Monday, March 14th, 2011 at
Orville Gibson began making guitars in Kalamazoo Michigan around 1894. He started creating carved archtop guitars and mandolins. These instruments had been a lot louder and durable than most instruments of the day. In 1898 he was granted a patient for a mandolin whose bottom and sides were carved form the same piece of wood.
By 1902 Gibson mandolins had been so common that he couldn’t maintain up with the demand. He ended up selling the rights to the patent along with the use of his name to a group of Kalamazoo businessmen. They formed the Gibson-Mandolin-guitar manufacturing business on October of 1902. Gibson acted as sort of a consultant owning stock and training workers but by1903 he was no longer involved with the business.
I think it’s intriguing that his name went on to be synonymous with such fantastic guitars and he was really only inside the enterprise for much less than 10 years. The Gibson name lives on.
Sunday, March 13th, 2011 at
The Gretsch Firm really started off making tambourines. The Brooklyn NY business was founded by Friedrich Gretsch in 1883. Friedrich died unexpectedly in 1895 and his son Fred Sr. headed the organization. Fred retired in 1942 and also the running of your business was left to his sons Fred Jr. and ultimately Bill Gretsch. By the mid 1920’s the company was making ukuleles, banjos and drums. They introduced a line of tenor guitars in 1927. The business opened an office in Chicago in 1930 for income and distribution. They did not manufacture instruments in Chicago. By the mid 1930’s Gretsch was distributing various brand names of band and string instruments including drums. In 1933 they launched a line of Gretsch-American archtop guitars that they sold with other brand names that included Kay-Kraft, Rex and Harmony. In 1940 Gretsch bought B&D banjos from the Bacon Company. In the late 1930’s and 40’s Gretsch caught everyone’s attention with the triangular soundhole on their flattop guitars as well as the cat’s eye soundhole on their archtops. Gretsch focused on the electric guitar in the mid 1950’s. They began generating a Chet Atkins signature line in 1954 which added to their success. In 1967 the Baldwin Company purchased Gretsch and consolidated Gretsch guitars, Gretsch drums, Ode banjos, Sho-Bro resonator guitars and Baldwin guitars into one business. In 1970 they moved instrument production to Booneville Arkansas and in 1972 moved their corporate offices to Cincinnati Ohio. Because of a factory fire there were very few instruments made in 1973. Gretsch bought Kustom in 1978. Gretsch was then offered to Charlie Roy who moved the administration offices to Gallatin Tennessee .In 1980 they moved again to the Kustom offices Chanute Kansas. Guitars continued to be made in Boonville until 1981 and in Mexico until around 1983. In 1985 Gretsch was again acquired by a member of your Gretsch family. They started off a new line of guitars that were put together overseas from parts made in the US, Canada and Germany. In 1991 they revived the more expensive Synchromatic archtop to be made through the Heritage Company in Kalamazoo Michigan and in 1995 added additional models made by guitar builder Gene Haugh.
Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at
Doc Kauffman and Leo Fender have been building lap steel guitars and amplifiers under the name K&F back in 1945. Doc quit a year later nevertheless Leo carried on as Fender Electric Instrument Company. In 1950 Fender started marketing solid body electric guitars. The Fender Esquire along with Broadcaster, relabeled the Telecaster, were a huge success. In 1951 he introduced the revolutionary solid body Precision bass. Next came the all time timeless design of the Fender Stratocaster in 1954. Leo Fender additionally made wonderful amplifiers and this simply added to the financial success of the corporation. By the mid 1950’s Fender was successfully contending with Gibson for its share of the electric guitar industry. CBS acquired Fender in 1965 and while the musical instrument lines became there has been also a decline in level of quality that some say lasted directly into the 1970’s. Bill Schultz, who did wonders for Yamaha, ended up being hired as president of Fender in 1981. Schultz set about to modernize the factories but this brought about a decrease in production.
Additionally there were a good deal of Fender illegal copies increasingly being brought in and this unique market was rising. To challenge this Fender along with Japanese partners established Fender Japan in 1982. The idea was in order to make a series of vintage reissues and sell them in Japan and Europe. A cheaper priced line branded Squire was released to the American market in 1983. CBS sold Fender in 1985 to Bill Schultz and a group of individuals who incorporated under the name Fender Musical Instrument Corporation. The factories as well as equipment were never part of the sale event although the majority of production came from overseas. By the end of 1985 Fender was basically making guitars at a brand new manufacturing plant in Corona California. Amplifier construction moved to the facilities in Lake Oswego Oregon. Fenders are currently made in the United States, Japan, Mexico and Korea. Fender corporate offices are located Scottsdale Arizona along with the custom amplifier shop
Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at
It is believed that Anastasious Stathopoulo began producing violins, lutes and traditional Greek musical instruments in the 1870’s. He and his family members moved to New York around 1903. Stathopoulo designed instrument having labels which read A Stathopoulo.
Anastasious Stathopoulo passed away in 1915. His sons Epaminondas (Epi), Orpheus (Orphi) and Frixo carried on the family company and in 1917 began using the name House of Stathopoulo. They incorporated in 1923 and focused on producing banjos. The company changed its name to the Epiphone Banjo Corporation in 1928. During the 1930’s these people were creating guitars for different distributors under the names Sorrentino and Howard so be on the lookout for those vintage brands.The company eventually replaced its name to the Epiphone Inc. in 1935. The C.G.Conn Company acquired partial control over the distribution in addition to manufacturing and in 1953 relocated some production to Philadelphia. The Chicago Musical Instrument Company which actually owned Gibson at that time obtained Epiphone in 1957 and relocated generation to Kalamazoo Michigan. In 1969 Chicago Musical Instrument Company was bought out by the ECL Company. ELC was rebranded Norlin and began outsourcing Epiphone production to Japan and eventually Korea. In the 1980 Epiphone and Gibson ended up being obtained by Gary Zebrowski, Henry Juszkiewicz and David Barryman.