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About Gibson

Gibson USA


The home of Gibson electric guitars today is "Gibson USA," built in 1974 in Nashville specifically for the production of Gibson's Les Paul guitars. Although the entire guitar industry went through a slump in the late '70s, the spirit of innovation remained strong at Gibson. In response to a growing demand for vintage stylings, Gibson tapped its rich history  and reissued the dot-neck version of the ES-335 in 1981 and the flametop sunburst Les Paul in 1982. At the same time, two legendary guitarists joined Gibson- B.B. King in 1980 with the Lucille model and Chet Atkins in 1982 with his new concept of a solidbody acoustic guitar.

Gibson world headquarters moved to Nashville in 1984 with the closing of the Kalamazoo plant. The financially troubled company was rescued in January 1986 by Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman, and the new owners quickly restored Gibson's reputation for quality as well as its profitability.

Today's Gibson electric guitars represent the history as well as the future of the electric guitar. The models whose designs have become classics-the ES-175, ES-335, Flying V, Explorer, Firebird, SGs and Les Pauls-are a testament to Gibson's wide appeal, spanning more than four decades of music styles. Gibson's close relationship with musicians is manifest in endorsement models from King, Atkins and jazz greats Howard Roberts and Herb Ellis, plus new Les Pauls made to the personal specifications of rock stars Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. In 1994, Gibson's Centennial year, the new Nighthawk model won an industry award for design, setting the stage for a second hundred years of Gibson quality and innovation. 

The First Gibson Electrics

By the time Gibson began work on its first electric guitar, the company had a 40-year tradition of quality and innovation to uphold. The first Gibson electric had to be nothing less than the best electric guitar the world had ever seen.

In the spring of 1935, Gibson enlisted musician Alvino Rey to help develop a prototype pickup with engineers at the Lyon & Healy company in Chicago. Later that year, research was moved in-house, where Gibson employee Walter Fuller came up with the final design.  Gibson introduced the distinctive hexagonal pickup on a lap steel model in late 1935. The pickup was installed on an F-hole archtop guitar, dubbed the ES-150 ES for Electric Spanish), and the first one shipped from the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on May 20, 1936.

Was the ES-150 the best electric guitar that guitarists in 1936 had ever seen? Jazz musician Charlie Christian, who would establish the electric guitar as an instrument with its own unique voice, thought so. Sixty years later, the Gibson ES-150 is still known as the Charlie Christian model, and some jazz players consider the ES-150's "Charlie Christian" pickup to be the best jazz pickup ever made.

The ES-150's success was a double-edged sword, establishing Gibson as the foremost maker of electric guitars but at the same time challenging Gibson to top this monumental achievement. After a production break for World War II, Gibson did just that.

The Golden Age of Innovation
 

In the years after World War II, the electric guitar came of age and Gibson entered a golden of age of innovation. The P-90 pickup, introduced in 1946, gave guitarists new power and versatility. Under the aggressive leadership of company president Ted McCarty, Gibson debuted two new concepts in 1949 with the ES-5, the first three-pickup guitar, and the ES-175, the first guitar with a sharply pointed cutaway bout.

The advent of the solidbody electric guitar posed a new challenge for Gibson. Like the ES-150 in 1936, Gibson's first solidbody electric had to uphold Gibson tradition while going a step beyond all other guitars of its kind. A carved contoured top harkened back to the very first Orville Gibson instruments of the late 1800s, and a gold finish signified a value above all others. With the endorsement of the most popular guitarist of the time, Gibson introduced the Les Paul Model in 1952. The Les Paul quickly grew into a family of four models-the Junior, Special,Standard and Custom - all of which would become Gibson classics. Gibson's top models sported McCarty's newtune-o-matic bridge, which was introduced on the Les Paul Custom in 1954 and is still the standard Gibson electric guitar bridge. In 1958 McCarty debuted not one, but two radical new ideas-a semi-hollowbody electric and a group of exotic, futuristic solidbodies. The ES-335 was an instant success, combining traditional archtop styling with modern, solidbody construction. The Flying V, Explorer and Moderne proved to be decades ahead of their time.

