It was in 1894 that Orville Gibson is believed to have started creating high quality instruments from his home workshop and in 1902 he established the Gibson Mandolin Guitar Manufacturing Company. In the 110 years since that date, Gibson has grown to become arguably the best known and most prestigious of all guitar manufacturers with a huge number of celebrities not only buying their guitars but endorsing them and placing their names on the design.
The Gibson guitar enjoyed an auspicious start with founder Orville Gibson taking the violin design of the time and applying it to the design of the mandolin. While he began creating such designs as far back as the 1890s it wasn’t until 1902 that the Gibson company was formed. IN just a few short years, a combination of high quality design and equally effective marketing meant that Gibson mandolins were the leaders in their market.
The 1920s saw turbulent times for the Gibson company. The mandolin orchestra had all but died away, to be replaced by the tenor banjo almost forcing Gibson into bankruptcy. However, Lloyd Loar, a Gibson engineer, designed the F5 mandolin and the L5 guitar, both of which would cement the engineer’s name in history and ensure the survival of Gibson. Loar resigned from the company he effectively helped save in 1924.
Various innovations hit the market thanks to the Gibson name. In 1935, the company released its first electric guitar and in 1939 they produced the cutaway model which would become the preferred style of guitar throughout the industry thanks to its greater access to high notes. However, it was in 1952 that the now iconic Les Paul Gibson was introduced.
In 2002, despite having been under new ownership for more than 15 years, the company continue to innovate and lead the market. They release the first digital guitar and, most recently in 2007, they introduced the Gibson Robot Guitar, which was manufactured in very limited supply and was out of stick in just 2 days following its innovative release to a market which has adopted Gibson as being a well-loved and idolised brand.