Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Gibson Gospel Guitar


The Gibson Gospel guitar originated in 1971 and was manufactured at Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory. These were the days of a spiritual awakening throughout North America, commonly called The Jesus Movement. Perhaps that was the impetus behind the creation of the guitar and this guitar was designed to be a deep sounding vocal backup instrument. I've played my friend Terry Fisher's Gibson Gospel and I concur. It does have an excellent, big sound.

The Gibson Gospel guitar was designed with a flat top, had square shoulders, arched back, a solid spruce top, maple neck,with laminated maple back and sides and had a tortoise style body binding and pick guard. These original guitars were only available with a natural finish. The headstock featured the image of a Dove below the Gibson logo.

The guitar came with a unique laminated arched back that had no back bracing. This type of back has been a feature on several other guitars. Guild used the arched back on at least one model and Framus of Bavaria used it on most of their acoustic instruments. The arched back provided its own support, so there was no need for bracing. 

The consumer focus of the guitar was for accompanying  Christian music. As I previously mentioned, this era was known as the Jesus Revolution. A Gibson advertisement bears this out by showing a typical Christian coffeehouse singer of the era testifying about why the instrument was his choice.

added cover plate


Whatever the target audience was, the Gibson Gospel acoustic guitar was also an excellent instrument choice for bluegrass, folk, country music and even blues.


In 1992 Gibson again offered the Gospel acoustic model. The reissue defers compared to the original. Gibson chose mahogany over maple for the reissue. 

The new version of the Gospel guitar has multiple white binding, solid mahogany sides and back. The unbound maple neck was topped with a rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlays. The braces were scalloped like those on the more expensive models. 

The Dove logo remained on this instruments head stock.

This time it also was adorned with black pick guard that was not as large or fancy as the original. Finishes were offered in either natural or sunburst.


In 1994 Gibson produced a 100th Anniversary Model 
Gospel Guitar.
©UniqueGuitar Publishing (text only)




29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bought a 93 Gospel last year, the action was superb reminded me of an old SJ i had. Soundwise it has great deep Gibson tone, i have a Larrivee and that sounds great and has a modern kinda LowdenBreedlove texture to it, but if you want that old school gibson sound this has it.I think the Gospel didnt take off because it was only manufactured again the 90's and there is a snobbery with Gibsons, if it had a fancy scratchplate i think collecters would be buying them up, but luckily its a great guitar that is almost undiscovered in the Gibson world.

Anonymous said...

I would love to own one of the '70s versions, beautiful in the maple with ebony fretboard. I have heard there are ageing issues with the tortoise shell binding chipping away. Has anyone else heard or seen this?

Ian Cartwright said...

I had a 1974 Gospel which I bought for around $500 from Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan in 1995. I sold it in 1998.

It was a great guitar. I had no issues with the binding.

kamagra gel said...

Thanks, I don't really like guitar music but I found guitars interesting and how guitarrist touch they guitar, is like a relationship.
Thanks

secco said...

I bought a gospel new in about '75 I think and have been playing it constantly for close on 36 years and it still is a great sounding guitar with good action even with a few bruises. It's part of the family ,thats what Gibson is about, longevity!

Anonymous said...

Today I purchased what I think is a beautiful 1995 Gibson Gospel Guitar and case. The guitar has an all natural finish with Grover gold deluxe tuners. I purchased the guitar for my sons upcoming twenty fifth birthday. I'm curious how to tell if the guitar is truly a 1995. Either way, I know my son will love it.
The sticker inside the guitar reads,
Style A/N,
Gibson Gospel,
Number 90753029.
Can someone out there possibly verify what year this guitar was made, or any other pertinent info.
Thanks Much!

Anonymous said...

From Gibson website:

Your guitar was made at the
Bozeman Plant , MA, USA
March 16th, 1993
Production Number: 29

That's Montana not Massachusettes

Anonymous said...

This Blog is flawed from the start, The information on the dates and availability of the Gospel is incorrect. The Gospel was available in more colors than natural, the serial number system got all screwed up when Gibson moved from Michigan to Nashville. The only thing you can be sure of is that if you have a 70's Gibson Gospel, it was made by on of the finest luthiers Gibson ever had, because the good luthiers would not move to nashville because they knew that the integrity of Gibson was about to get flushed for profit. I do own a 72 Gospel from Kalamazoo, and it is in very good condition, but even at that the cellulose binding does chip. it is a layered material so the chips may be tiny, but care has to be taken to prevent damage.

