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Gibson Guitars
By Ricky Sharples
Gibson have ruled the rock and roll roost for many years. Ever since the nineteen thirties when pioneer electric guitar player, Charlie Christian took to them, Gibson have always been very popular with guitar players. They have the magic combination of technical excellence and prestige and pizzazz. As pioneers in the electric guitar field, they have always made good use of every opportunity to get their played by the leading guitarists. The company began in 1936 but Gibson took hold of the 1960's with both hands and gave the era a big tongue kiss. With the phenomenal growth of rock 'n' roll the solid body electric guitar which evolved in the fifties became the ultimate accessory for the young gentleman wishing to have loads of sex.

The era produced many famous Gibson guitar models like the Double Cutaway SG, the Firebird and the Flying V. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Peter Green, Chet Atkins all big names of the guitar, played Gibson guitars. And one of Gibson's triumphs - the Les Paul model was, and still is, in the hands of a boatload of guitar playing pioneers. The Les Paul model was the company's response to public enthusiasm for the electric guitar. Les Paul was arguably the most popular electric guitar player in the world who had previously invented his own solid body electric guitar. He was signed up by the Gibson company to lend his name to their new guitar and actually made some design suggestions which may or may not have been followed up, according to who you listen to.

But the world of making great was not all cheese and crackers. In the late nineteen fifties the world was obsessed with "modern" things. Space travel was on the minds of many creative people working in a multitude of areas of industrial design. So it was one morning that the Gibson Flying V awoke and attempted to take flight. Unfortunately it only survived for about one year. It slept then until the flamboyant nineteen seventies welcomed it once more to the world. Some famous guitarists, Jimi Hendrix among them, played it for a while and it found its way into the shops again, but only for a short time. The Gibson company tried to rescue the situation by introducing the Firebird, a variation on the Flying V thought up by a car designer. The result looks more like a bad drawing of an electric guitar.

Recently Gibson has added an astounding feature to the world of guitar playing. The Powertune system. It gives electric the ability to tune themselves, thus making sure that the secret of many professional guitar players remains perfectly safe. Another thing that might surprise some people is the fact that Gibson has held its own quite well in the area of acoustic guitar manufacturing. There is an Arlo Guthrie guitar in the Gibson Artist Signature Series of guitars. Possibly somebody in the early seventies thought Arlo was going to be really, really big. Other artists to have Gibson acoustic named for them are Elvis Presley, Sheryl Crow, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson and Pete Townshend.

So if you find yourself wondering what makes Gibson so special the answer is in the company's ability to keep its name alive in the mind of the guitar playing public.

Ricky Sharples has many more tips for guitar players of all levels at his blog Learn How To Play A Guitar For Free, a continuously updated directory of free guitar lessons, videos, chord charts and lots of useful guitar stuff.

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