What famous musicians have used Gibson guitars


Where are Gibsons made?

Gibson guitars have been made in Nashville since 1974. At times there was a second plant in Memphis. Although the range is growing steadily, the company is still committed to its history: the ES-335 models and the legendary Les Paul, but also other classics such as Flying V, Explorer and, last but not least, SG models determine the brand's range and its close relationship with customers. The ES-150, an archtop guitar with a full resonance body, is considered to be the world's first industrially sold electric guitar. The popular Gibson products are available at a lower price of Epiphone made in Korea.

Here's a tour of the Nashville manufacturing facility:

The most popular Gibson guitars have been made in the custom shop since 1993. Here is a little insight into guitarist dreams:

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A short excursion into history

The company's history begins with the patent for a mandolin and leads Gibson to the forefront of international manufacturers through several acquisitions, removals and excursions:

1895Orville H. Gibson applies for a patent for his first design: the forerunner of the revolutionary A mandolin was born on the drawing board.
1902The "Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Co. Ltd." is founded on October 11th, 1902 - with Orville as a consultant and designer, but not as a company partner.
1903John W. Adams takes over the chairmanship of the company.
1917With their fourth move, the company has finally reached what is now legendary: 225 Parsons Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
1923The new general manager Harry L. Ferris decides to rename the company Gibson Inc.
1928Nick Lucas, who was the first to record solo pieces for guitar on vinyl as early as 1922, becomes the first musician to whom Gibson dedicates an instrument - the Nick Lucas model.
1935The company's first electric guitar is presented: The Gibson Electric Hawaiian Guitar - first with an aluminum body and later with a wooden body.
1941The guitarist Lester William Polfus, known under the name Les Paul, saws up an Epiphone Arch-Top guitar and screws the now separate body wings to a solid wooden beam approx. 10 × 10 cm thick, on which he also mounts two pickups. A Gibson neck and a Larson Bros. fingerboard complete this Frankenstein guitar, which goes down in history as "The Log".
1944Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI), under the leadership of M.H. Berlin joins the company and takes over sales and marketing with immediate effect.
1950Ted McCarty becomes the new general manager.
1952The first Les Paul is presented. For the first time, maple and mahogany are combined in one massive instrument and a timeless, classic electric guitar sound is invented.
1957The Les Pauls will be delivered with humbuckers for the first time.
1961The Les Paul is being withdrawn from the range because sales are barely relevant any more and replaced by a new, sleeker version, which will be called SG from 1963.
1968The Les Paul Standard (gold top, 2 × P90) and Custom (black) are coming back. In a new contract, the guitarist Les Paul is guaranteed 5% of the sale price of each Les Paul.
1969CMI is bought by the Ecuadorian Company Limited (ECL), later renamed Norlin. The Gibson profit center quickly became a pure cost factor.
1974A new Gibson factory opens in Nashville, USA.
1986Henry Juszkiewicz, Gary Zebrowski and David Berryman buy Gibson out of the now ailing Norlin Group and install their own company, the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
1993The Gibson Custom Shop is founded and has just five employees who are responsible for individual orders and special artist models.
1999The first Les Paul in the so-called "Aged" version appears - a '59 Les Paul Standard Reissue, trimmed to look old by Tom Murphy.

compiled by Heinz Rebellius

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What instruments does Gibson make?

Gibson is known for his Electric guitars. The flagship is undoubtedly the Les Paul in its various versions. But the semi-hollow models, the SG series and the unusual Thunderbird basses have also achieved cult status.

Gibson Les Paul

In the spring of 1952, the first Les Paul models came on the market, together with a 12-watt amplifier that had the initials L and P on the speaker cover. The Les Paul Goldtop was in store for $ 210.

Despite initial problems, the Les Paul model appeared to be a success in the first half of the 1950s. Gibson's managers became bolder and continuously expanded the range of models to form a quartet: Les Paul Junior, Les Paul Special, Les Paul Custom. From 1955 there were two classes of Les Pauls: the Custom and the Les Paul model (it wasn't called Standard yet) with Tune-o-matic and a vaulted top, as well as Junior and Special without a maple top and with a stud tailpiece.

In 1957, the Les Paul got two humbuckers instead of the two P-90s of the original, and with that it had reached a development standard that could no longer be improved. From 1958 it was called Les Paul Standard and the gold color had given way to an attractive sunburst.

Since then, this classic has been built again without interruption and is together with the Fender Stratocaster the most successful electric guitar in history.

