The history of Gibson Guitars by the years – Part Three (1946 – 1965)

The history of Gibson Guitars by the years – Part Three (1946 – 1965)

Les Paul (June 9, 1915 - August 13, 2009)

Before eight days we shared the part two of history of Gibson guitars from the 1934 to 1945 and World War 2.

Today we wrote about third period of this amazing company for making guitars from the period when WW2 has end to the 1965.

1946 – 1951 Gibson perfects the P-90 single-coil pickup and leads the industry in the development of new electric archtops with such classic models as the ES-5 (the first triple-pickup guitar) and ES-175 in 1949, followed by the L-5CES and Super 400CES (“CES” for Cutaway Electric Spanish) in 1951.

1952 – Gibson introduces its first solid body electric guitar, the Les Paul Model. To launch its first solid body electric, Gibson enlists Les Paul, the biggest recording star of the early ‘50s and an early proponent of the solid body guitar. The Gibson Les Paul has gone on to become the most successful “artist” guitar in history and an icon for rock and roll music. After Les Paul Models became a family of 4 models which consisted of The Junior, The Special, The Standard and The Custom.

1954 – Gibson president Ted McCarty, and engineer who does not know how to play guitar, invents the tune-o-matic bridge with individually adjustable saddles. It debuts on the Les Paul Custom in 1954 and is still today the standard bridge on Gibson electric guitars.

Tune-o-matic bridge

1957 – The humbucking pickup, a double-coil design, is perfected by Gibson engineer Seth Lover and installed on Gibson’s top-line models. It quickly becomes an industry standard.

Same year, Gibson acquires Epiphone. Gibson’s foremost rival in the 1930s has fallen on hard times, and Gibson’s parent company, CMI, sees an opportunity to increase Gibson’s dealer base while still protecting the exclusivity of the Gibson brand. A completely new Epiphone guitar line debuts in 1958. In 1970 Epiphone production is moved overseas, giving Gibson a competitive import brand.

1958 – Ted McCarty’s three new “modernistic” models the Explorer, Flying V and Moderne cause a stir at the annual NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) trade show. Though commercial failures, they are today among the most valuable of any Gibson production models. McCarty’s other great idea of 1958, the ES-335, combines modern solid body construction with a traditional hollowbody look. The semi-hollow design will become one of the most successful concepts of the electric guitar era.

1965 – Gibson hits record production, shipping over 100,000 US made Gibson and Epiphone instruments for the only year in Gibson history.


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