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James Curleigh - Honeymoon is over.
Old 31st May 2019
  #1
Lives for gear
James Curleigh - Honeymoon is over.

EDIT as of July: Gibson is building me a new guitar. Seems like there is a change a Gibson. I like the new new phone message, which is something along the lines of "Gibson, The best Guitar in the world". I like that - it gives employees a target of excellence to work by. I do want to see Gibson do well. Excellence is recognized by the customers and we WILL reward you for that.



James Curleigh, I think the honeymoon is over and I am personally still seeing a Gibson that does NOT put out CONSISTENT quality Acoustic instruments. Are you going to fix this? Why is it that Martin puts out consistent instruments but Gibson is inconsistent. The answer is simply management taking responsibility.

I ordered two SJ-200's. Two, due to returning, because both were sub par and never should have made it to a retailer. One had a wavy fretboard at the body and the other one the neck was set into the body off center. My guitar tech muttered, "maybe Gibson can't build guitars anymore".

I figured, OK, I will call Gibson and ask them to repair the new flagship instrument. Gibson told me they would only replace with another model of like kind. Unfortunately, there is no model of like kind to it being made. Sure, I get it that it is far more cost effective to replace rather than fix a serious guitar issue. Maybe, they will make me a new one that comes up to the par of this one. We will see.

This is your top of the line acoustic product and the company policy is to not fix the issues and just try to provide another instrument. Is the bad guitar sold to another guy who can live with the sub par workmanship? Or is the bad guitar thrown away wasting premium wood and shell materials?

Honestly, for some reason Gibson gets away with this --- most people would totally trash a new guitar company with this sort of QC and remedy. People really had a lot of hope with James. I will post what happens with sending the guitar back and see if Gibson is really getting it's act together like we all are hoping for.

Last edited by piano; 1 week ago at 07:31 AM..
Old 3rd June 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I've owned several Gibson's including 2008 LP built in the heyday of the Henry era, a Nolin era LP Deluxe and a 1971 es-335. I've never had quality issue with any of them. Other than having to get a good setup (and cleanup several fret nibs) on the '08 it has been perfect. Contrast to my new in 92 Strat which would snap strings just looking at it. Turns out to have had a bad bridge which Fender replaced for free. Also, my 86 Martin D-28 that has a visibly crooked tuner. I hear these stories about Gibson all the time on this forum and others - apparently I've been lucky!
Old 6th June 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
To be fair, I own a Henry era 59 Les Paul and a Supreme. Both guitars are well done. Of course both were very expensive and I would expect that.

This was two SJ-200's in a row I ordered that were not fit to leave the factory.
Old 7th June 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Definitely time to move on from Curleigh. He's had 7 months to fix Jusk running the company into the ground.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
I have sent the 2nd bad SJ-200 back to the factory. It was not cheap - well over $100 in shipping Continental US.

I was told today it would be up to six weeks before they resolve the fix or what ever they decide to do. That seems like quite a bit of time to me - but that may be an over estimate to give them a cushion.

I will continue to report what happens. If good I will be happy to report a good outcome! I am hoping to see a turn around for the company.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
James Curleigh, I think the honeymoon is over and I am personally still seeing a Gibson that does NOT put out CONSISTENT quality Acoustic instruments. Are you going to fix this? Why is it that Martin puts out consistent instruments but Gibson is inconsistent. The answer is simply management taking responsibility.

I ordered two SJ-200's. Two, due to returning, because both were sub par and never should have made it to a retailer. One had a wavy fretboard at the body and the other one the neck was set into the body off center. My guitar tech muttered, "maybe Gibson can't build guitars anymore".

I figured, OK, I will call Gibson and ask them to repair the new flagship instrument. Gibson told me they would only replace with another model of like kind. Unfortunately, there is no model of like kind to it being made. Sure, I get it that it is far more cost effective to replace rather than fix a serious guitar issue. Maybe, they will make me a new one that comes up to the par of this one. We will see.

This is your top of the line acoustic product and the company policy is to not fix the issues and just try to provide another instrument. Is the bad guitar sold to another guy who can live with the sub par workmanship? Or is the bad guitar thrown away wasting premium wood and shell materials?

Honestly, for some reason Gibson gets away with this --- most people would totally trash a new guitar company with this sort of QC and remedy. People really had a lot of hope with James. I will post what happens with sending the guitar back and see if Gibson is really getting it's act together like we all are hoping for.
Did you order these online?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
Did you order these online?
I did indeed order online. There is not a store anywhere near my area that carries these guitars. Yes, it sure would have been nice to try them in person to scope out problems.

I asked the dealer to scope them out for me....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
Email return is poor at Gibson. I've have several unreturned emails.