Gibson pushed on into the 1960s with two more bold, modern solidbody lines-the double-cutaway SG models of '61 and the reverse-body Firebirds of '63. By the time the McCarty era ended in 1965, a foundation of classic models had been laid that would carry Gibson through the rest of the century.

Gibson news & developments

NEW PRODUCT - Gibson Collectors Choice #12 1957 Les Paul Goldtop

Now in stock!

The Collector’s Choice™ #12 1957 Les Paul Goldtop meticulously recreates the original 1957 Goldtop owned by none other than Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Brands. Sporting a thick, mellow tone and the archetypal “gently aged Goldtop” finish, the instrument features two Custom Bucker S pickups recreated to the exact specs and materials of the original PAFs in Mr. Juszkiewicz’s guitar. Other features include a slightly “cheeky,” rounded neck profile that offers that perfect ‘50s playing feel.

Click here for more details

ARTIST NEWS - Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators Announce New Album!



SLASH and his bandmates Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators will release their new album WORLD ON FIRE on September 15 via SLASH’s own label Dik Hayd International distributed through Roadrunner Records (Europe, Middle East, Africa, & Latin America).

The group revealed the cover artwork for WORLD ON FIRE designed by American contemporary artist Ron English today. Featuring the blazing title track as the first single the disc marks SLASH’s third solo album and second one with his band featuring MYLES KENNEDY (vocals), BRENT FITZ (drums) and TODD KERNS(bass).

For WORLD ON FIRE, SLASH and his band tapped Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Alter Bridge, Falling In Reverse, Incubus) to produce. Among the 17 songs is an instrumental–a powerful new turn for the band. WORLD ON FIRE is the follow-up to 2012′s critically acclaimed Apocalyptic Love which debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and earned SLASH two No. 1 U.S. rock radio hits–his first-ever solo–with ‘You’re A Lie’ and ‘Standing In The Sun.’ SLASH officially began recording as a solo artist with his self-titled 2010 debut album which employed a different vocalist on each track of his first album including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie and Myles Kennedy among others.

Following are song titles for WORLD ON FIRE:

‘World on Fire’
‘Shadow Life’
‘Automatic Overdrive’
‘Wicked Stone’
’30 Years to Life’
‘Bent to Fly’
‘Stone Blind’
‘Too Far Gone’
‘Beneath the Savage Sun’
‘Withered Delilah’
‘Battleground’
‘Dirty Girl’
‘Iris of the Storm’
‘Avalon’
‘The Dissident’
‘Safari Inn’
‘The Unholy’

NEW PRODUCT - Collector’s Choice #17 59’ Les Paul “Louis”

Capturing every sonic, visual, and tactile nuance of the world's most desirable guitar, Collector’s Choice™ #17 1959 Les Paul "Louis" re-creates a stunningly well-preserved Les Paul that was tucked away in a private collection for the past 30 years.

Keith Nelson of SoCal rock band Buckcherry selected this 'burst from six original '59 Les Pauls after rigorous playing, and has played it on Buckcherry's 2013 release Confessions and every live date since. Thanks to Keith's gracious cooperation, Gibson Custom has painstakingly analyzed every detail of the guitar's look, sound, and modest playing wear to bring you a perfect recreation. From the faded Dirty Lemon Burst finish to the incomparable '59 neck profile and hallowed PAF-driven burst tone, Collector's Choice™ #17 is the nearest you’ll come to making the most valuable electric guitar ever produced your very own.

Now available at WG!

Click here for more info

ARTIST NEWS - ZZ Top and Jeff Beck Announce Blockbuster Tour

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck will embark on their first-ever joint tour this summer. The U.S. trek is set to launch on Aug. 8 in Missoula, Mont., and continue for over a month before wrapping up Sept. 12 in the Woodlands, Texas.

Every night of the tour will see ZZ Top and Beck performing individual, full sets, and the finale will feature a special, joint performance between the camps.

“Ever since experiencing ‘Jeff’s Boogie,’ the prospect of performance with Jeff Beck on the deck brings us into focus with the curator of crunch,” ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons said in a statement. “Jeff's Boogie” is a 1966 Yardbirds song, so Gibbons has followed Beck since his Yardbirds days.

