The Gibson electric acoustic, or cello-bodied, guitars produced at the Kalamazoo plant in Michigan USA are some of the finest guitars ever built. These high quality hand-built instruments had a price to match, and were only produced in small numbers, by skilled craftsmen.
But these 'Jazz boxes' are the guitars that sealed Gibson's reputation: quality only really matched by the likes of Guild and Epiphone; out of the reach of Fender, and the vast majority of other manufacturers at the time. Have a look at some of the superb Gibson jazz guitars produced over the last half century.
As bands got louder in the 1950s, the limitations of fully-hollow electric acoustics became apparent; it was difficult to amplify these instruments to the extent required without creating feedback.
This problem was solved when Gibson released the thinline Electric Spanish, or ES series of guitars. Thin bodies, and with a central maple block (except the ES 330) running down the middle of the body to reduce feedback. They were obviously thinner than the full bodied guitars, and so easier and more comfortable to play; amplifiers were getting more powerful, and so guitars were able to keep up with other instruments without having to have large hollow bodies. The ES series went from very simple guitars with just one pickup (ES-330T), to very ornate instruments - the ES-355TDSV had gold hardware throughout, 6-way tone control and stereo circuitry.
The guitars were built at the main Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, alongside Epiphone branded thinlines, such as the Casino (more about Epiphone thinlines). The design was highly inflential on guitars produced from other companies, especially during the 1960s, and scores of imitations appeared from just about every manufacturer.
Gibson thinline models have been very widely used by guitarists in all genres, including legends BB King, Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry, just to name a few.