Coordinates : 36°07′48″N 86°43′33″W / 36.1298758°N
86.7257458°W / 36.1298758; -86.7257458
GIBSON BRANDS, INC. (formerly GIBSON GUITAR CORP.) is an American
manufacturer of guitars , other musical instruments, and consumer and
professional electronics now based in
Nashville, Tennessee . The
company was formerly known as Gibson
Guitar Corp. and renamed Gibson
Brands, Inc. on June 11, 2013.
Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as "The Gibson
Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd." in
Kalamazoo, Michigan to make
mandolin -family instruments. Gibson invented archtop guitars by
constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By
the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as
well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric
guitars, used and popularized by
Charlie Christian . In 1944, Gibson
was bought by
Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) which was acquired in
1969 by Panama-based conglomerate, Ecuadorian Company Limited (E.C.L.)
that changed its name in the same year to Norlin Corporation.
Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names and builds one
of the world's most iconic guitars, the Gibson
Les Paul . Many Gibson
instruments are highly collectible. Gibson was at the forefront of
innovation in acoustic guitars, especially in the big band era of the
Gibson Super 400 was widely imitated. In 1952, Gibson
introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the
Les Paul which
became its most popular guitar to date— designed by
Ted McCarty and
Les Paul .
Gibson was owned by the Norlin corporation from 1969 to 1986. In
1986, the company was acquired by its present owners. Gibson is a
privately held corporation owned by its chief executive officer Henry
Juszkiewicz and its president David H. Berryman.
In addition to guitars, Gibson offers consumer electronics through
its subsidiaries Gibson Innovations (Philips brand), TEAC Corporation
(Teac and Esoteric brands),
Onkyo Corporation (
Onkyo and Pioneer
Cerwin Vega and Stanton , as well as professional audio
KRK Systems also pianos from their wholly owned
Baldwin Piano and music software from Cakewalk .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Beginnings
* 1.2 Modernization
* 1.3 Recent history
* 1.3.1 FWS raids max-width:428px">
Orville Gibson , founder
Gibson line of
Mandolin orchestra instruments, early 1900s. Harp
Orville Gibson patented a single-piece mandolin design in 1898 that
was more durable than other mandolins and could be manufactured in
Orville Gibson began to sell his instruments in 1894 out of a
one-room workshop in
Kalamazoo Michigan. In 1902 Gibson
Guitar Mfg. Co, Ltd. was incorporated to market the
instruments. Initially, the company produced only Orville Gibson's
original designs. Orville died in 1918 of endocarditis (inflammation
of the inside lining of the heart chambers and valves). L-5
(based on L-50) ES-175 D
(based on L-4) Super 400 CES
The following year the company hired designer
Lloyd Loar to create
newer instruments. Loar designed the flagship L-5 archtop guitar and
the Gibson F5 mandolin that was introduced in 1922, before leaving the
company in 1924. In 1936 Gibson introduced their first "Electric
Spanish" model, the ES-150 followed by other electric instruments like
steel guitars , banjos and mandolins.
World War II
World War II , instrument manufacturing at Gibson slowed due
to shortages of wood and metal, and Gibson began manufacturing wood
and metal parts for the military. Between 1942-1945, Gibson employed
women to manufacture guitars. "Women produced nearly 25,000 guitars
World War II
World War II yet Gibson denied ever building instruments over
this period," according to a 2013 history of the company. Gibson
folklore has also claimed its guitars were made by "seasoned
craftsmen" who were "too old for war."
