NAMM 2019: Gibson gives players what they want with traditional-spec electrics and more affordable acoustics

NAMM 2019: It’s been a long time coming, but under new management, Gibson might actually deliver what guitarists have been clamouring for: traditional-spec electrics and lower prices - for acoustics at least.

Info is scarce at the moment, but according to Chief Merchant Office Cesar Gueikian, confirmed new Classic models include “a Les Paul Standard ’50s spec and a Les Paul Standard ’60s spec as well as one with P90 pickups; a Les Paul Special in TV Yellow and Les Paul Junior Tobacco Burst; an SG Standard and two new 61 spec SG’s with ‘maestro’ and ‘sideways’ Vibrolas”.

With these new releases, Gibson promises to return to its classic designs and construction methods.

A new Contemporary line-up, meanwhile, includes a Les Paul Tribute Double Cut Junior with a single P-90 and a Les Paul Tribute Double Cut Special with dual P-90s - both at an “accessible” price point, promises Gibson.

Tantalisingly (or not, depending on your views), Gibson is also teasing “a new concept with the Les Paul and SG Modern”, based on dealer, artist and guitar enthusiastic input.

Guiekian details these models as featuring “many contemporary updates that players have embraced such as lighter-weight bodies, innovative slim taper neck profiles for full-access to the high frets, ebony fingerboards, high-output versatile pickups and a push-pull control system to pivot between the humbucker and the P-90 sounds, both of which have defined so many genres of music since we invented them”.

Les Paul Modern

Les Paul Modern

Gibson will also be premiering a new Generation line of acoustics, with the new, USA-built G-45 Studio and G-45 Standard clocking in at $999 and $1,299 respectively.

Both models feature solid Sitka spruce tops and walnut back and sides, plus “exquisite” finishes, says Gibson.

G-45 Studio

G-45 Studio

We can expect more Custom Shop offerings, too, including a recreation of Chuck Berry’s ES-350T, produced in collaboration with Berry’s son and grandson.

The previously announced signature Chris Cornell Tribute ES-335 will also be on display, while a host of other models are expected to be released throughout the year. We don’t have images, specs or prices for these, but we thought you’d like to know all the same:

  • George Thorogood – Epiphone Ltd Ed Thorogood “White Fang” ES-125TDC
  • Jared James Nichols – Epiphone Limited Edition Jared James Nichols ‘Old Glory’ Les Paul Custom Outfit
  • Dave Rude – Epiphone Limited Edition Dave Rude Flying V Outfit
  • Dave Amato – Custom Shop Dave Amato Signature Axcess Les Paul
  • Brian Ray – Custom Shop Brian Ray 62 SG Jr.
  • Lee Roy Parnell – Custom Shop Lee Roy Parnell Signature 1959 Les Paul Standard
  • Slim Harpo – Slim Harpo ’62 ES-330
  • Michael Clifford – Michael Clifford Signature Melody Maker

All these models join the company’s back-to-basics 2019 guitar range, which was announced back in September 2018.

Add in performances from the likes of Billy Gibbons, Nancy Wilson and Peter Frampton at the booth, and Gibson’s return to NAMM could well prove to be the highlight of the show.

All of which bodes well for new CEO James ‘JC’ Curleigh, who took over following a turbulent 2018 for the guitar giant, which saw it file for bankruptcy protection back in May.

We’ll have more info on all of the new Gibson releases - including those all-important specs and prices - ASAP. Head over to for more info.


NAMM 2019 - all the news

The dust is settling, but our ears are still ringing. You'll find all the stories that counted in our massive news hub. Below, enjoy our editors' findings as we regrouped at the end of the show.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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