A Guide to Gibson Electric Guitars

A Little Bit About Gibson Guitars.

Gibson electric guitars
are to rock what apples are to apple pie. Fender is the only other electric guitar manufacturer in the world of rock that equals Gibson in name recognition and identity. Gibson started out in the 19th century as an acoustic guitar manufacturer and initially wasn’t interested in Les Paul’s ideas for producing a solid-body electric guitar when he approached them. But Fender’s introduction of its first electric guitar in 1948 may have changed Gibson mind. In 1950 Gibson brought Les Paul on board to develop his ideas for the electric guitar, and in 1952 debuted the Les Paul. Ever worried about its reputation as an acoustic guitar manufacturer, Gibson refused to put its name on the guitar at first. Not long after, the company changed its mind and the rest, as they say, is rock history.

Gibson did not stop at the Les Paul and went on to develop several electric guitar models it still manufacturers today, either as part of its regular line of electric guitars or as reissues or limited editions.

Gibson Electric Guitars:

Gibson Les Paul: The Gibson Les Paul is the electric guitar synonymous with classic rock thanks to Jimmy Page. The first Gibson Les Pauls featured single-coil pickups, but the switch to dual humbuckers in 1960 gave the Les Paul its trademark sound.

Today Gibson offers several versions of its Les Paul electric guitar line: the Les Paul Standard and Les Paul Studio are the most common with the latter being a cheaper model. Gibson also offers several more expensive signature series Les Paul electric guitars such as the Slash Les Paul and the Joe Perry Les Paul. There are also various reissues of older models, limited edition and custom models of this guitar as well.

Gibson SG: The Gibson SG electric guitar came out in 1958 and is most associated with Angus Young . Naturally Gibson offers a signature Angus Young SG. Reissues of older SG models are also available as well as the SG Standard. The Gibson SG has a double-cutaway shape and a thinner body than a Les Paul.

Gibson EDS-1275: Yet another Gibson electric guitar made famous by Jimmy Page. The EDS is the dual-necked 6 and 12-string electric guitar Page used to play "Stairway to Heaven" during concerts. This guitar isn't cheap.

Gibson Flying V: This electric guitar with a V-shaped body came out in 1958 and has become popular among heavy metal guitarists.

Gibson Explorer: Gibson first released this electric guitar in 1959. It featured a futuristic design (for the time) that led to poor sales. Today’s Explorers are reissues of the original and are not very common. Another guitar most often seen in heavy metal.

Gibson Firebird: This electric guitar was released in 1963. After a Fender lawsuit over body design, Gibson changed the guitar’s shape, so any Gibson Firebird guitars manufactured between 1963-1965 are known as “reverse bodies.”

Gibson ES-335: The ES-335 is one of several semi-solid electric guitars in Gibson’s “300” series, which also includes the ES-325, ES-345 and ES-355. The ES-335, however, was the first electric guitar in the series when it came out in 1958. B.B. King’s “Lucille” is an ES-335 and the 335 was also Chuck Berry’s guitar of choice.

Gibson Melody Maker: This Gibson electric guitar has been resurrected these days in a Les Paul body and closely resembles the 1959 model. It’s often viewed as a student guitar given its affordable price. For a time the Melody Maker took on the SG shape with rounded doubled cutaways. The Joan Jett signature Melody Maker electric guitar features this shape.