Why You Should Buy Your Next Guitar From Gibson’s Demo Shop

Ashlyn E. Inman

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Gibson has added an extra layer of cool to the guitars they sell.

If you've ever wondered how a guitar gets made, I suggest you look up articles specifically about luthiery. It’s a binge-worthy research dive. However, when you're a world-famous guitar company trying to come up with the next innovative concept in the guitar industry you end up creating test products. A LOT of test products.

When you have a warehouse full of old guitars that need a little tune up and a lotta love, you bring in a group of high-class guitar smiths to play around. Before long, that warehouse is full of one-of-a-kind guitars ready to be played.

With the dawn of the Demo Shop, Gibson is revolutionizing the guitar market. As a company, Gibson has only sold gear to dealers like music stores. In teaming up with Reverb, the musician's online marketplace, Gibson is selling their products direct to consumer.

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If you send an inquiry about a guitar on the Demo Shop page, a representative from Gibson will answer you directly. the rep is able to walk down the hall and ask the luthier who tinkered on the guitar any question they don't know the answer to off the top of their head. You are hearing from vetted professionals rather than some kid working his first job with no idea what the difference is between a P90 and a humbucker.

All of the guitars in the Demo Shop come with a two-year ready-to-play warranty. If there are any issues, you send it in, and they get it back in order. (Warranty no longer applies if you smash the guitar to be "punk.”)

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You can find three types of guitars for sale in the Shop: Demos, Mods, and Prototypes.

Demo Guitars are factory seconds or display guitars from stores or conventions like NAAM. They were built to be played but ended up being a model for their line.

“Mod” is short for “modified,” and Mods are demo guitars that have been modified. There was nothing wrong with them in the first place, but the luthiers in the warehouse may have replaced the pickups or hardware and in some cases given it a new paint finish. All modifications are listed with the guitar on its Reverb listing, so you know exactly what was done. The techs have the most fun with Mod projects because the instruments are a blank canvas they get to play around with.

Prototypes are models for a current or past line of guitars. It’s exactly like the ones sold in stores, but it has “prototype” stamped on the back of the neck. Think of it as taking home a bit of Gibson history.

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Why Should You Buy From The Demo Shop?

When people initially hear of the Demo Shop, they believe Gibson has just started selling used guitars. This is not the case.

Most of the guitars that make their way into the Demo Shop warehouse have not been played by anyone other than its builders. Rather than letting quality instruments gather dust, they give them new life and another chance to find a home.

By purchasing from the Demo Shop, you get a brand new old-stock guitar for lower than MSRP. In some cases, the guitars are one-of-a-kind because of the cosmetic or technical modifications. Each guitar gets specialized attention, which means you’re not buying another off-the-line instrument. The Demo Shop currently employs twelve techs who each spend an hour with every guitar that lands on the Reverb page. In essence, the guitars in the Demo Shop come with at least twelve hours of special attention post production included within the price of the guitar.

There really is something for everyone in the Demo Shop—the collection features all models of acoustics and electrics with various price points subject to availability. Although for some reason, there seems to be no shortage of Firebirds…

Enough of the boring details, let's talk about some of the guitars!

I’m only highlighting an example of each type of guitar the Demo Shop sells. Their stock changes frequently and I highly suggest scrolling through the full inventory.

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Gibson SG Faded T, Worn Brown | Demo

This Demo of Gibson’s classic SG model has a few scratches on it, but aren’t you planning on adding more? This solid-body mahogany shred machine is just like the ones you can find in a shop except it has “DEMO” stamped on the back and comes at a fraction of the cost.

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Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded, Satin Fireburst | Modified

This fireburst laquer on this instrument gives the paint on the body already makes it insanely gorgeous. When this guitar made its way to the luthier’s table, they thought “you know what would be sick? Open coil humbuckers along with black keystone tuners and black top hat knobs.” The result? An incredibly sweet looking axe that’s ready to play just about anything.

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Slash J-45, November Burst | Slash Collection Prototype [SOLD]

Calling all Guns N’ Roses mega-fans! The Slash prototype J-45s feature a truss rod cover signed by and each prototype was personally played by Slash. The last two models for sale on Reverb page were also signed by the CEO of Gibson, Cesar Gueikian, on the back of the headstock. Welcome the Jungle into your home, Sweet Child of Gibson.

Be sure to follow the Demo Shop on Reverb to see the guitars when they're posted since they don't last very long.

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I grew up in a small town in rural California, and earned my B.F.A. at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, SC. After graduating, I moved to NYC where I lived for three years before relocating to Nashville. And that brings us to date! I've worked a variety of jobs from being on a farm to being on a stage to being in a cubicle. In short, I've lived the big city life, the small town life, the southern life, the northern life, and you get the idea. I'll be writing about entertainment and lifestyle topics for the most part because I have a background in theater, live in Music City, and also work for a fitness company! (Check out @WeightingForWarriors on Instagram!) ​ When I'm not writing you can probably find me reading, baking, crafting something, or screaming at a football game on TV.

Nashville, TN
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