The Gibson Logo
The Gibson name has graced the headstock of some of the most innovative and revolutionary stringed instruments of all time, including the Les Paul, the ES-335, the Flying V, the SG, and the Melody Maker. There is no mistaking the classic logo, silk-screened in gold onto the face of the Melody Maker’s distinctly smaller headstock, with a thin coat of lacquer finishing the process. It is the most recognizable logo in all of music, representing more than a century of originality and excellence. There is simply no equal.
- The Gibson Logo
Angled, Classic Melody Maker Headstock
One of the Melody Maker’s more distinguishable features is its smaller, angled headstock, which lacks the traditional mahogany wing blocks typical of other Gibson models. But like every Gibson, the Joan Jett Melody Maker headstock is carved out of the same piece of mahogany as the neck and carefully angled at 17 degrees. It is not a “glued-on” headstock, and the process takes craftsmanship, time, and effort. But the rewards are worth the effort. The angled headstock increases pressure on the strings to help them stay in the nut slots, and prevents loss of string vibration between the nut and the tuners, which equals better sustain.
- Angled, Classic Melody Maker Headstock
Adjustable Truss Rod
The adjustable truss rod is a Gibson innovation that revolutionized the guitar. Before this ground-breaking discovery in the early 1930s, the truss rod was used only to strengthen and stabilize the neck. By making it adjustable, the truss rod now allows a guitar to be set up using a variety of string gauges, as well as string heights. This easily accommodates any style of playing, and allows a limitless range of set-up options. And by placing it at the base of the headstock, the adjustable nut is easily accessible, even while the strings are still on the guitar.
- Adjustable Truss Rod
Custom Designed Slim-Tapered Neck Profile
The majority of the necks on Gibson’s famed Melody Makers from the late 1950s and into the 1960s featured Gibson’s traditional rounded profile—the same neck profile found on many of the iconic 1958 and 1959 Les Paul Standards. The neck profile on the Joan Jett Melody Maker, however, is crafted to the same specs as Jett’s original guitar—a slim-taper profile similar to the Les Pauls and SGs of the mid to late 1960s. Add Gibson’s Worn White finish to the back of the neck and the Joan Jett Melody Maker neck is one of the Gibson’s most comfortable and playable.
- Custom Designed Slim-Tapered Neck Profile
Nickel and Silver Alloy Fret Wire
The fret wire on the Gibson models is a combination nickel and silver alloy (approximately 80 percent nickel and 20 percent silver) specifically designed for long life and superior wear. Gibson’s traditional “medium/jumbo” fret wire is first shaped by hand, then cut to an exact 12-inch radius. After hand pressing it into the fingerboard, a machine press finishes the job to eliminate the gap between the bottom of the fret wire and the fingerboard.
- Nickel and Silver Alloy Fret Wire
22-Fret Ebony Fingerboard with Classic Dot Inlays
Ebony has always graced the fingerboards of the world’s finest stringed instruments, including many of today’s Gibsons. The fingerboard on the Joan Jett Melody Maker from Gibson USA is constructed from the highest grade ebony on the planet—and is Jett’s personal choice for the fingerboard on her signature Melody Maker. The resilience of this dense and durable wood makes these fingerboards extremely balanced and stable, and gives each chord and note unparalleled clarity and bite. The fingerboard’s dot inlays are one of the most distinguishable features of many traditional Gibson models, including the ES-335, Les Paul Junior, and Melody Maker. A figured, swirl acrylic gives these inlays that classic “pearl” look. They are inserted into the fingerboard using a process that eliminates gaps and doesn’t require the use of fillers.
- 22-Fret Ebony Fingerboard with Classic Dot Inlays
Like all classic Gibson guitars, the neck on the Joan Jett Melody Maker is distinguished by one of the more traditional features that has always set a Gibson guitar apart from others—a glued neck joint. Gluing the neck to the body of the guitar insures a “wood-to-wood” contact, no air space in the neck cavity, and maximum contact between the neck and body, allowing the neck and body to function as a single unit. The result? Better tone, better sustain, and no loose or misaligned necks.
