A Quick Guide to Gibson Electric Guitars

Gibson electric guitars enjoy immense popularity among today’s rock guitarists with no other company coming close except for Fender electric guitars. Ironically, when Les Paul first approached Gibson with his ideas for a solid-body electric guitar, the company said no. It had been manufacturing acoustic guitars since the 19th century and executives were no doubt concerned how that reputation would be affected by an electric guitar.

The introduction of Fender’s first solid-body electric guitar in 1948, the Broadcaster, may have given Gibson second thoughts about its initial position. Les Paul was brought on board in 1950 to develop his ideas, and in 1952 the first Gibson electric guitar went on sale. Even so, Gibson declined to put its name on the guitar, naming it simply the Les Paul. It wasn’t too long afterward before the Gibson name was included.

After the Les Paul, Gibson went on to introduce several electric guitar models, many still being sold today as part of Gibson’s regular electric guitar line or as reissues or limited edition models.

Gibson Les Paul: Though Jimmy Page’s main electric guitar in the early days was a Fender Telecaster, he is best known for playing a Gibson Les Paul. When it comes to rock machismo, there is the Les Paul and no other.

Several version of the Les Paul are available today with the Les Paul Standard and the Les Paul Studio being the most common. Gibson also offers several reissues and custom models ans well as a signature series such as the Slash and Joe Perry signature Les Paul models.

Gibson SG: This electric guitar was introduced in 1958. Angus Young is the most notable guitarist to play a Gibson SG, and of course Gibson sells an Angus Young signature model. Like the Les Paul, the SG comes in a standard model as well as reissues.

Gibson Flying V: The Gibson Flying V electric guitar found its popularity mainly among heavy metal guitarists. It has been around since 1958.

Gibson Explorer: Another Gibson electric guitar that was popular among early heavy metal guitarists. It isn’t very common and is sold as a reissue. The guitar’s design was considered too futuristic in 1959, and it was discontinued due to poor sales.

Gibson Firebird: Gibson Firebirds manufactured between 1963 to 1965 are known as reverse bodies, because the body of subsequent models changed to its current design after Fender sued Gibson over the design.

Gibson 300 series: There are several models in the Gibson 300 series of semi-solid electric guitars. The most popular is the ES-335 played by B.B. King and Chuck Berry. The other models are the ES-325, the ES-345, and the ES-355.

Gibson Melody Maker: These days the Gibson Melody Maker electric guitars feature the Les Paul design. The Joan Jett signature model has the SG double-cutaway shape.