Well, ever since I started falling in love with “vintage” guitars, way back in the ‘60s, Gibsons were unquestionably the first ones to grab my eyes. Of course, there are so many I love, and so many I have always longed for, but my first was my classic ’52 Les Paul gold top.
They all always held a special quality for me, including the many acoustics large and small, and lots of the hollowbody and semi-hollow electrics, such as the ES-355, the 330, the Super 400 and on and on!
I do know there is also a kind of “mystique” to the tone that really captures the ear, and it always tells you it’s a Gibson, no matter what the particular sub-grouping is.
For example, I used to have a reverse Firebird I had found in a NY pawnshop that was absolutely incredible (which I sorely miss!), and it possessed that unmistakeable “Firebird” tone, which can only be achieved with those fabulous mini humbuckers.
There is also something extremely sensual about the shapes and finishes of these guitars that I find extremely attractive. I guess it’s the fact that no matter what the actual shape ends up being, its origins as a true guitar seem to never be lost. For example, if I look at my beloved ES-330, it’s as much a true and traditional shape as I can see in my J-185, which most would think of as a “truer” guitar shape. I guess it’s because so many of Gibson’s designs have become such classics in their own rights that each stands alone as a “true” and definable, “complete” looking guitar!
Without trying to make all of this a shameless “plug,” I must admit, that now that I am teaching on Gibson.com, and able to play many more of the new models, it astounds me just how well these new guitars stand up against the old ones. It’s just a fabulous thing that one can count on a new guitar being every bit as good as its older counterpart and ancestor! Bottom line is, I enjoy the “new” ones as much as the old ones, and that’s the truth! Way back in the mid and late ‘60s when I first started collecting, I never, ever dreamed I would make THAT statement! So, take care of those old Gibsons, and certainly take care of your new ones, too, because they are already “born” classics, only to become even more classic and historic as time goes on!