Gibson: 125 Years of Guitar Craftsmanship and Innovation

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 10, 2023

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The Les Paul electric guitar is known for its distinctive shape, single cutaway, and curved top, and has become a classic symbol of rock and roll.

This guitar has made Gibson guitars popular over time. 

But what is Gibson guitars, and why are these guitars so sought after?

Gibson logo

Gibson is an American guitar manufacturer that has been producing high-quality instruments since 1902. Its electric and acoustic guitars are known for their superior craftsmanship, innovative designs, and excellent sound quality and are widely used by musicians across various genres.

But many people, even guitarists, still don’t know much about the Gibson brand, its history, and all of the great instruments the brand makes.

This guide will explain all this and shed light on the Gibson guitar brand.

What is Gibson Brands, Inc?

Gibson is a company that produces high-quality guitars and other musical instruments. It was founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States. 

Today it’s called Gibson Brands, Inc, but in the past, the company was known as Gibson Guitar Corporation.

Gibson guitars are highly respected by musicians and music enthusiasts worldwide and are known for their superior craftsmanship, innovative designs, and excellent sound quality.

Gibson is perhaps best known for its iconic electric guitars, including the Les Paul, SG, and Explorer models, which have been used by countless musicians across various genres, from rock and blues to jazz and country. 

Additionally, Gibson also produces acoustic guitars, including the J-45 and Hummingbird models, which are highly regarded for their rich, warm tone and beautiful craftsmanship.

Over the years, Gibson has faced financial difficulties and ownership changes, but the company remains a beloved and respected brand in the music industry. 

Today, Gibson continues to produce a wide range of guitars and other musical instruments, as well as amplifiers, effects pedals, and other gear for musicians.

Who was Orville Gibson?

Orville Gibson (1856-1918) founded the Gibson Guitar Corporation. He was born in Chateguay, Franklin County, New York State.

Gibson was a luthier, or maker of stringed instruments, who began creating mandolins and guitars in the late 19th century. 

His designs incorporated innovative features such as carved tops and backs, which helped to improve the tone and playability of his instruments. 

These designs would later become the basis for the iconic Gibson guitars that the company is known for today.

Orville’s Part-Time Hobby

It’s hard to believe that the Gibson guitar company began as a part-time hobby for Orville Gibson!

He had to work a few odd jobs to pay for his passion – crafting musical instruments. 

In 1894, Orville began making acoustic guitars and mandolins in his Kalamazoo, Michigan shop.

He was the first to design a guitar with a hollow top and an oval sound hole, a design that would become the standard for archtop guitars.

History of Gibson

Gibson guitars have a long and storied history dating back to the late 19th century.

The company was founded by Orville Gibson, an instrument repairman from Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

That’s right, the Gibson company was founded there in 1902 by Orville Gibson, who made mandolin family instruments then.

At the time, guitars were handmade products and often broke down, but Orville Gibson guaranteed he could fix them. 

The company eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee, but the Kalamazoo connection remains an important part of Gibson’s history.

The beginning of Gibson guitars: mandolins

The interesting thing is that Gibson started off as a mandolin company and not a makes of acoustic and electric guitars – that would happen a bit later.

In 1898, Orville Gibson patented a single-piece mandolin design that was durable and could be manufactured in volume. 

He began selling instruments out of a room in his workshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1894. In 1902, the Gibson Mandolin Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. was incorporated to market Orville Gibson’s original designs.   

Demand for Orville’s creations & the truss rod

It didn’t take long for people to take notice of Orville’s handcrafted instruments.

In 1902, he managed to get the money to form the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company. 

Unfortunately, Orville didn’t get to see the success his company would have – he passed away in 1918.

The 1920s were a time of major guitar innovation, and Gibson was leading the charge. 

Tedd McHugh, one of their employees, came up with two of the most important engineering advancements of the time: the adjustable truss rod and the height-adjustable bridge. 

To this day, all Gibsons still feature the same truss rod that McHugh designed.

The Lloyd Loar era

In 1924, the F-5 mandolin with f-holes was introduced, and in 1928, the L-5 acoustic guitar was introduced. 

The pre-war Gibson banjos, including the RB-1 in 1933, the RB-00 in 1940, and the PB-3 in 1929, were also popular.

The following year, the company hired designer Lloyd Loar to create newer instruments. 

Loar designed the flagship L-5 archtop guitar and the Gibson F-5 mandolin, which were introduced in 1922 before leaving the company in 1924. 

At this time, the guitars still weren’t a Gibson thing yet!

The Guy Hart era

From 1924 to 1948, Guy Hart ran Gibson and was an important figure in the company’s history. 

This period was one of the greatest for guitar innovation, and the emergence of the six-string guitar in the late 1700s brought the guitar to prominence. 

Under Hart’s management, Gibson developed the Super 400, considered the best flattop line, and the SJ-200, which had a prominent place in the electric guitar market. 

Despite the global economic depression of the 1930s, Hart kept the company in business and kept paychecks coming to workers by introducing a line of high-quality wooden toys. 

When the country began economically recovering in the mid-1930s, Gibson opened new markets overseas. 

In the 1940s, the company led the way in World War II by converting its factory to wartime production and winning the Army-Navy E Award for excellence. 

The EH-150

In 1935, Gibson made their first attempt at an electric guitar with the EH-150.

