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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

“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

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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by Jef

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

  1. 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!

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