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Dick said...

I bounght a Gospel in 1972 and have had it ever since. Love it. Not a scratch on it after 40 years. The natural Maple has wonderful character.

Anonymous said...

I have a gibson Gospel style #VS or V5 serial 91813011 handed down. Can someone tell me if it is an original or a reissue and the approximaate value,excellant condition.

Anonymous said...

Nice guitar site
keep up the amazingly wonderful work !!

The Gibson Gospel guitar has amazing sound quality. And sounds great after 20 years.

anyways come visit me if you get a chance at http://gwwilliamsacousticmusicministry.com/

Thanks GW Williams

Anonymous said...

Hope this address helps GW Williams Acoustic Music

scott dorrington said...

Hello i have a gibson gospel serila number 601779 it has custom inlays by paul echols and was made in the kalamazoo plant it also has micheal inlayed in the headstock and ibthink this was once micheal conlons guitar a famous maui artist ... thats just a guess on who owned it maybe someone out there can help me tell me what it is worthHello i have a gibson gospel serila number 601779 it has custom inlays by paul echols and was made in the kalamazoo plant it also has micheal inlayed in the headstock and ibthink this was once micheal conlons guitar a famous maui artist ... thats just a guess on who owned it maybe someone out there can help me tell me what it is worth can i post pics on here

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what model tuning machines were used for a 1972 Gospel. I would like to replace them.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

My Gospel was made at the Kalamazoo Plant in Feb 1980. Bought it brand new with gospel on truss rod cover and "custom fit" Gibson hard case. Still have it.

Brownie guitar said...

I bought my Gibson Gospel Brand new around 1974. serial no A 401266
I still have it today and it is near perfect condition.
Sounds better now than ever
It still remains the best ever guitar that I ever bought.

Unknown said...

You are correct, I also have a Sunburst Gospel made in the Kalamazoo plant. I've owned since the late 70s and it has traveled the world with me during my 30 year Army career. Still plays and sounds great.

Anonymous said...

I am looking at a 1973 "gospel" #06142053, was it made in Kalamazoo?...have original case, natural color, good condition, no "chipping", minor scratches.......what is value?

Unknown said...

Yes! I bought one today! From 1973. Only played an hour, but really satisfied so far! It also has a cross burned into it.. Don't think its done in a factory, but worth mentioning :)

Marius Bonde said...

How do I care for the cellulose?

Marius Bonde said...

How do I care for the cellulose?

Marius Bonde said...

Yes! I bought one today! From 1973. Only played an hour, but really satisfied so far! It also has a cross burned into it.. Don't think its done in a factory, but worth mentioning :)

Agemaia said...

Hi, I can buy one 1994 Gospel 100th anniversary with some changes in pickguard and electronics (hummingbird type and lrbaggs under the saddle). Has this guitar solid top, back and sides as the 1992 reissue one? By the way, it has not the dove logo, instead Gibson name, logo below and a thick point below the logo.

Thanks for your attention.

Regards.

Anonymous said...

i have a Gibson Gospel 1973/74 maple and ebony Paul Echols made Acoustic with grocer tuning keys/machine heads bought over 30 yrs ago.. does anyone know the current value for these? it is fair condition.. not great condition

marcus ohara said...

I appreciate all the feedback. Occasionally I re-read my articles and make corrections when necessary. I did correct the date as I have found that Gibson made this guitar as early as 1971. However I cannot corroborate the original Gibson Guitar being offered in any color other than a natural finish. Subsequent versions from the late 1990's were offered with a sunburst finish.

~Marc O'Hara

Terry afisher said...

I bought my Gospel, which Marc mentions, Fall, 1973. I was told the Gospels came only in the natural, blonde finish. I never researched to see if that was true. One other friend owned one and it also was blonde. The reissues I saw did not have the same back and, yes they were in different colors. I did not care for the one reissue I actually played. Mine was made in Kalamazoo. Still has the original sticker in the sound hole. It's been a great guitar, holds its tune even during a two hour concert. At different times I've had unique issues. During a two year period the g string kept breaking. No longer does that. I had the bridge replaced twice but that was due to my playing style, which tends to be percussive. It's been a fabulous guitar, great mid-range tone.

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