How Gibson continues to bring Filipinos closer to music

Bleu Rascals' Paul Marney at Gibson store opening at Vertis North.

The history of Gibson is among the most inspiring business and passion stories. Its humble beginnings date back to 1894 when Orville Gibson started making and selling mandolin at a single-room workshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 1898, he patented his special single-piece mandolin design that had been noted for being more durable compared to other mandolins.

In 1902, he established Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Orville’s death in 1918 did not stop Gibson from further growing and becoming an important brand of guitars and musical instruments. The company peaked during the golden age of guitars in the 1950s and 1960s, then resurged to glory in the late 1980s.

Through the years, Gibson further strengthened by acquiring other firms, including music instrument makers and consumer electronics manufacturers. In 2012, it entered into a partnership with Japan’s Onkyo Corporation.

“Gibson is connected to music and music connects with people,” said Gibson Guitar Corp. Japan President Yasuhiko Iwanade. “Historically, we go way back, so it has been more than 120 years of supporting music and people.”

Rock band Kjwan is among the three bands tapped as music ambassadors of Gibson in the Philippines. In photo are (from left) Kelley Mangahas, Marc Abaya, and Boogie Romero

Supporting local musicians
Part of Gibson’s business principle is to think local so it could understand and adjust to the musical taste and preferences to continue connecting to more people. In the Philippines, the brand has backed many musical acts and performers through the years. Currently, it is strongly supporting local contemporary bands like Kjwan, Franco, and Bleu Rascals.

The three brands are now officially the ambassadors of the brand in the country. According to Kjwan’s vocalist Marc Abaya, the honor of being associated with the brand makes them want more to be better musicians so they could proudly live up to Gibson’s legacy. “You make yourself deserve it,” he asserted.

‘The standard’
Many musicians from all around the world associate the brand with unmatched sound and guitar tone. It has always been considered as ‘’the standard’ for its versatility, playability, and overall quality, which are the basic requirements of every performer.

“It’s comforting to feel that we have the best guns with us,” said Franco bassist Dave Delfin. He added that Gibson adds a human touch. This could be attributed to the unique practice of including a photography and signature of the craftsman who put his heart and soul into making each guitar a masterpiece.

Marney and Abaya with Gibson Guitar Corp. Japan President Yasuhiko Iwanade (center).

Gibson’s strong presence in the Philippines
Gibson has recently opened its current second store in the country—at Vertis North in Quezon City. Simply put, the new location is every guitar enthusiast’s heaven as it showcases and sells even classic guitars like the Gibson Les Pauls and the exquisitely crafted Gibson Acoustics, among many others.

“We have plans of expanding further to give Filipinos more access to our products, especially the newer models which we will launch soon,” said Gibson Philippines Retail Sales Manager Fidel Zamora. Aside from the Gibson 2018 line, Zamora hinted that the business is looking at the possibility of launching the Slash collection. (Slash is a British-American songwriter and musician, best known for being the lead guitarist of legendary hard rock band Guns N’ Roses.)

The first and other Gibson store in the Philippines is at Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons, Pasig City.

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