Les Paul Goldtop
Les Paul Custom Les Paul
Les Paul Junior L-5 CES Byrdland
ES-335 T Explorer Flying V non-reverse
In 1944 Gibson was purchased by Chicago Musical Instruments. The
ES-175 was introduced in 1949. Gibson hired
Ted McCarty in 1948, who
became President in 1950. He led an expansion of the guitar line with
new guitars such as the "Les Paul" guitar introduced in 1952 and
Les Paul , a popular musician in the 1950s and also a
pioneer in music technology. The
Les Paul was offered in Custom,
Standard, Special, and Junior models. In the mid-50s, the Thinline
series was produced, which included a line of thinner guitars like the
Byrdland . The first Byrdlands were slim, custom built, L-5 models for
guitarists Billy Byrd and
Hank Garland . Later, a shorter neck was
added. Other models such as the ES-350T and the ES-225T were
introduced as less costly alternatives. In 1958, Gibson introduced
ES-335 T model. Similar in size to the hollow-body Thinlines, the
ES-335 family had a solid center, giving the string tone a longer
In the 1950s, Gibson also produced the
Tune-o-matic bridge system and
its version of the humbucking pickup, the PAF ("Patent Applied For"),
first released in 1957 and still sought after for its sound. In 1958,
Gibson produced two new designs: the eccentrically shaped Explorer and
Flying V . These "modernistic" guitars did not sell initially. It was
only in the late 1960s and early 70s when the two guitars were
reintroduced to the market that they sold well. The Firebird , in the
early 60s, was a reprise of the modernistic idea, though less extreme.
In the late 50s, McCarty knew that Gibson was seen as a traditional
company and began an effort to create more modern guitars. In 1961 the
body design of the
Les Paul was changed due to the demand for a
double-cutaway body design. The new body design then became known as
the SG (for "solid guitar"), due to disapproval from
Les Paul himself.
Les Paul returned to the Gibson catalog in 1968.
On December 22, 1969, the Gibson parent company Chicago Musical
Instruments was taken over by the South American brewing conglomerate
ECL. Gibson remained under the control of CMI until 1974 when it
became a subsidiary of Norlin Musical Instruments. Norlin Musical
Instruments was a member of Norlin Industries which was named for ECL
president NORton Stevens and CMI president Arnold BerLIN. This began
an era characterized by corporate mismanagement and decreasing product
quality. Gibson left
Kalamazoo in 1984, then previous factory
Heritage Guitars Gibson Showcase at Nashville Gibson
Factory at Memphis
Between 1974 and 1984 production of Gibson guitars was shifted from
Nashville, Tennessee . The
Kalamazoo plant kept going for
a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984;
several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established
Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic
The company (Gibson) was within three months of going out of business
before it was bought by Henry E. Juszkiewicz, David H. Berryman, and
Gary A. Zebrowski in January 1986. New production plants were opened
Memphis, Tennessee , as well as
Bozeman, Montana . The Memphis
facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while
the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.
In 1977 Gibson sued Hoshino/Elger for copying the Gibson
Les Paul .
In 2000, Gibson sued
Fernandes Guitars in a Tokyo court for allegedly
copying Gibson designs. Gibson did not prevail. Gibson also sued PRS
Guitars in 2005, to stop them from making their Singlecut model. The
lawsuit against PRS was initially successful. However, the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court
decision and ordered the dismissal of Gibson's suit against PRS.
Garrison Guitars in 2007. In mid 2009 Gibson
reduced its work force to adjust for a decline in guitar industry
sales in the United States.
In 2011, Gibson acquired the Stanton Group, including
Cerwin Vega ,
KRK Systems and Stanton DJ . Gibson then formed a new division, Gibson
Pro Audio, which will deliver professional grade audio items,
including headphones, loudspeakers and DJ equipment.
Gibson announced a partnership with the Japanese-based Onkyo
Corporation in 2012. Onkyo, known for audio equipment and home theater
systems, became part of the Gibson Pro Audio division.
In 2013, Gibson acquired a majority stake in TEAC Corporation.
In 2014, Gibson acquired the consumer electronics business of Royal
FWS Raids many 1994 serial numbers start with "94", followed by a
six-digit production number. The Gibson website provides a book to
help with serial number deciphering.
In 2006, Gibson introduced a nine-digit serial number system
replacing the eight-digit system used since 1977, but the sixth digit
now represents a batch number.