After I sent the NEW guitar in for corrections, I was told it would take up to 6-8 weeks to get it corrected.

I also asked for Curleigh's email (nothing there yet). I would like the Gibson CEO to know what sort of experience it's high end customers are having. If you want to pull the company out of financial mud, you have to know what to correct - and you do that by listening to it's customers. I just do not see that happening at the moment.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

Probably an unpopular opinion, but Gibson hasn't made quality acoustic instruments since the 50's...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstapper View Post
Probably an unpopular opinion, but Gibson hasn't made quality acoustic instruments since the 50's...
Nah! Mid-60s.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin Karlsson View Post
Definitely time to move on from Curleigh. He's had 7 months to fix Jusk running the company into the ground.
This is the only post you have made?

The point is James Curleigh needs to actually listen to it's customers. Is there any way for a well meaning customer like me to contact him - no. Guitar customers know a lot more about the product than people who wear Levis. A NEW flagship SJ-200 guitar, that never should have left the factory with poor workmanship, should not have to sit at Gibson waiting a six weeks - two months to be replaced or corrected. A large part of stabilizing revenue is improving the perception of it's customers and that is done with good old fashioned quality and service. Customers are smart; it's safe to assume guitar buyers are smarter (as in we are very guitar savvy and appreciate good service and products). I want to see Gibson return to a high level. In many caases it has but this situation is not good.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
This is the only post you have made?

The point is James Curleigh needs to actually listen to it's customers. Is there any way for a well meaning customer like me to contact him - no. Guitar customers know a lot more about the product than people who wear Levis. A NEW flagship SJ-200 guitar, that never should have left the factory with poor workmanship, should not have to sit at Gibson waiting a month - six weeks to be corrected. A large part of stabilizing revenue is improving the perception of it's customers and that is done with good old fashioned quality and service. Customers are smart; it's safe to assume guitar buyers are smarter.
I don't know that he can do much unless he can change Henry J's Harvard business school training that the hourly employees who do most of the work on an instrument are an undesirable "cost" and you should get them cheap as possible, turn them over quickly, and put them on the line as soon as they start work.

Remember that this was a guy who moved production from Michigan to the South because of the "economic advantages" i.e., explicitly so he could avoid the employee union, environmental and safety regulations, and higher wage and benefit expectations.

If you're making low-margin plastic nick-nacks, that may makes sense, but it's very hard to maintain production of a purportedly high quality musical instrument made of variable materiel and with a lot of hand work without experienced labor.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I don't know that he can do much unless he can change Henry J's Harvard business school training that the hourly employees who do most of the work on an instrument are an undesirable "cost" and you should get them cheap as possible, turn them over quickly, and put them on the line as soon as they start work.

Remember that this was a guy who moved production from Michigan to the South because of the "economic advantages" i.e., explicitly so he could avoid the employee union, environmental and safety regulations, and higher wage and benefit expectations.

If you're making low-margin plastic nick-nacks, that may makes sense, but it's very hard to maintain production of a purportedly high quality musical instrument made of variable materiel and with a lot of hand work without experienced labor.
I'm afraid you're a bit behind the times. Henry J has been gone for over 7 months. We now have James Curleigh, an "investor" who has vast experience - manufacturing Levis.

We now have Curleigh's business school training to deal/put up with. It appears to be not much different than Henry's.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
I'm afraid you're a bit behind the times. Henry J has been gone for over 7 months. We now have James Curleigh, an "investor" who has vast experience - manufacturing Levis.

We now have Curleigh's business school training to deal/put up with. It appears to be not much different than Henry's.
Hey...a lot of guitarists WEAR Levis. Maybe that will make it OK Otherwise, I guess wait for the denim finish Les Paul.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Nut
 
telegramsam's Avatar
 

I've seen a few interviews with James Curleigh. It kind of annoys me that he goes by "JC". Also none of the interviewers asked him if he actually played guitar, which seemed a bit strange, considering that would be my first question.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by telegramsam View Post
I've seen a few interviews with James Curleigh. It kind of annoys me that he goes by "JC". Also none of the interviewers asked him if he actually played guitar, which seemed a bit strange, considering that would be my first question.
He does, this was made pretty clear when he was first appointed... I guess they feel it's meant to be common knowledge now.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
Why is it that Martin puts out consistent instruments but Gibson is inconsistent.
They don't. My D28 is proof of that.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Bstapper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonwhistle View Post
They don't. My D28 is proof of that.
Those formica guitars are consistent though. Can cut onions on those things...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Don't know a lot about this topic regarding management changes at Gibson, but it seems to me that buying guitars that you don't get a chance to actually play first has always been difficult.


Best,

audioforce
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