Gibson vintage guitars have their roots in Kalamazoo, Michigan where, in 1894, an eccentric, self-taught luthier named Orville H. Gibson began making stringed instruments using the archtop design of violins as his guide. Although he began by making both guitars and mandolins, his first and only patent was granted in 1898 for a mandolin design.
Orville Gibson sold his company in 1902 and died in 1918, but his early affinity for mandolins presaged the first major success for the company that bore his name. In 1922, a Gibson engineer named Lloyd Loar designed the F5 mandolin, which featured an elevated fretboard over the instrument’s body and decorative f-holes.
Banjos would dominate the mid-1920s to mid-1930s for Gibson, but all along the company continued to make guitars. It was not recognized as a leader in this field until the 1930s when the guitar enjoyed a rise in popularity.
As with the Loar mandolin, these new 1930s Gibson guitars were archtops, usually with a trapeze tailpiece below the bridge to secure the strings and pickguards that seemed to float above the instrument’s body. The L4s of this period, which are not especially collectible despite their age, had round soundholes. The L5s, which are far more collectible, had f-holes. Other models of the day are the L7, L10, and L12, none of which were as desirable then — or as collectible today — as the L5.
The 1930s was also the decade when Gibson introduced its first electric guitars. Jazz guitarist Charlie Christian made the 1936 ES-150 famous — today, that guitar’s pickup is actually known as a Charlie Christian. After World War II, during which the company halted production due to a lack of supplies, Gibson introduced its first solid body electric guitar, the Les Paul.
There is some debate about who actually designed the Les Paul, which was introduced as a Goldtop in 1952. To hear guitarist Les Paul tell it, he is the man responsible for his namesake, but guitar author and collector George Gruhn believes the great musician may have had little do to with its design, and historians generally give Gibson president Ted McCarty most of the credit.
The collectibility of Les Pauls varies greatly depending on their vintage. Of the original, Standard models, the first Sunbursts are considered the Mother Lode of Les Pauls and e...
Another Gibson line that has proved very collectible are semi-hollow body ES 335s from 1958-1964, although the presence of a Bigsy vibrato on the guitar (a so-called whammy bar) makes it less valuable.
Key terms for Gibson Vintage Guitars:
Archtop: A stringed musical instrument whose top is rounded, either by carving a solid piece of wood or subjecting a laminated sheet to heat so it can be molded into the desired shape.
Sunburst: A finish for musical instruments that is light in the center and darker around the edges. Two of the most common sunbursts are cherry (yellow in the center fading to reddish on the outside) and three-color (yellow in the center, then reddish, then black at the edges).
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Country legend Loretta Lynn back at Bell againThe Augusta Chronicle, August 19th
She had been playing guitar for about six years, ever since her husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, had bought her a $17 Gibson guitar from Sears & Roebuck when she was 18. She also had been writing her own songs, beginning with The Doggone Blues ...Read more
Greer area news briefsGreenville News, August 19th
Categories are Best Dressed, Best Action Shot, Pets are Family, Pets Misbehaving and Looks Most Like Owner. An overall winner will also be chosen. Send photos to Krista Gibson, firstname.lastname@example.org, mail to 738 S. Line St. Ext., Greer, SC 29651, or drop ...Read more
Let's Demilitarize the Regulatory Agencies, TooCato Institute (blog), August 18th
The feds' Gibson Guitar raid — our coverage of that here — did much to raise the profile of regulatory SWAT tactics, and John Fund cited others in an April report: Many of the raids [federal paramilitary enforcers] conduct are against harmless, often...Read more
Gibson : 120th Anniversary SG Standard 2014 Min-ETuneUltimate-Guitar.Com, August 14th
This guitar is a very good match because when I was in the guitar shop I was originally going to buy an Epi SG (didn't like that particular SG didn't feel right, tried a few other Gibson guitars, I liked this one the most especially considering Gibson...Read more
For Sale Gibson Les Paul Supreme Electric Guitar.$2000Kayak & Canoe News, August 12th
of musicians, DJs and composers all over the world. We are a well recognized Disc Jockey seller.Get the best price and a fast free shipping by dealing with us with complete confidence. These Products Come with their full Accessories and 1Year...Read more
Value in Old GuitarsBarron's (blog), August 11th
Among the hottest names for collectors are C.F. Martin, Fender, and Gibson, guitars that are made in materials ranging from Brazilian Rosewood to Alaskan Spruce and priced from $2,500 to $250,000. Three years ago, Eric Clapton's 1948 Gibson L-5P sold ...Read more
Staten Island man stole $8000 guitar while cat-sitting house, cops sayStaten Island Advance - SILive.com, August 8th
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A 29-year-old Oakwood man helping his girlfriend cat-sit for one of her friends made off with an $8,000 Gibson ES-330 electric guitar and some tools and jewelry, police allege. The theft happened inside a home on Xenia Street in ...Read more
Heritage Guitars and the old Gibson Guitar Factory survive and prosper in ...Detroit Metro Times, August 8th
Along with Fender, Gibson is probably the most recognizable name in guitar manufacturing today. Everyone from Jimmy Page to Jack White has picked up a Les Paul, a Firebird, or one of the many other guitars that the company continues to make. But did...Read more