Carlo May

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Gibson SG

The SG arises from the unsuccessful marketing of the Les Paul in the 1960s and was the manufacturer's second solid body guitar. Originally called Les Paul SG, co-creator Lester Polfus turned away from her because he was bothered by the model's double-cutaway style. The SG line came onto the market as the second Gibson fleet, which, although not replacing the iconic Les Paul, was able to expand Gibson's range. The SG models reflect the Paula product line: There are also standard, custom and special versions of the model with the “pointed horns”.

Gibson Flying V, Explorer and Firebird

At the end of the 1950s, Gibson presented the Flying V and the Explorer, both with angular, extravagant lines that were in great contrast to the conventional curved lines of the first Gibson electric guitar. Allegations that Gibson only build conservatively knitted instruments prompted the company to come up with something completely modern. However, these radical new forms were too far ahead of their time and both guitars succumbed to quick economic deaths. Years later, these models were revived with significantly better public acceptance, which led to the constant production of different variants and also inspired many copiers to create their own versions.

Unaffected by the negative experiences with the Flying V and Explorer, Gibson presented another innovative instrument in 1963: The first Firebird series, which included certain Fender peculiarities, brought a completely new, extreme design with a new, "wrongly" aligned body shape (reverse ) and banjo machine heads mounted on one side of the headstock.

Paul Day & Hans Koenig

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Electric basses

With their Bass Gibson was never as successful as with their guitars. Gibson basses have always been overshadowed not only by their six-string sisters, but also by the visionary creations of the almighty bass godfather Leo fender. But the Gibson basses have also written their chapters in the history of music in the 20th century.

The best times for Gibson basses were in the 1960s, when the British Merseybeat dominated the charts. In the Beat era, most bassists played semi-resonance basses, mainly the Gibson EB-2 or the identical Epiphone Rivoli, which was then made at Gibson's Kalamazoo factory.

In 1963 the Thunderbird took off for the first time. The bass version of the Firebird guitar was the first Gibson bass with a long scale and Fender-like headstock with machine heads in a row. The “reverse” body was a novelty. With a full mahogany neck and two humbuckers, the Thunderbird lived up to its name, it brought a powerful sound to the stage and should therefore later become the favorite of hard-´n´-heavy bands .

At the moment there is not much new under the Gibson banner on the bass front: The product range has been merged into the Thunderbird IV, Les Paul Standard Bass, Nikki Sixx “Blackbird” Bass and the SG-Z Bass models, all of which are well-known instruments. If you are looking for the legendary, incomparable Gibson sound, you have to be content with the Epiphone versions mentioned above or stop by the vintage dealer.

Bert Fair

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Who is playing Gibson? And why?

Gibson or Fender to play means to commit to making a choice, choosing a sound, and maybe even making it your trademark. As with Fender, Gibson has some instruments that are more popular than others, despite a sizeable range of products. Some have even achieved cult status.

Scotty Moore and B.B. King played semi-acoustic Gibson models. The best known was certainly the ES-335, its most prominent representative B.B. Kings Lucille has been.

But Larry Carlton in particular gave the instrument cult status. The veteran of the legendary American recording scene of the seventies and eighties was nicknamed “Mr. 335 ".

One of the most prominent representatives of Gibson SG is Pete Townshend from The Who, who incidentally, in the early days of rock ‘n‘ roll, was also an expert in dismantling small pieces of equipment. In old age he showed late remorse: “I don't even know how many guitars I've smashed on stage over the years. But at some point I realized that I had killed some of my best friends. "

Another lover of the SG model is Black Sabbaths Tony Iommiwho managed to make the part with the double cutaway his trademark. And it also proved that you can get a tremendous sound out of the thin board, which first saw the light of day in 1960.

Also AC / CD model students Angus Young maintains an intimate relationship with the SG model. The decision for his work device was initially based on optical stimuli. “As a teenager, I saw the Beach Boys with Stratocasters. Then it was clear to me: I definitely didn't want to look like that! So I bought an SG. This guitar is just awesome. She has a good figure, a great waist and lots of sex appeal. "

As is well known, Mr. Lester William Polsfuss, alias Les Paul, who created the basic model of the guitar named after him, was responsible for the stable bolides of the Solidbodies at Gibson. From 1952 the instrument was manufactured under the direction of the Gibson company. At that time, however, nobody thought that this would create the thing out of which guitarist dreams are carved today.

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On the Gibson website You will also find a detailed description of the range and information on dealers in Europe.