1969 Gibson Melody Maker

Solid-body 'SG'-style electric guitar

Gibson Melody Maker specifications | Shipping stats | 1964 Gibson Melody Maker | 1969 Gibson Melody Maker

1969 Gibson Melody Maker

1969 Gibson Melody Maker

Model: 1969 Gibson Melody Maker D, walnut finish
Pickups: Two Gibson PU380 single-coil Melody Maker pickups.
Scale: 24 3/4"
Body: Mahogany body. 17 1/4" long, 12 3/4" wide, 1 3/8" thick.
Neck: Three piece mahogany with adjustable truss rod. Rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot markers. 22 frets. Width at nut 1 9/16"
Hardware: 2 volume and 2 tone controls, three-way pickup selector switch. Gibson GV19 vibrola (optional) and TPBR bridge
Weight: 3.11 kg
Headstock pitch: 14° (13°?)

At the very end of the 1960s, the Gibson Melody Maker was SG shaped, and sporting a walnut finish. It had undergone numerous changes since it's introduction three years earlier: a single-cutaway Les Paul style, the most familiar double cutaway style, and finally the SG shapes - first in Pelham blue or Sparkling Burgundy, and finally in Walnut with a cream scratchplate.

Walnut was a finish new to Gibson - first appearing on solid bodies in the 1968 price lists, and remaining popular throughout the 1970s. It was allowed to extend to the front of the headstock on some instruments; a subtle change but another capable of reducing production time and costs.

Different body shape - same guitar

All 1960s Melody Makers were made in the Gibson Kalamazoo plant alongside the SG, Les Paul and ES335 guitars - despite the body shape change from the traditional double-cutaway body style (see a 1964 Gibson Melody Maker) they were mostly the same. The body was still all-mahogany (South American), with a set (glued in) mahogany neck (although a shade thinner at the nut) and rosewood fingerboard. The circuitry and PU380 Melody Maker pickups were identical, despite being mounted to a different shaped scratchplate.

These were well-built guitars with a high-quality nitrocellulose finish and the same tropical hardwoods as much more expensive models. The somewhat simplified electronics and hardware allowed Gibson to offer a very well built guitar at a very competitive price.

The 1969 Melody Maker D had a zone 1 price of $212.50; cheaper than a two-pickup SG Special at $265, but more expensive than the single pickup SG Junior which was $199.50. The single pickup Melody Maker was $179.50, the three-pickup Melody Maker III, $225.

1970 Gibson solid bodies catalogue

From the 1970 Gibson solid bodies catalogue

The greatest value ever in a solid body electric with full-sized neck and scale length. Acclaimed by players, teachers and students for its distinctive sound, sensative pick-ups and feather-light touch. The MM-D features full-sized neck and scale length.

The Gibson Melody Maker was shipped from 1959, with numbers rising to a peak in 1965. This situation didn't last, however, as sales immediately started to drop. The period 1968-1970 was the least sucessful, with a little over 1000 instruments shipped in each of those years - compared to almost 12000 in 1965. This makes the walnut SG-styled Melody Makers rare in comparison to other configurations. (see the full Gibson Melody Maker shipping figures).