- Set-Neck Construction
Slim, Double Cutaway Mahogany Body
From its initial launch in 1959, the Melody Maker was known for its single-cutaway design similar in profile to Gibson’s iconic Les Paul Standard. The double cutaway design on the Joan Jett Melody Maker was first introduced in 1962, then changed again in 1966 to a style similar to the legendary Gibson SG, with pointed horns and beveled edges. The Joan Jett Melody Maker body is made from premium mahogany, which goes through the same rigorous selection process as all of Gibson’s woods. Once inside the Gibson factories, the wood is dried to a level of “equilibrium,” where the moisture content does not change during the manufacturing process. This guarantees tight-fitting joints and no expansion, and controls the shrinkage and warping of the woods, in addition to reducing the weight. It also improves the woods’ machinability and finishing properties. Consistent moisture content means that every Joan Jett Melody Maker will respond evenly to temperature and humidity changes long after it leaves the factory.
- Slim, Double Cutaway Mahogany Body
Single Gibson Burstbucker 3 Zebra Humbucker
Gibson USA’s Joan Jett Double Cutaway Melody Maker features a single Gibson Burstbucker 3 humbucker that captures the raw punch and power of the rare Velvet Hammer aftermarket humbucker on Jett’s original guitar. The Burstbucker 3 debuted in 1990, and represents Gibson’s drive to capture and recreate the characteristics of the vintage “Patent Applied For” humbuckers of the late 1950s. The earliest Gibson PAF humbuckers were wound using imprecise machines, resulting in pickups with varying degrees of output and tone, and the Burstbucker line represents those variations but with some modern appointments. The Burstbucker 3 provides historically accurate PAF tone with two slightly overwound coils, creating a raw, airy tone packed with enough power and punch to cut through any mix.
- Single Gibson Burstbucker 3 Zebra Humbucker
Tune-O-Matic Bridge and Stop Bar Tailpiece
The Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece were the brainchild of legendary Gibson president Ted McCarty in 1954. At the time, the concept was a true revelation in intonation, setting a standard for simplicity and functionality that has never been bettered. These pioneering pieces of hardware provide a firm seating for the strings, allowing the player to adjust and fine-tune the intonation and string height in a matter of minutes. They also yield a great union between the strings and body, which results in excellent tone and sustain. The separate “stopbar” tailpiece is essentially a modified version of the earlier wraparound bridge, which was common on many of the first Melody Makers. The pieces are two of the most revered and copied pieces of guitar hardware ever developed.
- Tune-O-Matic Bridge and Stop Bar Tailpiece
Worn White Finish
Applying a satin nitrocellulose finish to any Gibson guitar—including the Joan Jett Melody Maker—is one of the most labor-intensive elements of the guitar-making process, yielding some very satisfying results. This unique finish gives the Joan Jett Melody Maker the look and feel of a truly vintage guitar, also making it extremely playable and comfortable. A properly applied nitro finish requires extensive man hours, several evenly applied coats, and an exorbitant amount of drying time. But this fact has never swayed Gibson into changing this time-tested method, employed ever since the first Gibson guitar was swathed with lacquer back in 1894. Why? For starters, a nitro finish dries to a much thinner coat than a polyurethane finish, which means there is less interference with the natural vibration of the instrument, allowing for a purer tone. A nitro finish is also a softer finish, which makes it easily repairable and allows the wood to breathe and age properly over time.
- Worn White Finish
Grover Les Paul-style Mini Tuners
These classic, innovative tuners offer the same design and ease of use as the original tuners on Gibson’s Melody Makers from the early 1960s. The smaller buttons afford more space for the fingers to tune the strings, the tuner housing is completely sealed, and a gear ratio of 14:1 delivers excellent performance and tuning accuracy to match the vintage Les Paul look.
- Grover Les Paul-style Mini Tuners
Witch Hat Knobs
Many of Gibson’s legendary guitars of the 1950s and 1960s featured black “witch hat” control knobs with silver tops. The Joan Jett Melody Maker pays tribute to that era with these period-correct knobs.
- Witch Hat Knobs
The black vinyl pickguard dates back to the early double cutaway Melody Makers of the early 1960s, and is an exact reproduction of the pickguard on Jett’s original Melody Maker, offering both a distinct look and complete protection for the model’s select mahogany body.
- Period-Correct Pickguard
"Kill" Toggle Switch
With only one pickup, the Joan Jett Double Cutaway Melody Maker features a 'Kill' toggle switch, which effectively switches between the hot signal from the pickup and the ground signal, successfully 'killing,' or turning off the signal from the pickup when activated. Jett uses this control to shut off her guitar when singing and not playing, or as an effect during a song.
- "Kill" Toggle Switch