July 12, 2024

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Gibson has been shaping the sound of music since 1894, when Orville Gibson … Video, Photos

Gibson has been shaping the sound of music since 1894, when Orville Gibson designed and built his earliest-known musical instrument in his workshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 130 years later, you can still play it and it sounds better than ever.

The innovative and forward-thinking carved top design that revolutionized the mandolin and guitar world delivering a louder, more durable, more playable instrument, remains the DNA of every Gibson.

Over the past 130 years, Gibson’s groundbreaking instruments have been the catalyst for some of the loudest and most resonant moments in pop culture. Many of these have been genre-defining—think of Maybelle Carter’s transformative impact on country music with her Gibson L-5™, “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe and his F-5 mandolin, Eric Clapton picking up the torch from “Blues Fathers” Robert Johnson and Freddie King and blazing a new trail with the fabled “Beano” Burst, “Mother of Rock N ‘Roll” Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s SG Custom™, Tony Iommi inventing the vocabulary for heavy metal with his SG Special “Monkey,” Jimmy Page defining hard rock in front of a sea of people with a low-slung Les Paul™, and his double neck EDS-1275, Slash influencing generational movement and defying the laws of music with his own Les Paul, and Bob Marley popularizing reggae with his Les Paul Special. 

The voices of Gibson instruments have been heard at seismic cultural events, such as Bob Dylan’s performance at the 1963 March on Washington. Or they have inspired new generations to pick up the guitar in iconic appearances on the silver screen, such as the unforgettable Enchantment Under the Sea dance scene in the 1985 movie Back to the Future.

We are in music, with instruments, sound, and media across our brands; we are one of the most iconic companies in music. Artists have chosen us to create genres of music and continually choose Gibson and our brands.

As we celebrate 130 years since Orville Gibson started making instruments, I firmly believe that our best years are ahead of us. We are Gibson. Our craftspeople, our global team, our artists, and our fans, together are Gibson.

In line with this, and to celebrate 130 years, we have changed our name from Gibson Brands back to Gibson, consistent with our focus and objective to make the best guitars in our history.

Cesar Gueikian, President, and CEO of Gibson

Over the years, Gibson has expanded from its humble Kalamazoo origins to its current home base in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The company’s headquarters are anchored by the world-renowned Gibson USA craftory, where the most popular electric guitar designs in history are still handcrafted, including the Les Paul, SG, Flying V™, Explorer™, and ES-335.

Nearby, the artisans at Gibson Custom create the new instruments, including stunning recreations of vintage instruments expertly aged in the Murphy Lab, signature models for Gibson artists, and custom-built Made-to-Measure pieces for the most discerning and uncompromising guitar fans worldwide. Meanwhile, at the state-of-the-art Gibson Acoustic craftory in Bozeman, Montana, the highly skilled team constructs celebrated models such as the J-45™, SJ-200, Hummingbird™, and Dove™ alongside artist signature acoustics, vintage reissues with Murphy Lab aging, and more.

The Monroe Brothers circa 1937
Mary Ford and Les Paul play their Les Paul guitars on September 9, 1952
Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform at the March on Washington Civil Rights rally on August 28, 1963
Tony Iommi performs with his Gibson SG “Monkey” on January 1, 1970 with Black Sabbath
Jimmy Page playing his Gibson EDS-1275 at Earl’s Court London with Led Zeppelin, May 18, 1975
Slash performs with his Gibson Les Paul at Rock In Rio II on January 15, 1991
The Gibson Les Paul is handcrafted, like all Gibson electric guitars, in Nashville, Tennessee
 The Dove Original and Hummingbird Original, and all Gibson acoustic guitars are handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana
Gibson Garage Nashville main room
Gibson Garage London main room
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