Gibson's 110th Birthday: Five of the Best Obscure Gibson Models

We look at some of Gibson's strange and wonderful offerings   11-Oct-12

It's been 110 years since Gibson first started operations in Kalamazoo, 1902, founded by Orville Gibson, a specialist mandolin and guitar luthier.

The last decade certainly hasn't been the easiest for Gibson, with major flooding at one of their factories and accusations of using outlawed woods in the construction of some of their guitars, but nevertheless an army of collectors around the world continue to buy new releases by the brand.

Always fans of the weird and wonderful, we thought we'd ignore the fact that Gibson have brought some of the most popular guitar designs to the world, and focus on five obscure and slightly less-popular models, because that's way more fun. So let's have a bit of fun.

Many of the weirdest Gibson designs come from either the 1950s or the 1970s; during the 50s Gibson were helping to pioneer the electric guitar market and battling it out with Fender for market share, designers had run of the house, coming up with designs they thought would capture the imagination of the public. Some of these designs had the desired effect, and some were just a bit odd.

The story in the 1970s was very similar in many ways, but with Gibson and Fender both firmly established as world leaders in the guitar market, a host of Japanese companies had started to closely imitate a number of Fender's key designs, and as a byproduct of this imitation, Fender's designs were suddenly in vogue.

Gibson had to fight back with some new models of their own, not many of which caught on, but you'd be paying big money for some of these guitars today, because in retrospect, they were pretty awesome.

Perhaps the coooooolest of these designs was the Gibson Corvus, you've heard of the Flying V, well this looked more like a flying crow (and Corvus means 'Crow' in Latin). It was actually released slightly later than the counter-Fender guitars, but brilliant all the same.

Courtesy of M.Baylor

5. Gibson Corvus

The Corvus did not sell well, it was discontinued just two years after its introduction to the market in 1982. Looking back though, it was ahead of its time (that time probably still hasn't come yet), and it boasted one of the best Gibson headstock designs (in the humble opinion of the staff here at Amped).

As was the story with many of Gibson's releases in the 1980s, the guitar featured a bolt-on neck in an effort to compete with another famous guitar company who famously produced guitars with bolt-on necks... no prizes for guessing which company that was.

The main reason it has made it on to this list at number 5 though is simply because it was available in a bewilderingly odd range of colours. The guitar you see in the picture above is black, that's fairly normal. But other prominent options were yellow, orange, gold, silver and colour that vaguely resembled blue... 

If you own one of these then kudos to you, get in touch with us on our Facebook page and send us a picture!

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