Gibson issues threat to rival guitar builders: “You have been warned; we’re here to protect our iconic legacy”

(Image credit: Jenn Angkahan)

Best of 2019: Gibson has done a great job of restoring the faith since its 2018 bankruptcy, following a storming NAMM and a strong set of responses to our probing questions for new CEO James ‘JC’ Curleigh.

Yet a recent video upload, featuring newly appointed Director of Brand Experience Mark Agnesi, risks undoing that goodwill by issuing a thinly veiled threat to fellow electric guitar builders.

In an upload titled ‘Play Authentic’, Agnesi begins by highlighting Gibson’s trademarks, according to Gear News: “It’s a common misconception that a brand is just in a logo. The Les Paul, Flying V, Explorer, SG, Firebird, Thunderbird and ES shapes are trademarked shapes of Gibson. The design, from the components to the actual shapes are an integral part of the Gibson DNA.”

This isn’t about us being bullies or trying to stifle the boutique market place

Mark Agnesi

That all builds to Agnesi’s threat to fellow guitar builders: “You have been warned; we’re looking out and we’re here to protect our iconic legacy.”

He follows up by stating, “This isn’t about us being bullies or trying to stifle the boutique marketplace.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly how it comes across.

Following an, ahem, mixed reception from guitarists the world over, the video has since been pulled from YouTube.

It’s an odd move from a company seeking to curry favour with its audience - and even stranger given Agnesi’s previous role as manager of Norman’s Rare Guitars, where he will have presumably seen myriad Gibson-inspired instruments come through his doors.

There’s been no official statement from Gibson regarding its stance on rival guitar builders, or on its withdrawal of the Play Authentic video. MusicRadar has reached out for comment.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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