What is the quality control like on the 2019 guitars?
In my experience, the 2019 guitars have been sensational in terms of Quality Control. I do not sell Gibson guitars, nor do I receive them for free. I have had a chance to test a number of them and they have all been flawless.
One of the best things about the 2019 models is consistency. Each of the 2019 Gibsons has been fantastic straight off the shelf. The action has been low but playable without fret buzz or playability issues.
After testing five of the 2019 Gibson electric guitars I had no complaints. I liked their 2019 Flying V so much I ended up purchasing it. Check out the full article on the 2019 Gibson Flying V if you want to read about that.
What was wrong with prior years?
The main issue was consistency. This covers all aspects of the guitar from quality control issues on the finish through to issues with playability and tone.
One of the worst guitars I ever owned was a Gibson ES-335 made in 2007. This guitar not only sounded horrible, but it had some severe issues with the way the Nut was cut. The issue was it was cut way too low and the strings were always choking out on the fretboard. I had to pay to have this replaced at a third party repair shop because the “Gibson Warranty” from Gallins Guitars was an absolute joke. The humbuckers used in this Gibson ES-335 sounded dark, muddy, and lackluster.
Another Gibson I had problems with was a Les Paul Studio 70’s Tribute guitar. This was a beautiful looking and sounding guitar with one huge issue. You would tune it up and play a chord and it was out. After checking the tuning again you would find the tuning was fine. This made the guitar unplayable as well.
Lastly, another horror story was a Les Paul with P90’s I purchased. This third guitar ended up having a loose pickup. I couldn’t believe my luck! I did get this last guitar on the used market but it wasn’t old at the time.
It also seemed like Gibson only applied their Quality Control standards to the Gibson Custom Shop Range.
What problems to look for on a Gibson Guitar
- Make sure none of the notes choke out. Spend a little bit of time making sure all the bends work.
- Check the neck for defects. Make sure the neck is not warped or bent. You can do this by looking down the neck from the headstock. Use both eyes.
- Out of Tune Chords. This will mean either the intonation is out (an easy fix) or the nut is not right.
- Quality Control. Check the neck, body, frets, and pickups to make sure everything is as it should be.
The Best Year in a long time?
YES! While Gibson has made great guitars over the years, the consistency is back and the quality control is back! This is great news for lovers of the electric guitar. If you’ve wanted a Gibson electric guitar now is a great time to buy.
The Pickups in many of the guitars I tested were great. These ranged from Gibsons P90s, Humbuckers, and Burstbucker pickups. One of my favorite sounding guitar by a mile was the 2019 Flying V and Les Paul Junior DC.
Custom Shop Standards
Gibson has always had its Quality Control sorted with their Custom Shop range of guitars. I don’t think I have ever seen any major complaints about their Custom Shop guitars on YouTube or Instagram. The 2019 Quality control in the custom shop range is no exception either. Everything is as it should be.
The Gibson “tuning stability” is pretty much the same as it has always been. Guitarists hate change and any modifications to the iconic Gibson headstock angle will see a huge backlash. With that in mind, tuning is no better or worse than in previous years. Gibson guitars do not stay in tune as well as a Fender guitar but it is what it is.
Should you buy a New 2018 Model?
If it is great, go for it. My suggestion is though to try and find a 2019 model. The consensus online is the Quality Control is back to where it was many years ago. Find the best guitar for you. Make sure you check for issues on any guitar you plan on buying. I would not purchase a 2018 Gibson without playing it first. I would have fewer hesitations about saying this for the Gibson 2019 guitars because from my experience with them, they’ve all been great. Check out the new 2018 Gibson Guitars on Amazon.
As always, I suggest playing any guitar before you buy it. This was especially true for Gibson in prior years. The 5 2019 guitars I played were all good and I had to hide my wallet because I would have also purchased the Gibson Les Paul Junior DC as well. It was simply amazing!