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Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty's Golden Era: 1948-1966 Paperback – February 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Gil Hembree began collecting guitars in 1966 while working at Kitt's Music in Washington, DC. Familiarity with the professional musicians playing on Georgetown's M-Street allowed him to dabble in early buy-sell, but his academic interest in finance led to a corporate job in Michigan. In 1993 he started writing for Guitar Digest where he developed the first vintage-guitar price index. Throughout his financial career he played in bands, and searched for original-owner vintage guitars in cities like Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Port Huron, Pontiac, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo. In 2000, freshly retired from corporate finance, Hembree was contracted by Vintage Guitar to co-author the Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide. In 2007, the Hal Leonard Corp released his biography of Ted McCarty: Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty's Golden Era: 1948 - 1966. After residing in Michigan for 35 years, Hembree and his wife, Jane, relocated to Austin, TX.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: GH Books (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423418131
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423418139
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,812,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Basner on May 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a huge fan of anything Gibson, in particular, anything Gibson built during the McCarty years (which includes the most famous of Gibson's guitars such as the 1958-1960 Les Pauls, the Flying V and Explorer, among others) I was excited at the thought of a book devoted to that era. Unfortunately, the book was a disappointment. While it may be true that certain information about Mr. McCarty and about Gibson in the 1950s is only available in this book (I don't know this to be true), the writing 'style' is bad enough to make this volume entirely unsatisfying. Numerous typographical errors, and extensive cases of just awful use of the English language (incomplete or incomprehensible sentences) and in many cases, just terribly simplistic language, made reading this book a challenge, at best. It makes me wonder if an editor ever went through this book prior to publication. I'm usually one to give any product the benefit of the doubt, but in this case, I'd have to strongly recommend avoiding this book.
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I purchased this book as a gift to my father, a Gibson aficionado, and he loved the behind the scenes style in which it introduced the people behind the instruments. He could not put the book down and refers to it again and again when his friends come to visit. Gorgeous photography throughout - just to see all of these beautiful instruments in one book is a perfect gift to the reader.
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A wonderful book about Gibson; and the man behind its greatest period of production. Sometimes the text is a bit dry--but the story is accurately told. This is a book every Gibson owner should have in their library.
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Ok- To be open minded you should expect someone to be dissatisfied, in this world of bling . I feel this is a great book for what it intends to be. Interviews with so many people who made these great guitars happen, floor plans of the factory, and so many things that
transport you to that time! I want to be there! Ted McCarty launched Gibson from a National Treasure to an International Icon. No, this isn't
a sophisticated read, and I didn't want that. The down home people who tell the story, many from Kalamazoo - worked for Gibson 30-40 years! This was a factory people loved working at! You can still read into the pride they feel. Boy- do we need more of that back in this country.
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Format: Paperback
Gil Hembree has created the one, and only, history of Gibson Guitars and its president Ted McCarty. If you are a fan of Gibson guitars this is, simply put, a MUST HAVE! Gibson was always the premier builder of archtop guitars in the country, but under Ted's leadership Gibson developed what would become the premier electric solid body, and semi acoustic guitars, leaving his personal stamp on the sound of Rock `n' Roll. The Les Paul Model, the Humbucking pickup, the Tune-o-matic bridge, the ES 335, the Flying V, the Explorer, the SG, and the Firebird. All developed under Ted's tenure as President of Gibson, Inc. The employee interviews are priceless, and serve to define why Gibson became the industry giant. Great people, who stayed with the company, working under great leadership. Gibson guitars from the "Golden Era" remain some of the most sought after instruments on the vintage market, and rightfully so. We all have Ted McCarty to thank for that, and Gil Hembree for telling his story, and the story of the people who worked for him.
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Excellent read. If you are a musician,musicologist, fan of "behind-the -scenes" visionaries this book will delight you. If the author would have contacted me I would have gladly proofread this book for him, as there are some mis-spelled words or omitted parts of words, just a few, otherwise an outstanding book. A great tribute to one of America's true pioneers of electric guitar.Highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
I am really impressed with this book because it offers a totally different approach than any other book which I have read on the topic. The author - Gil Hembree - puts emphasis not on Gibson guitars or amplifiers but on the persons who made them. About one third of the book is dedicated to one of the most important men in the history of this company, Ted McCarty, who was CEO from 1948 to 1966 - an era during which the most important Gibson products were launched: The Les Paul, ES 335/355, Explorer and Flying V guitars. The other two thirds are used to introduce other people at Gibson from important engineers down to simple workers who were all proud to be working for this company.
For all those who think they have read everything about Gibson: Get this book and learn even more - not only about the Gibson company - but also about the USA from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s.
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Format: Paperback
If you love old Gibson guitars, this is a "MUST OWN AND DON'T LOAN" book!

An incredible work and research effort by Gil Hembree. The guitar world
owes him for taking the time to interview people and employees that actually
built and designed GIBSON's best-loved classic instruments- many of which have passed on by
the time this book reached the printers.

Use the other Gibson books for cool color pictures of the old guitars- but
this book has BLACK & WHITE original pictures (Remember- they didn't have color film when this history was being made) Gil's book has lots of pictures that have never before been published- many given to him by those he interviewed.
And that includes extensive interfacing by Gil with Ted McCarthy prior to his passing.

After reading it, I got a much better understanding of how the guitars were made, the people who made them, and the steps involved. ( In 1960 Gibson created its actual CUSTOM SHOP! )

You will learn things- important things- about GIBSON that you never even knew to WONDER about. This book fills massive voids because the author took tons of personal hours DOING THE RESEARCH, doing actual interviews and plant visits, that other others just didn't have the means to do.

After reading it for 20 minutes, you will just only begin to appreciate the true labor of love that Mr. Hembree shares with every reader. I understand he is highly active in the old guitar scene- as a co-author of The Vintage Guitar Price Guide that every intelligent dealer and collector purchases every year- but it is really likely that this body of work will be accepted by that same community that will be Gil Hembree's legacy! It's that good.
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