Monday, June 24, 2019

2103 Guitar Wars

Which Twin has the Toni?

We all know Gibson is a big guitar brand. It’s been around since the 1890s and has had more ups and downs than the elevators in the Empire State Building.  Dean is a big guitar importer and has been around since the 1970s.  It knocks off the designs of other makers and sells them for less money. A LOT less.

Now, Gibson is taking Dean to court for copyright violations.  It says “they replicate our stuff.”  Well, yeah, they do. But no one confuses you guys.  Plus the copied instruments are pretty much like Kleenex and aspirin.  They may have been original at some point, but they’re generic now and have been since long before Elvis was a glint in Vernon Presley’s eye.

Do you want me to go into guitar history at this point?  Nah. Me, neither.  Suffice it to say that the “traditional shape” has been around since the 12th century. The modern version isn’t nearly that old. But the outline of the body and neck area.

So the whacky shapes in the pictures today were created by Gibson in the 1950s.  Everyone in the musical merchandise industry copies everyone else.

Back to the ups and downs for a moment.  Gibson was in descent and was recently sold. The new owners want publicity. They’re going about it in several ways.  One of which is a lawsuit.

It gets some air and lots of ink.  Eventually, it’s unlikely anything will happen.  Maybe Dean will be compelled to make shapes that zig where they now zag.  But that’s about all.

But the entire Asian guitar industry was born because of an American lawsuit.  Back in the day, Japanese companies were making inexpensive knockoffs -- inexpensive but not cheap -- of best-selling models by Gibson, Martin, Fender, Guild and others.  The suit forced the Japanese to stop.

But they kept making instruments of their own design and some became best sellers.  US manufacturers manufactured competition where there had been none. 

Nice going, you marketing geniuses.  Let’s see what pops out of the woodwork while you guys fight over … nothing.

--The number of declared Democratic presidential hopefuls has risen to 25.  Okay, boys and girls, don’t be driving trunk-to-grille behind one another.  Because if the lead car stalls, the pileup will be horrific.

--A woman fell asleep on an Air Canada plane and no one woke her up after landing, so she found herself alone in the dark.  Eventually she was able to signal the driver of a passing baggage car for help. The airline apologized for “the inconvenience.”

- “Just remember: The Iranians are great negotiators with a bad hand and you are a terrible negotiator with a good hand.” -- Maureen Dowd advising president trump on the prospects of war with Persia.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015

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