Two major issues defined the progress of electric guitars for most of the seventies.1) Companies outside North America vastly improved the quality of their guitar manufacturing and 2) Companies inside North America – namely Fender and Gibson – took their eye off the ball and did exactly the opposite.By this time, many guitar manufacturers from the Far East had 10+ years experience under their belts, and the improvement in quality began to shine through.

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To avoid the same problem happening again, Gibson bought Epiphone and started building some very nice Imported Copy Guitars!

Fender opened facilities outside North America under different brand names like Squier.

Below: Here is a typical selection of 1970’s Fender and Gibson copies.

Not only was the manufacturing quality improving, but the quality of the REPLICATION was reaching new highs.

The lawyers at Gibson started to get restless, and young guitar players like myself were also getting restless…

I could not wait to go out and buy a UNIVOX Les Paul for 1/5th the price of the real thing!Damn, it was so inexpensive that I could almost afford to smash it on stage! But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.Towards the end of the 1970’s, Fender and Gibson were loosing market share.That is why we hear so much about the “Lawsuit ERA” guitars.Late in the seventies, Gibson Guitars won a legal battle for patent infringements, which over time, shut down all but a few “copy” guitar manufacturers worldwide.This allowed some elbowroom for Gibson and Fender to rethink and retool their operations to fortify their position in the market.