In 2003, Gibson debuted its
Ethernet -based audio protocol, MaGIC ,
which it developed in partnership with
Advanced Micro Devices ,
Xilinx . Replacing traditional analog hook-ups with a digital
connection that would, "...satisfy the unique requirements of live
audio performances," may have been the goal of this project. This
system may require a special pickup , but cabling is provided by a
standard Cat-5 ethernet cable.
The Gibson "self-tuning guitar", also known as a "robot model", an
option on some newer Les Paul, SG, Flying V and Explorer instruments,
will tune itself in little more than two seconds using robotics
technology developed by Tronical GmbH. Under the tradename Min-ETune,
this device became standard on several models in 2014.
In 2013 Gibson introduced the Government Series of Les Paul, SG,
Flying V, Explorer which were essentially the same as the first
series, only finished in a new color: "government tan". Guitars from
both the original and the second Government Series have since become
highly sought after by players -webkit-column-width: 25em;
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* ^ Lister, Kat (2014-04-23). "The Forgotten Women of Kalamazoo".
Feminist Times. Retrieved 2014-09-15.
* ^ Thomas, John (2012).
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* ^ Hembree 2007 , p. 74—85
* ^ Duchossoir 1998 , p. 55—62
* ^ Hembree 2007 , p. 110
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* ^ Gleick 1987
* ^ Fjestad, Zachary (June 16, 2010). "Ibanez "Lawsuit Era" Les
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539 (6th Cir. 2005).
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* ^ Email, published by Walker Duncan (2009-03-23). "Sources:
Gibson adds to layoff tally Make and Buy NashvillePost.com:
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NashvillePost.com. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
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2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
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2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011.
* ^ A B "Endangered species trafficking: What did Gibson Guitar
know?". mongabay.com. 7 July 2011. Archived from the original on 23
August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
* ^ Stern, Andrew (25 August 2011). "Gibson
Guitar to fight U.S.
probe of its wood imports". Reuters. Archived from the original on 8
January 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
* ^ Schelzig, E. (August 7, 2012). "Gibson
admits to importing endangered wood". The Christian Science Monitor.
Archived from the original on 24 November 2014. Retrieved November 24,
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BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 August 2012. Retrieved 6
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really certified?". wri.org. Archived from the original on 23 August
2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
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over environmental protections". Washington Post. Archived from the
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government-seized wood are sold out". Los Angeles Times.
* ^ "epiphone.com". Epiphone. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
* ^ kramerguitars.com Kramer Official Site
* ^ Maestro by Gibson Gibson Official Site
* ^ steinberger.com
Steinberger Official Site
* ^ Tobias Gibson Official Site
* ^ Ken Achard (1996). The History and Development of the American
Guitar. Bold Strummer. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-933224-18-6 . Also during the
mid to late thirties, Gibson produced a range of cello and flat top
instruments under the
Kalamazoo name and at inexpensive prices.
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Cakewalk Inc.". Gibson
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magazine, April 2003
* ^ A B C This Is MaGIC Gibson Official Site
* ^ Yuri Kageyama (The Associated Press) (December 3, 2007).
"World\'s first robot guitar takes care of the tuning". Seattle Times.
* ^ http://www2.gibson.com/Products/min-etune.aspx
* ^ A B C Wheeler 1992 , p. 95
* ^ Carter 1994 , p. 12
* ^ Spann 2011 , p. 1
* ^ Spann 2011 , pp. 1–2
* ^ Spann 2011 , p. 2
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* ^ Wheeler 1992 , p. 144
* ^ Bonds 2004 , p. 318
* ^ Thomas 2012 , p. 3
* ^ Bonds 2004 , p. 396
* ^ Bonds 2004 , p. 406
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* ^ Fjestad, S.P., Editor (2015) . "Blue Book of Electric Guitars"
(PDF). Gibson Serialization (Sixth ed.). Blue Book Publications, Inc.
Retrieved January 2, 2015. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link )
* Achard, Ken (1989). The History and Development of the American
Guitar. Westport, CT: Bold Strummer Ltd. ISBN 978-0-933-22418-6 .
* Bacon, Tony (2002). 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul. San
Francisco: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-879-30711-0 .
