Gibson

History

Having produced fine guitars for more than forty years, Gibson ventured into production of solid body electric guitars in the fifties, in pursuit of Fender. Earlier, in 1936, Gibson had, according to many, introduced the very best in amplified archtop guitars, the ES-150. The first solid body Gibson was a beautiful instrument with a curved top and a glued-in neck. Les Paul, at that time the most famous guitarist in the world, lend the guitar his name.

Eventually, the Les Paul was produced in four distinct variations, the Standard, Custom, Junior and Special. The Les Paul Standards of 1958, 1959 and 1960 are among the best electric guitars ever built, and are sold for astronomical prices. An example of this is the 'Dutch Burst,' a unique Les Paul Standard from 1960 that is owned by Max Guitars. The period between 1950 and 1966 is called Gibsons 'golden age' because the company, led by Ted McCarty, came up with innovative designs that clearly have stood the test of time. In addition to the Les Paul, these designs include the SG, the Flying V, the Explorer, Firebird and the semi-acoustic ES-335. Even older models remain popular, the ES-175 is still the ultimate jazz guitar for many and the J-160E was the Beatles' favorite acoustic (-electric) guitar.

Gibson Custom Shop

The Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville specializes in replicating legendary Gibson guitars, sometimes owned by, or played by famous guitarists. A true ’59 Les Paul Standard may not be a viable option for most of us, but thanks to the Custom Shop we can experience the magic of playing such a guitar. The Custom Shop process starts finding the best classic Gibsons, which are analyzed in every detail and replicated in a limited edition.

A Gibson for everyone

Fortunately Gibson guitars are not just for the rich and famous. The Studio line features stripped down and affordable versions of, mainly, Les Pauls, while the new Tribute guitars can be had for less than 1.000 euro’s. And they are all built in the US.

In the last century Epiphone was a formidable competitor of Gibson with his beautiful archtop guitars. That battle ended when Gibson bought the company after the war. Nowadays Epiphone produces famous Gibson models, which, because they are built in China and Korea, carry much friendlier price tags than the American Gibsons.

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