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Michael

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     I have some ethical concerns as I go forward with my Gibson HG restoration/repair/customization. Although the overall look of the instrument will be very similar to the original, there are many hardware and structural changes that I have made to the instrument in addition to the replacement of both necks (the bass side cut off and missing and the guitar side unusable). I have cut and installed the pearl inlays in the bass neck and as I got ready to cut and inlay the guitar neck headstock pearl inlay of "The Gibson" I began to consider the fact that this might be illegal or at least unethical to put "The Gibson" on a neck not made by the Gibson company.  I love the look of the original headstock inlay and since both necks are bolt on and removable by some future luthier, I came up with the solution below.
     The "The Gibson" picture is not my guitar, it is just a picture I took at one of the Gatherings.  I have cut the pearl "The Schreiner" which of course is my last name but I have not inlayed it into the neck yet. What do you guys think? Am I still going to jail or is this decision acceptable? Michael  

 

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Michael Schreiner

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Reply with quote  #2 
Michael, there are lots of old looking Hot Rods running around with Ford on the rad and a Chevy under the hood. Many are clearly modern recreations with fiberglass bodies made to resemble the older cars like '32 Fords or 41 Willy's coupes. You never hear of anyone at a Hot Rod meet being sued for trademark infringement. So, I do not think you have anything to worry about, Furthermore, there is no intention to ever try to pass this instrument off as a complete original. If you were to ever sell it I'm sure you'd be to proud of all your hard work not to tell everyone who was interested in it all that you had done to it. I like your idea of calling it "The Schreiner". Although, that might be your only problem. Gibson may still hold the rights to that font, not just the name spelled out in that font.
But if you're uneasy about either item give Gibson a call. You'd be surprised how accommodating big businesses can be when they see the passion an individual shows for their product.

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the Dreamer
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Living life on the edge. Less crowded, better view.
Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #3 
I agree, give Gibson a call or email. I was very surprised at how little effort it took to get copyright permission for the 12th fret inlay on my harp guitar. But....the fellow I contacted just happened to be a guitarist as well, so that may have helped the process. Either way, I say go for it.

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Dennis Mitchell
Vita Brevis, Carpe Guitarum!
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Reply with quote  #4 
I dunno, but I'd feel better putting The Gibson there myself. Or maybe just leave the peghead blank? In either case I'd put a big label inside detailing what you'd done and when just for history's sake.

I mean, if you are going to relabel it as your own, wouldn't it have been easier to start completely from scratch?

There are people on the Mandolin Cafe board who have ties to Gibson (Dave Harvey, Joe Vest). Would you like me to point them to this thread? Actually I'm amazed you got to this point without consulting anyone at Gibson already. I would've thought (perhaps incorrectly) that they could've helped with the restoration.


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Darrell Urbien
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Michael

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Reply with quote  #5 
     Thanks Stephen, Dennis and Darrell.  I prefer to have the neck say "The Gibson".  I thought about leaving the headstock blank but because the charm and awe that the carefully hand cut luminescent pearl "The Gibson" inlay brings to the overall aura of this instrument I can't just leave it blank. 
     Because the box is the most important part of the instrument and necks are replaced or customized so often, the use of the original logo should not be a problem in my view.  I am just not sure how Gibson views such things. I never thought about bothering such a large company about my little dilemma. I just thought someone out there would know what is commonly/legally done in this situation.
     Darrel if you have friends with links to Gibson maybe you could see what they say. I am afraid of the Gibson gods . Don't tug on Superman's cape; Don't spit into the wind etc....
                                 What would Kerry Char do?
                                             Michael 

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Michael Schreiner
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Reply with quote  #6 
Michael, Dave Harvey is the guy at Gibson OAI. Joe Vest used to be the shop foreman there. Together they've built/repaired/restored a ton of vintage Gibsons. But they are Gibson men through and through, so if you're afraid of waking the sleeping giant then I suppose I shouldn't say anything. OTOH they both seem like nice enough guys on the boards at Mando Cafe (I've never met them other than in Cyberspace). Maybe I'll slip Dave a PM without naming names and see what happens.

BTW, Dave is also the guy in these videos (he's the one without the HG):



I'm sure some others on this board know him personally.

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Darrell Urbien
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Reply with quote  #7 
Michael:

Kerry is really easy to get in touch with.  He promptly returns emails and phone calls.  Maybe you should ask him.


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nate blaustein
http://www.nineteenstrings.com
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Reply with quote  #8 

While I haven't heard back from Dave or Joe (which I would consider telling), I've gotten the sense from others that it would be better to not put anything on the headstock. Most of these people are banjo makers/players who have had run-ins from Gibson's lawyers about making 5 string necks for tenor banjo pots. So Caveat Luthier.


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Darrell Urbien
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