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Does Gibson’s bankruptcy signal another ‘nail in the coffin’ for electric guitars?




Custom Gibson Les Paul studio guitar on display at Juliens Auctions in Beverly Hills, California on March 7, 2011.
Custom Gibson Les Paul studio guitar on display at Juliens Auctions in Beverly Hills, California on March 7, 2011.
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

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Gibson Brands, Inc., the legendary company behind guitars played by Jimmy Page and B.B. King, filed bankruptcy Tuesday.

As reported by Rolling Stone, the Nashville-based company announced that it’s working on “refocusing, reorganizing and restructuring.” That means leaving behind some of its “non-core” brands in audio and home entertainment, which cost Gibson $135 million in order to expand its reach with consumers; a plan that couldn’t hold in sales. But the company is far from dead. It’s still a force in the instrument biz, with big brands like Steinberger, Baldwin and Epiphone as part of its inventory.

But could the bankruptcy of Gibson, the guitar giant, be a sign of something bigger in the music industry? There’s been talk in recent years about the end of the electric guitar, especially as electronic music takes center stage. And just last month, Guitar Center announced that it is experiencing financial problems and might go bankrupt. Is changing musical taste a contributing factor to the demise of the electric guitar?

Guests:

Amy X. Wang, music business reporter for Rolling Stone; she’s been following the story

Mikael Wood, pop music critic for the LA Times