The history of Gibson Guitars by the years – Part Two (1934 – 1945)

The history of Gibson Guitars by the years – Part Two (1934 – 1945)

1936 Gibson ES-150, first commercially successful Spanish body electric, made popular by jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, who also popularized guitar as a lead instrument.

In the first post we wrote about history of this amazing company for guitars, during the period from 1984 to 1922. Today, we’ll wrote part two of the history of Gibson guitars, so enjoy reading this post and we hope that you will learn something more about this brand.

1934 – The “Advanced” L-5 and Super 400 are introduced. Jazz bands are getting bigger and Gibson responds to guitarists’ need for more volume by advancing the size of the L-5 (and other archtops) from 16’’ to 17’’. To make the archtop guitar “over the top”, Gibson introduces the 18’’-wide Super 400, which is still regarded as the pinnacle of archtop design.

1935 – The first Gibson electric guitar is introduced. Gibson enters the new electric market with the EH-150, a Hawaiian style guitar and follows in 1936 with its first “Spanish” standard style electric, the ES-150. ‘ES’ stands for Electric Spanish, the price of the guitar and matching amp is $150.

Gibson – First electric guitar

1937 – The King of the Flat Tops, debuts when singing cowboy movie star Ray Whitley orders a super-large guitar. Gibson put the model into regular production in 1938 as the Super Jumbo. Under its more familiar name, the J-200 or SJ-200, it remains today a badge of identification for country entertainers.

J-200 Guitar

1939 – Gibson introduces the first cutaway models, the Super 400 Premier and L-5 Premier. The “cutaway” body gives players easier access to the upper range, and it becomes the preferred style.

World War II – just before switching over to wartime products, Gibson introduces the J-45 and Southerner Jumbo (SJ), which will become the workhorse flat top guitars for coming generations of acoustic players. Chicago Musical Instrument Co. – one of the largest wholesale and distribution companies, purchases Gibson in 1944.


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