It was a lap steel guitar with a Hawaiian twist, so it wasn’t quite like the electric guitars we know today.

The first “electric Spanish” model, the ES-150, followed the next year. 

The Super Jumbo J-200

Gibson was also making some serious waves in the acoustic guitar world. 

In 1937, they created the Super Jumbo J-200 “King of the Flat Tops” after a custom order from popular western actor Ray Whitley. 

This model is still popular today and is known as the J-200/JS-200. It’s one of the most sought-after acoustic guitars out there.

Gibson also developed other iconic acoustic models like the J-45 and the Southern Jumbo. But they really changed the game when they invented the cutaway in 1939.

This allowed guitarists to access higher frets than ever before, and it revolutionized the way people played the guitar.

The Ted McCarty era

In 1944, Gibson purchased Chicago Musical Instruments, and the ES-175 was introduced in 1949. 

In 1948, Gibson hired Ted McCarty as president, and he led the expansion of the guitar line with new guitars. 

The Les Paul guitar was introduced in 1952 and was endorsed by the popular musician of the 1950s, Les Paul.

Let’s face it: Gibson is still best known for the Les Paul guitar, so the 50s were the defining years for Gibson guitars!

The guitar offered custom, standard, special, and junior models.

In the mid-1950s, the Thinline series was produced, which included a line of thinner guitars like the Byrdland and the Slim Custom Built L-5 models for guitarists like Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. 

Later, a shorter neck was added to models like the ES-350 T and the ES-225 T, which were introduced as costly alternatives. 

In 1958, Gibson introduced the ES-335 T model, which was similar in size to the hollow body thinlines. 

The Later Years

After the 1960s, Gibson guitars continued to be popular with musicians and music fans around the world. 

In the 1970s, the company faced financial difficulties and was sold to Norlin Industries, a conglomerate that also owned other companies in the music industry. 

During this time, the quality of Gibson guitars suffered somewhat as the company focused on cutting costs and increasing production.

In the 1980s, Gibson was sold again, this time to a group of investors led by Henry Juszkiewicz.

Juszkiewicz aimed to revitalize the brand and improve the quality of Gibson guitars, and over the next several decades, he oversaw a number of important changes and innovations.

One of the most significant changes was the introduction of new guitar models, such as the Flying V and the Explorer, which were designed to appeal to a younger generation of guitarists. 

Gibson also began to experiment with new materials and construction techniques, such as the use of chambered bodies and carbon fiber-reinforced necks.

Gibson’s bankruptcy and resurgence

By 1986, Gibson was bankrupt and struggling to keep up with the demands of 80s shred guitarists.

That year, the company was bought for $5 million by David Berryman and new CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. 

Their mission was to restore Gibson’s name and reputation to what it once was.

Quality control improved, and they focused on acquiring other companies and analyzing which models were the most popular and why.

This strategy led to a gradual resurgence, which was helped along by Slash making sunburst Les Pauls cool again in 1987.

In the 1990s, Gibson acquired several other guitar brands, including Epiphone, Kramer, and Baldwin.

This helped to expand the company’s product line and increase its market share.

The 2000s 

In the early 2000s, Gibson faced a number of challenges, including increasing competition from other guitar manufacturers and changing trends in the music industry. 

The company also faced criticism over its environmental practices, particularly its use of endangered woods in the production of its guitars.

The Juskiewicz Era

Gibson has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, but the first few decades of the 21st century were a time of great innovation and creativity.

During this period, Gibson was able to give guitarists the instruments they wanted and needed.

The Robot Les Paul

Gibson was always a company that pushed the boundaries of what was possible with the electric guitar, and in 2005 they released the Robot Les Paul.

This revolutionary instrument featured robotic tuners that allowed guitarists to tune their guitars with the press of a button.

The 2010s

In 2015, Gibson decided to shake things up a bit by overhauling their entire range of guitars.

This included wider necks, an adjustable brass nut with zero fret, and the G-Force robot tuners as standard. 

Unfortunately, this move was not well-received by guitarists, who felt that Gibson was trying to force change upon them instead of just giving them the guitars they wanted.

Gibson’s reputation took a hit over the 2010s, and by 2018 the company was in dire financial straits.

To make matters worse, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May of that year.

In recent years, Gibson has worked to address these issues and reestablish itself as a leading manufacturer of high-quality guitars. 

The company has introduced new models, such as the Modern Les Paul and the SG Standard Tribute, that are designed to appeal to modern guitarists.

It has also made efforts to improve its sustainability practices by using responsibly sourced wood and reducing waste in its production processes.

The Gibson Legacy

Today, Gibson guitars are still highly sought after by musicians and collectors alike.

The company has a rich history of innovation and quality craftsmanship that has made it a staple in the music industry. 

From the early days of Orville Gibson to the present day, Gibson has remained a leader in the guitar industry and continues to produce some of the finest instruments available. 

In 2013, the company was renamed Gibson Brands Inc from Gibson Guitar Corporation. 

Gibson Brands Inc has an impressive portfolio of beloved and recognizable music brands, including Epiphone, Kramer, Steinberger, and Mesa Boogie. 

Gibson is still going strong today, and they’ve learned from their mistakes.

They now offer a wide range of guitars that cater to all kinds of guitarists, from the classic Les Paul to the modern Firebird-X. 

Plus, they’ve got a range of cool features like the G-Force robot tuners and adjustable brass nut.

