November 30

Where are Gibson Guitars really made?


Where are Gibson Guitars really made?

Gibson Guitars are some of the most iconic and popular instruments in the world. But where are they really made?

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Gibson Guitars are one of the most iconic and well-known brands in the guitar world. They have been making guitars since 1894 and have been used by some of the most famous musicians in history, including Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and B.B. King.

Gibson has always been based in the United States, with their headquarters located in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the years they have had factories in a number of different cities including Kalamazoo, Michigan and Bozeman, Montana.

In recent years however there has been some controversy over where Gibson Guitars are actually made. This is because Gibson has increasingly been outsourcing the production of their guitars to factories in China and other countries. This has led to accusations that Gibson is no longer a “American made” company.

So where are Gibson Guitars really made? In this article we will take a look at Gibson’s manufacturing process and try to answer this question once and for all!

The Early Years: Kalamazoo

In 1902, the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Corporation was founded by Orville Gibson in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States. He moved production to Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, in 1904. Prior to 1903, all guitars made by Gibson were designs of Orville himself. Orville’s designs are often referred to as “pre-World War 1” instruments. The pre-World War 1 models are considered innovative and most effective musical instruments ever made of their time due to their superior build quality and tone. Many of these instruments are still highly sought after by collectors and players today.

The Nashville Years

In 1984, Gibson opened a new factory in Nashville, TN. The primary purpose of the new facility was to increase production capacity of their popular
Les Paul models. Soon after moving production to Nashville, Gibson also began offering Custom Shop models, which are hand-built by a small team of skilled luthiers.

Gibson’s Nashville factory quickly became one of the most important guitar factories in the world, and it remains so to this day. Hundreds of skilled workers build Gibson’s most popular models in Nashville, including the Les Paul, SG, Flying V, Explorer, and Firebird.

In addition to electric guitars, Gibson’s Nashville factory also produces acoustic guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Some of Gibson’s most iconic acoustic guitars, such as the J-45 and Hummingbird, are built in Nashville.

The Memphis Years

Gibson moved production of all Memphis-made models to Nashville in 1984. Guitars previously produced in Kalamazoo were now being built alongside the newer Memphis products. Overseas production also increased, especially in Japan and Korea. In 1986, Gibson opened a new factory in Bozeman, Montana, to build Select (higher-end) models such as the J-200 and square shoulder dreadnoughts. Some guitar models were made exclusively in Bozeman for a short time, before moving back to Nashville (Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory was permanently closed in 1984).

The Bozeman Years

In the late 1980s, Gibson opened a factory in Bozeman, Montana–where it still operates today. While some guitar purchasers were excited to see that their guitars were “Made in the U.S.A.,” others wondered why Gibson had chosen Montana as the home for its new facility.

Gibson’s decision to move production to Bozeman was actually based on practicality: at the time, the company was experiencing rising costs due to import tariffs on guitars manufactured in Japan (where Gibson had been subcontracting production of its lower-end models). Additionally, a strong U.S. dollar made exporting American-made guitars less profitable. By moving production to Montana, Gibson could avoid import tariffs and take advantage of lower labor costs.

The Bozeman factory produced a variety of Gibson models, including the Les Paul Studio, until 1998–when production was shifted back overseas (first to Nashville, and then ultimately to China). In Bozeman, Gibson still produces a limited number of high-end guitar models–including custom shop instruments and historic reissues–utilizing a team of skilled luthiers.


After researching this topic, it seems that the answer to this question is not as simple as a yes or no. While it is true that Gibson Guitars are no longer made in the USA, they are still made in other countries such as China, Japan, and India. However, the quality of these guitars has been questioned by some due to the fact that they are not made in the USA.

It is also important to note that while Gibson Guitars are no longer made in the USA, they are still considered to be some of the best guitars in the world. This is because they are handcrafted and use high-quality materials. So, even though they are not made in the USA, they are still considered to be some of the best guitars available.

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