When we last checked in with Gibson we highlighted impressive new endeavors like Gibson TV, the acquisition of Mesa/Boogie amps and the relaunch of the Gibson Gives charitable arm. And that's alongside great new guitars like the Kramer Artist Collection signature models and Epiphone’s exciting Inspired by Gibson range of electrics and acoustics.
It's only a month later, but Gibson is still on a tear, with a slew of top-tier new products, as well as the announcement of the groundbreaking Gibson Garage.
With that in mind, here are ten more things to know about Gibson in 2021.
The Gibson Garage offers the “ultimate guitar experience”
Most of us got started playing in garage bands, but smart money would bet that those cramped and dirty two-car spaces looked nothing like the new Gibson Garage (opens in new tab).
The feature-packed superstore, which Gibson has dubbed the “ultimate guitar experience,” boasts 8,000 square feet of space stocked with all the latest electric and acoustic guitars from Gibson, Gibson Custom Shop, Epiphone and Kramer, as well as Mesa/Boogie amps and KRK studio equipment.
And that’s just for starters: The Gibson Garage offers up a number of hands-on experiences, including a state-of-the-art stage for live and virtual performances, an in-house Custom Shop to build your own guitars and a Repair and Restoration Center.
Officially opening on June 9, the Garage will be situated at the Cummins Station on 209 10th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee.
“The Gibson Garage is the ultimate guitar experience where our past, present and future comes to life for fans and artists right here in Music City,” commented CEO of Gibson Brands, James Curleigh. “This is also our opportunity to contribute to the amazing music and guitar culture that we’ve been a part of for over a century.
“We can’t wait to share the Gibson Garage with our fans and future fans.”
Gibson Live: A Celebration of Artists to Benefit Gibson Gives
The Gibson Garage will open its doors on June 9 with a star-studded virtual concert, “Gibson Live: A Celebration of Artists to Benefit Gibson Gives,” featuring performances from Warren Haynes, Marcus King, Joe Bonamassa, Samantha Fish, Lzzy Hale, Orianthi and Jared James Nichols – and that’s just for starters.
Also on hand for the festivities will be Margo Price, Kip Moore, James Bay, Sergio Vallin of Mana, Joe Hottinger, Morgan Wade, Sadler Vaden, Tak Matsumoto, Celisse and Emily Wolfe.
The concert, which airs at 6:30 PM CT via Gibson TV, will benefit Gibson’s Gibson Gives charity, the 501c3 charitable arm of Gibson, which supports musicians worldwide and is committed to making the world a better place by creating and supporting other non-profit organizations in their efforts to advance musicians, as well as youth-focused education and wellness initiatives.
Proceeds will go towards supporting MusiCares and Save the Music, two non-profit organizations which work to provide critical financial and social support to the music community.
To catch the full Gibson Live: A Celebration of Artists to Benefit Gibson Gives, head to Gibson TV (opens in new tab).
The Gibson App continues to be the one guitar app that does it all
If you’re anything like us, your phone is probably jam-packed with guitar apps. Well, clean ‘em up, hit delete and download the Gibson App, the “only guitar app you’ll need.”
Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn to play or an expert needing new inspiration, most guitarists must “connect their own dots” across a wide array of tools, learning platforms and connections to find their favorite songs and artists. The Gibson App, however, does it all, with an innovative learning method, an awesome selection of songs to jam along with and much more to bring learning to another level.
Developed in partnership with Stockholm-based music tech company Zoundio, the Gibson App provides “two-way, interactive, and immersive guitar-learning” with guided step-by-step lessons for both electric and acoustic guitar players, in multiple genres and styles. The App uses Audio Augmented Reality (AR), which interacts with players and creates an additional real-time guitar layer.
And that’s just the beginning. The Gibson App also adds in the award-winning Gibson TV channel, the live Virtual Guitar Tech service (opens in new tab), which pairs players with pro Gibson techs for interactive, real-time guitar assistance, a versatile guitar tuner and a direct connection to Gibson.com (opens in new tab). What's more, new features are added to the App every month.
Meet the luxuriously-appointed Orianthi SJ-200 Acoustic Custom
Gibson has teamed up with Australian singer-songwriter and guitar phenom Orianthi on the new SJ-200 Acoustic Custom.
The luxurious six-string sports an AAA Sitka spruce top and maple back, with a neck modeled on Gibson's ES-345 electric.
Other features include a Cherry nitrocellulose lacquer finish, gold Grover Keystone tuners, a lotus flower-adorned pickguard and fingerboard and an LR Baggs system with an under-saddle piezo pickup and soundhole-mounted preamp.
Said Orianthi about the collab, “Creating a signature acoustic with the amazing Gibson team was truly an honor! I couldn’t be happier!”
Regarding the specs, she continued, “It’s the same full SJ-200 sound, but it plays much faster with a 345 neck on it, and with the modified unique LR Baggs custom pickup, it’s a balanced guitar and cuts through. I can’t wait for you all to be able to pick it up and shred away on it.”
The Orianthi SJ-200 Acoustic Custom is available now (opens in new tab)for $5,499.
The Peter Frampton Phenix rises
There are plenty of iconic Les Pauls out there, and near the top of that list is Peter Frampton’s ebony three-pickup Les Paul Custom, which was pictured on the cover of his mega-selling 1976 album, Frampton Comes Alive!, and thought to be lost forever in a 1980 cargo plane crash, only to be miraculously recovered in 2011.
Now, Gibson has recreated the legendary guitar as the Peter Frampton “Phenix” Inspired Les Paul Custom.
Like the original, the new Custom Shop Phenix features a mahogany body and neck, and an ebony fingerboard with custom pearl inlays.
