Corporate Press Kit

Quick Facts

Boilerplate
Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins and banjos. Gibson's digital guitar, introduced in 2002, represents the biggest advance in electric guitar design in over 70 years. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, MI, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson Guitar Corp.'s family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Valley Arts, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Slingerland, Maestro, Baldwin, Hamilton, Chickering and Wurlitzer. Visit Gibson's website at www.gibson.com.

Go here for a complete listing of divisions or here for a complete list of brand names.

Corporate directory

Corporate Name
Gibson: Gibson Guitar Corp. (not Corporation) is the registered corporate name, doing business as Gibson Musical Instruments.

Baldwin and other piano brands owned by Baldwin: Baldwin Piano Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Gibson Guitar Corp.

Owners
Gibson is privately held. The principal owners are Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO, and David Berryman, president. They acquired Gibson and Epiphone on January 15, 1986, by buying the fretted instrument division of Norlin Industries, Inc. The new company was incorporated as Gibson Guitar Corp.

Henry Juszkiewicz: Bio & Photo
David Berryman: Bio & Photo

Corporate Standing
Gibson does not release financial, production or employment figures. Comparing production and/or revenue figures of U.S.-based musical instrument manufacturers is an apples-and-oranges situation, due to the differences in product lines and the variety of foreign manufacturing and branding arrangements. Gibson is one of the largest and best-known guitar makers.

Famous Instruments
Gibson is the only company to establish industry-standard models in every major fretted instrument style: acoustic guitar (flat top and archtop), electric guitar (hollowbody, semi-hollowbody and solidbody), electric bass, banjo and mandolin.

Gibson's best known signature lines are the Les Paul electric solidbody (introduced in 1952), the Chet Atkins solidbody acoustic (introduced 1982), the B.B. King Lucille electric semi-hollowbody (introduced 1980) and the Earl Scruggs banjo (introduced 1984).

The Gibson Les Paul represents the most successful endorsement agreement in the history of musical instruments. Gibson has made over 100 different variations of Les Paul models. The body shape is a registered trademark and is recognized around the world as an icon for rock and roll music.

Go here for a list of hit recordings featuring Gibson instruments from 1910 to the present.

Quick History
Orville Gibson, a restaurant clerk in Kalamazoo, MI, began making mandolins and guitars in his home workshop in 1894. The Gibson company (official name The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Co., Ltd.) was organized by a group of Kalamazoo businessmen in 1902. The company initially focused on mandolins but was able to maintain an industry leadership role as musical tastes changed to the banjo in the 1920s (prompting a name change to Gibson, Inc., in 1923) and the guitar in the 1930s.

A manufacturing facility was opened in Nashville in 1974, and instruments were made in Kalamazoo and Nashville until 1984, when the Kalamazoo plant was closed and headquarters moved to Nashville.

Go here for highlights of Gibson history.

Misconceptions

Wrong: Orville Gibson founded the Gibson company in 1894.
Right: Orville Gibson's earliest documented instrument is dated 1894. Orville Gibson made the first Gibson instruments in 1894. The Gibson company was organized in 1902. Orville Gibson was never a principal partner in the Gibson company (although he did own some stock for a brief period).
   
Wrong: Gibson invented the electric guitar.
Right: The company that became Rickenbacker introduced the first viable electric guitar in 1932. Gibson introduced its first electric in 1935 and quickly gained a dominant position in the electric market.
   
Wrong: Les Paul invented the electric guitar. Les Paul invented the solidbody electric guitar. The Gibson Les Paul was the first solidbody electric.
   
Right: Les was one of the earliest proponents of the electric guitar in the 1930s. The Slingerland company (now owned by Gibson) introduced a solidbody electric by 1938. Les Paul made his own solidbody electric, nicknamed The Log, in or around 1941. Fender introduced the first commercially successful solidbody in 1950. The Gibson Les Paul Model, introduced in 1952, was Gibson's first solidbody electric model.