Gibson Guitar
1.8 of 5 115 reviews
www.gibson.com Nashville, TN 1000 to 5000 Employees

Gibson Guitar Reviews

Updated Mar 29, 2014

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1.8 115 reviews

                             

14% Approve of the CEO

Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO, Gibson Guitar and Baldwin Piano Henry E. Juszkiewicz

Henry E. Juszkiewicz

(107 ratings)

13% of employees recommend this company to a friend
115 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Gibson and Baldwin are great brand names"
    in 11 reviews
  • "Great people on the front lines who make the products"
    in 9 reviews
Cons:
  • "They actually get a thrill from firing people, they actually want you to fail, I have never seen anything like it"
    in 5 reviews
  • "Senior Management, there is only one"
    in 5 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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  • Approves of CEO

 

American manufacturing company with rich heritage, yet progressive and forward thinking

Dealer Product Specialist (Former Employee)
Nashville, TN

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThe products, GIbson guitars are legendary. Pride in working for a company that still makes their products in the USA. Fairly hands off and supportive management if you're doing you're job well and producing results.

ConsExpectations about the success and sell-in / sell through of new products are sometimes unrealistic. Very hard to get promoted internally, the advice I was given early on was "the best way to get promoted is to quit and come back 5 years later".

Advice to Senior ManagementDevelop internal employees and promote them accordingly.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Worst guitar in the industry, I've seen cheap chinese guitars made better

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than 3 years

Prosno reason, unless you like mental and physical abuse a la NAZI concentration camps. Some employees are lucky enough to leave at 8 hrs (due to their incredibly poor work), but the rest of us are there 10-12 hrs a day, 6-7 days a week. So if you like overtime that knocks you up into another tax bracket, this is the place.

one thing i will say for the management though, is that they have accomplished the HIGHLY impressive feat of taking one of the most highly respected names in the guitar industry and run it into the ground and buried it, never to see the light of day. this is the Norlin era they will never recover from.

Consthis is literally the worst piece of cow dung in the industry. I wouldn't even call it a guitar, it's so poorly made. Management, especially the CEO, don't care a bit about quality, the only thing that matters is their unrealistically high production numbers. the production processes are so archaic they are amateur, and they have the audacity to call it the worlds finest guitar. all of this stems from the CEO and his manic psychotic neurotic management style (he has to sign off on EVERYTHING: new hires, transfers within the company, promotions, raises, budgets, any funding for new parts or machines.

There is also no opportunity for improvement or career advancement. I am a luthier who can make a better instrument on my back porch with a case of beer than they can on their BEST day, and i was treated as just another peon who must not know anything, since i worked on the floor.

pay is about HALF of what it should be for this expensive of a product, when a factory is turning out nearly $1 million a week in profits from one factory with less than 50 employees, they should make more than the salary cap of $12-$15 per hr, the only reason you make a decent living wage is because you work so much you don't have any time to live. You may have time to go home and sleep (and eat something, if you're VERY lucky, most days i don't even have the energy to wake up and eat once i get home.

Might i mention again the EXTREMELY poor quality of these instruments? the processes these people try to use are inefficient, cumbersome, and so archaic they are ridiculous, and when you try to change a process to make it more efficient, you are told you can't, because it's not the "Gibson Way".

In short, this is the worst company in the world, slaves in sweat shops in Asia are treated better (and make a better product too)

Advice to Senior ManagementDie. Do the world a favor. Do your company and employees a favor. Die and quit ruining a great name like gibson. Or, if you prefer, retire. either way, leave the gibson company in the hands of someone who is capable of managing more than just his nether regions.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Do Yourself a Favor and Just Pass on This Company

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Gibson Guitar

ProsThere really aren't any material pros at Gibson from a career standpoint. A great brand and they make cool guitars but in six months when you're looking for a new job who will care about this and how will it fix your unemployed status.

ConsIt has been stated repeatedly that the CEO is a challenge, toxic whatever and yes, all of it is true. Many if not most people who take a management position here don't last a year. This is especially true at Corporate where at any given time half of the positions are open because employee turnover is off the charts and they are horrible at recruiting talent to get replacements hired. That's a really bad combination to have in a company. So the first question you have to ask yourself is: do you want to show a job that only lasted six to twelve months on your resume with a company that has a positive, almost cult like global brand image? Or another way, how will you explain your short tenure to the next company you interview with and make them believe you weren't the problem? When I was outside Nashville and told people I worked for Gibson 100% of them said "that's a great company" even though they had no clue. It's highly likely your next potential employer will think that way as well.

 You will not grow here or learn anything that will be useful in any other company unless they employ 1950's management techniques. Maybe a screenwriter for "Madmen" would find some material here but as someone trying to grow their career you won't learn anything useful. The pay will be no better than your last job minus your previous bonus and 401k match which to my knowledge they do not contribute. So next question, your not making any more money and probably less, not learning anything useful and will need to explain why you left after 6 months, how are you going to position this to beat the competition going after your next job?

