Gibson is in the firing line after a video showed the company destroying hundreds of guitars.

The video, leaked by former employee BJ Wilkes, shows a huge number of new Firebird X guitars lined up in rows on the ground before they were crushed by an excavator.

For any muso, it’s hard to watch.

Speaking with YouTube channel The Guitologist, Wilkes said that Gibson chose to destroy them after poor sales.

“Gibson literally could not sell these guitars and they were on the books,” Wilkes explained before adding that the company’s new investors were “trying to clean up the mess before the end of the fiscal year.”

As the video spread online, questions swirled around why Gibson didn’t just donate the guitars, or at least repurpose any of the hardware before sending in the heavy machinery.


Wilkes said that destroying seemingly unusable guitars was routine for Gibson.

“I’ve seen them take, daily, 10, 20 ES guitars that were painted and ready to go, and just cut ’em up because there was some teeny-tiny little blemish.”

Gibson has since said in a statement that the video represented “an isolated batch of Firebird X models built in 2009-2011 which were unsalvageable and damaged with unsafe components. This isolated group of Firebird X models were unable to be donated for any purpose and were destroyed accordingly.”

Gibson also announced a commitment to give away “a guitar a day away over the next 1,000 days.”

“100 per cent of donations to the Gibson Foundation go directly towards giving the gift of music, reaffirming Gibson’s commitment to giving back, helping under-served music education programmes, empowering music culture and encouraging the creation of music.”

Tone Deaf

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