The history of Gibson, simply put, is one of the great stories of American enterprise. From its humble beginnings more than a century ago, to its “golden age” in the ‘50s and ‘60s, to its phoenix-like return to glory in the late ‘80s, the company’s iconic reputation and inventive spirit have made it an American institution.
You can also check the previously parts of ‘The History of Gibson Guitars by the years’.
March 20, 1969 – ECL, an Ecuadorian company with interests in concrete and beer manufacturing, takes over Gibson and its parent company CMI. The new entity is named Norlin, a combination of the name of ECL’s Norton Stevens and CMI’s M.H. Berlin.
March 20, 1974 – The Nashville plant opens and production is split between Nashville and Kalamazoo. In 1984, after 65 years as the home of Gibson, the plant at 225 Parsons St. in Kalamazoo is closed and headquarters are moved to Nashville.
1978-1982 – Norlin is falling fast, but the creative spark remains at Gibson. Gibson recognizes a growing demand for vintage guitars and introduces the first real reissues: The F-SL in 1978, the Les Paul Heritage 80 in 1980, Heritage Korinas in 1982 and the Earl Scruggs Granada-style banjo in 1984. Market demands for innovations are also met with the first B.B. King models in 1980 and the first Chet Atkins solid body acoustics in 1982.
January 1986 – In dire financial trouble, Gibson is rescued by current owners Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman. The Flatiron mandolin company of Bozeman, MT, is acquired in 1987 and a new plant in Bozeman is built for Gibson acoustics in 1989.
With renewed consumer confidence in the Gibson brand, Gibson Guitar Corp. begins a period of growth characterized by increasing sales and the acquisition of other instrument companies, including Steinberger and Tobias basses, Slingerland drums, Kramer guitars and OMI (the company that makes Dobro resonator guitars).
1993-1994 – Gibson demonstrates the combination of tradition and innovation that has been synonymous with the Gibson name since 1984. Growing interest in the vintage market prompts a detailed replica of the ’59 and ’60 flame top Les Paul. And as Gibson celebrates its Centennial, a new model, the Nighthawk, wins an award for Most Innovative Guitar at the January NAMM show for Music and Sound Retailer for designer J.T. Riboloff.
1994 – Gibson Guitar Acquires Slingerland Drums and joins the stable of product lines under the well-known family of brands at Gibson guitar.