I have to wonder...1. how much did the wood raid under the previous administration cost them legally and did that contribute to this bankruptcy? 2. Demographics....just how many actual players are there vs. collectors? If collecting slows, the market slows. And young people are not as big of collectors as the boomers. Plus I don't see that many young players in my area. Lots of aging baby boomer bands but not that many young guitar players. 3. The influx of imports is huge...guitars might be saturated?
I agree. They should concentrate on what they do best - where they made their reputation. If they make ukes, they will probably be high end. You have to wonder if people will pay a lot for a newly-produced ukulele from a company that might not be around next year.
I certainly don't know the full ins and outs
of the Gibson situation, but I am a master speculator! Gibson has over-extended itself. Over the years, they bought up various guitar companies, such as Kramer and Steinberger, and practically removed them from the marketplace. On top of that they also expanded and bought up companies, like Philips, TEAC Corporation, Onkyo, Baldwin Piano, and Cakewalk - to just name a few. Most of these companies have been drains financially. That said, Gibson Guitars is still showing as profitable. As a result, I don't believe that Gibson itself is going away any time soon. They have been through this before (Orville, CMI, Norlin, etc etc).
The biggest problem that Gibson has going forward is competition with itself. Unlike younger companies, they have decades upon decades worth of used instruments all over the secondary marketplace. That means you have to continue to deliver a high quality new product that people want, because the consumer can always under-cut you and buy used. You can find a used Les Paul everywhere you look at guitar stores, web-shops, yard sales, etc. Kamaka is in the same boat in regards to the secondary markets. Anyway, the best thing would be for the board to remove Henry J from any and all decision making going forward. He was the one that believed (or wanted to believe) that guitar players wanted robot-controlled headstocks and the like. Always listen to the consumer and see what they want rather than force it upon them.
Are Gibson customers demanding high-end ukuleles? Dunno, but I speculate that they do not.