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Vintage guitar parts for sale

Vintage guitars for sale

Vintage Gibson guitars

Gibson guitars, Gibson bass, Gibson amplifiers, Gibson catalogues

Gibson ES300
Late 1940s Gibson ES300
The Gibson plant at 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan
The old Gibson plant at 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, now home of Heritage guitars
Gibson guitar information on this site is sorted into categories:
Gibson amplifiers
Gibson bass guitars
Gibson guitar catalogues
Gibson electric acoustic guitars
Gibson solid-body guitars
Gibson thinline guitars

Vintage Gibson

Vintage Gibson guitars are very special indeed, and they are held in very high regard by serious players and vintage guitar collectors alike. Especially the guitars made in the main Gibson plant, 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan. The very best of these guitars were made in the 1950s and 1960s; often referred to as the CMI (Chicago Musical Instruments) period. These Gibsons are the epitomy of quality. The best guitars were hand-built. Tops were carved and tap-tuned, a job requiring great skill and experience, and the pieces were assembled and finished by skilled craftsmen, with incredible attention to detail. But even the entry-level Gibson guitars were a step above the majority of guitars available at the time; both in terms of workmanship and components.

But this was a time of big change in the guitar market. Gibson specialised in expensive electric acoustics; guitars like the L5-CES, ES-5, and ES-175, all large hollow-body guitars with superb clean tones for jazz soloing. Gibson endorsees were 'serious' musicians; often guitar virtuosos, in the jazz, pop or bluegrass genres. They would be accompanied by an upright bass, and a drummer using brushes. But the advent of rock 'n' roll changed everything. The necessary increase in volume rendered the jazz box obsolete and heralded the rise in popularity of the semi-acoustic and the solid-body.

Jack Bruce basses his sound on Gibson
Jack Bruce basses his sound on Gibson

Gibson rock guitars

In this time, and under the stewardship of Ted McCarty, Gibson introduced the majority of the iconic models that it is famous for today. The Les Paul in 1952, the ES335, Flying V and Explorer in 1958, the Melody Maker in 1959, the SG in 1961, and the Firebird in 1963. Despite being superb instruments, many of these were too far ahead of their time, and were commercial failures until re-issued years later. Only 98 Flying V guitars were shipped between 1958 and 1959, and only 22 Explorers. The low-production numbers of these models guarantees their desireability to vintage guitar collectors, and if offered for sale could fetch a five or six figure sum, depending on the state of the market.

Gibson went from strength to strength in the early 1960s, selling guitars quicker than they had time to build them. 1965 was their peak year, selling over 83000 instruments.

But by the late 1960s, the American guitar industry was in trouble. Companies were folding and changing hands, and Gibson was no exception. Norlin took charge in December 1969, and immediately introduced numerous new models.

Keith Richards with the Gibson Les Paul Custom, from the 1975 Gibson catalogue
Keith Richards with the Gibson Les Paul Custom, from the 1975 Gibson Les Paul catalogue

The Norlin period

This period is not held in as high regard as the earlier CMI period, and it is true, Gibson produced a lot of low-priced guitars at this time, but the finest instruments are every bit as good as older versions. Guitars like the Citation, L-5S, and Crest are as good as anything Gibson ever built. In 1974 Gibson opened a new plant in Nashville, and some guitar output was moved there. The Nashville plant, especially early on, was unable to compete in terms of quality with Kalamazoo, and some of the seventies bad reputation may have been due to this.

This is the decade Gibson moved away from mahogany, in favour of other woods. The archetypal Gibson solid body sound was rich and dark; it had been produced by Gibson humbuckers, a mahogany body and a glued in mahogany neck. But there was a recognition that a wider tonal range would be greatly appreciated by the guitar buying public. In the early 1970s, electronics wizard Bill Lawrence designed a number of new guitars for Gibson: the L-6S, Marauder, S-1, Grabber bass and Ripper bass; all used maple and or alder, and many were natural-finished giving a distinctly different look to preceding models. They were electronically experimental, using a number of different techniques to achieve greater tonal palettes, from very simple ideas like a moveable pickup, to more in depth multi-position varitone switches.