Beck shares Gibbons’ admiration. “Ever since [the 1983 album] Eliminator, I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top,” Beck said, adding that Gibbons is the “Professor of Grunge.”

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck 2014 Tour Dates:

8/8 -- Missoula, MT, Ogren Park
8/9 -- Woodinville, WA, Chateau Ste. Michelle
8/10 -- Eugene, OR, Cuthbert Amphitheatre
8/12 -- Saratoga, CA, The Mountain Winery
8/13 -- Los Angeles, CA, Greek Amphitheatre
8/15 -- Murphys, CA, Ironstone Amphitheatre
8/16 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Joint
8/20 -- Englewood, CO, Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre
8/22 -- Oklahoma City, OK, Zoo Amphitheatre
8/23 -- Kansas City, MO, Starlight Theater
8/24 -- Maryland Heights, MO, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
8/27 -- Clarkston, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
8/28 -- Highland Park, IL, Ravinia
8/31 -- Mashantucket, CT, MGM Grand Theater, Foxwoods
9/2 -- Boston, MA, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
9/3 -- Columbia, MD, Merriweather Post Pavilion
9/4 -- Wantagh, NY, Nikon, Jones Beach Theater
9/6 -- Alpharetta, GA, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/7 -- St. Augustine, FL, St. Augustine Amphitheater
9/12 -- The Woodlands, TX, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

ARTIST NEWS - Slash Completes Solo Album #3

Slash has completed his third solo album, and will reveal the release date of the as-yet-untitled album shortly.

The album is the second to feature Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators (the first was 2012’s Apocalyptic Love).

Slash and co. have recorded 17 tracks for the album, including 16 with vocals and one instrumental. Judging by in-studio pics from Slash’s social media, Working titles include “I Wanna Pull Your Hair,” “It Puts The Lotion On Its Skynyrd,” “Cheap Dick,” “Manual Automation,” “You’re The Truth,” “Dirty Girl and Music To Murder Your Girlfriend By.” “These are all working titles – except for one,” Slash says. “I don’t have the cover art and title just yet, but it won’t be long.”

NEW PRODUCT - Billy F. Gibbons Aged Goldtop

Billy F. Gibbons doesn’t pull any stylistic or tonal punches, so you’d expect his take on the seminal Les Paul Goldtop to be a knockout—and it is.

The first ground-up revision of Gibson’s stunning original solidbody electric in over 60 years is a masterpiece of style. In addition to its luscious goldtop finish, it features a unique pinstripe design created by Billy himself, which is hand-recreated one at a time by respected hotrod-pinstripe artist Rick Harris and a Gibson artist trained personally by Rick. Sonically and visually, the guitar blows the doors off the venue with a neck profile measured precisely from the Rev’s own Les Paul, ultra-light construction, custom electronics, and a pair of Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups.

150 Billy F. Gibbons Goldtops will be carefully hand-aged each of these will have the added kitsch of a Texas-shaped “buckle rash” wear pattern adorning its back. 

Click here for more info

KEY GUITARS - 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue

 

One-piece rosewood fingerboards
Aniline Dye
Kluson™ Deluxe machine heads
Hot Hide Glue Neck Fit
Custom Buckers
Historic Truss Rod Assembly (no tubing)
Accurate body and fingerboard binding color

1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue
By the time the sunburst finish finally arrived on Gibson’s Les Paul Model in 1958, the guitar had already evolved through several modifications through the course of the decade, including the arrival of the Tune-o-matic bridge in 1956 and humbucking pickups in 1957. As legendary as ’50s Les Pauls have become, Gibson had sold fewer of the guitar every year since 1953, the year following its introduction, when the company shipped 2,245 Les Pauls. Gibson president Ted McCarty blamed some of the model’s waning popularity on its flashy Goldtop finish, and attempted to bolster its appeal with an elegant and more traditional Cherry Sunburst finish. Since this finish now displayed the grain of the guitar’s carved maple top, Gibson also now used “bookmatched” two-piece tops glued together with a center seam, giving each guitar its very own distinct look and marking the beginning of the guitar world’s fascination with figured maple tops, even though the majority of the tops used in 1958 were considered “plain” when compared to the tops used one year later and beyond. The 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue from Gibson’s Custom Shop presents the most accurate recreation yet available of this first incarnation of the hallowed “Burst,” in a guitar that contains all the crucial ingredients, with a less showy maple top that is sometimes considered more authentic looking than those with highly detailed figuring. Also, while all Les Pauls were finished in Cherry Sunburst in 1958, these faded in greatly varying degrees, which are now accurately represented in the 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue finish selections. Available in VOS are Bourbon Burst, Faded Tobacco Burst, Iced Tea Burst, Lemon Burst, Sunrise Tea Burst and Washed Cherry Sunburst.

