Sunday, May 8, 2011

A perfectly good guitar

Oh it breaks my heart to see those stars
Smashing a perfectly good guitar.
-- John Hiatt

Gibson (along with Fender) may be the most famous maker of guitars. Their electric guitar factory is in downtown Memphis, across the street from the FedEx Forum, and I took a tour Thursday. (They have another factory that makes acoustic guitars -- Bozeman MT.)

The tours are every hour on the hour and cost $10 and last about 50 minutes. Visitors go from station to station (I believe there were 26 of them) and I found it interesting. Don't go on a weekend -- during the week visitors actually see luthiers working. They provide safety glasses, something tour group members are required to use.

Electric guitars are made out of various types of wood. Maple is the most common, but there is also rosewood from India and teak from Fiji. Mahogany is also used.

Unfortunately, photography in the factory itself was prohibited -- boo!

Factoid: The Les Paul Standard is Gibson's biggest selling guitar.

Above: The factory makes about 50-60 guitars each day. They ship them from the plant, but you can also buy guitars in the shop shown above.

Above: The main entry of the Gibson Factory in Memphis where tour groups form. Do you see the large black image of Lucille (B.B. King's guitar)?

Above: You can pick up these guitars and check them out.

Images by MOJO and taken with my P&S. Click to enlarge.


  1. It is a good show.

    You are enjoying life!

    No guitars were broken to post this comment.

  2. As a former guitarist I would love to visit this place. I had a wonderful Gibson acoustic in the 70s - but sold it 'cause I was low on cash. Bad mistake.

    So glad you had a nice trip home. I wish our moms were still alive so we could visit them. We miss them a lot!

    Stay dry! The flooding sounds very bad.

  3. MOJO - you bought that boat yet?

    Care, man.