Gibson guitars are one of the most recognizable guitar brands in the world. From the soul searing sounds of a Les Paul heard through a Marshall stack in a rock club to the soothing melodies a Hummingbird acoustic strummed in a café, Gibson guitars are responsible for a great many colors in the rainbow of guitar sounds. Whether you are a country crooner or a hard rocker, there is certainly a Gibson for you.
History of Gibson Guitars
In the late 1800s, company founder Orville Gibson began making instruments. His initial interest as a luthier was in making mandolins, and the company was originally called the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co, Ltd. In the 1930s, Gibson began manufacturing electric arch top guitars like the still popular ES-150. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that the company produced its signature instrument, the Les Paul solid-body guitar. Other solid body models like the SG, the Explorer and the Flying V followed. In the 1940s, the company also began producing acoustic guitars that became as popular with the folk and country crowd as the electric Gibson guitars were with rock crowd. The Hummingbird, Dove and J Series acoustic models are still highly regarded as beautiful instruments, both visually and sonically.
Gibson Electric Models
- Les Paul - The Les Paul is the flagship guitar of the Gibson line. Its curved maple top, mahogany back and sides, and sunburst finish makes it stunning to look at. The dual humbucker pickups controlled by two tone knobs, two volume knobs and a three way selector switch make it a dream to play. This is the solid body guitar that started it all.
- SG - Originally called the Solid Guitar, the SG as it's known now is one of the most distinguishable electric guitars in the world. One glance at it, and you immediately envision Angus Young prancing across stage in his schoolboy uniform, cranking out the classics of AC/DC. With two 57 classic humbuckers, a mahogany body and those unmistakable pointed horns, the SG might have evolved from the original Les Paul, but it has since taken on a life of its own.
- Explorer - While the Explorer was released in the 1950s, its unique body shape proved to be ahead of its time. It wasn't until the 1970s when hard rock bands like Kiss and Cheap Trick began to play Explorers on tour that the Explorer carved out its own niche. These beautiful Gibson guitars feature high-output humbucker pickups, mahogany bodies and plenty of attitude. Explorers are still one of the most rock-n-roll guitars available on the market.
- Flying V - Of all the striking designs of Gibson guitars over the years, none has been as stunningly original as the Flying V. Jimi Hendrix left his trusty Strat behind and played a Flying V at the Isle of Wight festival in England. The dual fins on this guitar resemble the fins on the back of a 1957 Chevy. Big, impractical, heavy and cool, this guitar takes you back to a day when sound and style were more important than practicality.
- Hummingbird - The Hummingbird has been a standard since its birth in 1960. With a Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a beautiful sunburst finish, this Gibson guitar looks as good as it sounds. However, the most essential feature of this guitar is the pickguard. The same natural scene of flowers, butterflies and a hummingbird has graced the pickguard for over 40 years. It's like a little slice of the summer of love that you can still take with you wherever you and your guitar go.
- J45 - The J45 has a truly vintage Gibson guitar feel. Every detail, from its vintage sunburst finish to the rounded shoulders says classic. This guitar originally debuted in the 1940s, but has been played by guitarists of all styles since then.
The Tip of the Iceberg
While this article touched on some of the most famous Gibson Guitars, there are many more that you might still be interested in. Check out the Gibson guitars website for more information on their current models and discontinued models. If you're looking to invest in a Gibson, do your research and make sure you get the exact model that you want. They're worth saving up for!