The 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue relies on the ingredients that made the Les Paul a classic in the first place, but puts them together in the way that first began to show off what was going on underneath the finish. The Gibson Custom Shop uses a body of solid, non-weight relieved mahogany, which blends depth and richness with the snap and clarity of the maple top. The quarter-sawn mahogany neck still has a chunky, rounded ’50s profile, which, in combination with the traditional long-tenon neck joint, enhances sustain and resonance as well as feeling great in the hand. In addition to these classic ingredients, the 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue also benefits from Gibson Custom’s 20th Anniversary Specifications, newly adopted for 2013. These include a one-piece rosewood fingerboard, Kluson™ Deluxe machine heads, hot-hide glue neck fit, a Historic Truss Rod assembly with no tubing, accurate body and fingerboard binding color, new Custom Buckers created in the image of the original PAFs, and period-correct Aniline dye beneath its nitrocellulose lacquer finish.

Gibson Custom’s new Custom Bucker accurately recreates the original PAFs of the late ’50s, using Alnico III magnets and unequal turns of 42 AWG wire in each coil for that characteristic PAF “bite.” These pickups clean up beautifully at the guitar’s volume controls, while Bumble Bee tone caps assist in that warm, singing “woman tone” when you roll back the tone controls. To top it all off, the 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue plays superbly right out of its Custom Shop hardshell case thanks to a trip through one of Gibson’s state-of-the-art Plek machines before it leaves the Custom Shop floor.

ARTIST NEWS - Rush Take a Year Off

Canadian power trio Rush are taking the year off after an extensive touring cycle behind their latest album Clockwork Angels. In doing so they are skipping out on what would have been their 40th anniversary since the release of their first album. But fans shouldn’t be worried - the band has already started planning for 2015.

“The three of us just had a meeting,” Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson told Rolling Stone. “We said, 'Let's not talk about anything band-wise for the next year. Let's separate ourselves and come back rejuvenated.' Unfortunately, the other people at that meeting didn't hear what we were talking about, so there are already plans being made for spring of 2015. It's going to be a 41st anniversary tour, or whatever they're going to call it.”

Longtime fans of the band will also be happy to hear what Rush has in store for them regarding the setlist for the upcoming tour. “We haven't really talked seriously about what we want to do,” said Lifeson. “But I think we're probably going to lean towards making it a real sort of fan event, and really try to put something together that's very pleasing for the fans across the board. That's always been difficult, for us to sort of balance things.” Lifeson continued by saying: “We want to try and play different material this time. I've always wanted to do some rarer Rush material, and this should be a good opportunity to do that. I also think it's going to be a long tour. We just need to stay healthy until then.”

KEY GUITARS - 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue

One-piece rosewood fingerboards
Aniline Dye
Kluson™ Deluxe machine heads
Hot Hide Glue Neck Fit
Custom Buckers
Historic Truss Rod Assembly (no tubing)
Accurate body and fingerboard binding color

1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue
While all 1958-’60 Les Pauls are among the most saught-after electric guitars ever made, the ’59 Burst is often considered among aficonados to be the crème de la crème of the range. They are also exceedingly rare, with only 635 guitars shipped that year. With sales of the Les Paul declining every year since 1953, the year after its release, Gibson decided in 1958 to update the look of the model with an elegant Cherry Sunburst finish. Guitars from that first year of the Burst’s production often had relatively plain maple tops, but through the course of 1959, Gibson’s craftsmen built Les Pauls with tops that displayed more and more highly-figured grains, making these among the most collectible of the breed today. The 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue from Gibson Custom accurately recreates the original hallowed ’59 Burst in every detail, and presents it in your choice of VOS finishes: Bourbon Burst, Faded Tobacco Burst, Iced Tea Burst, Lemon Burst, Sunrise Tea Burst and Washed Cherry Sunburst. Gloss: Bourbon Burst, Faded Tobacco Burst, Iced Tea Burst, Lemon Burst, Sunrise Tea Burst and Washed Cherry Sunburst.

