Gibson Guitar Innovations

  • The Begginng

    The Begginng
    The earliest documented instrument is made by Orville Gibson, a restaurant clerk in Kalamazoo, MI.
    Working in his home woodshop, Orville appropriates the carved, arched top design of the violin and applies it to
    mandolins and guitars. He designs two new mandolin shapes: the scroll-body F style and the teardrop-shaped A,
    both of which are the standard mandolin styles today. He is granted his one and only patent in 1898.
  • Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd.

    Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd.
    The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd. is formed. Orville's mandolins are far superior to the bowlbacks or “taterbugs” of his day, and he is unable to meet the rising demand.
    Five Kalamazoo businessmen buy rights to his name and patent for $2500 and hire him as a consultant. Orville is
    not one of the principals of the Gibson company, but he does own some stock. Within six months, however, he is
    at odds with the board of managers, and he sells his stock to his local saloon keeper.
  • Truss Rod and Bridge

    Truss Rod and Bridge
    Gibson employee Ted McHugh, a woodworker who had sung in a group with Orville Gibson, invents two of the most important innovations in guitar history: the adjustable truss rod and the height-adjustable bridge. All Gibson instruments are still equipped with McHugh’s truss rod, and traditional jazz guitars still utilize the bridge he designed.
  • EH-150

    The first Gibson electric guitar is introduced. Gibson enters the new electric market with the EH-150, a Hawaiian style guitar and follows in 1936 with its first “Spanish” standard style electric, the ES-150. “ES” stands for Electric Spanish; the price of the guitar and matching amp is $150.
  • Les Paul

    Les Paul
    Gibson introduces its first solidbody electric guitar, the Les Paul Model. To launch its first solidbody electric, Gibson enlists Les Paul, the biggest recording star of the early '50s and an early proponent of the solidbody guitar. The Gibson Les Paul has gone on to become the most successful “artist” guitar in history and an icon for rock and roll music.
  • Tune-o-matic

    Gibson president Ted McCarty, an engineer who does not know how to play guitar, invents the tune-o-matic bridge with individually adjustable saddles. It debuts on the Les Paul Custom in 1954 and is still today the standard bridge on Gibson electric guitars.
  • Humbucker

    The humbucking pickup, a double-coil design, is perfected by Gibson engineer Seth Lover and installed on Gibson's top-line models. It quickly becomes an industry standard.
  • The digital guitar

    The digital guitar
    Gibson introduces the world’s first digital guitar. Utilizing proprietary MaGIC transport protocol developed by Gibson Labs, the Gibson Digital Guitar represents the greatest advance in guitar technology since the invention of the electric guitar 70 years earlier.
  • Robotic Guitar

    Robotic Guitar
    Gibson Guitar changes the world of the electric guitar with its introduction of the world's first guitar with robotic technology, the Gibson Robot Guitar. The guitar which was produced in a very limited edition sold out in only 2 days worldwide.