Gibson RD Standard bass
The Gibson RD Standard bass, circa 1978

The use of maple continued later in the decade, with the RD series; one of the last instruments to be made entirely at the Kalamazoo plant. But at this time, even necks on a lot of traditionally all-mahogany instruments went maple, for example 70s Les Pauls, SGs and 335s. The RD was a colaboration between Gibson and Moog; again an attempt to increase tonal range but this time by creating an active instrument with built-in Moog expansion and compression circuitry.

The Gibson Victory series was again all maple with state-of-the-art electronics, this time by Tim Shaw, but still aimed at expanding the range of sounds available from a Gibson. They were passive, save the Artist bass, and even that had a switchable passive mode. These guitars were designed at Kalamazoo, and a few early examples were built there, before production of this line moved to Nashville, at the end of 1981.

Finally in 1984 the Kalamazoo plant closed, and all electric guitar production moved to Nashville. In January 1986 Gibson was sold to it's current owners.

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1980 Gibson Sonex-180 Owners Manual
1981 Gibson Sonex pre-owners manual The Gibson Sonex series pre-owners 'manual' was produced for circulation in early summer 1981, along with nine other manuals representing different segments available from Gibson at that time. Rather than a manual in the conventional sense, it is actually a mini folder with three loose-leaf inserts with catalogue-style image and description, one each for the 180 Deluxe, 180 Custom, and a new model, the Sonex Artist. The Sonex-180 Standard was not included, having been dropped from the Gibson line earlier in 1981.
1980 Gibson Sonex-180 Owners Manual
1980 Gibson Sonex-180 owners manual Gibson Sonex series owners manual - 16 pages of information for the care and operation of the Gibson Sonex guitar: pickups, electronics, controls, coil tap, tune-o-matic bridge, tailpiece and stringing. Pertains to the Sonex-180 Deluxe, Standard and Custom models.
1982 Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe
1982 Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe (candy apple red finish) A closer look at a 1982 Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe solid body electric, in Candy Apple Red finish. The Sonex series consisted of four models altogether, all made with the same 'multiphonic' bodies, but varying hardware. The bodies had a maple core, enclosed in a material called resonwood, for "extraordinary sustain and harmonic reproduction". The Deluxe was the most basic model with reasonable pickups and hardware, but they were good looking guitars, affordable, solid, and with the Gibson logo on the headstock.
1964 Gibson EB0
1964 Gibson EB0 bass (cherry finish) The EB series evolved throughout the period of production, with (mostly) minor hardware and construction changes occurring every couple years. 1964 basses are typified by their mix of early features: wide, but slightly shallower neck, non-intonatable bridge, 'small' control cavity cover and nickel-plated hardware; most obviously the pickup cover (previously black bakelite - compare with a 1962 EB0, later chrome-plated - see this 1966 EB0)
1972 Gibson EB0L
1972 Gibson EB0L bass (natural finish)A very unusual long scale 1972 Gibson EB0L practically all Gibson EB-0 bass guitars had a mahogany body with a translucent Cherry or Walnut finish. This bass has an alder body with natural finish, and somewhat different hardware, with more in common with an Gibson SB-450, rather than a typical seventies EB bass. Despite being built in 1972, this bass was most likely one of just 5 natural EB-0 basses shipped in 1973, according to the EB-O shipping stats.

Vintage Gibson guitars for sale

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US ebay listings

1968 Gibson Trini Lopez Custom, Original, Good condition!

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 1d 58m
1962 Gibson ES-140 3/4T and Kay 703 Tube Amp, Excellent !!

