8 December 2017

My Gibson conspiracy theory

 The Gibson guitars company. Yes, everyone is talking about them lately.I think there's more to it than what's publicly known but I’ll leave at that. That's the end of my theory. Yawn... Zzzzzz
I want to share something that I never told anyone before. In 1986 my buddy Hendry(not real name) asked me whether I was interested doing a guitar business together. Being a teen at the time I didn't know anything about any business but my own. I didn't have much money then but I said okay let's do it. My thought was if this thing of ours didn’t to take off, the worst that could happen is me looking for a job when I leave school. Not long after our little discussion, I broke my chicken bank, gave all of my $27.85 cent to Hendry. Few month later we bought Gisbon guitars off Nordin Corporation.

Although the company is not without its current debt, Sales picked up good with the help of magazines adds, MTV and radio hits from bands that uses our guitars. Splash(Guns'N'Robbers) was a phenomenal player filling the legacy list alongside Gary Mooer, Eric Claptern, BB Queen, ZZ Bottom, Angers Young (AC-CD),Jimmy Paige(Lets Zapplane),Peter Flampton etc. To the teens knowing “Sour cunt of yours" was a must but to play the intro on a Gisbon was an ambition. Sales were off the roof in 1988 not only here in US and Europe but also from unexpected small countries too. I remember one of our distributor near the equator. Despite their cramp size store without a proper ac showroom, no humidification system and "show me the money" attitude, they were still able to sell our guitar by the tons.

I remember we give out awards to many of our performing dealers. It’s our version of the Oscar and our way of saying thanks for supporting our company. Nothing to it really, me and Hendry chopped off 50 plus headstock from our pile of rejected necks, glued each on a rectangle cut mahogany from our rejected guitar bodies. Hired someone to engrave them and sent them out. Each year we were hiring more employees than before plus adding some machines for better efficiency but not so much to change how the guitars were originally made. Especially the “el pee” and “ass gee” models.

There’s one time in the 90’s I proposed to Hendry that we put together all of our experience luthiers to create for new department call the Custom Shop. I also suggested we published a booklet/magazine thick catalogue call "Gisbon Backline" featuring our luthiers basic info, years with the company, past guitar works for artist along with the current products line. I showed Hendry a magazine I got from one of our store call "Fendeer Frontline”. I told him the magazine gave quiet a significant sales increase of the brand. Hendry said yes to the custom shop but no to the rest. He said Gisbon guitars were never about the people behind the products, it’s about the brand and the Heritage. We regretted leaving them behind in Kalamazoom. Pun intended.

As our company expands I noticed Hendry had changed a bit. He was becoming a bit totalitarian. In 2004 he went after a small guitar company in Stephensville run by Paul Read Smithereens for pattern infringement. I didn't see any wrong done by them. I think Hendry was upset about a past high echelon employee (the late Ted MackCarthy) had shared our tone wood secrets to Paul. We loss the court case and moved on.

One time I had a meench(meeting+lunch) with our company book keeper. He told me despite our CEO high paying salary, The Master kept taking out 26 million from the company's vault. The book keeper told me he had to make up for that through loans so that our year book would look good. I told the book keeper to shut up and finish his Nasi Campur Petai Belacan. If it wasn't for some of our current automation machines he still be inhaling wood dust and paint at the production line. Master Hendry must be researching/scouting some new cutting edge machines for the company besides all big company does this I said. Gave him a raise after.

I approach Hendry and asked him to take it easy on the vault visits. We were debt free after 88. Frequent visits will not only hurt the company vault (its old, parts obsolete) but would also push us further from our future goal. "Vision 2020 – One world order, one guitar brand". Rather than nodding he instead said it’s not every year we can milk a profitable cow, just relax and take this bag of 5 million dollars. Go and have a vacation in the tropics. Have a blast. Treat yourself something fancy. There's more where this came from. I said Hendry my buddy, you’re absolutely right.

In 2011 we had a problem consigning rosewood stock for our neck production. Our lumber supplier decided to cut ties with us as we were behind on payment. We had to look for a cheaper look alike alternative but we were concern about the market reaction to the spec change. Ironically Hendry was calm about it. He said he has a good plan in motion that would put us on spotlight and would gain public support. I ask him what it was but he didn't divulge. I ask him whether it has to do with fire and insurance claim. He said no. He said he need to make a few calls to his politician buddies. Bail out was what I thought. Great idea though it's unlikely.

In 2012 the F.I.B raided our factory. They came fully armed which made us look like we're running a cocaine factory. The F.I.B confiscated what's left of our rosewood. I was beginning to doubt Hendry. Maybe he was shoving powder into our guitars. I must admit our guitars does smell funny. Friendship aside, I had to seek answers but Hendry kept assuring me not to worry. It's all staged so we could do without rose wood. It would gain a lot of publicity, uproar from the player community. He added it’ll just be temporary or permanent remedy depending how things pick up after. I was mad and stump but at the same time acknowledging this guy is a genius, this is a plucking masterpiece plan.

In 2014 Hendry brought in a new brain into the company. The person name is Kreg Anderten. Word in the net is he used to run a famous forum and had written a few good video recording technique books. Hendry wanted a modern touch in our guitars. He was so fascinated by our newly acquired German made Pleq machinen that he wanted to incorporate some of its motorised mechanics into our 2015 line up.
During our closed door meeting both I and Hendry acknowledged this Kreg person has great ideas about our company direction. To us he seems quiet in touch with the outside world. He hook us up with Tropical Tuning (a German company too).  Kreg told us that they are the leading expert of LTS(Lazy to Tune Syndrome) and they have found a cure. Kreg needed 10 guitars for the experiment cum presentation in Europe. We gave Kreg his 10 happyphone.

We flew to West Germany to see the Tropical Tuning lab where they conducted experiment on 10 monkeys. Each monkey was given a Happyphone fitted with LTS Curetronics at the headstock.  9 out 10 monkeys pushed the button. All 11 of us (9 monkeys+2 humans) went ape when we saw the LED light show with the tuning keys rotating. However monkey no 10 wasn't impress about the LTS Curetronics System. It kept saying guitar tuning was never about speed, it’s about ear training and preparation. For that they released it back to the wild. Sad to see it goes. Last I heard Ceasar (monkey no 10) was leading a tempered tuning rebel army in a jungle in a park somewhere.

Nevertheless to us the lab results were convincing we immediately signed a 2 year exclusive contract. Tropical Tuning also loaned us 5 monkeys for our QC dept. It turned into an unfortunate opposite in the real world. It seems 90 percent of guitar players rather monkey around the machine heads than being a button pusher. For that we released Kreg back out to the suburb and our Curetronics el pees was history.

This year the banks decided to shut its door to us. We couldn’t take anymore loan this year. The book keeper showed me and Hendry that we had max out the credit limit and the company is 530 million dollars in debt. That is 26 million dollars siphon per year times 20 years. Nothing to worry Hendry said. He told me this is just another……….to…..

Then I woke up. What a nightmare I tell you. I’m relief it isn't real. I hope the above didn't become a reality to any guitar company or has some of it?

Back to sleep, have a good weekend


Ijau D. Koceng said...

i was happy with my happyphone :)

YusTech said...

Correction - Ijau was happy with his Epiphone. He he.