So if you’re looking for a guitar with the perfect blend of modern technology and classic style, Gibson is the way to go!

They also have a pro audio division called KRK Systems.

The company is dedicated to quality, innovation, and sound excellence, and has shaped the sounds of generations of musicians and music lovers. 

The president and CEO of Gibson Brands Inc is James “JC” Curleigh, who is a guitar enthusiast and proud owner of Gibson and Epiphone guitars. 

Also read: Are Epiphone guitars good quality? Premium guitars on a budget

The History of Les Paul and Gibson guitars

The beginning

It all started in the 1940s when Les Paul, a jazz guitarist and recording pioneer, came up with an idea for a solid-body guitar he called ‘The Log’. 

Unfortunately, his idea was rejected by Gibson. But by the early 1950s, Gibson was in a bit of a pickle. 

Leo Fender had started mass-producing the Esquire and Broadcaster, and Gibson needed to compete.

So, in 1951 Gibson and Les Paul teamed up to create the Gibson Les Paul.

It wasn’t an instant hit, but it had the fundamentals of what would become one of the most iconic electric guitars ever made:

  • Single-cut mahogany body
  • Arched maple top painted in eye-catching gold
  • Twin pickups (P-90s initially) with four controls and a three-way toggle
  • Set mahogany neck with a rosewood bridge
  • Three-a-side headstock that bore Les’s signature

The Tune-O-Matic bridge

Gibson quickly got to work fixing the issues with the Les Paul. In 1954, McCarty invented the tune-o-matic bridge, which is still used on most Gibson guitars today.

It’s excellent for its rock-solid stability, great tone, and ability to adjust the saddles for intonation individually.

The humbucker

In 1957, Seth Lover invented the humbucker to solve the noise issue with the P-90. 

The humbucker is one of the most important inventions in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, as it stacks two single coil pickups together with reversed polarities to remove the dreaded ’60-cycle hum’.

Find out all there is to know about the different of pickups

The acquisition of Epiphone

Also in 1957, Gibson acquired the Epiphone brand.

Epiphone had been a huge rival of Gibson in the 1930s, but fell on hard times and was bought over to Kalamazoo to serve as Gibson’s budget line. 

Epiphone went on to produce some iconic instruments of its own in the 1960s, including the Casino, Sheraton, Coronet, Texan and Frontier.

Les Paul in the 60s & beyond

By 1960, Les Paul’s signature guitar was in need of a serious makeover. 

So Gibson decided to take matters into their own hands and give the design a radical overhaul – out with the single-cut arched top design and in with a sleek, contoured solid-body design with two pointed horns for easy access to the upper frets.

The new Les Paul design was an instant hit when it was released in 1961.

But Les Paul himself wasn’t too thrilled about it and asked for his name to be taken off the guitar, despite the royalty he earned for each one sold.

By 1963, the Les Paul had been replaced by the SG.

The next few years saw Gibson and Epiphone reach new heights, with a whopping 100,000 guitars shipped in 1965!

But not everything was a success – the Firebird, released in 1963, failed to take off in either its reverse or non-reverse forms. 

In 1966, after overseeing the company’s unprecedented growth and success, McCarty left Gibson.

The Gibson Murphy Lab ES-335: a look back at the golden age of guitars

The birth of the ES-335

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Gibson guitars entered their golden era, but the instruments made in Kalamazoo between 1958 and 1960 are considered the crème de la crème. 

In 1958, Gibson released the world’s first commercial semi-hollow guitar – the ES-335. 

This baby has been a staple in popular music ever since, thanks to its versatility, expressiveness, and reliability.

It perfectly blends a jazzbo’s warmth and an electric guitar’s feedback-reducing properties.

The Les Paul Standard: A Legend is Born

The same year, Gibson released the Les Paul Standard – an electric guitar that would become one of the most revered instruments ever. 

It featured all the bells and whistles Gibson had been perfecting for the past six years, including Seth Lovers’ humbuckers (Patent Applied For), a tune-o-matic bridge, and a stunning Sunburst finish.

Between 1958 and 1960, Gibson made around 1,700 of these beauties – now known as Bursts.

They’re widely considered the finest electric guitars ever made. 

Unfortunately, back in the late 50s, the guitar-playing public wasn’t as impressed, and sales were low.

This led to the Les Paul design being retired in 1960.

Where are Gibson guitars made?

As we know, Gibson is an American guitar company.

Unlike many other famous brands like Fender (who outsource to other countries), Gibson products are manufactured in the USA.

So, Gibson guitars are exclusively made in the United States, with two main factories in Bozeman, Montana, and Nashville, Tennessee. 

Gibson makes their solid-body and hollow-body guitars at their Nashville headquarters, but they make their acoustic guitars at a different plant in Montana.

The company’s renowned Memphis plant used to produce semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars.

The luthiers at Gibson factories are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. 

The Nashville factory is where Gibson produces their electric guitars.

This factory is located in the heart of Music City, USA, where the sounds of country, rock, and blues music surround the workers. 

But what makes Gibson instruments special is that the guitars are not mass-produced in a factory overseas.

Instead, they are handmade with care by skilled craftsmen and women in the United States. 

While Gibson guitars are primarily made in the USA, the company also has subsidiary brands that mass-produce guitars overseas.

However, these guitars are not authentic Gibson guitars. 

