Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently? If not, you are missing out on one of the best exhibits to date; the museums Gibson Guitar collection “Play It Loud“.

Why does the Met have a huge display dedicated to Gibson instruments? Well, few guitars have more notoriety and fame than Gibson guitars.  Turn on the radio and odds are you are listening to a Gibson guitar. For over a hundred years Gibson has been on the forefront of guitar design, innovation, and manufacturing.  Jazz, Blues and Rock artist all use Gibson Guitars.  A legend by any measure, Gibson has helped to create the American sound. The Gibson Les Paul, a solid body electric guitar that was first introduced in 1952, is arguably the best guitar ever made and is a huge collector’s item.  A noted 1959 Les Paul model sold for $2 million in 2014. The Gibson brand has transcended all styles of music and continues to be a dominate force in the music industry today.

Gibson started a long time ago.  Originally founded in 1902, Orville Gibson started the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Orville Gibson is credited with the invention of the archtop guitar by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops previously only used on classical violins. This design modification created a sound and tone that changed the feel of the music. Gibson also patented a single-piece mandolin design in the early 1900’s that was more durable than other mandolins and could be manufactured in volume. The F-5 model became the most popular and most imitated American mandolin. By the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars.  Gibson became one of the top guitar manufactures in the world because of these innovations.

Gibson guitars have influenced the music industry for generations. Its classic jazz tone can be heard in the music of jazz greats like Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, and Pat Metheny. Many country music artists use the Gibson for the soulful feel and “real” sound the guitar creates.  Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Sugarland all use Gibson guitars.  The body shape of Gibson guitars is recognized around the world as an icon for rock and roll music. Bob Marley, Jimmy Page, Elvis Presley, and B.B King were also known for playing Gibson guitars. The sound of a Gibson is what makes it so special.

From jazz to rock the Gibson sound is everywhere. The Gibson brand has been a mainstay in the music industry for over 100 years and they are not slowing down. Now located Nashville, Tennessee, Gibson still builds and manufactures their guitars in the United States. The use of high-quality woods and expert craftsmanship is what sets Gibson apart. They recently unveiled their new 2019 guitar and bass lineup. Featuring a number of new models and variations, it reflects a back to basics approach to the company’s catalog of instruments.

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