The Gibson Guitar Corporation from Nashville, Tennessee is one of the oldest American makers of guitars, electric guitars and guitar amps.
Orville H. Gibson (1856-1918) founded the company and gave it his name. Around 1890 he started making stringed instruments. 1902 the company „Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Co., Ltd“ was registered and concentrated on making mandolins. Orville Gibson took the fiddle as a model and made guitars and mandolines with distinctive carved, arched solid wood top and back and bent wood sides. Gibson had found out that arched solid wood had a better sustain.
The first Gibson catalog came out in 1903. On 32 pages it offered Mandolins, Mandolas, Guitars und "Harp"-Guitars made by Gibson.
The following years, Gibson always set new standards in instrument manufacturing. 1952 was the year when the first Les Paul was introduced, an instrument that changed the face of rockmusic forever.
The must important Gibson models from the 30´s and 50´s that are still made today are Gibson L5, Gibson Super 400, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Byrdland and Gibson ES-175. Accoustic guitars were also also produced by Gibson, the well known modells are Gibson J-45, Gibson J-200 or Gibson Hummingbird. In the 1940s Gibson started making the first guitars with built-in pickups and thus stared the electricification of Gibson guitars. In the mid 50´s the first solid body guitars left the gibson manufacturing plants, the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Explorer, Gibson Flying V und Gibson Firebird. These guitars are very popular today and were copied by companys arround the world, like many other Gibson products. Top acts such as Lenny Kravitz or Popa Chubby are often seen with a Gibson flying V. Gibson also produces bass guitars. They are used by artists like Jack Bruce from Cream, Kris Novoselic from Nirvana and Mike Dirnt from Green Day. Gibson is known a little less for their amplifiers. Gibson did never stop the production of mandolins and banjos. The pre WW II banjos (like the Gibson Granada RB) are said to be the best in the world and are first choice of many professional players.
Today Gibson´s electric guitars represent the past and the future of this instrument. Models like the Gibson ES-175, Gibson ES-335, Gibson Flying V, Gibson Explorer or Gibson Les Pauls are embedded in our everyday music. Allthough Gibson´s Les Paul is a true classic, the company never stops looking for new innovations and ideas to stay up to date.