Here are some facts about overseas-made Gibson guitars:

  • Epiphone is a budget guitar brand owned by Gibson Brands Inc. that produces budget versions of popular and expensive Gibson models.
  • Epiphone guitars are manufactured in different countries, including China, Korea, and the United States.
  • Beware of imposters claiming to sell Gibson guitars at a lower price range. Always check the authenticity of the product before purchasing.

The Gibson custom shop

Gibson also has a custom shop located in Nashville, Tennessee, where skilled luthiers hand-build collectible instruments using high-end tone woods, custom hardware, and authentic Gibson humbuckers. 

Here are some facts about the Gibson Custom Shop:

  • The custom shop produces signature artist collection models, including those inspired by famous musicians like Peter Frampton and his Phenix Les Paul Custom.
  • The custom shop also creates vintage Gibson electric guitar replicas that are so close to the real thing it’s hard to tell them apart.
  • The custom shop produces the finest details in Gibson’s historical and modern collections.

In conclusion, while Gibson guitars are primarily made in the USA, the company also has subsidiary brands that mass-produce guitars overseas. 

However, if you want an authentic Gibson guitar, you should look for one made in the USA or visit the Gibson Custom Shop for a one-of-a-kind instrument.

What is Gibson known for? Popular guitars

Gibson guitars have been used by countless musicians over the years, from blues legends like B.B. King to rock gods like Jimmy Page. 

The company’s guitars have helped shape the sound of popular music and have become iconic symbols of rock and roll.

Whether you’re a professional musician or just a hobbyist, playing a Gibson guitar can make you feel like a true rock star.

But let’s look at the two defining guitars that put Gibson guitars on the map:

The archtop guitar

Orville Gibson is credited with inventing the semi-acoustic archtop guitar, which is a type of guitar that has carved arched tops like violins.

He created and patented the design.

An archtop is a semi-acoustic guitar with a curved, arched top and back.

The archtop guitar was first introduced in the early 20th century, and it quickly became popular with jazz musicians, who appreciated its rich, warm tone and its ability to project sound loudly in a band setting.

Orville Gibson, the founder of Gibson Guitar Corporation, was the first to experiment with the arched top design.

He began making mandolins with arched tops and backs in the 1890s, and he later applied the same design to guitars.

The archtop guitar’s curved top and back allowed for a larger soundboard, creating a fuller, more resonant sound.

The guitar’s F-shaped sound holes, which were also a Gibson innovation, further enhanced its projection and tonal qualities.

Over the years, Gibson continued to refine the archtop guitar design, adding features such as pickups and cutaways that made it even more versatile and adaptable to different styles of music. 

Today, the archtop guitar remains an important and beloved instrument in the world of jazz and beyond.

Gibson continues to produce a wide range of archtop guitars, including the ES-175 and the L-5 models, which are highly regarded for their craftsmanship and sound quality.

Les Paul electric guitar

Gibson’s Les Paul electric guitar is one of the company’s most famous and iconic instruments.

It was first introduced in the early 1950s and was designed in collaboration with the legendary guitarist Les Paul.

The Les Paul guitar features a solid body construction, which gives it a unique, thick, and sustaining tone that many guitarists prize. 

The guitar’s mahogany body and maple top are also known for their beautiful finishes, including the classic sunburst pattern that has become synonymous with the Les Paul name.

The Les Paul guitar’s design also includes a number of innovative features that set it apart from other electric guitars of the time. 

These included dual humbucking pickups, which reduced unwanted noise and hum while increasing sustain and clarity, and a Tune-o-matic bridge, allowing precise tuning and intonation.

Over the years, the Les Paul guitar has been used by countless famous musicians in a wide range of genres, from rock and blues to jazz and country. 

Its distinctive tone and beautiful design have made it a beloved and enduring icon of the guitar world, and it remains one of Gibson’s most popular and sought-after instruments today. 

Gibson has also introduced various models and variations of the Les Paul guitar over the years, including the Les Paul Standard, Les Paul Custom, and Les Paul Junior, each with its own unique features and characteristics.

Gibson SG Standard

The Gibson SG Standard is a model of electric guitar that Gibson first introduced in 1961.

The SG stands for “solid guitar”, as it is made with a solid mahogany body and neck rather than a hollow or semi-hollow design.

The Gibson SG Standard is known for its distinctive double-cutaway body shape, which is thinner and more streamlined than the Les Paul model.

The guitar typically features a rosewood fretboard, two humbucker pickups, and a Tune-o-matic bridge.

Over the years, the Gibson SG Standard has been played by many notable musicians, including Angus Young of AC/DC, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, and Eric Clapton. 

It remains a popular model among guitar players to this day and has undergone various changes and updates over the years.

Gibson’s signature models

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page is a rock legend, and his signature Les Pauls are just as iconic as his music.

Here’s a quick rundown of the three signature models Gibson has produced for him:

  • The first was issued in the mid-1990s and was based on a stock sunburst Les Paul Standard.
  • In 2005, Gibson Custom Shop issued a limited run of Jimmy Page Signature guitars based on his 1959 “No. 1”.
  • Gibson issued its third Jimmy Page Signature guitar in a production run of 325 guitars, based on his #2.