Lastly, there is a core group of survivors in this company. Nice people but probably not the most dynamic or skilled. That said, they manage to get the job done under some pretty trying circumstances. Getting hired and quitting or getting fired after 6 months makes their job much more difficult because they needed to train you and it takes time away from their work only to have that person leave. If you don't have what it takes to work here then stay away because this causes more harm to all involved including yourself. There are people working under stress with families to provide for who don't need to get hosed by some 'guitar dude" who couldn't cut it. In summary, don't get starry-eyed because you think guitars are cool and that will carry the day. Think about what this place will do to your credentials and ability to move on to the next stage of your career which working at Gibson will force sooner than you expect and by all means, be considerate of those special folks who will have to re-fill the gap after you leave.

Advice to Senior ManagementNothing to state. I know better.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Poorly managed company for being this large.

Relationship Manager (Former Employee)
Nashville, TN

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than 3 years

ProsResume building and working for a prestigious brand. The nostalgia wears off after about a year when you realize what a sour company it really is underneath and how out of touch the CEO is from the real world.

ConsUnderstanding CEO's vision that is so out of step with any grounds in reality or the marketplace.

Advice to Senior ManagementOperations will not improve until CEO tyrant is removed.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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One of the most horribly run companies I have ever worked for! (I'm not kidding!) The animals run the zoo!

Final Assembly -Guitar Adjuster (Former Employee)
Nashville, TN

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than a year

ProsA small employee discount on Guitars. Dental / Health (Dental-not so good, Health coverage was okay.) Once in a blue moon, get a pizza.

ConsEvery decision, action, employee hiring, design of new models, etc.-comes from the C.E.O.-Henry J. He dictates every single decision that happens within the company. His power and control over the company is unimaginable. Nothing will change until he leaves or sells the company. First of all the C.E.O. hires every worker- (which is why you wait an eternity to get hired). He doesn't delegate hiring to other departments like other "normal" companies do. That is why you apply, take tons of tests, wait 3 to 5 months (not weeks!), take a drug screen test, if you pass that, then you are finally hired- for a factory job- not a job at the White house! Managers demean workers- most managers don't even have a high school level of education- while most of the workers have some college experience or a 4 yr. degree (including me). Why do the young (20 to 40 yrs. old) educated guys take the job? (1st)- it looks good on the resume, (2nd)- you get to work on guitars, which seems cool at first, until you realize it's a place you do not want to be -most guys leave after a year on average. There is no chance for advancement or a raise. The attitude from Mngt. is intimidation- to rule by fear. They actually get a thrill from firing people, they actually want you to fail, I have never seen anything like it. Everything is about hitting your daily numbers at any cost. Pay raises have been non-existent for years without explanation of why. H.R. is the worst I have ever seen. The women in H.R. dress extremely inappropriate and unprofessional. When you go to H.R. to ask questions, they literally sigh and roll their eyes like you are bothering them -instead of them actually doing their jobs. Nobody knows anything-when you ask for help, you get annoyed responses because they just want to hit their personal number to get out and go home. Managers do as little as possible to not get noticed, but do just enough to keep their jobs- while the workers do all the work to make them look good. Turnover is constant. Stress levels are off the charts. 2012 was my 1st yr. of 2 yrs. working there. We were doing from 650 to 800 guitars a day- (Massman Dr. plant). In comparison the Custom Shop makes about 50 a day. The Memphis Plant- 50 a day. The Montana plant- 50 a day- us =650 to 800 a day! We made the most guitars in 2012 ever -but for the first time nobody received a yearly bonus?!? Which makes no sense -until you figure out everything is about cutting costs-all ordered from the C.E.O. People will skip all their breaks and even lunch to hit their number to get out on time. Countless times we had no lacquer because Mngt. hadn't ordered on time?!? We would have no parts for the guitars (bridges, tuners, etc.)-because they forgot to order on time?!? Yet no one from Mngt. would take accountability for it. One day, 5 people in my dept. (20-30 in the whole plant overall) were fired with no warning (one lady had been there 18 yrs., one guy-8 yrs., etc.)-yet Gibson's attendance policy in their own handbook states you have to be given a oral warning, then a 1st written warning, then a 2nd written warning- yet all the workers were not given any warning. And the reason why is that it had been a slow Christmas season in sales, so they were all let go (ordered by Henry J. -the dictator) to cut payroll-but didn't follow their very own attendance policy-because they don't have to. There is no union, no protection for your job. They tell you you are fired, and to just deal with it, while the powers-that-be don't have to be accountable for anything. It is a dictatorship. A guy I worked there with has been there 20 yrs. And one day he counted up all the workers he remembered being fired or had quit in the 20 yrs. he had been there - it was 350 to 400! If you fail a drug test, you can keep your job?!? So you take 2 weeks off and go to drug rehab- but if you break the attendance policy - you are gone?!?- It's because the company doesn't have to pay you for 2 weeks, and it's something of a tax write off as well (that's what I was told). So basically you can break the law and do drugs- and still have a job. All in the name of saving money. The back break room refrigerator has not been cleaned in 2 yrs! No clock in the main break room for over 5 yrs. and counting! Gibson charged their own employees and their children to attend the company's (workers!) halloween party!?!? Gibson owns Tobias basses-made them 2 yrs. then stopped. Owns Slingerland drums, but hasn't made them in over 12 yrs (pics of them on the website are from late 1990's)! Baldwin pianos (makes on a on-order basis only, and only in Japan, not America anymore). Valley Arts guitars-stopped making them in 2002-12 yrs. ago. Etc,etc.etc! The point being is they buy up all these brand names- and have them on their website as if they are still being sold - but they are not! But they don't say that on their website. The C.E.O. has them to just build value for the Gibson/Epiphone name - to make it more valuable- to sell the company one day at maximum profit. I know this because managers told me this who had first hand knowledge. Guys have been punched in the face during arguments. One guy took a screwdriver and smashed it through the top of a hollow body guitar out of frustration! Arguments are a daily occurrence. My friend would come into work to start his shift, and be so nervous, he would throw up in the bathroom- because of the stress levels and negative atmosphere. Every day literally felt like you were going to prison! I really wanted to make this job work out for me. I am a musician (as are many who work there, many of us play gigs on weekends or nights). My long-term plan was to use my degree, and move up to a corporate position-until I found out what a nightmare the company is. I found out through everyone that I asked that corporate is run the same way! Many might be surprised by this review, because Gibson guitars are really revered by musicians. And outwardly the company has a reputation of the highest quality. But working there was the exact opposite, you would almost rather dig ditches! I have pretty much done it all- I owned my own business, waited tables, worked out in the heat-landscaping, worked in sales, marketing, management, etc. And I have never had such a negative work experience- ever! It affected my health mentally and physically (standing everyday for 10 hrs. or more). And let me tell you for those of you reading this -no job is worth that!

