Gibson are one of the two long-standing giants of the guitar industry. They represent both the history and the future of guitar-building, with their electric and acoustic instruments seen in the hands of countless rock legends & future stars.
History of Gibson
Since 1902, Gibson have produced a wide range of guitar designs that have gone on to become classics. Their first major breakthrough in electric guitar design came in 1935 with the Gibson ‘Electric Spanish’, now affectionately known as the ES series.
However, their most successful innovation came in 1952. Enlisting the help of renowned musician Les Paul, together they created a solid body electric guitar to rival Fender’s Stratocaster model. As they say, the rest is history.
Apart from the ES and Les Paul models, Gibson continued to innovate by releasing a number of other distinguishable electric guitar designs in the following years. The most noteworthy of these include the Flying V, Explorer, SG and Firebird models, which remain in their catalogue. These guitars continue to be updated for a modern audience, yet still maintain the heart and soul of the early releases.
The Gibson Range
Gibson has acquired a number of companies over the years, most notably Epiphone; producing affordable and officially-licensed versions of Gibson guitars. Gibson also owns legendary '80s brands Kramer and Steinberger.
The Les Paul lineup starts with the no-frills Studio, Tribute and Junior models; 100% made in the USA despite their affordability. The flagship Les Paul Standard line includes the Standard '50s and '60s guitars, while the Modern range offers contemporary players tweaked versions of the iconic formula.
Gibson has split their SG range in a similar way. The SG Tribute models are stripped-back rock workhorses, while the P90-loaded SG Specials provide punchy tones in an elegant form. The SG Standard line is also split into two, with the Standard '61 guitars boasting old-school Maestro tremolos.
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Why are Gibson guitars expensive?
Gibson are one of the oldest and most renowned guitar manufacturers on the planet. Their custom shop and original production line guitars are expensive due to their superb build quality, but they also offer many affordable ranges such as the Tribute line.
What's the difference between Epiphone and Gibson?
Epiphone is the offshoot company of Gibson. They are geared towards making affordable versions of legendary Gibson designs.
What does “VOS” mean for a Gibson guitar?
VOS stands for Vintage Original Spec. It is specifically used for custom shop Gibson guitars which replicate legendary features of '50s and '60s models.
Which is better: Gibson or Fender?
An age old question, and one you simply cannot give a yes or no answer. On the whole, Gibson guitars offer a thicker sound thanks to the extensive use of humbucker pickups, while classic Fender tone can be described as dynamic and chimey. Both offer a wide variety of shapes and prices. It's all about preference.
Do Gibson guitars hold their value?
It's difficult to say which particular guitar holds value. But you'll find those which are made using rarer woods, or guitars made by top Gibson builders will likely be worth a good amount of money in the future.
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