich, and separate themselves from foreign knock-offs.
     
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  10. eS.G.

    eS.G. Well-Known Member

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    I know folks who bought the Chibsons....they are a novelty. The hardware and "inerds" where "functional" at best. The wood work and quality is quite nice.
    You will find (very often) what is pictured online is a REAL Gibson/Fender/ Riki etc. what you get.....is a "reasonable facsimilie of" not what was pictured.

    AND TBTH they are not "cheap" I looked, I can get a Chibson Firebird for 386.00.....I can get an Epi Firebird on ebay U.S. Supplier for---the same price! :) And I can sleep good knowing this guitar was certainly NOT made in a sweat shop.......or was it? Have any of us seen the Epi Plants in---er, Korea, Indonesia, or China? COULD these all be coming from the same factories?
    And gentlemen its not just guitars....and fake iPhones.....
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlvMoV_sHhc]BMW goes to war against Chinese carmaker - part 1/2 - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  11. eS.G.

    eS.G. Well-Known Member

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    To asnswer your last question Col. I think Gibson maybe doing just that. Sell less (and produce less = less cost/overhead) for more profit per item, and set oneself as a High End benchmark. They have the middle and low dollar entry customer covered with the (very fine IMHO) Epiphone line. MASS produce those----sell fast cheap and many--that covers the bills and cost for the whole enchilada---and allow your upper lines to become, "fine instruments of distinction" ?? Maybe not a bad plan....we could be seeing the start of that transition......with less niche model options in the Gibson line up for 2015??
     
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  12. El Marin

    El Marin Active Member

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    Well... to me it would be funny buying a Chibson L-5 for 300 quid just to be used in a total punk destroyer enviroment...
     
  13. El Marin

    El Marin Active Member

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    I explain myself a little... being a Spaniard living in London, sorry guys, I don't have that patriotic feeling "buy USA" and me or not me, Chinese youngsters will continue being exploited with or without my help...

    Of course I was talking about using that Chinese L-5 to be played in the most smoky drunken dirtiest pub basements... for better stages or recording, I really appreciate my real SG and other guitars... Just could be funny
     
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  14. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    Or a photo - my photo! - of my Cipollina Tribute SG. The Chinese reckon they can make one of them for $500 shipped. :dunno:
     
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  15. eS.G.

    eS.G. Well-Known Member

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    :mad: NO FRIGGIN SHITE?!?!?! :mad:
    Wow.
     
  16. potatofarmer

    potatofarmer Member

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    Knock-off guitars, I mean, at least someone has an interest in decent customer service. Nobody would buy an Xaviere or SX if they were complete pieces of junk, and people would stop shopping at GuitarFetish or Rondo if they knew they were getting garbage. Everyone involved is interested in making a decent product at a decent price, and tipping that see-saw one way or the other. So some of these guitars can be quite good, either "good for the price" or "just plain good, but more expensive."

    Counterfeit guitars, though, are made with intent to defraud. The seller has no intention of establishing a new name and basically has no interest in customer service whatsoever after the money has been handed over. I don't think we ever have to worry about these becoming good guitars, because why would the manufacturer and middleman ever want to increase cost?
     
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  17. SG John

    SG John Well-Known Member

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  18. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    Despite the detailed construction in my build thread the Chinese still can't get it right: the "Bigsby" is in the wrong place, the control layout is wrong, the pickguards look like the bevelling is wrong, no stinger, etc. :hmm:
     
  19. DFLCC

    DFLCC Well-Known Member

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    The answer is simple, Yes, yes and may be.

    I got nothing against any guitar manufacturer local or over seas. As many mentioned before, we all have owned an assortment of instruments of different origins, and many of them of very good quality. Today I own five US built Gibson SGs and three MIM Strats, one MIM Tele and Believe it or not a MIM Jackson DK2M. While I don't have any Chinese, Korean, Japanese and/or Indonesian instrument, I know there are very good quality instruments from this countries.

    But I do have a problem; that problem is counterfeiting. If any manufacturer is passing oranges for apples I have no business with it. If the business is legitimate, it may be worthy of trying. It is to each individual discretion to try.

    Not to long ago I did bought an EVH Special and I did share my experience with you all. It was advertise by both the seller (.com) and the manufacturer (EVH/Fender) as made in Japan. To my surprise after a day of playing I discovered it was a Chinese manufactured EVH, but a legitimate guitar. My reason to returned was more of a price tag issue than that of quality. The guitar was superb and delivered well. I just did not feel comfortable paying $1349 for a EVH Chinese guitar, when a few month before I could have bought a Japanese manufactured one for the same price.
     
  20. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    How about a 35 hour week and a minimum of 5 weeks holiday per year? Not in the UK, but in some European countries… When I lived in Paris, I recall a French art director complaining that a guy in the post room got the same 11 weeks per year holiday entitlement as him (long service). But that guy could actually take that holiday entitlement each year, whereas he couldn't take it & still get his job done. Several times I heard people complaining that they couldn't afford to go away for a third holiday this year! Crazy...

    Here, we're not so bothered by 'Made in the USA' labels, they just tell us that this guitar is going to cost more than an equivalent that was made in S. Korea. :laugh2:
     
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