Gary Moore

Gibson has produced two signature Les Pauls for the late, great Gary Moore. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The first was characterized by a yellow flame top, no binding, and a signature truss rod cover. It featured two open-topped humbucker pickups, one with “zebra coils” (one white and one black bobbin).
  • In 2009, Gibson released the Gibson Gary Moore BFG Les Paul, which was similar to their previous Les Paul BFG series, but with the added styling of Moore’s various 1950s Les Paul Standards.


Gibson and Slash have collaborated on a whopping seventeen signature Les Paul models. Here’s a quick overview of the most popular ones:

  • The Slash “Snakepit” Les Paul Standard was introduced by the Gibson Custom Shop in 1996, based on the smoking snake graphic off the cover of Slash’s Snakepit’s debut album.
  • In 2004, Gibson Custom Shop introduced the Slash Signature Les Paul Standard.
  • In 2008, Gibson USA released the Slash Signature Les Paul Standard Plus Top, an authentic replica of one of two Les Pauls Slash received from Gibson in 1988.
  • In 2010, Gibson released the Slash “AFD/Appetite for Destruction” Les Paul Standard II.
  • In 2013, Gibson and Epiphone both released the Slash “Rosso Corsa” Les Paul Standard.
  • In 2017, Gibson released Slash “Anaconda Burst” Les Paul, which consist of both a Plain Top, as well as a Flame Top.
  • In 2017, Gibson Custom Shop released the Slash Firebird, a guitar which is a radical departure from the Les Paul style association he is well known for.

Joe Perry

Gibson has issued two signature Les Pauls for Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The first was the Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul, which was released in 2004 and featured a mahogany body with a maple top, two open-coil humbuckers and a unique “Boneyard” graphic on the body.
  • The second was the Joe Perry Les Paul Axcess, which was released in 2009 and featured a mahogany body with a flame maple top, two open-coil humbuckers, and a unique “Axcess” contour.

Are Gibson guitars handmade?

While Gibson does use some machinery in its production process, many of its guitars are still made by hand. 

This allows for a personal touch and attention to detail that can be hard to replicate with machines. 

Plus, it’s always nice to know that your guitar was crafted with care by a skilled artisan.

Gibson guitars are largely made by hand, although the level of handcrafting can vary depending on the specific model and production year. 

Generally speaking, Gibson guitars are made using a combination of hand tools and automated machinery to achieve the highest possible level of craftsmanship and quality control.

The process of making a Gibson guitar typically involves several stages, including wood selection, body shaping and sanding, neck carving, fretting, and assembly and finishing. 

Throughout each stage, skilled craftspeople work to shape, fit, and finish each individual component of the guitar to exacting standards.

While some of the more basic models of Gibson guitars may have more machine-made components than others, all Gibson guitars are subject to rigorous quality control standards and undergo extensive testing and inspection before they are sold to customers. 

Ultimately, whether a particular Gibson guitar is considered “handmade” will depend on the specific model, the production year, and the individual instrument itself.

Gibson brands

Gibson is not just known for its guitars but also for its other musical instruments and equipment. 

Here are some of the other brands that fall under the Gibson umbrella:

  • Epiphone: A brand that produces affordable versions of Gibson guitars. It’s just like Fender’s Squier subsidiary. 
  • Kramer: A brand that produces electric guitars and basses.
  • Steinberger: A brand that produces innovative guitars and basses with a unique headless design.
  • Baldwin: A brand that produces pianos and organs.

What sets Gibson apart from other brands?

What sets Gibson guitars apart from other brands is their commitment to quality, tone, and design.

Here are some reasons why Gibson guitars are worth the investment:

  • Gibson guitars are made with high-quality materials, such as solid tonewoods and premium hardware.
  • Gibson guitars are known for their rich, warm tone unmatched by other brands.
  • Gibson guitars have a timeless design that has been loved by musicians for generations.

In conclusion, Gibson guitars are made with care and precision in the United States, and their commitment to quality is what sets them apart from other brands. 

If you’re looking for a guitar that will last a lifetime and sound amazing, a Gibson guitar is definitely worth the investment.

Are Gibson guitars expensive?

Yes, Gibson guitars are expensive, but they are also prestigious and of high quality. 

The price tag on a Gibson guitar is because they are exclusively made in the United States to ensure the utmost quality for this prestigious brand. 

Gibson does not mass-produce their guitars overseas like other popular guitar manufacturers. 

Instead, they acquired subsidiary brands to mass-produce guitars overseas with the Gibson logo on them.

The price of a Gibson guitar can vary depending on the model, features, and other factors.

For example, a basic Gibson Les Paul Studio model may cost around $1,500, while a more high-end Les Paul Custom may cost upwards of $4,000. 

Similarly, a Gibson SG Standard may cost around $1,500 to $2,000, while a more deluxe model like the SG Supreme could cost upwards of $5,000.

While Gibson guitars may be expensive, many guitarists feel that the quality and tone of these instruments is well worth the investment. 

Additionally, other brands and models of guitars offer similar quality and tone at a lower price point, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget.

Does Gibson make acoustic guitars?

Yes, Gibson is known for producing high-quality acoustic guitars as well as electric guitars.

Gibson’s acoustic guitar line includes models such as the J-45, Hummingbird, and Dove, which are known for their rich tone and classic design. 

Professional musicians in a variety of genres, including folk, country, and rock often use these guitars.

