SUMMER NAMM 2018: A lot has happened since we broke the news that Gibson would not be attending the world’s biggest musical instrument trade show, NAMM, in January this year - namely, the guitar giant filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
However, this week’s Summer NAMM show in Nashville marks what Henry Juskiewicz is hoping will be a triumphant return for the troubled brand.
In an exclusive interview with Guitarist magazine, the CEO details the company’s plans for the show, citing simplification rather than radicalisation as the motivation for new models.
“We will be introducing the new models for Gibson starting in June, in terms of exposure to consumers, and shipments will be taking place sometime in late summer in anticipation of a generally healthy fourth quarter,” he reveals.
“We’ve done a lot of work on those models for eight months, so it is not something that has been impacted by our financial situation, and we expect to carry through on those plans. We’ve had excellent reception from the consumers we’ve surveyed on test panels and so on, and many of the dealers have seen these new models and been very complimentary.
“I would say it’s not a radical shift but we have [made] a lot of effort to simplify product offerings. We feel, in the past, there have been too many new models and names and it was very confusing to the consumer, and so we’ve simplified that, we’ve really simplified and gone back to historical naming precedents, so it’s more subtle change than it is radical change.”
It seems fair to say, then, that 2019’s models will stick closely to the safe spec of the 2018 range, which featured G-Force robot tuners on just two models, with fairly traditional features across the rest of the guitars.
As this stage, the big questions lie with build quality and price tags: guitarists have been complaining of rising Gibson prices for years now, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a few more affordable takes on old favourites. We’ll find out when the show kicks off tomorrow.
For more exclusive insight from Henry Juskiewicz on Gibson’s future, pick up a copy of Guitarist issue 435, out now.