Past Glory: Ted McCarty and Gibson’s Golden Age

In February, it was reported that Gibson Brands, parent company of the iconic guitar maker, is facing bankruptcy despite an estimated $1 billion in yearly revenues, with $375 million in senior secured notes maturing and $145 million in loans due by this July. CFO Bill Lawrence has left the company, which has also abandoned the Nashville warehouse it’s held for the past 30 years.

The news didn’t surprise me, I don’t play, but I’ve done some research on the topic of basses and guitars. Spending time on player chat boards and blogs gave me some insight into the industry, and it’s clear that Gibson’s morale and perception by its audience have been in the proverbial crapper for some time. But reading up on the history of Gibson’s fabled lineup gave me immense interest in and respect for the man who presided over the company’s “golden age,” when it gave the world the Les Paul, the Flying V, the Firebird, the Explorer and more: Ted McCarty. The news of Gibson’s current misfortune seems a good time to look back at the man—also a non-player–who made the company and in the process made history.


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