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 1d 1h 13m
1968 Gibson J-50 Dreadnought 6 String, Right Handed, w/ Adjustable Bridge

Current price: $2000.00

Time left: 1d 13h 28m
Vintage 1963 Gibson Titan V Power Plus guitar amplifier Mint Condition 100% orig

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 2d 18h 50m
1969 Gibson SG Standard

Current price: $2000.00

Time left: 4d 15h 1m
1968 Gibson J-50 Guitar

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 5d 58m
1961 Gibson J45 Cherry Sunburst All Original! Plays and Sounds Great!!

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 6d 21h 51m
1964 Gibson ES-330TD Guitar - ES330, ES-330

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 25d 12h 13m
Vintage 1966 Gibson EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar

Current price: $2000.00
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Time left: 27d 15h 33m
Gibson 1960's J-45 custom shop - Heritage Cherry Sunburst (2010)

Current price: $1999.99
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Time left: 19d 15h 55m
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UK ebay listings

1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard (#GIE0841)

Current price: £133039.18
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Time left: 9d 18h 49m
Vintage 1959 Gibson Les Paul CUSTOM - True Black Beauty - $$$$$$ INVESTMENT

Current price: £100280.79
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Time left: 24d 19h 51m

Current price: £66853.86
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Time left: 20d 14h 21m

Current price: £46500.00
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Time left: 23d 16h 18m
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Parts Set...Complete & Amazing!!!

Current price: £39443.78
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Time left: 25d 20h 20m
1959 Gibson ES-335 TD (#GIE0761)

Current price: £33360.07
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Time left: 21h 52m
1957 Gibson Super 400 CESN (#GAT0240)

Current price: £26674.69
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Time left: 9d 17h 15m
1955 Gibson Super 400 CESN, Blonde, Super rare and deluxe (#GAT0230)

Current price: £24000.53
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Time left: 27d 16h 5m
1957 Gibson L-5 CESN (#GAT0360)

Current price: £20724.70
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Time left: 22h 31m
1955 Gibson Les Paul TV Special Guitar Signed by Les Paul + 1952 Les Paul TV Amp

Current price: £20056.16
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Time left: 24d 19h 55m
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German ebay listings

1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom - Black Beauty - All orig 3x PAF´s!!

Current price: €53040.00
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Time left: 4d 17h 44m
1955 Gibson Les Paul Custom - Ebony incl. orig Case

Current price: €27490.00
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Time left: 13d 15h 25m
1964 GIBSON ES - 335 VINTAGE 100% Original

Current price: €19999.00
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Time left: 9d 5h 21m
1968 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop GT

Current price: €14999.00
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Time left: 26d 18h 10m
ungespielte #25 2012 Gibson Les Paul 1959 Standard Paul Kossoff Murphy Aged

Current price: €14300.00
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Time left: 2d 14h 58m
1956 Gibson ES-5 SWITCHMASTER ☆ Museum Cond. FLAMETOP! ☆ L-5 CES L-5 Super 400

Current price: €14245.00
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Time left: 27d 18h 35m
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There are 3 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
joe chaisson Comment left 3rd March 2012 09:09:59
i have a 1980 les paul gold top standard and i would like to know what it would be worth?
Lio Comment left 8th November 2013 09:09:16
I have a old Gibson L 3. The lable inside is not very clear but I think it has patented Feb 1st March 30, '06 also number 535/??. It was made in Kalamasoo Mich. The body is in perfect condition with all original parts. The turtle hand guard is so brittle and falling apart is the only part that is not good. The rest of the guitar has no scratch or wear. It has its original hard case in great condition. Just wondering about the price. I want to sell it. This was a gift I received from my late father-in-law. five years ago. I certainly need the money so I am trying to sell it. I will greatly appreciate your help. Thanks.
Jamie Moore Comment left 10th February 2014 05:05:32
This is great BUT no mention of Gibson Howard Roberts Custom. Would you have any info about how much one is worth or where to find out how much it's worth? Single pick-up, oval sound hole, great condition circa 1975 with Gibson hard shell case. Can you help??

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