Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gibson Guitars, Jackboots, and Me

This story broke a few weeks ago but it still boggles my mind. Apparently in the last week of August, armed Federal agents raided the factories of the Gibson Guitar Company. The raids were conducted under the pretense of seizing "illegally imported" exotic woods, namely Indian Rosewood used for fingerboards. So the Federal goons confiscated wood and tools at gunpoint and threatened the company with felony charges if they were to continue using that wood. Their other option, as outlined by Uncle Sam, was to move fingerboard production to India. This video is an interview with Gibson's CEO, in which he describes the raid:



Now, don't get me wrong. I've not always been a fan of Gibson as a company. They sued the daylights out of Ibanez, Hamer and others for making guitars that looked like the Explorer, a guitar that Gibson often neglects in favor of its Les Paul and SG models. (Yes, Gibson, I'm still mad at you for discontinuing the gorgeous Gothic-edition Explorer. I mean, what the crap?) Gibsons, in my opinion, are generally overpriced, especially at a price point where you could also buy an American-made Taylor, Breedlove, PRS, or custom made guitar.

All that being said, Gibson is a classic American company with an iconic product line that plenty of players are willing to pay out the nose for. (And I'm not going to lie, if they re-released the Gothic Explorer, I'd open my wallet...) Honestly, I thought our Dear Leader's administration was supposed to be about jobs! I guess it is, as long as those jobs are overseas in India or Madagascar! Eric Holder's "Justice" Department won't go after the Black Panthers, but they'll take the time to place their jackboots on the throat of American businesses and threaten them.

As for me, I'm disgusted. Any Gibson owner, any Gibson endorsee, anyone who wants to own a Gibson should be outraged. The "Justice" Department should be flooded with angry letters and phone calls from musicians and non-musicians alike. Those that can should support Gibson by doing business with them. (L. Neil Smith calls this a "reverse boycott". I like his thinking.) Me? I'm voting with my wallet. Gibson? I hope you've got some decent Explorers lying around...

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