by Jef | 5,0 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes

Gibson Demo Shop  ·  Source: Reverb/Gibson


Gibson has teamed up with Reverb on a new offering: the Gibson Demo Shop. The online store is selling one-off guitars and prototypes. Gibson says all guitars sold on the Demo Shop will have gone through “35-point inspection”, and are offered on a two-year “playability” warranty. Will punters be lining up for a new way to grab a unique Gibson guitar for a knock down price? Some of the small print may be a bit off-putting for some buyers.


Gibson Demo Shop

So every guitar builder produces prototypes of guitars, uses demo instruments that don’t get sold to the customer. What to do with them? Gibson has decided to offer some of its guitars for sale via a Gibson Demo Shop. Some are prototypes, some are modded versions, some are demo units and some have even been played by famous artists. And to reflect that, the price is a bit cheaper than standard instruments from the factory. Gibson states that each guitar goes through a 35-point inspection before being listed and offered on a two-year warranty. Here’s what Gibson’s Cesar Gueikian has to say:

We are excited to launch the Gibson Demo Shop in partnership on Reverb, as they’re the established online marketplace for guitars and beyond … We are making unique prototypes, demo and modified guitars, and over time guitars played by our artists that fans love will be available on the Gibson Demo Shop.

Gibson Demo Shop

Gibson Demo Shop · Source: Reverb/Gibson

“Playability” warranty

So far, so good. But I had a look at the initial offering of around 40 guitars on the new Gibson Demo Shop. My first thoughts? I don’t understand why, if Gibson is offering a warranty on guitars that have been inspected, the company is selling guitars with technical faults. The “two-year warranty based on playability” seems to be at odds with an SG listing that has a technical – rather than purely cosmetic – fault, with a problem with the E-string saddle.


Read the details from the listing below. I think we can all get behind buying a guitar with cosmetic flaws like scratches for a reduced rate. But wouldn’t it have been better to fix the “off-center” E-string before selling it?

Gibson SG Standard listed with fault on the E string

Gibson SG Standard listed with fault on the E string · Source: Reverb/Gibson

Internet Reactions

The reception on guitar forums has been, shall we say, mixed. The regulars on sites like TGP have been posting reactions like, “I guess ‘seconds’ or ‘B-stock’ doesn’t sound as nice.” Another user suggested a “Certificate of Defects”, while someone else came up with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the infamous Play Authentic slogan, “Play Defective”.

In theory, the Gibson Demo Store is a great idea and could be a nice way for Gibson fans to get their hands on a unique guitar. But I think it’s a bit silly to offer guitars for sale that have technical issues that go beyond aesthetic blemishes.

What do you think? Is this new Gibson Demo Shop a good idea? Or does it need some work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, as I’d love to know what you all think about this new online store.

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7 responses to “Gibson Demo Shop: Prototype guitars, demo instruments and a mixed response”

    TroCat says:

    I grabbed one of these guitars. Yeah, they listed come flaws but for the life of me, I can’t find them with my naked eye! I believe these guitars have gone through more quality control than the standard store bought ones!

    edward aguirre says:

    Just love the new selection of guitars 🎸

    Tom Raven says:

    Not interested. The discounts aren’t deep enough to make it worth the risk of purchasing one of these.

    charles friscia says:

    you have no idea what your missing out on if you dont play one. there excellent inst with a lower initial cost and will be worth more down the road

    Phil says:

    I like the idea however I don’t like that they are stamped Demo on the back . If I bought a new Gibson and used it ( like I have ) it gets dings and blemishes which people come to expect however with the stamp “demo” on the back I feel like if I was going to sell it I would have to do more explaining . I would still buy one if I liked it . Most Gibsons are fantastic and if I can get one a little cheaper I’m all for it

    Atomic Armadillo says:

    I’m in agreement, that easy-fix technical issues, such as that on the SG in question, should be fixed prior to posting for sale, and that the buying-public should rather expect only cosmetic issues, albeit very slight in most cases.

    In the larger picture however, I render kudos to the Gibson team for the Demo Shop Sales concept, which enables many players to have closer access to otherwise unafforable guitars–which are very often “the stuff of which [their personal] dreams are made of.”

    Steve DeHart says:

    DEMO stamped in the headstock does not seem to be needed. A used guitar is a used guitar and from I have seen prices are not that attractive.

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