Iconic guitar makers Gibson have issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind their decision to destroy hundreds of guitars, footage of which has gone viral online.
Last week, footage found its way online of what looks like the worst nightmare of any music lover.
Laid out before a large excavator, hundreds of brand-new Gibson Firebird X can be seen lined up, before the excavator powers forward, crushing the instruments into oblivion, and undoubtedly angering any musician who can stand to watch the clip.
On paper, the video appears to be the very definition of the throwaway society that we live in, with a big-name company like Gibson choosing to simply rather destroy its stock rather than donate it to those who may need it.
As Guitar.com explains, the original video (which has since been deleted but has shown up elsewhere) was shared by ex-Gibson employee BJ Wilkes.
Check out the infamous Gibson Firebird X destruction video:
Speaking to YouTube channel Guitologist, Wilkes explained that the company was forced to destroy these guitars after the 2010 introduction of the Firebird X was met with apathy and poor sales.
“Gibson literally could not sell these guitars and they were on the books,” Wilkes explained, claiming that the company “were trying to clean up the mess before the end of the fiscal year.”
On paper, this sort of made sense. After all, one user on Ultimate Guitar summed up the instrument (which featured poor design and robotic tuners) by noting simply that, “The Firebird X shouldn’t even have been made.
“No body is going to drop like three grand for an ugly modeling guitar. […] No way, it’s just paying for the Gibson name and all the expensive electronics.”
Likewise, Wilkes himself noted that it “was a horrible guitar, with too much technology all based on Windows 98 or something.”
Check out BJ Wilkes speaking to Guitologist:
However, a new statement from Gibson has actually seen the company defend their actions within the video, noting that the instruments within the video were “unsalvageable”, and outlining their plan to donate instruments to those in need.
“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,” the company explained.
“This isolated group of Firebird X models were unable to be donated for any purpose and were destroyed accordingly.”
However, the surfacing of this video has coincided with the company relaunching their Gibson Foundation, which they claim has “provided thousands of guitars and donations to schools and charities in excess of $30 million.”
“As a starting point, Gibson has committed to giving a guitar a day away over the next 1,000 days,” they explained.
“100 per cent of donations to the Gibson Foundation go directly towards giving the gift of music, reaffirming Gibson’s commitment to giving back, helping under-served music education programmes, empowering music culture and encouraging the creation of music.”