Tag Archives: Gibson

How to make a guitar …. the Gibson way.

A few years ago I visited America and was fortunate to see Graceland and then the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis. The girls in our party went off shopping which left me in peace for a few hours. As well the guitar factory in Memphis there is a Rock n Roll museum which absorbed me for about 2hrs you get a pair of headphones and a kind of Star Trek type gadget so that whichever particular piece of history you looked at music from that time was played through the headphones, cool.

But the Gibson factory was something else, I play guitar, to what level I will let my neighbours argue over 🙂 so this was a great place to immerse myself in. It was a guided tour and our guide had some good stories to tell about the various rock n roll stars who visited the place. The one I liked as a certain very well known guitarist of one of the biggest Rock n Roll bands of the era visiting and just pointing to each guitar on show that he liked, he ended up with 12, then left his entourage to pay the bill.

So how is a guitar made? With care and precision, we were told that you could, at one time, get a slight seconds Gibson guitar, there might have been an imperfection somewhere so you got a great discount and a great deal. Some new owners took over and stopped all that, each guitar that left the factory had to be perfect, no seconds allowed, pity I might have come home with 12 guitars 🙂

Our guide started off with a supermarket trolley load of ‘bits’ as he called them.

A wider view of the factory.

The many ‘bits’ laid around.

The guitars take shape.

Then of course meticulously sprayed.

Now they are something more recognizable.

Then the finished articles, but before they get to this stage they are checked, by hand, we saw a woman with a pair of gloves on who had been doing this job for years. She checked the paintwork by moving her hands over the guitar body for blemishes or other imperfections, remember, no seconds. We never saw them being strung, or at least I didn’t so maybe I missed that bit.

One of the many variations of Gibson, Gibson Les Paul and Epiphone guitars in their shop.

I had to be dragged out screaming from this shop my wife came back and said no you can’t have one 🙂

The nearest I’ll come to actually having one of these I think, although the guy in the shop offered me a very good deal, including shipping to the UK, just a pity my wife came back before I could hand over my credit card LOL.