by Jef | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Gibson NAMM 2018 no show

Gibson NAMM 2018 no show  ·  Source: Gibson


After a tumultuous 2017, Gibson has confirmed that it is snubbing the NAMM 2018 show in Anaheim, California later this month, instead showing its products at the CES in Las Vegas. But what’s behind this move?



With less than three weeks to go before NAMM, we’ve learned that Gibson has made the decision not to appear at the 2018 show. The company has decided instead to exhibit at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) that runs from 9-12 January 2018.

Gibson has a lot of money invested in their electronics divisions which include brands like Philips, TEAC, Tascam and Onkyo. Last year they showed a prototype of their new Modern Double Cut at CES instead of NAMM, so in some ways the decision to avoid NAMM this year makes sense.

Gibson CES guitar model

New Gibson prototype at CES Show 2017

Saving Money?

I’m pretty sure that Gibson will appreciate the savings, too. A big booth at a major trade show costs a small fortune, and all the including stand fees, staffing and shipping costs can quickly add up. Again, this makes a lot of financial sense for the company, as it is seriously in debt. Its poor debt structure was a reason why the company was rated poorly last year by Moodys. It’s also been selling off assets like its Beale Street, Memphis factory to generate liquidity; the asking price is reported to be $17 million.

Gibson’s official line on the sale of its factory sale is that they want “a new facility will allow the company to improve the product quality, increase production capacity and potentially increase employment in the area”. Sounds like corporate spin to me. I could be wrong, but I think 2018 could be a crucial year for Gibson – and not necessarily in the way we would like it to be.

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10 responses to “Gibson snubs NAMM Show 2018: Strategic choice or a financial one?”

  1. B.C. Loy says:

    They won’t be missed at Winter Namm. There is no shortage of mind blowing 6 string eye candy, and w/Gibson’s high prices and shoddy workmanship, there’s just a lot out there that’s better. You’re losing your touch, Gibson!

  2. William Paxson says:

    Well from a Yank’s point of view (and also from a person who previously managed and ran a successful guitar store for almost 24 years-and yes we were a Gibson dealer among other top brands), seeing as how Gibson has essentially gutted their dealer network here in the States and pretty much just have some big box/internet vendors with a sprinkling to big budget indy/speciality dealers left, going to NAMM is probably redundant. Here in my home State of Indiana, as far as I can tell, there are only three outlets for Gibson products left: Sweetwater, Guitar Center, and Sam Ash. There used to be some smaller dealers who were Epiphone only vendors but that seems to have gone away. With Gibson’s insane buy-in and stocking requirements, they probably realized that nobody at NAMM was going to be lining up to be a Gibson dealer so why bother (which in itself probably speaks volumes as well).

    • Jef says:

      I think you are right, it makes little sense to plough money into a three/four-day event with little to no return. Maybe trade shows themselves are a little redundant anyway, as the internet provides so much information and hits a wider audience?

  3. Cupax says:

    Mark my words – Gibson will be selling the entire company to Cort (or similar) in the following couple of years.

  4. l_c_w says:

    Gibson has seriously fallen off their rocker… CES is not the audience for guitars. Completely stupid decision. They need to stop trying to be a company they are not. Get back to basics, back to quality as primary focus, stop making stupid designs that no one wants or asked for – *cough* modern double cut *cough*… Dumbest looking guitar I’ve ever seen from Gibson… Right up there with the Eye guitar.

    • Stéphane Poirier says:

      Gibson has forgotten the essentials in business: never deceive customers. That’s what Gibson just did to producers from around the world who have been with Cakewalk for decades.

  5. Stéphane Poirier says:

    By killing Cakewalk, Gibson committed suicide. Many musicians have found by the hard way.that Gibson is unreliable.

    • William Paxson says:

      Over here in the US, a lot of us long ago figured out that stuff like this is just business as usual for Gibson.

  6. Gianluca Della Porta says:

    Memphis factory sold for 14m $

    • William Paxson says:

      Yeah, and that’s a screwed up deal when you dig into it. Gibson bought that property for about 1m $ from the city of Memphis on one of those sweetheart deals where they promised to employ a bunch of people there. Gibson supposedly spent 20m $ building and renovating the property so selling it for 14m $ results in a 7m $ loss for Gibson plus now there is a possible issue with the city over whether Gibson fulfilled it’s part of the original bargain by employing the number of people it promised. And the company that just bought that Memphis property is now suing Gibson over a second deal for some other property that they had a agreed deal to buy and Gibson went behind their back and sold it to someone else when they found they could get more money for it. And this money is just a drop in the bucket when you realize Gibson has a quarter BILLION $ debt load that they need to refinance this year and a financial rating that’s below junk bonds.

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