Gibson is perhaps the most loved guitar brand of all time, remaining at the centre of guitar players’ dreams and popular music history since the 1930s.
Always innovating, often controversial, what may look like a giant, impenetrable corporation from the outside is in fact a collection of smaller specialities and subcultures, fuelled by a deeply passionate staff of artisans and craftspeople who, regardless of position or function, remain fiercely proud of what they do.
The company has grown confidently ever since the much-written-about management buyout of 1986, as has its need for production capacity. Its first specialist offshoot was Gibson Montana, which began building flat-top acoustics in 1989. Next came Gibson’s Custom Shop in a separate Nashville facility in 1994, and today we’re visiting the most recent ‘new’ factory, around 200 miles away in Memphis, where Gibson guitars have been rolling off the line since 2000. 2013 is significant, however, because it is the year Gibson Memphis has officially become its own division.