Gibson’s acoustic guitars are typically made with high-quality tonewoods such as spruce, mahogany, and rosewood and feature advanced bracing patterns and construction techniques for optimal tone and resonance. 

The company also offers a range of acoustic-electric guitars that include built-in pickups and preamps for amplification.

While Gibson is primarily associated with its electric guitar models, the company’s acoustic guitars are also highly regarded among guitarists.

They are considered to be among the finest acoustic guitars available.

The Gibson J-45 Studio is definitely on my top list of best guitars for folk music

Differences: Gibson vs other brands

In this section, I’ll compare Gibson to other similar guitar brands and see how they compare. 

Gibson vs PRS

These two brands have been battling it out for years, and we’re here to break down their differences.

Both Gibson and PRS are American guitar manufacturers. Gibson is a much older brand, whereas PRS is more modern. 

First up, let’s talk about Gibson. If you’re looking for a classic rock sound, then Gibson is the way to go.

These guitars have been used by legends like Jimmy Page, Slash, and Angus Young. They’re known for their thick, warm tone and their iconic Les Paul shape.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little more modern, then PRS might be your style. 

These guitars have a sleek, elegant look and a bright, clear tone.

They’re perfect for shredding and playing intricate solos. Plus, they’re a favorite of guitarists like Carlos Santana and Mark Tremonti.

But it’s not just about the sound and the look. There are some technical differences between these two brands as well. 

For example, Gibson guitars typically have a shorter scale length, making them easier to play if you have smaller hands.

PRS guitars, on the other hand, have a longer scale length, which gives them a tighter, more precise sound.

Another difference is in the pickups. Gibson guitars usually have humbuckers, which are great for high-gain distortion and heavy rock.

PRS guitars, on the other hand, often have single-coil pickups, which give them a brighter, more articulate sound.

So, which one is better? Well, that’s up to you to decide. It really comes down to personal preference and what kind of music you want to play. 

But one thing’s for sure: whether you’re a Gibson fan or a PRS fan, you’re in good company.

Both brands have a long history of making some of the best guitars in the world.

Gibson vs Fender

Let’s talk about the age-old debate of Gibson vs. Fender.

It’s like choosing between pizza and tacos; both are great, but which is better? 

Gibson and Fender are two of the most iconic brands in the world of electric guitars, and each company has its own unique characteristics and history.

Let’s dive in and see what sets these two guitar giants apart.

First up, we have Gibson. These bad boys are known for their thick, warm, and rich tones.

Gibsons are the go-to for rock and blues players who want to melt faces and break hearts. 

They’re like the bad boy of the guitar world, with their sleek designs and dark finishes. You can’t help but feel like a rockstar when you’re holding one.

On the other hand, we have Fender. These guitars are like a sunny day at the beach. They’re bright, crisp, and clean. 

Fenders are the choice for country and surf rock players who want to feel like they’re riding a wave.

They’re like the good boy of the guitar world, with their classic designs and bright colors.

You can’t help but feel like you’re at a beach party when you’re holding one.

But it’s not just about the sound and looks, folks. Gibson and Fender have different neck shapes too. 

Gibson’s necks are thicker and rounder, whereas Fender’s are thinner and flatter.

It’s all about personal preference, but you might prefer a Fender’s neck if you have smaller hands.

And let’s not forget about the pickups.

Gibson’s humbuckers are like a warm hug, while Fender’s single coils are like a cool breeze.

Again, it’s all about what kind of sound you’re going for. 

If you want to shred like a metal god, you might prefer Gibson’s humbuckers. If you want to twang like a country star, you might prefer Fender’s single coils.

But here’s a short breakdown of the differences:

  • Body design: One of the most noticeable differences between Gibson and Fender guitars is their body design. Gibson guitars typically have a thicker, heavier, and more contoured body, while Fender guitars have a thinner, lighter, and flatter body.
  • Tone: Another important difference between the two brands is the tone of their guitars. Gibson guitars are known for their warm, rich, and full-bodied sound, while Fender guitars are known for their bright, clear, and twangy sound. I also want to mention the tonewoods here: Gibson guitars are usually made of mahogany, which gives a darker sound, while Fenders are usually made of alder or ash, which gives a brighter, more balanced tone. Plus, Fenders usually have single-coil pickups, which give a quacky, chimey sound, while Gibsons usually have humbuckers, which are louder and beefier. 
  • Neck design: The neck design of Gibson and Fender guitars also differs. Gibson guitars have a thicker and wider neck, which can be more comfortable for players with larger hands. Fender guitars, on the other hand, have a thinner and narrower neck, which can be easier to play for players with smaller hands.
  • Pickups: The pickups on Gibson and Fender guitars also differ. Gibson guitars typically have humbucker pickups, which provide a thicker and more powerful sound, while Fender guitars typically have single-coil pickups, which provide a brighter and more articulate sound.
  • History and legacy: Finally, both Gibson and Fender have their own unique history and legacy in the world of guitar manufacturing. Gibson was founded in 1902 and has a long history of producing high-quality instruments, while Fender was founded in 1946 and is known for revolutionizing the electric guitar industry with their innovative designs.

Gibson vs Epiphone

Gibson vs Epiphone is like Fender vs Squier – the Epiphone brand is Gibson’s cheaper guitar brand which offers dupes or lower-priced versions of their popular guitars.

Gibson and Epiphone are two separate guitar brands, but they are closely related.

