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The Gibson guitar is certainly one of the most popular instruments around. The most famous of all Gibson guitars is the legendary Gibson Les Paul, which with its classic single-cut body shape is an icon among electric guitars. The Gibson Les Paul differs from the Fender Stratocaster not only in form and colour, but also in sound, which is a standard among electric guitar sounds. In addition to this famous electric guitar, there are a wide variety of Gibson guitar models that are also extremely popular and as rare vintage electric guitars are highly prized by guitar lovers all over the world - for example the Gibson SG models, the Gibson Flying V, not to mention the half-acoustic guitars of Gibson, which today are famous, thanks to musicians such as Chuck Berry, B.. B. King and Pat Metheny. The Gibson electric guitars are undoubtedly in the foreground, but Gibson also produces acoustic guitars.

From founding a company to the Gibson guitar

Orville H. Gibson had a vision when he began to build mandolins and guitars in 1894. Instead of the bulbous body shape traditionally used in lutes and mandolins, he transfers the constructional features of the violin with a curved, carved top and back to the mandolin. The constructions of today's arch-top guitars are based on the principle developed by Mr. Gibson. His mandolins and guitars were louder and more robust than any other stringed instrument of the time.

Gibson Mandolin Guitar Company

In 1898, Orville Gibson had his idea patented and a few years later he was not able to meet the growing demand for his instruments by himself. Finally, in 1902, five businessmen from Gibson's hometown of Kalamazoo founded the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, which bought Gibson's patent and transferred some share packages to him. Gibson remained employed as an instrument maker and consultant with Gibson until his death in 1918.

The Gibson Guitar in Transition: From the Lapsteel EH-150 to the Gibson Les Paul

In 1935 the first electric Gibson electric guitar was created: the Lapsteel model EH-150, soon followed by the legendary Gibson ES-150, which gained cult status as a Charlie Christian model. The pickups used on these Gibson guitars are considered by enthusiasts to be one of the best jazz guitar pickups produced. The Cowboy movie star Ray Whitley was responsible for the introduction of the first acoustic guitar with a Jumbo body, which became the J-200 Super Jumbo model. After the end of World War II, Gibson was taken over by the Chicago Musical Instrument Company. Under the direction of Ted McCarty, who ran the business from 1950 to 1965, the company began an extremely fruitful period of time, which produced various fundamental innovations. The company perfected the P-90 single coil pickup, which is still regarded as a milestone in pickup development. Gibson developed further guitar models, such as the Archtop Jazz Guitar ES-175 and the ES-5 Switchmaster with three pickups. In 1952, Gibson and Les Paul hired the most popular instrumentalists of the time to promote the first solid-body electric guitar. This Gibson Les Paul model is one of the most popular and famous guitar forms ever and Gibson produces them in countless variations. Les Paul stands for the term Gibson guitar!

Tune-o-matic Bridge: An innovation from Gibson

In 1921, the next fundamental innovation in guitar building took place. Ted McHugh, who at that time worked as a Gibson employee, introduced the height-adjustable bridge with the Trussrod. This neck tensioning rod counteracts the pull of the string and is nowadays an indispensable part of any guitar with steel strings. McCarthy himself invented the Tune-o-Matic bridge in 1954, where he adjusted the string riders individually for each string. The Tune-o-matic bridge can still be found today on Les Paul models and jazz guitars. One year later, the legendary mandolin model F5 with its characteristic snail and pointed cutaway was created.

Electric guitars with F-sound hole

It was Gibson's chief engineer Lloyd Loar who created the first "modern" Gibson acoustic guitar with the construction of the L5. He further developed Orville Gibson's ideas and equipped the master model series he created, including the H-5 Mandola and K-5 Mandocello, with F-sound holes. In addition to these top-of-the-line instruments, Gibson developed various flat-top Gibson guitars and the Kalamazoo Economy series towards the end of the decade.

Gibson invents the Humbucker pickup

Thanks to two ingenious Gibson engineers named Seth Lover and Walter Fuller the Humbucker pickup has been produced since 1957. In this pickup design, the use of two counter-wound coils suppresses hum scattering through electric fields.

Gibson SG Models - Electric Guitars with Double Cutaway

The double-cutaway SG model, originally planned to replace the Les Paul, was created in the 1960s. The master guitarist, however, did not like the body form with the pointed cutaway at all ("someone will injure themselves on the horns") and soon Les Paul let his contract with Gibson expire. In 1963 the Gibson Firebird was launched, which was one of the first guitars ever to have a continuous, nine-ply neck made of mahogany and walnut. This Gibson guitar, designed by automobile designer Ray Dietrich, like the other Gibson instruments in the "Modernistic" range, never reached large sales figures, and is extremely popular with some rock legends such as Johnny Winter and Gary Moore.

Gibson Guitars with futuristic design

Barely a year later, some radically modern solid-body bodies such as the Gibson Flying-V or Gibson Explorer and Gibson Modern followed, which emerged from the futuristic design of the tail fin era. If these Gibson guitars were a bit too modern at the time and originally found few buyers, they are now sought-after collectors' items. In the same year, Gibson developed the legendary semi-acoustic Gibson ES-335, which appeals to rock and jazz guitarists and is still one of the most important body constructions today.

Gibson – from the 60s to today

After McCarthy left Gibson in 1966, the company once again transferred to new hands and became part of the Norlin Company, which then included Gibson, Moog and organ manufacturer Lowrey. In 1974, the Gibson plant in Nashville is completed and part of Kalamazoo's production is transferred there.

Despite the stagnation in sales of Gibson guitars, the creative spark remains with Gibson. Besides reissues of the Gibson Flying V and the Gibson Les Paul Heritage 80, the first B.B. King models and the first Chet Atkins Solid-Body Acoustic were produced in the early 80s. In 1983, when Rooney Pace and Piezo Electric Products took over Norlin, the Gibson Music Division was put up for sale.

Meanwhile, the Kalamazoo factory has closed and the Gibson headquarters moved to Nashville. In January 1986, the two guitar enthusiasts Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman finally took over the command, provided the company with sufficient capital and set out to restore the Gibson guitar to its former glory and to help the company earn the award 'best manufacturer of stringed instruments'.

Gibson hasn’t lost any of its former innovative power and today is a traditional company that draws on the rich heritage of its guitar models and proudly produces all its products in its home country - Gibson guitars are Made in the USA! Like many other musical instruments from the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Gibson Vintage Guitar are extremely popular and expensive. To this day, Gibson still produces high-quality electric and acoustic guitars. The range of instruments offers something for every budget, from electric guitars for beginners over Gibson custom instruments to the exquisite handmade works of art from the Gibson Collectors Choice line.

Products like the Gibson Banjo are also very popular in the USA.

No matter what price range the instrument is from, playing a Gibson guitar is a pleasure.