Gibson (guitar company)

Gibson Brands, Inc.
FormerlyGibson Guitar Corp.
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1902 (1902)[1] in Kalamazoo, Michigan
FounderOrville Gibson
Area served
Key people
    • Nathaniel Zilkha (chairman)
    • James Curleigh (president & CEO)
    • Cesar Gueikian (CMO)
Productselectric and acoustic guitars, basses, strings
ParentKKR & Co. Inc.[3][4]

Coordinates: 36°07′48″N 86°43′33″W / 36.1298758°N 86.7257458°W / 36.1298758; -86.7257458

Gibson Brands, Inc. (formerly Gibson Guitar Corporation) is an American manufacturer of guitars, other musical instruments, and professional audio equipment from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and now based in Nashville, Tennessee. The company was formerly known as Gibson Guitar Corporation and renamed Gibson Brands, Inc. on June 11, 2013.[5][6]

Orville Gibson started making instruments in 1894 and founded the company in 1902 as the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to make mandolin-family instruments.[1] Gibson invented archtop guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars, used and popularized by Charlie Christian. In 1944, Gibson was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI), which was acquired in 1969 by Panama-based conglomerate Ecuadorian Company Limited (ECL), that changed its name in the same year to Norlin Corporation. Gibson was owned by Norlin Corporation from 1969 to 1986. In 1986, the company was acquired by a group led by Henry Juszkiewicz and David H. Berryman. In November 2018, the company was acquired by a group of investors led by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names[7] and builds one of the world's best-known guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. Gibson was at the forefront of innovation in acoustic guitars, especially in the big band era of the 1930s; the Gibson Super 400 was widely imitated. In 1952, Gibson introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul, which became its most popular guitar to date—designed by a team led by Ted McCarty.

In addition to guitars, Gibson offers consumer electronics through the Gibson Pro Audio division, which includes KRK.

On May 1, 2018, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,[8] and announced a restructuring plan to return to profitability by closing down unprofitable consumer electronics divisions such as Gibson Innovations.[9][10] The company exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2018.[11][12]

In January 2020, the company launched Gibson TV, an online television network focused on guitars and music culture.[13][14]

  1. ^ a b "Gibson History". Gibson Corporate Press Kit. Gibson Guitar Corp. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  2. ^ Gisbon Brands at Gibson Press website Archived 2014-07-05 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 10 Dec 2014
  3. ^ "KKR Portfolio". Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  4. ^ "KKR to Gibson Bidders: 'We Own the Company' Until Debt Is Repaid". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Gibson Brands, Inc.: Private Company Information". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2017-06-25.
  6. ^ "Drop the guitar Gibson rebrands" on Archived 2014-12-25 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ayala Ben-Yehuda (9 April 2007). "Gibson Guitar embraces China, Latin markets". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24.
  8. ^ "Gibson Guitars Files For Bankruptcy Protection". Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  9. ^ "US guitar firm Gibson goes bust". BBC News. 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  10. ^ Mattise, Jonathan (2018-05-02). "Gibson guitar maker sees a future with bankruptcy protection". CTVNews. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  11. ^ Resnikoff, Paul (2018-10-02). "It's Over: Gibson Guitar Is Officially Exiting Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". Digital Music News. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  12. ^ "Gibson expects to emerge from bankruptcy next month". Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  13. ^ January 2020, Jonathan Horsley 08. "Gibson just launched its own online TV network". guitarworld. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  14. ^ Release, Press (2020-06-30). "GibsonG TV Releases New Documentary Series "The Process"". Mayhem Music Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-20.