The Les Paul’s first comeback: When Gibson re-launched the famous guitar line

The Les Paul’s first comeback: When Gibson re-launched the famous guitar line

Published Jan 24, 2020 by Tony Bacon
Reverb.com Gear History

In 1968, Gibson announced a reissue of two obsolete Les Paul models of a type it had not made since the start of the decade. Earlier that year, Stan Rendell was promoted to president of Gibson. He replaced Albert Stanley, who in turn had replaced Ted McCarty in 1966. He’d worked for Gibson’s parent company, CMI, since 1963 and by ’68 was in charge of all CMI’s manufacturing.

Stan had become tired of constant traveling between CMI’s factories, and his boss at CMI, Maurice Berlin, suggested the top job at Gibson. Stan agreed, but he’d taken on quite a challenge. Maurice told Stan that Gibson was suffering, that it had lost a million dollars at the factory for two years running. Stan’s brief was the daunting one handed to most incoming presidents: “Make sure you improve the company’s fortunes.”

At the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, Stan soon found out what he and his team were up against. “We had all kinds of quality problems. We had production problems. We had personnel problems,” he told me. “We had union problems. We had problems that wouldn’t end.” Stan set to work. He developed a structure for supervision in the factory, he brought in manufacturing schedules, improved inspection routines, installed a separate stock room, and held regular meetings.

Gibson Les Paul Guitar
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