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Gibson Introduces a New Body Shape with the Theodore, Inspired by a 65-year-old Ted McCarty Sketch

Gibson has debuted the Theodore electric guitar, which marks the first offering in its newly established Gibson Archive Collection and the introduction of a new body shape.

The design itself is inspired by a sketch produced by former Gibson president Theodore “Ted” McCarty, which was drawn and dated on March 18, 1957. McCarty had previously helped the Gibson brand develop some of its most well-known models, including the Les Paul, SG and Explorer.

McCarty’s design was discovered from the Gibson Vault, and was subsequently refined to create the faithfully styled Theodore model, which officially releases today – 65 years to the day the original sketch was composed.

Available in three finishes – Natural, Cherry and Ebony – only 318 units of the guitar will be made, a figure that nods to the date of McCarty’s drawing.

The guitar is almost a near-perfect recreation of McCarty’s 65-year-old design. Stylistically speaking, it has reverse Florentine cutaways, a center strip and an Explorer scimitar headstock, as well as a wraparound bridge. All of these appointments can be found on the design, which you can see below.

Small changes to the blueprint include the shape of the pickguard, which is now more rectangular, and the position of the three-way toggle switch. The pickup selector is instead now located next to the control circuit.

In terms of specifics, the Theodore features a 24.75” scale length, and comprises a two-piece alder body with a walnut center strip, as well as a 1957 C-shape mahogany neck. This is topped with a 22-fret, 12”-radius rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays.

It has also been equipped with a pair of P-90 pickups, which are wired to Gibson's go-to control layout of two volume knobs, two tone parameters and a three-way selector switch.

The Theodore is available now for $4,999, and is accompanied by a historic pink/brown guitar case, leather guitar strap, print of the original design and certificate of authenticity.

For more on the Theodore, visit Gibson (opens in new tab).