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All about Gibson Guitars. Trivia for Guitar Players.

Mar 5, 2008
Gibson Guitars have been a very influential component of the Guitar Industry now for well over 50 years. Orville Gibson was the first name by the major guitar label. In 1890 he was known as a mandolin maker who specialized in making carved archtop instruments. Gibson used these same skills in the first archtop acoustic guitars of the 1920s.

Gibson Guitars were one of the first to come up with the adjustable truss rod inside the neck of the guitar to give it strength. This remains in use today to also allow guitarists to impact on the neck relief.

Another development of Gibson Guitars is the original shape "f" holes that we still see today in semi-acoustic guitars. Gibson also began using the floating pick guard. These two items gave a definite look to the first, (and following), big bodied archtop guitars.

In the 1930s, Gibson began to experiment with electrifying and amplifying the sound of the guitar. The initial ES range of electric acoustic archtop guitar was a big leap forward. The ES stood for Electric Spanish. The term Spanish was simply to distinguish it from the popular lap Hawaiian guitars of the time.

The cut-away shape in the guitar body was also introduced by Gibson Guitars. With the work being done at the time on the amplification of the guitar sound, this enabled the guitarist to utilize the upper end of the fretboard and still be heard. This also facilitated the advent of the lead guitarist.

Gibson's first majorly successful electric guitar was the es-175. It was also slightly different in that it had a pointed cut away. In 1950, with Fender's new Broadcaster guitar, Gibson was under pressure to produce it's first solid body guitar. This resulted in the issue of the Les Paul Standard electric guitar.

The whole guitar industry was excited about the advent of the solid body guitar and Gibson and Fender were joined by the likes of National, Bigsby and Rickenbacker who were also undertaking their own development.

A very popular guitarist of the era with his own radio show was Les (Lester) Paul. Les Paul did a lot of work himself with dubbing and amplification and had his own idea about how a solid body guitar would work. His own test model was called the log guitar and he took this to Gibson Guitars as early as 1946. Gibson thought his idea rediculousl and sent him away. However once 1950 arrived and their was public interest in the Fender solid body, McCarty at Gibson asked Paul to help them with their own model.

Gibson and the other guitar companies wanted to pursue the solid body concept because it provided some unique benefits. The hollow bodied guitars had suffered from feedback when under amplification and this was certainly a sticking point. The solid bodies did not suffer as much from this. The solid body guitars also provided wonderful sustain of the pure natural sound from the strings. The solid bodies were lastly much easier to produce.

The first Les Paul Standard guitar was released in 1952. Les Paul received an endorsement contract for a 5 year period which was worth 5% of retail sales. The first Gibson Les Paul cost $210 and was referred to as the Gold Top.

Gibson Guitars like all companies appreciated the need to move with new products. In 1958, Gibson introduced the sunburst appearance of the Les Paul Standard which proved very popular. This guitar in particular is now a collector's item. 1958 was also the year, that Gibson added the extra cutaway to the body shape of the Les Paul Junior and Les Paul Standard. This would soon lead to the SG model which simply stands for Solid Guitar.

1958 was the year that also saw Gibson Guitars respond to the guitar world's growing interest with the look of guitars where previously they had been more interested in how it sounded and what it was like to play. Gibson introduced the radical shaped Flying V and the Gibson Explorer. Gibson Guitars have enabled themselves to remain a player in the music industry over many years and many of its models are now regarded as Classics.
About the Author
Author: Terry Booth has always been keen on Gibson Guitars since being given his first electric guitar, (a Japanese Les Paul imitation) as a 10 year old. Visit his website GuitarPlayersWorld.com
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