This educational toy did seem to bother manufacturers or parents in the 1960's, nearly as much as it would in today litigious society.
Billy’s band played at many of the high school and church dances. Their repertoire consisted of covers of Chuck Berry, Lonnie Mack, and The Ventures songs that were popular at the time.
I cannot recall what type of amplifier he was using. Back in that day a lot of kids were using Sears/Danelectro Twin Twelve amplifiers. Billy had all of Chuck and Lonnie’s licks down pat. I was impressed and envious. I had to practice more, and that is what I did.
The Gibson Melody Maker debut was in 1959 and Gibson ended the run in 1971. The Melody Maker was an economical, beginner’s instrument which came with a thin slab-style mahogany body and a one-piece mahogany neck.
Gibson assembled all the electronics on the guitars black scratchplate, which they installed over a rout in the top of the body. This included the one or two single coil pickup, depending on the model, the volume and tone controls, the toggle, and the input jack.
From 1959 until 1961, the Melody Maker had a single cutaway, making the body similar to a Les Paul Junior, however, the Melody Maker’s body was much thinner.
The scale of the Melody Maker was 24.75 inches, which was the Gibson standard, although Gibson offered the guitar in a ¾ version with an 18.56-inch short scale. To accomplish this, the neck joined the body at the 12th fret and the bridge was moved farther down the body. Remember the Melody Maker was to be a beginning instrument that a child could play.
|'61 Gibson Melody Maker|
Sometime in 1962 Gibson discontinued all of the traditional Les Paul guitars. These were replaced by a guitar with twin pointy horns and a narrow body.
Originally, this new style guitar was marketed under the Les Paul name, however Gibson’s relationship with Paul ended and the guitar was given the model more familiar designation, SG.
The older model Melody Makers were only produced in dark sunburst finishes. In 1963, the standard finish was cherry. This changed in 1966 when Gibson implemented the SG design. Now the guitar was available in fire engine red or Pelham blue.
In 1986 the single cutaway Melody Maker was once again in the Gibson line up with a single humbucking pickup in the bridge position and the same parts that were featured on the 1977 version.
The guitar came with a P90 pickup in the bridge position. It was very similar to the Les Paul Jr., but for the Melody Maker headstock, white plastic button tuning keys and top mounted jack. The neck was slightly slimmer than the Les Paul Jr. Only 250 of these guitars were manufactured.
|2007 Gibson Melody Maker|
|'07 Gibson Melody Maker 2 pickups|
|Joan Jett Melody Maker|
Joan has extensive modifications done to her personal Melody Maker. Gibson offered this instrument for sale at $920. It comes with one Velvet Hammer humbucking pickup in the bridge position. The fretboard comes with red dot markers and two hearts inlaid on the twelfth fret. The neck is modified to be slimmer than a traditional Melody Maker. The tuners are Grover mini style.
This one pickup guitar came with a “kill switch” that is designed to turn the pickup off. The bridge features is a Tune-O-Matic saddle and stop tailpiece instead of the original wrap-around style found on traditional Melody Makers. The scratchplate is larger than the one on a traditional Melody Maker. It was available in a white finish, but that was later made available only with a black satin finish.
|2011 Gibson Melody Maker collection|
|2011 Melody |
That same year Gibson also produced a limited edition of the two pickup Melody Maker Special. This guitar came with two P-90's, and was available in satin TV yellow, cherry, blue, or black finishes. This guitar featured a standard Les Paul style headstock, and a wrap-around bridge.
|2014 Les Paul |
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)