"A completely new and exciting instrument … combines the conventional six-string guitar neck with a twelve-string neck—six strings double strung which can be tuned either in thirds or an octave apart for reinforced resonance and unusual tonal effects." — Gibson catalog, circa 1962
Of all the guitars introduced by Gibson in 1958 – a key year in the development of Gibson as an indisputable force in electric solid body guitar design – the most talked-about models are still the innovative Explorer and the Flying V. Yet most people forget – or simply don’t know – that 1958 was also the first year of the Gibson double neck guitar, which in its original incarnation was offered in two distinct models. The Double 12 – the forerunner to today’s EDS-1275 – had what would become the most conventional twin-neck combination: a 6-string neck and a 12-string neck. The more unusual Double Mandolin had two 6-string necks: one regular 6-string and one short scale length with its strings tuned an octave higher than a regular guitar, which was intended to reproduce the sound of a mandolin. Undoubtedly, the two unique instruments were a sight to behold, but they offered the consummate stage guitarist two instruments in one for versatility and ease of playing. They were also produced on a “custom-built to order only” basis, making them rare finds in today’s vintage guitar marketplace.