New Gibson Guitar Amps?
Todd Simpson
Dec 31 2021, 06:47 AM
Posts: 24.174
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The first fruit of Gibson’s purchase of Mesa amps will be a bit more time on the vine, but it looks like the seeds are planted. Randall Smith (yup, that Randall Smith) is the man who will be charged with creating the next line of amps that will have to stand up to a lot of scrutiny and huge expectations. Randall Smith came over as part of the deal and now he is in the hot seat. According to Gibson these amps will be branded as Gibson amps, not Mesa amps.

It’s a tricky situation to be sure. After all, Mesa has been making some of the best high gain tube amps on earth for quite some time. The brand recognition alone makes it a bit tough to see why they would use Gibson brandon instead of Mesa branding. During the purchase of Mesa, we saw press releases saying that “Mesa amps will still be Mesa Amps and continue to be built”. While this appears to still hold true, it seems Randall will also be designing new Gibson amps under the Gibson brand.

Evidently Randall has already started making new bits for this line of future amps. Then again, it’s hard to know how much of this is just press bluster. Randall is not a young man, and it’s hard to know just how involved he is and it’s not hard to think that they would claim his involvement even if he was there in name only. I guess time will tell.

Gibson brand President Cesar Gueikian came out and confirmed that both amp lines would continue. Sadly, no details have yet been put forth. What I’m curious about is how much MESA are going to makeway into Gibson amps? After all, Gibson were the first brand to build guitar amps at scale here in the states, having started selling in 1935. Amps were seen as an add on for Gibson electric guitars which were being produced by the company.

It may sound strange, but the first electric guitar amp from Gibson didn’t have volume or tone controls. One used the controls on the guitar for both tone and volume. Volume and tone controls were added in 1937. In the 1950s Gibson released the GA series of amps that not only have volume/tone controls, but that also featured tremolo and reverb effects. A couple of years later Gibson released the Les Paul and cemented it’s place in Guitar legend. In the 1960s names were added to Gibson amps such as “The Raider” and “Invader” among others.

Gibson amps never managed to get quite the same love that Fender amps did. As such, vintage Fender Amps are highly sought out to this day while Gibson amps occupy a much smaller niche. Gibson just never quite managed to really crack the amp market in the way that they did with their guitar offerings. This may be at least part of the reason for the current push to take a legendary amp builder in house and come out with branded amps that may finally do what Gibson has never managed to do. That is to create a line of amps that are as broadly well loved as their guitars. We shall see of course. Will they be rebranded Mesa amps? All new designs? The guitar world is waiting. For how long we will have to wait is still a mystery.


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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Dec 31 2021, 06:48 AM
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