The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #16  
Old 09-07-2019, 08:18 AM
CoffeeFan CoffeeFan is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 269
Default

I've toured the Gibson Bozeman shop, Fender USA, Taylor Guitars, Santa Cruz, Deering, D'Addario and Martin.

I'm a photographer, so I look forward to doing that when I'm on a tour. Of the above listed tours, I was only prohibited from taking pictures at the D'Addario factory. Everyone else welcomed it.

I visited Bozeman some 17 years ago and, as far as I can remember, they gave tours back then (I was with a group invited by Gibson). I could be mistaken, though. And, yeah, there was no place to sit and play, nor were there t-shirts or other curios to buy. Fender also didn't have that, nor did D'Addario.

One thing that didn't sit right with me was, at Martin, you had to pay for the tour which took you onto the main production floor, or what they refer to as "behind the scenes". That seems pretty chintzy to me...
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-07-2019, 08:35 AM
Red_Label Red_Label is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,433
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
That they were very focused and businesslike and had a product flow in their work station assembly line that was quite efficient.



I haven't visited Martin's factory, but visited both the Tacoma Guitar Company's plant and the Larrivée factory in Vancouver, BC, on several occasions. I also visited Yamaha's Taiwan factory in Kao Hsiung and also their headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan back in 1985.

In addition to those large scale factory operations, I've visited some small shop operations like the Santa Cruz Guitar Company's headquarters, and quite a few workshops used by handbuilders like Roy McAlister. I visited the small shop operation where the best quality Kentucky mandolins were made, in the Japanese Alps, and wrote about it for Frets Magazine. And I've been to National Reso-Phonic's small shop operation, mostly when I was working with them to develop what became National's RM-1 mandolin.

On none of those occasions was I on anything like a formal tour. I did just pop in on Santa Cruz because I was in the area and Roy McAlister, who used to work for them, told me it would be fine to just stop by. But all the other guitar factory tours I've taken have been arranged beforehand, and never as part of a formal tour group.

Of the large scale acoustic guitar factories I've visited, the GibsonMontana plant is in the smallest building. Even the Tacoma Guitar Company's plant was larger and had more room between work stations. The Gibson plant is all on one level, and even though there isn't as much room as the other factories I've visited, it's all laid out very efficiently, all on one level.

But it's bare bones. As we got to the end of the tour, I told Don Ruffato that I wanted to buy a Gibson tee shirt to commemorate the occasion. He said:

"That's S.W.A.G - which stands for "stuff we ain't got!"

There's no gift shop there, no tee shirts for sale, no company merchandise, no place for visitors to sit and play a bunch of Gibson guitars, no accommodation for visitors at all. It's strictly business.

And I understand and agree with their policy of not giving tours to the public. The layout of the work stations is logical, but there isn't enough room for a group of people to walk through. Don and I walked mostly single file and we were fine, but if you were to get some doofus too busy watching the screen as he records the tour on his iPad instead of watching his feet and where he's going, there could be potential for severe accidents.

It's a workspace, pure and simple.

I hope that answers your questions, Duff, but if not, get more specific and I'll do my best.


whm
The swag shop and customer playing room for the Gibson Montana facility is across town at Music Villa. ;-)

I live in Billings, MT and make the drive "over the hill" to Bozeman often, to patronize Music Villa and go to MSU Bobcats games and cheer them on. Paul and the guys at the Villa are great and run a helluva operation.

P.S. I majored in classical guitar performance at MSU in the 80s (when the Gibson Montana plant was built). It was a wonderful town back then. But its growth rate has been INSANE over the past 30 years. Some refer to it as "Bozangelas" now. I wouldn't wanna live there now. I'd choose to live near Livingston instead, if I wanted to be closer to the action there.

Last edited by Red_Label; 09-07-2019 at 08:44 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-07-2019, 10:11 AM
Coop47 Coop47 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 72
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rokdog49 View Post
There is always more to a story than one side. With all the changes and management issues, I can understand the employees side of it. Maybe undue pressure has been coming down from the top for a while. Who knows? Maybe the workforce is not up to snuff. Who knows?

