Gibson Guitars

Gibson Guitars

Gibson guitars have been in evidence as early as 1894.  Over a century.  The earliest know instrument, built by Orville Gibson in his home workshop, was a 10-String.  From here he applied a violin-style carved top to mandolin construction.  He invented two new mandolins: the F (scroll body) and A (teardrop Body).  He also made something that was less commercial during that time, an archtop guitar, his own invention.  All had a round or oval sound hole.


In 1902, the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd. was formed. Orville's mandolins were far superior to competing models, and as a result the company was unable to meet rising demand. Five Kalamazoo businessmen buy the rights to his name and patent for $2,500, and hire Gibson as a consultant. Orville was not one of the principals of the Gibson Guitar Company, but he did own some stock. Within six months, however, he was picking fights with the board of managers over who got to stand where in the company photos, and so he sold his stock to a local saloon keeper. Orville continued to receive a royalty, and later a pension, until he died in 1918.

The F-5 and L-5 mandolins were introduced in 1922. World War I killed the mandolin orchestra and gives rise to the tenor banjo. In an effort to revive the mandolin, Gibson acoustic engineer Lloyd Loar designed the ultimate mandolin: the F-5. New features included f-holes, a longer neck and hand-tuned top, tone bars and f-holes. As a companion member of the Style 5 family, Loar designed the L-5. While Loar's works were legendary in the long run, they were disastrous in the short. Gibson almost went bankrupt, and Boar resigned late in 1924.

In 1935 the first Gibson electric (a metalbody Hawaiian) was introduced, with consulting help from Alvino Rey.  Then in 1936, the first "Spanish" (standard) electric, the ES-150 appeared.  In 1937, the J-200 made its first appearance when singing cowboy movie star Ray Whitley ordered a super-large flat top. Gibson put it into production in 1938 as the Super Jumbo, under its more familiar name, the J-200, it is still the standard for country players.

In 1939. Gibson guitar introduced the first cutaway models, the Super 400 Premier and I-5 Premier.  Then in 1941, just before switching over to wartime products, Gibson introduced the J-45 and Southerner Jumbo (SJ). The SJ became the workhorse flat top guitar for many acoustic players.

1952. Gibsonís first solid body was introduced. Gibson enlisted the endorsement of one the biggest recording stars of the early '50s to help sell The Les Paul Model. Since 1952, Gibson has offered over 40 different Les Paul models.


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In 1957 the humbucking pickup, a double-coil design, was perfected by Gibson engineer Seth "Ed" Lover and installed on Gibson's guitar top-line models. Also, Gibson acquired Epiphone.   Then in 1958 a completely new line was introduced, Epiphone, expanding Gibson's dealer base. By 1970, this also gave Gibson a competitive import line, allowing the company to start selling guitars to lower price markets.

1993-94. Growing interest in the vintage market prompted a detailed replica of the '59 and '60 flametop Les Paul. And as Gibson guitar celebrated its Centennial, a new model, the Nighthawk, won an award for Most Innovative Guitar at the January NAMM show. Since then: Gibson has diversified with multiple divisions, each with its own unique identity. Combine this with the other brands that are owned by Gibson, and you wind up with a manufacturer that touches nearly every band on the planet.

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Gibson Electric Guitars

gibson guitarsIt's no wonder that Gibson guitars scored three of Acoustic Guitar magazine's 2000 Players' Choice Awards for their instruments. Gibson took home the Gold Award for their Jumbos (SJ-200 line), an award for their Dreadnoughts (J-45 and Hummingbird lines), and for being a Most Popular Brand. They recently released four new models: 'the customers' choice J-45' 'The Elvis Dove' 'The J-185 12 String' and 'The Super 200 Cutaway Custom'.

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