Orville Gibson founded the Gibson guitar company in the late 19th century, although they initially built kalamazoos and mandolins. Gibson utilised a unique technique of arching the instrument at the top while using a piece for the side and a piece for the neck of the instrument. Not only did this give the mandolins a crisper and more enjoyable sound but it also made it possible to mass produce them. These same principles were employed in the manufacture of the Gibson guitar too, offering the same benefits.
However, after a few decades, the popularity of the Gibson guitar was waning and so luthier Lloyd Loar was brought in, in a bid to help improve the fortunes of the Gibson guitar. The arch top guitar really came of age under the stewardship of Loar and the company itself enjoyed success selling a variety of different instruments including the guitar.
It was in the 1930s that guitars saw a major and dramatic change as the increased volume and greater stage options of the electric guitar were realised. The ES 175 was one of the company’s first electric guitars although it still enjoyed the same hollowed style that traditional guitars had enjoyed up until this point. In the 1940s, and because of the war, production slowed until the hostilities ended.
In the 1950s and under the guidance of new chief Ted McCarty, the company attempted to rival the thin necked guitars that were being produced by Stratocaster. They called in Les Paul, a world renowned jazz guitarist, and created what was to be the first of the company’s line of guitars designed specifically at the rock crowd; a line that would become exceptionally popular and iconic, representative of the company as a whole.
In the modern era, the Gibson guitar continues to be one of the most popular guitars in the world with the likes of the Les Paul and also the Flying V, which represented a major breakaway for the company, selling in their droves. Meanwhile Gibson have branched out to create a host of digital music accessories and even digital instruments to ensure they remain at the fore of music creation.
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