* Bacon, Tony (2009). The
Guitar Book: A Complete History
Les Paul Guitars. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. ISBN
* Bacon, Tony (2011). Flying V, Explorer, Firebird: An Odd-shaped
History of Gibson’s Weird Electric Guitars. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat
Books. ISBN 978-1-617-13008-3 .
* Bacon, Tony (2012). The History of the American Guitar: From 1833
to the Present Day. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. ISBN
* Bacon, Tony (2014). Sunburst: How the Gibson
Les Paul Standard
Became a Legendary Guitar. Montclair: Backbeat Books. ISBN
* Bonds, Ray (2004). The Illustrated Directory of Gutiars. New York:
Barnes and Noble. ISBN 978-0-760-76317-9 .
* Carter, Walter (1994). Gibson Guitars: 100 Years of an American
Icon. Los Angeles: General Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-881-64939-7 .
* Carter, Walter (2007). Gibson Electric
Guitar Book – Seventy
Years of Classic Guitars. Backbeat Books: New York. ISBN
* Day, Paul; Carter, Walter; Hunter, Dave; Verheyen, Carl (2011).
The Ultimate Gibson
Guitar Book. New York: Metro Books. ISBN
* Duchossoir, A. R. (1998). Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years.
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-0-793-59210-4 .
* Duchossoir, A. R. (2008).
Guitar Identification: A Reference for
Dating Guitars made by Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, and Martin (4th ed.).
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-1-423-42611-0 .
* Duchossoir, A. R. (2009). Gibson Electric Steel Guitars:
1935-1967. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-1-423-45702-2 .
* Erlewine, Dan; Whitford, Eldon; Vinopal, David (2009). Gibson’s
Fabulous Flat-top Guitars: An Illustrated History & Guide. San
Francisco: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-879-30962-6 .
* Fjestad, Zachary R.; Meiners, Larry (2007). Gibson Flying V.
Minneapolis, MN: Blue Book Publications. ISBN 978-1-886-76872-7 .
* Fox, Paul (2011). The Other Brands of Gibson. Anaheim Hills, CA:
Centerstream Publications. ISBN 978-1-574-24271-3 .
* Gleick, James (1987). Chaos: Making a New Science. New York:
Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-81178-6 .
* Gruhn, George ; Carter, Walter (1993). Acoustic Guitars and Other
Fretted Instruments: A Photographic History. San Francisco: GPI Books.
ISBN 978-0-879-30240-5 .
* Gruhn, George ; Carter, Walter (2010a). Electric Guitars and
Basses: A Photographic History. New York: Backbeat Books. ISBN
* Gruhn, George ; Carter, Walter (2010b). Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage
Guitars: An Identification Guide for American Fretted Instruments. New
York: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-879-30422-5 .
* Hembree, George (2007). Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty’s Golden Era
1948-1966. Austin, TX: GH Books. ISBN 978-1-423-41813-9 .
* Ingram, Adrian (1997). The Gibson L5: Its History and its Players.
Anaheim, CA: Centerstream Pub. ISBN 978-1-574-24047-4 .
* Ingram, Adrian (2007). The Gibson 175: Its History and its
Players. Anaheim, CA: Centerstream Pub. ISBN 978-1-574-24223-2 .
* Marx, Wallace (2009). Gibson
Amplifiers 1933-2008. Minneapolis,
MN: Blue Book Publications. ISBN 978-1-886-76890-1 .
* Spann, Joe (2011). Spann’s Guide to Gibson: 1902-1941. Anaheim
Hills, CA: Centerstream Pub. ISBN 978-1-574-24267-6 .
* Thomas, John (2012).
Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary
Women & Gibson’s ‘Banner’ Guitars of WWII. Franklin, TN:
American History Press. ISBN 978-0-983-08278-1 .
* Wheeler, Tom (1992). American Guitars: An Illustrated History
(rev. and updated ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN
* Fox, Paul (2011). The Other Brands of Gibson. Centerstream
Publishing. ISBN 978-1-57424-271-3 .
* Official GIBSON BRANDS, INC.