Gibson is the parent company of Epiphone, and both brands produce high-quality guitars, but there are some key differences between them.

  • Price: One of the main differences between Gibson and Epiphone is the price. Gibson guitars are generally more expensive than Epiphone guitars. This is because Gibson guitars are made in the USA, using higher quality materials and craftsmanship, while Epiphone guitars are made overseas with more affordable materials and construction methods.
  • Design: Gibson guitars have a more distinctive and original design, while Epiphone guitars are often modeled after Gibson designs. Epiphone guitars are known for their more affordable versions of classic Gibson models, such as the Les Paul, SG, and ES-335.
  • Quality: While Gibson guitars are generally considered to be of higher quality than Epiphone guitars, Epiphone still produces high-quality instruments for the price point. Many guitarists are happy with the tone and playability of their Epiphone guitars, and they are often used by professional musicians.
  • Brand reputation: Gibson is a well-established and respected brand in the guitar industry, with a long history of producing high-quality instruments. Epiphone is often considered a more budget-friendly alternative to Gibson, but still has a good reputation among guitarists.

What types of guitars does Gibson produce?

So you’re curious about the types of guitars that Gibson produces? Well, llet me tell you – they’ve got quite the selection. 

From electric to the acoustic, solid body to hollow body, left-handed to right-handed, Gibson has got you covered.

Let’s start with the electric guitars.

Gibson produces some of the most iconic electric guitars in the world, including the Les Paul, SG, and Firebird. 

They also have a range of solid body and semi-hollow body guitars that come in a variety of colors and finishes.

If you’re more of an acoustic person, Gibson has got plenty of options for you too. 

They produce everything from travel-sized guitars to full-sized dreadnoughts, and even have a line of acoustic bass guitars. 

And let’s not forget about their mandolins and banjos – perfect for those looking to add a little twang to their music.

But wait, there’s more! Gibson also produces a range of amps, including electric, acoustic, and bass amps.

And if you’re in need of some effects pedals, they’ve got you covered there too.

So whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting out, Gibson has something for everyone.

And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be shredding on a Gibson guitar like a rockstar.

Who uses Gibsons?

There are plenty of musicians who used Gibson guitars, and there are many more that still use them to this day.

In this section, I’ll go over the most popular guitarists who use Gibson guitars.

Some of the biggest names in music history have strummed on a Gibson guitar. 

We’re talking about legends like Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Carlos Santana, and Keith Richards, just to name a few.

And it’s not just rockers who love Gibsons, oh no!

Sheryl Crow, Tegan and Sara, and even Bob Marley have all been known to play a Gibson guitar or two.

But it’s not just about who’s played a Gibson, it’s about which models they prefer. 

The Les Paul is probably the most popular, with its iconic shape and sound. But the SG, Flying V, and ES-335s are also fan favorites.

And let’s not forget about the Gibson Hall of Fame-worthy list of players, including B.B. King, John Lennon, and Robert Johnson.

But it’s not just about the famous names; it’s about the unique historical importance of using a Gibson model. 

Some musicians have long careers and a faithful Gibson use of a particular instrument, contributing significantly to the popularization of that particular instrument.

And some, like Johnny and Jan Akkerman, have even had signature models designed to their specifications.

So, in short, who uses Gibsons? 

Everyone from rock gods to country legends to blues masters.

And with such a wide range of models to choose from, there’s a Gibson guitar out there for every musician, no matter their style or skill level.

List of guitarists who use/used Gibson guitars

  • Chuck Berry
  • Slash
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Neil Young
  • Carlos Santana
  • Eric Clapton
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Keith Richards
  • Bob Marley
  • Tegan and Sara
  • B.B King
  • John Lennon
  • Joan Jett
  • Billie Joe Armstrong
  • James Hetfield of Metallica
  • Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters
  • Chet Atkins
  • Jeff Beck
  • George Benson
  • Al Di Meola
  • The Edge from U2
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Noel Gallagher of Oasis
  • Tomi Iommi 
  • Steve Jones
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Neil Young

This is by no means an exhaustive list but lists some of the famous musicians and bands who used or still use Gibson Brand guitars.

I’ve made a list of the 10 most influential guitarists of all time & the guitar players they inspired


Why is Gibson known for mandolins?

I want to briefly talk about Gibson guitars and their relation to Gibson mandolins. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What is a mandolin?” 

It’s actually a musical instrument that looks like a tiny guitar. And guess what? Gibson makes them too!

But let’s focus on the big guns, the Gibson guitars. These babies are the real deal.

They’ve been around since 1902, which is like a million years in guitar years. 

They’ve been played by legends like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Chuck Berry.

And let’s not forget about the king of rock himself, Elvis Presley. He loved his Gibson so much he even named it “Mama.”

But what makes Gibson guitars so special? Well, for starters, they’re made with the finest materials and crafted with precision.

They’re like the Rolls Royce of guitars. And just like a Rolls Royce, they come with a hefty price tag. But hey, you get what you pay for, right?

Now, back to the mandolins. Gibson actually started out making mandolins before they moved on to guitars.

So, you could say that the mandolins are like the OGs of the Gibson family. They paved the way for the guitars to come in and steal the show.

But don’t get it twisted, the mandolins are still pretty cool. They have a unique sound that’s perfect for bluegrass and folk music.

And who knows, maybe one day they’ll make a comeback and be the next big thing.

