The History of the Gibson Acoustic Guitar

Everyone knows about the Gibson Guitar Corporation. They’re the producers of some of the best, and most historic guitars in the world – I mean, everyone’s seen a Gibson acoustic guitar. It’s a household name for guitarists, famous or trying to be, and the company’s story started over a century ago.

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Before the production of the guitar, Gibson started out as a business venture by Orville Gibson, who patented a mandolin with mass-production capabilities. Along with other designs, he made a buck specifically off of the Italian instrument – but upon his death in the late 1910s, the company was in dire need of some updated merchandise.

Over the next two decades, Gibson expanded into the world of electric guitars, banjos and mandolins, but production and innovation came to a slowdown when the company had to face the realities of the Second World War, and the shortage it produced in metal and wood. As workers became soldiers, the company turned to women to produce some 25,000 guitars.

The post-war era then immediately lead into the creation of Gibson’s most iconic design line thanks to the acquisition of Ted McCarty, whose work with Les Paul led to the eponymous Les Paul guitars, and the bombed, yet still iconic Flying V and Explorer guitars, which angled for that craved “modernistic” look that just… didn’t really cut it with audiences and musicians at the time.

The company fell into a rare, and hopefully quickly forgotten quality slump after its parent company was taken over, but since returning to the spotlight with the same extremely high-quality as ever, Gibson has managed to retain its name and reputation as one of, if not the biggest and best producer of acoustic and electric guitars alike.

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Just ask legends like Frank Zappa, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, all of which used Gibson guitars – it certainly didn’t hurt their careers.

121 years past its founding, the Gibson Guitar Corporation certainly has gained one thing – a flair for excellence and extravagance. One set of three high-quality, absolutely stunningly beautiful anniversary mandolins costs a tremendous $60,000. A nigh-on ridiculous fee, but not for the connoisseur (who might just happen to have way too much money). Another example is a Gibson acoustic guitar coming in at $4,999; or, for an extra $5,000 at $9,999, the same guitar but with Bob Dylan’s own personal autograph on it.

But there’s something else that sets the Gibson acoustic guitar apart from the products of most other manufacturers, and from Gibson’s own electric guitars. And that is an absolutely guaranteed reputation. Aside from countless celebrity endorsements by guitarists whose skill and fame have made them godlike in the eyes of fans, Gibson’s rich history and prices demand the respect of millions, who rightfully commend the company on its continued devotion to the art of guitar making, and to the customers who indulge and honor that art with their musical skill and creative innovation.

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