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Review: The Gibson Guitar (Volumes 1 & 2) by Ian C. Bishop

Review: The Gibson Guitar (Volumes 1 & 2) by Ian C. Bishop

Reviewed by Gary Frisbie

Originally published in American Lutherie #28, 1991 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004

The Gibson Guitar (Volumes 1 & 2)
Ian C. Bishop
The Bold Strummer, 1990
ISBN 0-933224-46-X (Volume 1)
ISBN 0-933224-47-8 (Volume 2)

These are books from the ’70s, written by an Englishman and intended to provide a wealth of information on the Gibson guitars built from 1950 to the end of the ’70s when the second volume was published. Volume 1 would appear to be the more essential of the two because it covers the major lines of solidbody and hollowbody electrics, plus the jazz and flattop acoustics. However, Volume 2 is really just as important, because the author discusses omissions and inaccuracies which occurred in Volume 1, and also because he covers the Epiphone guitars produced under Gibson auspices, as well as Japanese Epiphones. Also discussed are some off-brand peculiarities such as Kalamazoos and Dwights.

Because there are so many myths and assumed facts regarding these instruments, it is hard to believe that everything written in these books is true. However, a great majority of the material seems to be accurate, and one could do worse than to consult these books as a reference to the authenticity of a given guitar. The author even states that one of his main goals is to provide enough information for a reader to accurately assess a guitar and thereby avoid paying more than is warranted if the guitar is being misrepresented as older and more collectible than it really is.

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