Music gear icon Gibson has teamed up with online instrument marketplace titan Reverb to sell one-of-a-kind prototypes, demo models, pre-played artist signatures and Gibson mods. The Gibson Demo Shop is live now and has kicked off with 40 exclusive guitars.
“We are excited to launch the Gibson Demo Shop in partnership on Reverb, as they’re the established online marketplace for guitars and beyond,” said Gibson’s Cesar Gueikian. “We are making unique prototypes, demo and modified guitars, as well as guitars played by our artists that fans will love, available on the Demo Shop.”
The big draw here is the opportunity to own a unique instrument from a manufacturing legend at a fraction of the cost of gear listed in its main catalog, and some that won’t appear anywhere else. All of the guitars are essentially being sold as used items, so Gibson’s Repair and Restoration team will put them through a 13-point inspection process, and they will come with a two-year “playability” warranty.
While that sounds pretty good on paper, a closer look at some of the prototypes currently on offer reveals that not all of them are free from bothersome imperfections. One of the listings for the SG Standard ’61 Maestro Vibrola prototype, for example, includes the description “burns on control pocket, E string saddle is off center.” A few battle scars is probably something you can live with, but an off-center saddle could be problematic. The description accompanying another listing for the same model reads: “nut angle is deep, messy slots, bridge and tail slightly tarnished.”
All of the guitars are being offers as is, and the issues that are more than cosmetic damage don’t appear to affect the playability warranty. But such things could well take the shine off an otherwise interesting and positive move by the company.
At the moment, the Gibson Demo Shop hosts mainly prototypes, but the company is promising to add pre-played artist models and mods in the near future.