Gibson Guitar Corporation is an American manufacturer of guitars and other instruments, now based in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a division of Gibson Brands.
Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as “The Gibson Mandolin-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. It was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments in 1944, which was then acquired by the E.C.L. conglomerate that changed its name to Norlin Inc. Many observers see this as the beginning of an era of mismanagement.
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 1930s; 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 Guitar 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 audio equipment devices through its subsidiaries Onkyo Corporation, Cerwin Vega and Stanton, as well as professional audio equipment from KRK Systems and TEAC Corporation/TASCAM and music software from Cakewalk.
Gibson also owns and makes instruments under brands such as Baldwin,Epiphone, Kalamazoo, Kramer, Maestro, Slingerland, Steinberger, Tobias, Valley Arts and Wurlitzer.
Gibson makes authorized copies of its most successful guitar designs. They are less expensive than those bearing the Gibson name. A former competitor, Epiphone was purchased by Gibson and now makes competitively priced Gibson models, such as the Les Paul and SG, sold under the Epiphone brand, while continuing to make Epiphone-specific models like the Sheraton and Casino. In Japan, Orville by Gibson once made Gibson designs sold in that country. Gibson has sought legal action against those that make and sell guitars Gibson believes are too similar to their own.
In 1977, Gibson introduced the serial numbering system in use until 2006. An eight-digit number on the back shows the date when the instrument was produced, where it was produced, and its order of production that day (e.g., first instrument stamped that day, second, etc.). As of 2006, the company used seven serial number systems, making it difficult to identify guitars by their serial number alone. and as of 1999 the company has used six distinct serial numbering systems. An exception is the year 1994, Gibson’s centennial year; 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 3COM, Advanced Micro Devices, and 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 standard Cat-5 ethernet cord.
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.
- Body: Mahogany with âModernâ weight relief
- Top: AAA figured maple
- Neck: Mahogany, Asymmetrical â60s Slim taper
- Fingerboard: Compound radius rosewood, trapezoid Inlays with 120th logo, undercut fret over binding for extra playing surface
- Hardware: Min-ETune system, TonePros locking tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece
- Electronics: BurstBucker Pro 1+2 , Push/Pull Coil Taps, Phase changing and Pure Bypass
- Plastics: Cream, Black Graph Tech nut, Gold Speed Knobs
- Notes: Reverse polarity rear pickup for authentic single coil combinations
- Case: Vintage Brown Hardshell