Gibson Les Paul and Marshall Stack
Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd. in Kalamazoo, Michigan to make mandolin-family instruments. Gibson invented archtop guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars, used and popularized by Charlie Christian. It was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments in 1944, which was then acquired by the E.C.L. conglomerate that changed its name to Norlin Inc. Many observers see this as the beginning of an era of mismanagement.
Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names and builds one of the world's most iconic guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. Many Gibson instruments are highly collectible. Gibson was at the forefront of innovation in acoustic guitars, especially in the big band era of the 1930s; the Gibson Super 400 was widely imitated. In 1952, Gibson introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul which became its most popular guitar to date— designed by Ted McCarty and Les Paul. Gibson was owned by the Norlin corporation from 1969 to 1986. In 1986 the company was acquired by its present owners. Gibson Guitar is a privately held corporation owned by its chief executive officer Henry Juszkiewicz and its president David H. Berryman.
In addition to guitars, Gibson offers consumer audio equipment devices through its subsidiaries Onkyo Corporation, Cerwin Vega and Stanton, as well as professional audio equipment from KRK Systems also pianos from their wholly owned subsidiary Baldwin Piano and music software from Cakewalk.
Marshall Amplification is an English company that designs and manufactures music amplifiers, speaker cabinets, brands personal headphones and earphones, and, having acquired Natal Drums, drums and bongos. It was founded by drum shop owner and drummer Jim Marshall, and is now based in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Marshall's guitar amplifiers are among the most recognised in the world. They are known for their Marshall "crunch". This signature sound was conceived by Marshall after guitarists, such as Pete Townshend, visiting Marshall's drum shop complained that the guitar amplifiers then on the market didn't have the right sound or enough volume. After gaining a lot of publicity, Marshall guitar amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets were sought by guitarists for this new sound and increased volume. Many of the current and reissue Marshall guitar amplifiers continue to use vacuum tubes, as is common in this market sector. Marshall also manufactures less expensive solid-state, hybrid (valve and solid state) and modelling amplifiers.