It's sad to hear this stuff but maybe it would be better for everyone if Gibson got out of Memphis anyway.
Sorry if I gave the impression that I blamed the employees. I don't at all - I felt bad for them. That was undoubtedly a management issue. I also think the tours weren't looked upon kindly by the employees as it was just another way for Henry to squeeze a buck out of the place. Anyway, the place closed last December, putting 65 people out of work for the holidays, though "several" were offered a chance to take jobs in Nashville.

One other quick story: The Westin across the street had this cool program where you could borrow one of a few guitars that was in the lobby and have it sent up to your room with a small amp. I asked for one just for the novelty got a white LP Custom, but no amp "none are working". Also I don't think the strings had been changed since it was made. Why even put your product there if it's going to look and sound like crap?

On the place side, the Stax Museum was phenomenal.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-07-2019, 10:15 AM
Rev Roy's Avatar
Rev Roy Rev Roy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Northwest Oklahoma
Posts: 3,525
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Label View Post
The swag shop and customer playing room for the Gibson Montana facility is across town at Music Villa. ;-)

I live in Billings, MT and make the drive "over the hill" to Bozeman often, to patronize Music Villa and go to MSU Bobcats games and cheer them on. Paul and the guys at the Villa are great and run a helluva operation?
Yep, I agree. Bought most of my Gibsons from them. Since the remodel Paul has a heck of a Gibson (and similar Martin and Taylor) “picking wall.”

__________________
Martin D-41 (reimagined)
Gibson J-15 Walnut Burst Limited Edition


Some Country Blues strumming on the D-41:
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-08-2019, 11:51 AM
Hogeye Hogeye is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 5
Default Bozeman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy Slaw View Post
Moving to Montana soon....
Hi Murphy,
If you are moving to Montana maybe you will be close to Bozeman? I live in Bozeman and would love to meet you. I'll buy lunch. It's a huge state but sooner or later everyone finds their way to Bozeman.
I'm new to this forum but have been lurking here on and off for several years. I worked in Gibson's sales department for 18 years.

I have a bunch of info on the "old" Gibson company and can answer a lot of questions. I was the "Gibson Montana" historian for many years. As a historian I kept all of the relevant information like pricelists, code identification, Shipping totals and that sort of info.
Hope to see ya soon,
Hogeye
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-08-2019, 06:06 PM
The Growler The Growler is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,371
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogeye View Post
Hi Murphy,
If you are moving to Montana maybe you will be close to Bozeman? I live in Bozeman and would love to meet you. I'll buy lunch. It's a huge state but sooner or later everyone finds their way to Bozeman.
I'm new to this forum but have been lurking here on and off for several years. I worked in Gibson's sales department for 18 years.

I have a bunch of info on the "old" Gibson company and can answer a lot of questions. I was the "Gibson Montana" historian for many years. As a historian I kept all of the relevant information like pricelists, code identification, Shipping totals and that sort of info.
Hope to see ya soon,
Hogeye
Hi Hogeye,

Sounds like you have info that a lot of us here would love to hear. Any chance you could share some interesting history or stories?

Thanks for considering it.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-08-2019, 06:17 PM
Rev Roy's Avatar
Rev Roy Rev Roy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Northwest Oklahoma
Posts: 3,525
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogeye View Post
Hi Murphy,
If you are moving to Montana maybe you will be close to Bozeman? I live in Bozeman and would love to meet you. I'll buy lunch. It's a huge state but sooner or later everyone finds their way to Bozeman.
I'm new to this forum but have been lurking here on and off for several years. I worked in Gibson's sales department for 18 years.

I have a bunch of info on the "old" Gibson company and can answer a lot of questions. I was the "Gibson Montana" historian for many years. As a historian I kept all of the relevant information like pricelists, code identification, Shipping totals and that sort of info.
Hope to see ya soon,
Hogeye
Good to have you here, Hogeye! You may be new here but I’ve already learned a lot from you on the Gibson forum. You’re going to be a great addition to AGF.
__________________
Martin D-41 (reimagined)
Gibson J-15 Walnut Burst Limited Edition


Some Country Blues strumming on the D-41:
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-08-2019, 06:39 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 25,425
Default

After Murphy Slaw wrote "Moving to Montana soon..."