So, there you have it, folks. Gibson guitars and mandolins go way back.

They’re like two peas in a pod or two strings on a guitar. Either way, they’re both pretty awesome.

Is Gibson a good brand of guitar?

So, you wanna know if Gibson is a good brand of guitar?

Well, let me tell you, my friend, Gibson is more than just a good brand; it’s a freakin’ legend in the guitar world. 

This brand has been around for over three decades and has built a strong reputation for itself among guitar players.

It’s like the Beyoncé of guitars, everyone knows who it is, and everyone loves it.

One of the reasons why Gibson is so popular is because of its superior handmade quality guitars.

These babies are crafted with precision and care, ensuring that each guitar is unique and special. 

And let’s not forget about the humbucker pickups that Gibson offers, which provide a truly defining sound.

This is what sets Gibson apart from other guitar brands, it’s that unique tone that you just can’t get anywhere else.

But it’s not just about the quality of the guitars, it’s also about the brand recognition.

Gibson has a strong presence in the guitar community, and its name alone carries weight. When you see someone playing a Gibson guitar, you know they mean business. 

Is Les Paul the best Gibson guitar?

Sure, Les Paul guitars have a legendary reputation and have been played by some of the greatest guitarists of all time.

But that doesn’t mean they’re the best for everyone. 

There are plenty of other Gibson guitars out there that might suit your style better.

Maybe you’re more of a SG or Flying V kind of person. Or maybe you prefer the hollow body sound of an ES-335. 

The point is, don’t get caught up in the hype. Do your research, try out different guitars, and find the one that speaks to you.

Because at the end of the day, the best guitar is the one that inspires you to play and create music.

But it’s safe to say the Gibson Les Paul is probably the brand’s most popular electric guitar because of its sound, tone, and playability. 

Did Beatles use Gibson guitars?

Let’s talk about the Beatles and their guitars. Did you know that the Fab Four used Gibson guitars? 

Yup, that’s right! George Harrison upgraded from his Martin Company alternating J-160E and D-28 to a Gibson J-200 Jumbo.

John Lennon also used Gibson acoustics on some tracks. 

Fun fact: Harrison later gave a guitar to Bob Dylan in 1969. The Beatles even had their own line of Epiphone guitars made by Gibson. 

So, there you have it. The Beatles definitely used Gibson guitars. Now, go grab your guitar and start strumming some Beatles tunes!

What are the most famous Gibson guitars?

First up, we’ve got the Gibson Les Paul.

This baby has been around since the 1950s and has been played by some of the biggest names in rock and roll.

It’s got a solid body and a sweet, sweet sound that’ll make your ears sing.

Next, we’ve got the Gibson SG. This bad boy is a little lighter than the Les Paul, but it still packs a punch.

It’s been played by everyone from Angus Young to Tony Iommi, and it’s got a sound that’ll make you want to rock out all night long.

Then there’s the Gibson Flying V. This guitar is a real head-turner with its unique shape and killer sound. It’s been played by Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, and even Lenny Kravitz. 

And let’s not forget about the Gibson ES-335.

This beauty is a semi-hollow body guitar that’s been used in everything from jazz to rock and roll.

It’s got a warm, rich sound that’ll make you feel like you’re in a smoky club in the 1950s.

Of course, there are plenty of other famous Gibson guitars out there, but these are just a few of the most iconic.

So, if you’re looking to rock out like a true legend, you can’t go wrong with a Gibson.

Is Gibson good for beginners?

So, you’re considering picking up a guitar and becoming the next rock star? Well, good for you!

But the question is, should you start with a Gibson? The short answer is yes, but let me explain why.

First of all, Gibson guitars are known for their high quality and durability.

This means that if you invest in a Gibson, you can be sure it will last you for decades.

Sure, they might be a little more expensive than some other beginner guitars, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Some beginners might dismiss Gibson guitars entirely because of the higher price point, but that’s a mistake.

You see, Gibson guitars are not just for professionals or advanced players. They have some great options for beginners too.

One of the best Gibson guitars for beginners is the J-45 acoustic electric guitar.

It’s a workhorse of a guitar that’s known for its durability and versatility.

It has a bright mid-heavy tone that’s great for lead work, but it can also be played solo or used for blues or modern pop songs.

Another great option for beginners is the Gibson G-310 or the Epiphone 310 GS.

These guitars are more affordable than some other Gibson models, but they still offer high-quality materials and great sound.

Overall, if you’re a beginner looking for a high-quality guitar that will last you for years, then Gibson is definitely a great option. 

Don’t be intimidated by the higher price point because, in the end, it’s worth it for the quality you’re getting. 

Looking for something more affordable to start with? Find a full lineup of the best guitars for beginners here

Final thoughts

Gibson guitars are known for their outstanding build quality and iconic tone.

While some people give Gibson a lot of flack for their lack of innovation, the vintage aspect of Gibson guitars is what makes them so appealing. 

The original Les Paul from 1957 is still considered one of the best guitars to hold to this day, and the competition in the guitar market is fierce, with thousands of options to choose from. 

Gibson is a company that has REVOLUTIONIZED the guitar industry with its innovative designs and quality craftsmanship.

From the adjustable truss rod to the iconic Les Paul, Gibson has left a mark on the industry.

Did you know that playing guitar can actually make your fingers bleed?

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

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