The guitar boasts a trio of open coil Gibson Custom humbuckers, with custom wiring, a three-way toggle switch and volume and tone knobs for the neck and bridge pickups, and another pair of knobs specifically wired to the middle pickup, for greater tonal versatility.
Other features include gold hardware, Grover tuners, Schaller Strap Locks and Frampton's signature on the headstock.
What does Frampton think of the new model, which Gibson has made available for $6,999 (opens in new tab)?
“My brand-new Gibson Les Paul Custom VOS has arrived, and boy is it good,” he said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the look and sound.”
Epiphone brings the Texan and Casino back to the USA
The Epiphone Texan acoustic and Casino electric are two of the company’s most iconic models, having been used by artists including Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton and Noel Gallagher (the Texan) and John Lennon, George Harrison and Keith Richards (the Casino), among many others. Now, after more than 50 years, both instruments are made-in-the-USA once again.
The Texan is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana by Gibson’s finest acoustic luthiers, and features all solid woods (spruce top, mahogany back and sides), X-bracing, a 25.5” scale length and Antique Natural and Vintage Sunburst finishes.
The new Casino, meanwhile, boasts a classic maple and poplar body with a Royal Tan nitrocellulose lacquer or Vintage Sunburst nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
There’s also hand-wired electronics with Orange Drop capacitors and Gibson USA P-90 Dogear single-coil pickups.
Both the Texan (opens in new tab) and Casino (opens in new tab) are offered for $2,699. Whether you’re looking for classic acoustic or electric style, Epiphone’s new Made in USA Collection has you covered.
Happy 60th anniversary to the SG
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the legendary SG, and Gibson is celebrating the original model’s first-ever year in production – when the radical double-cutaway was dubbed a Les Paul before being renamed the SG – with the new 60th Anniversary 1961 Les Paul SG Standard in Cherry Red and Les Paul SG Custom in Polaris White. (opens in new tab)
The new models adhere strictly to the original blueprint, staying true to its 1961-inspired roots, complete with a Sideways Vibrola, a bound Authentic '61 Thin Profile mahogany neck, a solid mahogany body, Kluson and Grover tuners, an ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge, Custombucker pickups (two on the Standard, three on the Custom), CTS vintage-taper pots, Black Beauty capacitors and more.
Jared James Nichols goes for the gold
Blues-rock guitar madman Jared James Nichols loves his Les Pauls. So much so that the pick-less phenom is back with his second Epiphone collaboration, the signature “Gold Glory” Les Paul Custom.
A limited-edition take on Nichols’ Old Glory Les Paul, the Gold Glory features a '55-style Les Paul Custom body outfitted with a stunning Double Gold Aged finish.
Like its Black-finished predecessor, the Gold Glory is outfitted with a single Seymour Duncan P-90 Dogear bridge pickup controlled by individual volume and tone knobs, a mahogany neck boasting an ebony fingerboard with traditional block inlays, and Grover Rotomatic tuners.
The Epiphone Jared James Nichols “Gold Glory” Les Paul Custom (opens in new tab) is available now – with an EpiLite case included – for just $699. And for those who want to see JJN in action, be sure to check out the Gibson Live: A Celebration of Artists to Benefit Gibson Gives virtual concert (opens in new tab) on June 9.
Kramer adds to its hard-rocking collection
Kramer’s motto is Made to Rock Hard, and the rejuvenated brand continues to rock harder and harder into 2021 with fresh and classic designs and Artist Collection models like the Snake Sabo Baretta, Charlie Parra Vanguard and the Tracii Guns Gunstar Voyager.
Kramer also continues to offer up impressive models in the Original Collection, designed to capture the look and feel of the “original shredder guitar.”
New to the line is the NightSwan in Vintage White with Aztec Graphic (opens in new tab), which adds a cool and unique finish to the legendary “shred sled” from the late ‘80s. The guitar features a double-cutaway mahogany body with a deep cut lower horn for upper-fret access, two Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers and a Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo and R2 locking nut. In addition to the rare graphics you also get "ping pong" pearloid dot inlays.
Also new to the line is the Focus Electric Player Pack (opens in new tab), the ideal Kramer starter kit. In addition to the iconic Focus, loaded with two Kramer Alnico 5 SC-1 single coils and an Alnico 5 humbucker and equipped with a Kramer Traditional tremolo, the pack throws in everything you need to get started, including an Electar 10W amplifier, a Kramer gig bag, Kramer strap, guitar cable, three guitar picks and even a clip-on electronic tuner.
For just $229, the Focus Electric Player Pack is the first stop on the road to rocking hard.
Epiphone and Brendon Small ride again with the GhostHorse Explorer
On the heels of two previous collaborations, Epiphone has once again teamed up with Brendon Small – the mastermind behind the animated Adult Swim series Metalocalypse and its fictional melodic death-metal band Dethklok – for the GhostHorse Explorer, a sharp signature model sporting a modified Explorer body with a deeper cutaway.
Features include a mahogany body with a figured maple veneer, a mahogany neck with a SlimTaper profile and a 24-fret ebony fingerboard with a white binding and dot inlays (with an Icarus Spaceship at the 12th fret).
Pickups, meanwhile, are a pair of coil-splittable Gibson USA BurstBuckers, controlled via two push-pull master volume knobs and a three-way selector switch.
What else? How about Grover Mini Rotomatic 18:1 tuners, a Floyd Rose FRT-1000 bridge and tremolo system, a contoured heel joint, nickel hardware, an Icarus Spaceship medallion on the back of the headstock – the same as that found on the 12th fret – and a far-out Galaktikon Burst finish.
For more information on the GhostHorse, which is available for $799, head to Epiphone (opens in new tab).
Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.
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