Meet Theodore, the (kind of) all-new electric guitar from Gibson

Gibson Theodore
(Image credit: Gibson)

Gibson has unveiled an all-new electric guitar design. Featuring the distinctive six-in-line scimitar headstock and a double florentine cutaway body shape, the Theodore offers a bold new look for Gibson. 

But there’s a twist. The Theodore is not technically new, with its design dating back to a 1957 sketch from former Gibson president Ted McCarty

Somehow, it never made it to market, which seems remarkable in an era when the Explorer, Flying V and Moderne were radically modernising the the instrument. Now,  exactly 65 years to the day that McCarty sketched it out, it has finally been released, with the date (3/18 in the US format) informing Gibson’s decision to limit its release to just 318 units. 

Maybe, after all this time, it’s still too avant-garde? Who can say. It could become a real sleeper hit, and perhaps a test balloon for a wider Gibson USA release one day. Certainly, the silhouette is from left-field, and its rare to see a Gibson guitar using alder. 

The Theodore wears its alder body with a walnut centre strip, and it is built like an old-school Gibson, with mahogany neck joining the body with a long neck tenon that's set with hide glue.

The Theodore will feel like a 1957 guitar, too, with a chunky neck profile to support the hand, and 22 historic narrow/tall Gibson frets. It has a 12” radius Indian rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays, a 1.69” nylon nut, a four-ply black pickguard, and a nickel wraparound tailpiece.

Providing that raw rock ’n’ roll voice, we have a pair of wax-potted P-90s at the bridge and neck positions, with individual volume and tone pots for each pickup, and a three-way pickup selector.

Gibson has dug into the good stuff for the components, with Theodore kitted out with 500K CTS pots, Bumblebee capacitors, and Switchcraft supplying the 1/4” output jack and pickup toggle.

Offered in Natural, Ebony and Cherry finishes, Theodore ships in a much sought-after Historic-style brown and pink fur lined case, inside which you’ll find a premium leather strap, a print of the original signed drawing, a 1957-style catalogue print, and a COA booklet.

Priced £4,399 / $4,999, Theodore is available now. See Gibson for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.