American guitar manufacturer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Started by Orville Gibson in 1902 as the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd. of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Leading mandolin maker through World War I. In 1935, they released an electric guitar. Chicago Musical Instrument Co., a wholesale and distribution company, purchased Gibson in 1944. In 1952, introduces the first solidbody model, which Les Paul makes famous. In 1969 ECL, an Ecuadorian company takes over Gibson, renames it Norlin. In 1974, a Nashville plant is opened and in 1984 the Kalamazoo plant is shut down. In 1986, Gibson, on shaky financial ground, is rescued by current owners Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman.

Famous hits played on a Gibson: