A leaked video has shown guitar giant Gibson smashing hundreds of its guitars with a construction truck.
A former Gibson employee claimed the guitars were destroyed because of poor sales of their Firebird X model.
But the guitar maker denied the claims. It stated the guitars were disposed of because of defective parts and unsafe components.
The video shows a truck in the Gibson warehouse in Memphis rolling over rows of the Firebird X, crushing them into pieces.
It was leaked by BJ Wilkes. He told The Guitologist that Gibson’s new investors wanted the guitars destroyed before the end of the financial year. You can see Wilkes’ interview below.
“The new investors were trying to clean up the mess before the end of the fiscal year,” said Wilkes. “Gibson literally couldn’t sell these guitars, and they were on the books.”
After comments on The Guitologist blog that the guitars could instead have been given away to schools or charities, Gibson responded to deny Wilkes’ claim.
In a statement, Gibson said: “The Firebird X destruction video that surfaced months ago was 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.”
Wilkes, who worked in maintenance for Gibson for six years, appeared to partially back up Gibson’s statement. He said: “The Firebird X had too much technology, all based on Windows 98 or something.” But he added that Gibson couldn’t give away guitars because of an edict by former Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz.
“Nobody was allowed to give away or donate guitars for fear of losing their job,” said Wilkes. “That’s ingrained in the company now.”
Wilkes additionally claimed he saw Gibson destroy “10-20 guitars daily” because of “some tiny little blemish”.