The Gibson Guitar Corporation is a famous guitar making company, which is world-renowned. They have been making musical instruments since 1902. However, they did not start out making guitars instead; they started business mainly making mandolins.
From the very start, they were innovators. They took the original design for a mandolin and modified it. Traditional mandolins had a bowed back, which was difficult to manufacturer and made the instrument extremely fragile. Orville Gibson changed the shape and found a way of making the neck out of a single piece of wood.
Doing so produced an instrument that was stronger, easier to make and had a darker sound. This enabled Gibson’s to make them in large numbers and to sell them at a lower price than other mandolins. Sadly, this was the only innovation Orville Gibson patented. He died in 1918.
However, his innovative approach left a legacy that lives on within the company even today. The Gibson Guitar Corporation was to be a company led by innovation and a powerful urge to help people to own good quality instruments without having to pay the earth.
Other Early Gibson Guitar Innovations
It was the hiring of Lloyd Loar, in 1919, which ensured the company would continue to innovate. He designed many of the now famous early Gibson guitars. He also modified the design of the mandolin and banjo. His first instrument was the Gibson F5 banjo, which became the bluegrass mandolin. Even today, they are sought after.
Perhaps the most famous instrument Loar came up with was the iconic archtop guitar, which had steel strings. These beautiful acoustic or semi-acoustic guitars were especially popular with blues and jazz players. Whilst Loar invented this beautiful guitar without Gibson’s original neck design for his mandolins, Loar could never have actually built his guitar. It was the use of the single block of wood for the neck which helped to give the archtop its tone and volume.
Sadly, Loar left the company in 1924 and there was a bit of a dry spell innovation wise in the Gibson factory.
However, this dry spell did not last long. In 1936, they produced their first electric Gibson Guitar called the Electric Spanish. This guitar changed the face of music.
If you want to buy a Gibson guitar visit the Music Junkie website. They are authorised dealers that sell Gibson electric, acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars.