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Gibson Melody Maker

Gibson's affordable solid body

1964 Gibson Melody Maker

A 1964 Gibson Melody Maker in sunburst finish

1969 Gibson Melody Maker

A 1969 Gibson Melody Maker in walnut finish

1960 Gibson guitar catalogue

The first catalogue apperance of the Melody Maker was in 1960.

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The Gibson Melody Maker has stayed in the Gibson range, in one form or another, for the majority of the last half century. Built in the famous Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Of course it has changed alot in that time, but has earned itself many devoted fans, who prefer it to more expensive models. Perhaps not as iconic as the SG or Les Paul models, but how many classic garage, punk or grunge riffs were blasted out with a Gibson Melody Maker?

The first catalogue appearance of the Melody Maker was the 1960 Gibson catalogue although it had been shipped since 1959. The first incarnation was a single-cutaway Les Paul shaped guitar, the second was double-cutaway Les Paul Junior style, and finally SG style. All had the same basic construction; a mahogany neck glued to a mahogany body, a rosewood fingerboard with simple mother of pearl dot position markers, and between one and three single coil PU380 pickups. These were mounted to the scratchplate and height adjustable with two screws above and below the pickup. The simple controls and input jack were also scratchplate-mounted on all but the SG-styled guitars. A vibrola tailpiece was optional; usually the Gibson GV19 vibrola in conjunction with a compensating bridge - as seen on certain SG guitars.

1964 Gibson catalogueFrom the 1964 Gibson catalogue

Greatest value ever in a solid body electric with full-sized neck and scale length. Acclaimed by players. teachers and students for its fine sound. Big tone, sensative pick-up, feather-light touch and beautiful sunburst finish.

The Melody Maker was generally available in sunburst and cherry nitrocellulose finishes. Later pelham blue, sparkling burgundy and finally walnut finish (See a 1969 Gibson Melody Maker in walnut finish). Production ceased in 1970.

Throughout the early 1970s, the Melody Maker was replaced by various short lived SG variants, such as the SG100/200/250 (see the 1972 solid bodies catalogue) and the SG-I and SG-II (see the 1973 solid bodies catalogue).

1960s Gibson Melody Makers

Finally in 1976/77 the Melody maker was revived, and was shipped in moderate numbers compared to in it's heyday. In the first run (1959-1970) just under 50,000 Melody Makers were shipped (more Gibson Melody Maker shipping data).

In recent times, there have been numerous Melody Maker reissues, in various body styles, but they do not compare to the early 1960s instruments. Even entry level Gibson guitars in the early 1960s were made out of very nice pieces of wood; mahogany and rosewood in this case, the likes of which are simply not available in large quantities today. Original 1950s/60s Melody Makers are still affordable, and great playing guitars; especially with upgraded hardware for improved tuning and intonation. A lot of old Melody Makers have had their single coil pickups replaced by P90 pickups, or mini-humbuckers. Some of these have been irreversibly modified in their upgrades, decreasing value considerably; but these are fantastic for every day players, and the irony is that they are potentially better instruments.

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Gibson Melody Makers for sale


US ebay listings

1964 Double Cutaway Gibson Epiphone Olympus Melody Maker

Current price: $1800.00
buy it now
Time left: 29d 3h 4m
Vintage 1965 Gibson Melody Maker D Electric Guitar w/ Original Case, Maestro!

Current price: $1699.95
buy it now
Time left: 18d 5h 46m
Gibson Melody Maker 2 PICKUP Electric Guitar Vintage 1965 U.S.A.NICKLE HARDWARE!

Current price: $1599.99
buy it now
Time left: 7d 6m
VINTAGE 1961 GIBSON MELODY MAKER D SINGLE CUT, LOLLAR P90, 50'S NECK

Current price: $1499.99
buy it now
Time left: 23d 21h 57m
Gibson USA Melody Maker Electric Guitar

Current price: $1495.00
buy it now
Time left: 4d 3h 10m
1964 Gibson Melody Maker Vintage Guitar Sunburst

Current price: $1495.00
buy it now
Time left: 4d 21h 43m
Vintage 1965 Gibson Melody Maker Electric Guitar 1 Owner Clean w/ Original Case

Current price: $1495.00
buy it now
Time left: 14d 23h 33m
Vintage 1967 Gibson Melody Maker SG Electric Guitar Pelham Blue w/ Original Case

Current price: $1495.00
buy it now
Time left: 14d 23h 33m
1968 Gibson Melody Maker (SG body style) PELHAM BLUE!!!

Current price: $1490.00
buy it now
Time left: 2h 45m
1964 Gibson Melody Maker BRILLIANT SUNBURST all original!!!

Current price: $1490.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 8h 26m
1964 Gibson Melody Maker Sunburst With Case Serial No 235966

Current price: $1450.00
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Time left: 18d 1h 31m
1965 Gibson Melody Maker Double Pickup Soft Case Cherry Finish

Current price: $1369.95
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Time left: 16d 2h 6m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

1964 Gibson Melody Maker (#GIE0466)

Current price: £1948.47
buy it now
Time left: 26d 3m
1961 Gibson Melody Maker (#GIE0486)

Current price: £1948.47
buy it now
Time left: 29d 20h 44m
1960 GIBSON MELODY MAKER VINTAGE & RARE SINGLE CUT NICE WIDE NECK

Current price: £1944.57
buy it now
Time left: 12d 19h 59m
1965 Gibson Melody Maker D (#GIE0304)

Current price: £1883.42
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Time left: 7d 21h 6m
Original Vintage 1961 Gibson Melody Maker 1959 1960

Current price: £1795.00
buy it now
Time left: 7d 21h 46m
1965 Gibson Melody Maker Cardinal Red (#GIE0703)

Current price: £1753.30
buy it now
Time left: 6d 22h 35m
1961 Gibson Melody Maker (#GIE0442)

Current price: £1688.24
buy it now
Time left: 14d 23h 37m
1964 GIBSON MELODY MAKER DOUBLE PICK-UP RARE EXCELLENT

Current price: £1619.28
buy it now
Time left: 29d 18h 57m
Gibson Melody Maker, Sunburst, Pre Owned, 1962

Current price: £1599.00
buy it now
Time left: 19h 15m
GIBSON MELODY MAKER BASS - CANDY APPLE RED - 1968 - VINTAGE GIBSON BASS

Current price: £1495.00
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Time left: 29d 20h 52m
1967 Gibson SG Melody Maker III Vintage Three Pickup Guitar Sparkling Burgundy

Current price: £1431.26
buy it now
Time left: 23d 11h 25m
Vintage 1966 Gibson SG Melody Maker Double Pickup Electric Guitar Pelham Blue

Current price: £1430.62
buy it now
Time left: 4d 7h 33m
See more results on eBay here


German ebay listings

Original GIBSON SG MELODY MAKER 2011 !

Current price: €485.00

Time left: 7d 1h 58m
Gibson Melody Maker Satin Ebony, Planet waves lockingtuners

Current price: €382.00
buy it now
Time left: 2d 15h 34m
Original Gibson Les Paul LP Melody Maker in schwarz, mit Tasche, USA 2008 ab 1,-

Current price: €134.00
buy it now
Time left: 4d 29m
Epiphone - Gibson Melody Maker SG-LP special...1963 real Vintage

Current price: €1777.00
buy it now
Time left: 17d 4m
70's BROWN CASE fits GIBSON MELODY MAKER STYLE 2 MODELS

Current price: €125.00
buy it now
Time left: 8d 15h 16m
1968 Gibson SG Melody Maker - Burgundy Metallic

Current price: €2245.00
buy it now
Time left: 7d 19h 34m
See more results on eBay here

There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
SonicSpoon Comment left 6th June 2012 19:07:14
Stick a humbucker in the bridge and a decent set of keys. Keep it simple. A custom modded melody maker beats the stock guitar hands down. These were all under $400 a couple years back, and $150 for a beater. What happened?
cooper Comment left 3rd March 2013 06:06:39
Is there a humbucker that fits the melody maker without need for enlarging pickup routes? Must be completely reversible
rapier66 Comment left 13th May 2013 14:02:09
The stock pickups are just a bit too weak and thin for me, at least compared to a typical humbucker... fine for rhythm work (which is why they work great in punk outfits I suppose), but come solo time they tend to whine instead of wail! Mini humbucker upgrade essential.
Willabe Storms Comment left 19th February 2014 21:09:38
1959 Melody Maker has a 3/4" to 7/8" wide pickup... This is the only year for that pickup... This is a Killer pickup, I want a 1959 Gibson Melody Maker... All guitar players praise this pickup...

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