Gibson Exits Bankruptcy - Experts & Dealers Comment on The New Gibson - Sammy Ash, Vic DaPra, Eliot Michael, Drew Berlin, Mercedes Girard & Ray Mauldin

Gibson Exits Bankruptcy Today

As Gibson emerges out of it’s bankruptcy today, November 1st, 2018, the new ownership group has announced its new CEO and other key team leaders. New CEO JC Curleigh, who previously ran Levi Strauss, will hopefully return Gibson to the iconic brand of guitars we all know and love.

What The Experts & Dealers Are Saying About Gibson

We sought the opinions of some friends of Guitar Stories USA whom we greatly respect and who are in our opinion are not only Gibson guitar experts, legendary vintage and new model guitar dealers, but have also had personal dealings with Gibson for decades.

They include:

Sammy Ash of Sam Ash Music

Vic DaPra, “Burst Believers” Author, Vintage Les Paul Expert & Gibson Dealer

Vic DaPra

Vic DaPra

Eliot Michael, Rumbleseat Music, Vintage Gibson Expert & Nashville Gibson Dealer

Eliot Michael , Rumble Seat Music

Eliot Michael, Rumble Seat Music

Drew Berlin, Vintage Gibson Dealer & Expert (Southern California)

Mercedes Girard, Guitars West, Vintage Guitar Expert and Dealer (Southern California)

Mercedes Girard , Guitars West

Mercedes Girard, Guitars West

Ray Mauldin, Grinning Elk Guitars & 2019 Atlanta Guitar Show Producer

Ray Mauldin , Grinning Elk Guitars & 2019 Atlanta Guitar Show Producer

Ray Mauldin, Grinning Elk Guitars & 2019 Atlanta Guitar Show Producer

What We Asked Them

We asked what they thought of the new Gibson leadership team and the direction the company may be headed. We also thought you want to know how they thought Gibson ended up in bankruptcy, what Gibson could do better and what they would like to see from the new Gibson.

Audio Interviews With Vic DaPra, Eliot Michael & Ray Mauldin

These audio interviews are about 8 or 9 minutes each and have revealing insights from some of the greatest Gibson Guitar Experts, Vintage Dealers and Gibson Dealers.

Vic DaPra

Vic DaPra

VDP Brian Ray Carmel Burst 59.jpg

Vic DaPra, author of the Burst Believer book series on historic Gibson Les Pauls bursts with Burst Believers 4 due out soon, with forwards from Jimmy Page and Billy Gibbons.

Vic is optimistic but had some great dealer insights about Gibson and what he thinks they should focus on. SInce Vic designs custom artist guitars in limited runs, he talks about the Gibson Custom Shop and key personnel.

Listen to this great 9 minute chat with Vic who shares many insights from someone who has designed Les Paul custom shop runs…besides knowing everything about 1958-1960 Les Pauls.

For more information on Vic DaPra  Click Here

For more information on Vic DaPra Click Here


For more information  click here

For more information click here

Eliot Michael, besides being one of the leading experts on Gibson guitars and premium vintage dealer to the stars, is Nashville’s newest and only private Gibson Dealer.

Eliot was recently at Gibson building a guitar and also discusses the custom shop.

He shares those guitar stories here. For more information on on Eliot and Rumble Seat Music, click here or on those beautiful Les Pauls.

Eliot with Joe Bonamassa

Eliot with Joe Bonamassa

Click here  to more information on Rumble Seat Music

Click here to more information on Rumble Seat Music

Click Here  for More Information on Ray Mauldin, Grinning Elk Music in Atlanta

Click Here for More Information on Ray Mauldin, Grinning Elk Music in Atlanta

Ray Mauldin and his partner Lee Jackson are the resident guitar dealing Southern boys and we wanted their take on the new Gibson. Ray and I discusses the new Gibson, dealer issues and the Colonel’s secret recipe and other vital information.

Grinning Elk Music is also the Producer and Organizer of the new 2019 Atlanta Guitar Show (first in 13 years) June 8th and 9th, 2019 in Atlanta. All of the premium guitar dealers from the U.S., Canada and Germany will be at this show and we will be bringing you more information soon.

Here’s What

Sammy Ash,

Drew Berlin




Had To Say:

What Do You Think of the New CEO at Gibson?

I have no idea, I have never met or heard of him before. He comes out of Levi’s so I am afraid we are going to play the lifestyle game again. I understand not one of the new group is from the industry very typical for Gibson. They have a long and storied history of selecting people from outside with no passion for the gear. There was an old saying…never write anyone’s name down at Gibson in pen. Use a pencil so you can change it in a few months.
— Sammy Ash
I haven’t met JC the new CEO, I have heard nothing but good things about him. I have met Cesar who I really like, great guy and passionate about Gibson and I feel he is dedicated to making the needed changes.
— Drew Berlin

What do you think about the new ownership group and the future direction of Gibson?

I don’t know that either. The Gibson Company has always let the dealer be the last one to know anything. At least they are very well funded.
— Sammy Ash
I have also met Nat with KKR who is a guitar player and a very bright and passionate Gibson guy as well. I think the new owners understand the iconic brand they are in charge of and I feel things will state to show improvement.
— Drew Berlin

Why did Gibson end up in bankruptcy?

They took their eye off the ball of what they do best and decided that Philips would be their salvation??? We are an odd industry. Outsiders just don’t get us and we don’t get them, it’s not their fault, they are nice people but they don’t have a clue.
— Sammy Ash
I feel the former company was more interested in a larger brand presence and less interested in the employees and the guitar product. There are many talented passionate people working at Gibson that are capable of building great guitars.
— Drew Berlin
How much time do you have?! I believe too much of Gibson’s efforts near the “end” were wasted on lashing out at dealers of certain lines and even other builders who Gibson felt encroached on their over-reaching and sometimes vague “copyright”. Instead of working on improving their brand, their instruments, their artists-I saw way too much time spent on wagging their finger. Gibson failed because Gibson failed.
— Mercedes Girard

What would you most like to see happen at Gibson?

Concentrate on the quality control especially at the higher end where instruments should be flawless. Quite often these are not when comparable brands in both acoustic and electric are. It’s easy to do I guess since several manufacturers already manage to make the grade. I don’t expect the corporate culture to change very much and that’s not a good thing. My highest rate of returns in my Guitars of Distinction collection are Gibson.
— Sammy Ash
I would like to see less versions of historic models and more defined vintage inspired craftsmanship being appalled on each guitar. I feel the builders are more excited and are focused on a better future.
— Drew Berlin
As a woman in the industry, as a fan of a good Gibby, and as a recovering Gibson dealer, I hope Gibson can make a concerted effort to repair the damage done by Henry Juszkiewicz when he decided the industry was failing large in part due to women not being comfortable going into music stores.
— Mercedes Girard

What advice would you give the new CEO of Gibson?

Listen to your dealers, that would be a nice for a change.
— Sammy Ash
As far as giving advice to the new CEO ? I don’t feel he needs advice. He wouldn’t be the CEO if he wasn’t ready for the challenge
— Drew Berlin

So the sentiment is generally positive that Gibson Guitars will regain its legendary footing as the iconic brand of guitars that players have known and loved for well over a century.

For more information on Rick Baker,  Click Here

For more information on Rick Baker, Click Here

Time will tell but it sounds like Gibson may restore its good reputation with the guitar buying public if they listen to a few of the suggestions our panel of experts and dealers have expressed.

For more information on Super Music Retailer Sam Ash Music,  click here

For more information on Super Music Retailer Sam Ash Music, click here