Hogeye replied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogeye View Post
Hi Murphy,
If you are moving to Montana maybe you will be close to Bozeman? I live in Bozeman and would love to meet you. I'll buy lunch. It's a huge state but sooner or later everyone finds their way to Bozeman.
Hogeye, I think Murphy was actually quoting the lyrics of the song "Montana" from Frank Zappa's "Over-Nite Sensation" album. The song goes: "I might be moving to Montana soon...just to raise me up a crop of dental floss."

You might say it's not a strictly realistic or linear song.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogeye View Post
I'm new to this forum but have been lurking here on and off for several years. I worked in Gibson's sales department for 18 years.

I have a bunch of info on the "old" Gibson company and can answer a lot of questions. I was the "Gibson Montana" historian for many years. As a historian I kept all of the relevant information like pricelists, code identification, Shipping totals and that sort of info.
Thanks for joining us here on the forum, Hogeye.

Then Coop told a dispiriting story about poor morale at Gibson's Memphis plant:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coop47 View Post
I did the Memphis tour last year. It confirmed a lot of my fears about Gibson. Everyone - I'm not kidding, everyone - looked miserable....

...At the end of the Gibson tour, you saw people banging pickups with a screw driver. Not one person held a guitar in a playing position. My takeaway was that Martin makes guitars, Gibson makes guitar-shaped objects.

Bozeman is likely different and hopefully Nashville is too, but that Memphis tour was borderline haunting.
Things didn't seem anything like that when I visited the GibsonMontana factory, Coop. Admittedly, I walked through with Don Ruffato, who's one of the top guys in the company, so that would probably stifle any complaints that might have been directed my way.

But I met a bunch of employees who've been working there for decades, and it seemed like a much more pleasant work space than what you described in Memphis.


Wade Hampton Miller

Last edited by Wade Hampton; 09-08-2019 at 10:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-08-2019, 08:23 PM
J185-4Me J185-4Me is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Vancouver Canada
Posts: 836
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogeye View Post
Hi Murphy,
If you are moving to Montana maybe you will be close to Bozeman? I live in Bozeman and would love to meet you. I'll buy lunch. It's a huge state but sooner or later everyone finds their way to Bozeman.
I'm new to this forum but have been lurking here on and off for several years. I worked in Gibson's sales department for 18 years.

I have a bunch of info on the "old" Gibson company and can answer a lot of questions. I was the "Gibson Montana" historian for many years. As a historian I kept all of the relevant information like pricelists, code identification, Shipping totals and that sort of info.
Hope to see ya soon,
Hogeye
Glad to see you here Hogeye! Too bad we missed each other a few weeks ago -- we'd been looking forward to catching up but ...c'est la vie!

Best,
Fred
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:35 AM
Hogeye Hogeye is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 5
Default

Hi Red,
I live about 5 blocks from the stadium in Bozeman. You are right about the town and we are going to move to Livingston next summer. Have a nice little place over there.
Did you take the "Parkening Masters Class" when he taught in Bozeman? He was kind enough to let me audit them for a couple of years.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:42 AM
Hogeye Hogeye is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 5
Default

Hi Growler
I will share any info anyone wants. I won't just pop in with a fun story but will reply to questions if asked.
I have a ton of fun stuff as I was in charge of entertaining foreign distributors with trips to Yellowstone and the surrounding area.
Just so you know the French were the funniest group of folks ever. Made a lot of good friends.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 09-09-2019, 08:46 PM
The Growler The Growler is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,371
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogeye View Post
Hi Growler
I will share any info anyone wants. I won't just pop in with a fun story but will reply to questions if asked.
I have a ton of fun stuff as I was in charge of entertaining foreign distributors with trips to Yellowstone and the surrounding area.
Just so you know the French were the funniest group of folks ever. Made a lot of good friends.
Thanks Hogeye. That sounds like a nice offer. Now, we all have to think of questions for the "Ask Hogeye" thread.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=