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Gibson Guitars: 100 Years of an American Icon Paperback – March, 2003


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Paperback, March, 2003
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Publishing (March 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972751017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972751018
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,798,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This splendid book chronicles 100 years of the companies that building Gibson guitars, banjos, and mandolins. Beautifully illustrated with countless pictures of guitars and the musicians who made them famous, this coffee-table edition is written by some of today's most prominent music writers, including the editor, Walter Carter, an expert on guitars; Roger H. Siminoff, author of technical guides for guitar, mandolin, and banjo construction; and country music author Michael McCall. Check out our in-depth description of this book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

As Carter's subtitle says, the Gibson guitar is an American icon. From Maybelle Carter to Chuck Berry to Frank Zappa to Travis Tritt to Slash, American guitar heroes of all generations and musical styles have played Gibsons. Notable foreigners like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards have also enjoyed long associations with Gibsons, and the Les Paul model, named after the proto-guitar god and popularizer of the electric version of the instrument, is for many aficionados the be-all and end-all of guitars. In this profusely illustrated, large-format book, Carter and several other well-known music writers recount the history of the Gibson company, from Orville H. Gibson's days in Kalamazoo, Michigan, through the boom years and subsequent dark years of uninterested corporate ownership, and on to the new day of the present ownership, which saved the company by renewing attention to quality workmanship and love of the product. Remarkably illustrated, wonderfully detailed, this is a fitting homage to the Gibson guitar, an important document in popular music history. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Walter Carter is the former historian for Gibson Guitar Corporation and the author of ten books on guitars, including Gibson Guitars: 100 Years of an American Icon and Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, he has also written a how-to for co-writing songs and a biography of the Oak Ridge Boys.

Customer Reviews

I 'm glad that I purchased the book.
David John Skinner
This makes the book a powerful reference for those wishing to study Gibson at specific points in the history of the company.
lance t. burgess
Gibson nearly always lead the way, from the very beginning, and how they did it is clearly, concisely written about here.
Alex Gentle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Okay. I have a confession to make. I have a slight bias about Gibson Guitars. They are the ONLY guitars I play, ever have played, and, unless I get my hands on a Rickenbacker 12 string, the only guitar I ever will play.
"Gibson GUITARS 100 YEARS OF AN AMERICAN ICON", by Walter Carter, is a 314 page chronicle of each and every single era, dichotomised into a neat, organised and painstakingly concise tome of this musical titan, beginning with the Orville H. Gibson (creator of the Gibson instruments) era, and taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride of the triumphant ups, and near fatal decline, of this legendary manufacturer.
This book is worth every penny you will pay for it, and more, because it expands on every phase of Gibson's development, every epoch of the sea changes in the industry, while entertainingly interweaving changes in musical tastes, trends, and featuring leading artists, mainly those who used Gibson instruments, such as Pete Townsend, ! ! Duane Allman, virtuoso Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, the legendary innovator and artist, Les Paul himself, Jeff Lynn, Mick Ronson, Chris Hillman, Billy Gibbons, and many, many others. It is no coincidence that most of them were or are the preminent artists of the world's musical stage.
Make no mistake about it. This is no P.R. book, or propaganda espousing Gibson as the ALL TIME WINNER-greatest manufacturer ever jive; this book is painfully frank about the good times and the bad times with professional, dispassionate, objectivity, each chapter narrated era by era, by industry professionals from all corners of the musical field.
This book also debunks many of the myths, misconceptions, and misinformation floating around about the company.
Read more ›
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Scatterbrain on December 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gibson has unleashed a propaganda piece on an unsuspecting audience of guitar freaks. By having their in-house historian write it and by publishing it themselves, Gibson has ensured that they retain complete editorial control over all of the content. Here's an example of the hypebole that is present throughout the book: in reference to the oncoming wave of solid body electrics Walter Carter writes, "...Gibson would lead rather than follow the pack as the electric guitar era began to take shape." I think Leo Fender would take exception to that statement if he were still around. The book features lots of well-known players with a Gibson in their hands. The captions border on outright fraud. "Jimi Hendrix reached new guitar heights with an SG Custom." Gee, I thought that 99% of his playing was on a Fender Stratocaster. "Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards plays a custom single-pickup L-55." Maybe he does in that picture, but any casual Stones fan will tell you that Keef plays a Tele. There are countless other examples of this type of misreprensentation. As much as I dislike that lame marketing approach, I completely despise the self-congratulatory chapter on the trio of Harvard guys who bought the company in 1986. I personally think they have done more to damage the image of Gibson in the eyes of players than Norlin ever did. They even went so far as to include a staged photo of Juszkiewicz between rounds in a boxing match with the caption: "Berryman and Zebrowski revive Juszkiewicz after a tough round in a negotiations course at Harvard business school." It's almost too much to stomach.

Having said all of that, the book is not completely without merit though. If you are a diehard Gibson fan and already own Duchossoir's essential book "Gibson Electrics - The Classic Years," then this book may make a nice, if somewhat trivial, addition to your collection of guitar books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must say that this book really shows what you can do with historic info. Good photos and written info, there's always something there that is news. "Well I did n't know that" sort of thing. I 'm glad that I purchased the book. Highly recommended for of course guitar aficionados
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Format: Paperback
The history of Gibson is lots of fun! The contributors provide lots of historical information about the instruments that Gibson developed, as well as many of the other early mandolin, banjo and guitar makers. It also provides a historical context for the development of many instruments by Gibson and others, describing many of the changes in the music businesses alongside the popular music of the times.

To be clear, don't look for an unbiased view of the industry, a critical study of working conditions, etc., and just enjoy the ride as you see the wonderful instruments made by Gibson over the past 100 years!

(By the way, as far as bias goes this review is written by a Martin guitar player, although I also play a Gibson F2.)
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sturmey Archer on June 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you know nothing about guitars and want some nice pictures (courtesy of George Gruhn), then this might be the one for you...if you can find a copy (not cuz they are sold out, but because Gibson won't release any more of them)...This book was obviously written while the author was employed at Gibson, and heavily edited by them too...there are rare pictures of rockers (who usually played other guitars) with Gibsons strapped on...the text is slanted towards Gibson throughout, I mean, it is about Gibson and published by them too..constantly making it seem like musical instrument makers are indentured servants and the companies are having this fierce war with each other, and to survive and try just to break even...and the author is constantly bashing management techniques, even Gibsons', which is irrelevant and unimportant...its way too dramatic...music and its instruments can speak for themselves...
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