Advice to Senior ManagementRevamp the entire company staff from the C.E.O. down to the lowest level managers. Give workers raises. Treat them like human beings. Be nicer and friendlier. Reduce stress levels and not have such a toxic atmosphere. Make the daily numbers actually feasible and actually attainable without having to work 15 hrs. to achieve them. Have accountability on all levels - checks and balances- from C.E.O. down to lower management. Recognize the workers are human, and not robots!

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Great potential, but falls short of expectations.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than 3 years

ProsVery strong brand, with dedicated passionate employees (at most levels). Decent compensation at first if you can arrange it.

ConsPoor upper level management, constant turnover and misdirection on many levels. Not much promotion from within nor raises / pay increase

Advice to Senior ManagementSpend time with the worker bees and the people in the cubes (or in the field) to get a clear picture of what going on / whats missing. Don't just listen to your direct reports

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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I quit. I worked directly under Hitler aka Henry, and everyone at the company worked in fear rather than motivation.

I Worked In the Creative Department (Former Employee)
Nashville, TN

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for less than a year

ProsThe product. The coworkers are super friendly.

Cons-Hitler
-You can't request a meeting with Hitler in advance. Rather he schedules a meeting at your
  last minute's notice on HIS time.
- Hitler degrades you in front of the company, because he can.
- You are expected to write these stupid reports on a daily basis rather than concentrate on
   your job at hand.
- He forces you to produce projects with your own equipment/money if your even lucky
  enough to have the resources within a ridiculous short notice deadline.
- Everyone tip toes and avoids Hitler.

Advice to Senior ManagementDie already, so there can be another CEO.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Not at all what I expected when I accepted the job offer; completely misled.

Operations Coordinator (Current Employee)
Nashville, TN

I have been working at Gibson Guitar full-time for less than a year

ProsThe brand recognition is pretty awesome. Seeing/being around the guitars is a neat experience.

ConsHorrible managed at every level, micromanaged to the point of insanity. To quote a former colleague "Gibson is successful in spite of itself". Awful place to work if you are looking to move forward with your career; the perfect place to work if you don't care about your future.

Advice to Senior ManagementDo your job.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Stay Away

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than a year

ProsEveryone but the CEO is great to work with - they do hire the best and everyone approaches the job with incredible enthusiasm and creativity

ConsBut - it's all for naught. Entire job ends up being trying to figure out what the CEO wants - but he refuses to provide direction or feedback. People are fired without reason, shifted onto things that they weren't hired for and judged on what can only be called random thoughts by Henry.

Advice to Senior ManagementNot sure that much can be done -

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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The best brand in guitars, but the worst company in America.

Executive (Former Employee)
Nashville, TN

I worked at Gibson Guitar full-time for more than a year

ProsProducts are cool; not especially well-made but dripping with legacy and coolness.

ConsSenior Management, there is only one...and it's Henry. Nothing happens without his knowledge and approval. Nothing. Ever. Government raids? Yup, for good reason. And the OSHA folks would love to surprise check the place for all of the safety violations. Workers are miserable...well, only 95% of them.

Advice to Senior ManagementLeave. Sell the company. ANYBODY else would do a better job. My dog would do a better job. Don't think the company is the size it is because of what you've done. If you weren't there, it would be TWICE as successful.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Gibson Guitar reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Gibson Guitar CEO Henry E. Juszkiewicz. All 115 reviews posted anonymously by Gibson Guitar employees.