Last Friday, Gibson released the first electric guitar from its new Archive Collection and brought to life a lost Ted McCarty design that had been languishing in cold storage for some 65 years.
That guitar was the Theodore, and with its P-90 pairing, aggressive double-cutaway body and the six-in-line scimitar headstock more commonly found on the Explorer, it looks every inch the rock ’n’ roll machine.
Obviously, you can’t release a guitar without a video, and Gibson duly shot a promo documenting the guitar’s storied history, but to demo a guitar such as this – an event guitar – Gibson has reached out to Joe Bonamassa, blues-rock superstar and guitar collector at large, to give this alder-bodied electric a test drive.
As Bonamassa explains, the Theodore was once destined to be Gibson’s first ever solidbody with a double-cutaway, but somewhere down the line it got superseded by the Les Paul Junior. Theodore? Put away for a rainy day, and that arrived came 65 years to the date of the original McCarty drawing.
Bonamassa, however, believes Theodore was worth the wait.
“The great thing about the history of this company is they were so innovative back in the ‘50s,” he says. “And they were thinking about not making guitars for jazz guys; they were embracing the rock ’n’ roll era. What happened between 1952 and 1963, everybody in the world who makes guitars is still chasing it.”
Those looking for a more aggressive looking alternative to a doublecut Junior would do well to act now. The Archive Collection Theodore is limited to 318 units worldwide.
For more details, head over to Gibson (opens in new tab).
- Joe Bonamassa: “It’s a fight. My ’51 Nocaster brings out things in you as a player that, if it was too easy to play, I think it shaves a little of the intensity off”