It's an iconic name with deep ties to rock 'n' roll royalty, but Nashville-based Gibson Guitars has filed bankruptcy. A local expert weighs in on what's going on with Gibson.
There are instruments with stories hanging from the walls at Gruhn Guitar. Many of them bear the name Gibson.
"They introduced this model in 1922," said owner George Gruhn, holding up a mandolin. "It was priced at $250. At that same time, a model T Ford cost $250."
Gruhn is a historian of many things music.
"I'll be 73 in August," he said. "Gibson was a famous company before I was born."
Watching the company so closely, Gruhn was not surprised by what Gibson announced Tuesday. The company's filed for bankruptcy protection, with a deal with creditors intended to allow business to carry on.
"I felt that they were expanding into things that the Gibson brand name had no real connection," said Gruhn.
He's talking about Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz's past decision to acquire electronics companies that made things like speakers and headphones.
"I told my employees it’s a two-year time bomb before it's going to blow up in his face, and I was pretty well right," said Gruhn.
Gruhn also feels other more recent products billed as innovative didn't live up to the Gibson name.
"I think Gibson's failure now rests solidly on decisions made by Henry," said Gruhn. "I don't want the Gibson company to go away, nor do I think it will. Gibson is one of the most iconic brand names in America. Their patents, their trademarks, their reputation is extremely valuable."
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