Gibson Guitar Corporation based in Nashville, Tennessee is one of the world’s premier manufacturers of electric guitars nowadays. Their contribution into the world of guitars and specifically into electric guitars development is just indispensable.
The company always maintained close relationships to world’s best musicians like B.B. King, Chet Atkins, Jimmy Page, Saul ‘Slash’ Hudson and many more. Those relationships gave birth to such specific models like Lucille (B.B. King) or a legendary Les Paul created by the designer Les Paul to the personal specifications of Jimmy Page and Joe Perry.
The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd. was founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson, who patented a single-piece mandolin design and initially focused on mandolin-family instruments production. This new mandolin design had one big advantage – it could be manufactured in volume. And this invention helped Orville to start his own business. Unfortunately Orville died soon (in 1918) of a disease, but the company hired a new designer, who helped them to survive and evolve further. Since then the company has changed several owners and designers and moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee.
Nowadays Gibson owns several brands including Epiphone (Gibson purchased this company some time ago and now they manufacture several Gibson models and Epiphone-specific models under Epiphone brand), Steinberger, Kramer, Maestro, etc. They also make authorized copies of their own most successful designs and sell them under different brands at less prices.
Gibson Guitar Corporation is really remarkable for their innovations. Passion for innovations was even reflected in their motto “Prestige-Quality-Innovation”. So mandolin shapes inspired them once to invent world’s first archtop guitar. Some time later they also invented the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitar. But their most prominent invention was and still remains the invention of a Les Paul series. This series was developed by Ted McCarty (later the President of Gibson) in cooperation with an innovative musician and inventor Les Paul and introduced in 1952. This was the first solid-body guitar series made by Gibson, and it still remains their most popular one.