The TPBR wraparound bridge was fitted to all Gibson Melody Makers produced in the 1960s
The TPBR wraparound bridge was fitted to all Gibson Melody Makers produced in the 1960s
The cream coloured Gibson PU380 pickup is scratchplate mounted. The scratchplate of the Walnut finished SG-style Melody Makers was painted a cream colour to match
The cream coloured Gibson PU380 pickup is scratchplate mounted. The scratchplate of the Walnut finished SG-style Melody Makers was painted a cream colour to match
Pickup selection is by means of a simple three-way switch: neck pickup/both pickups/bridge pickup
Pickup selection is by means of a simple three-way switch: neck pickup/both pickups/bridge pickup
Unlike earlier Melody Maker guitars, the SG versions had body-mounted (rather than scratchplate mounted) controls; fitted with witch hat knobs in this case
Unlike earlier Melody Maker guitars, the SG versions had body-mounted (rather than scratchplate mounted) controls; fitted with witch hat knobs in this case.
Slim Gibson Melody Maker headstock with walnut finish
Slim Gibson Melody Maker headstock; walnut finish.
Gibson Melody Maker reverse headstock detail with Kluson Deluxe tuning keys
Gibson Melody Maker reverse headstock detail with Kluson Deluxe tuning keys.
The Gibson logo on a walnut-finished headstock
The Gibson logo on a walnut-finished headstock.
Serial number and tuning key detail
Serial number and tuning key detail.
This heel design was used on all Gibson SG guitars and EB basses for a period between 1967-69
This heel design was used on all Gibson SG guitars and EB basses for a period between 1967-69.

Melody Maker controls, as described above, are body, rather than scratchplate mounted. The circuitry for this twin pickup model is two volume and two tone controls (all part TX1158) and a three way switch, allowing bridge, neck, or both pickups. In the guitar shown the pots are made by CTS (they start with the code 137) and are dated to December 1968 / January 1969.

Gibson Melody Maker reverse body
Gibson Melody Maker body routes and pickups mounted to the scratchplate

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US ebay listings

Gibson Melody Maker ¾ Electric Guitar 1960

Current price: $1150.00
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Time left: 6d 9h 26m
1968 Gibson Kalamazoo KG-2 KG2 KG2A KG-2A Melody Maker SG

Current price: $137.50
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Time left: 1d 16h 43m
Gibson 1965 Melody Maker w/original case

Current price: $799.99
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Time left: 3d 8h 48m

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Brian Comment left 4th August 2017 21:09:02 reply
I have the same 1969 Melody Maker D as in the picture. What would you estimate the value of this guitar to be in 2017. Hasn't been played in about 10 years but does play and is in really good condition. Looking to possibly sell but need to start with a price.
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 5th August 2017 06:06:35 reply
Typically these sell for as low as $900 on a slow day on eBay up to $1500 in a guitar store in a major city. All depends how long you can wait to find a buyer. You do see them listed at higher prices, but whether they ever sell higher is debatable. These are certainly not as desirable as the Pelham blue / Sparkling Burgundy examples from 66-67. I'd personally hold out for at least $1100 if selling privately, but that could still take some time to sell.
John Comment left 25th November 2014 07:07:11 reply
I have a 1969ish (serial number dated) Walnut larger headstock Gibson. From the setup it appears to be a Melody Maker, but has a P90 in the bridge slot and a toggle switch where the slider usually is (doesnt appear recut for either), any ideas?
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 4th December 2014 11:11:55 reply
Hi John, these guitars are commonly upgraded... if you remove the scratchplate is there evidence of work being done to the wiring? As it has a pickup selector, I assume this is a dual pickup guitar? Is the neck pickup a regular Melody Maker pickup?
anonymous Comment left 29th July 2012 21:09:45 reply
I have a Gibson Melody Maker in Pelham blue. I purchased the guitar used in 1973. The s/n suggests 1966 production. Any idea how many were shipped with this finish. I have really looked after it, despite playing it often. Great guitar, and one to pass on to the kids. Regards Chuck
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 29th July 2012 21:09:49 reply
Hi Chuck - sorry shipping figures for the Melody Maker were not listed by colour in 1966, so it is very hard to draw any accurate conclusion, but Pelham blue SG-style Melody Makers, although not especially rare are certainly less common than the sunburst and cherry double cutaway version.
macfunc Comment left 5th July 2012 23:11:31 reply
Sweet guitar...and nice page...cream on walnut is just the classic SG look Used to have one with the full size headstock Where are the soundclips?
SimeonP Comment left 3rd June 2012 21:09:40 reply
Will a P90 fit in this pickup route without enlarging the hole? Can these be upgraded to an SG Junior without modification? Thanks