While the 1959 Les Paul Standard retained the classic ingredients of the breed—its solid mahogany body and carved maple top, both represented here in the 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue—the guitar also evolved slightly from its specs of the previous year. Les Pauls made in 1959 also acquired a slightly thinner, though still comfortably rounded, neck profile, which many players consider the sweetest feeling neck shape of all time, along with a smaller neck heel. These are all represented with utmost accuracy in the 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue, while the guitar also benefits from Gibson Custom’s 20th Anniversary Specifications, newly adopted for 2013. These include a one-piece rosewood fingerboard, Kluson™ Deluxe machine heads, hot-hide glue neck fit, a Historic Truss Rod assembly with no tubing, accurate body and fingerboard binding color, new Custom Buckers created in the image of the original PAFs, and period-correct Aniline dye offered in VOS and Gloss.

Gibson Custom’s new Custom Bucker accurately recreates the original PAFs of the late ’50s, using Alnico III magnets and unequal turns of 42 AWG wire in each coil for that characteristic PAF “bite.” These pickups clean up beautifully at the guitar’s volume controls, while Bumble Bee tone caps assist in that warm, singing “woman tone” when you roll back the tone controls. To top it all off, the 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue plays superbly right out of its Custom Shop hardshell case thanks to a trip through one of Gibson’s state-of-the-art Plek machines before it leaves the Custom Shop floor.

ARTIST NEWS - Slash to tour with Aerosmith

Aerosmith and Slash will tour the US together later this year.

Slash and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry both confirmed the news on Twitter over the weekend.

Perry announced “It's official- we just talked, Aerosmith/Slash USA tour confirmed! Tickets on sale next few wks Soon as dates confirmed. LET ROCK RULE!”

Half an hour later Slash tweeted, “Great news! We'll be touring the US with Aerosmith this summer! Stay tuned for dates. Its going to be a killer tour!”

NEW PRODUCT - Joe Bonamassa Skinnerburst VOS

 

Now in stock!

Click here for more info

Of all of today’s Les Paul-wielding artists Joe Bonamassa is among the most revered, and the astounding 1959 model that he affectionately calls “Principal Skinner” is the most beloved guitar in his extensive collection. Now, following a long-coming collaboration between Joe and Gibson Custom, we are delighted to present “Skinnerburst,” a detail-perfect recreation of what is possibly the hardest working 1959 Les Paul in the world today. Through unrestricted access to the original and Joe’s generous cooperation, Gibson Custom has scanned, studied and measured every spec, curve and parameter of this guitar to bring you an instrument that reproduces this prized ‘burst in every possible way, exactly as it looks, feels, and sounds today.

From its delectably faded Dirty Lemon finish, to its custom-wound humbucking pickups, to its precise top carve and neck profile, the Joe Bonamassa “Skinnerburst” 1959 Les Paul gets you as close as is humanly possible to a priceless artist’s guitar. Historically accurate binding colors, aged cellulose trapezoid inlays, hot-hide glue neck construction, and period-correct hardware all complement a breathtaking rendition of Joe’s constant stage and studio companion.

Body 2 Piece, Figured Maple
Back 1 Piece, Genuine Mahogany
Binding Reissue Cream, Single Ply
Neck 1 Piece, Genuine Mahogany
Fingerboard 1 Piece, Indian Rosewood
Inlay Aged Cellulose trapezoid
Headstock 59, Holly Head Veneer
Scale 24.75
Tuners Kluson Deluxe Green Keys, Single Band
Bridge Nickel ABR-1 With Thumbwheels
Tailpiece Lightweight Aluminium Stopbar
Neck Pickup Custombucker
Bridge Pickup Burstbucker
Knobs Gold Top Hats
Finish "Skinnerburst" Dirty Lemon

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