i wonder if Gibson was this controversial in the 1940s

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the 1940s saw Gibson introduce the laminate archtop. while partly a cost cutting measure, it was an attempt to reduce feedback at the ever increasing volumes guitarists were playing at. laminate construction drastically changed the sound of the guitar. no longer would it really have much of an unplugged, acoustic voice. the guitar became a truly electric instrument.

given the controversial (and heated) talk on guitar forums regarding alternative materials and processes, regardless of how the company got to them, it seems like the same moment in time.
 

RedTiger

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I'm guessing people didn't really know or understand the differences or were like "Hey! I can play my electric guitar louder without that annoying feedback! That's great!". People once upon a time weren't so cynical about new features.
 
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was Gibson really the first to introduce the laminate archtop?
everything i've been reading about the laminate archtop recently says yes, but i could be wrong. Gibson certainly wasn't the first to use laminates though. those can be traced back at least to the 1830s in guitar making, if not further.
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
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Several manufacturers introduced laminated electric archtops in the '30s. Vega actually advertized theirs as "non-crackable", though they also made this claim about some of their carved guitars as well.
 

zombywoof

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was Gibson really the first to introduce the laminate archtop?
Nope. At the very least, in terms of mass produced guitars, Stromberg-Voisinet (later Kay) started making archtops with laminate back and sides before 1925. They believed that the use of laminate was not only advanced but made the guitars stronger.
 

SPROING!

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My uncle began playing in 43. He tells me that they were so glad to get plugged in at all that nothing else mattered much. Electrics were loud and that's what they were after.
 

Tycho

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I think people in the first half of the '40s had other things to think about. Even guitarists.
 

paulg

Silver Supporting Member
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just like today, I bet there was an element that balked at laminated tops. Supposedly, the rank and file workers at Gibson were not happy about making Les Paul's. Blasmephy!
 
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8,093
the 1940s saw Gibson introduce the laminate archtop. while partly a cost cutting measure, it was an attempt to reduce feedback at the ever increasing volumes guitarists were playing at. laminate construction drastically changed the sound of the guitar. no longer would it really have much of an unplugged, acoustic voice. the guitar became a truly electric instrument.

given the controversial (and heated) talk on guitar forums regarding alternative materials and processes, regardless of how the company got to them, it seems like the same moment in time.

I think, as already mentioned, guitarists were sooooooo ready for the electric guitar that the change in technology was universally embraced...except for a purist minority that decried the coming electricness as the apocalypse (similar to how I might sound in a discussion of oak Martins!). Change will always be resisted by some.


It's worth pointing out that when Gibson was introducing their ES models, the carved, solid wood models were still selling strong (some with the "McCarty Finger-rest" p.u. attachment). In the early fifties, they also introduced electrified versions of the solid-wood L-5 and Super 400 to meet the purists half-way. Gibson has historically always maintained a "something for everyone" line of product.
 




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