Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 36

W

BY GEORGE GRUHN
AND JOE SPANN

hen the words "Gibson," "solidbody," and "late '50s" are strung
together in a sentence, a certain ajdective - perhaps "struggling"
or one of its synonyms - usually fits somewhere. One exception came in the
form of the resoundingly successful Melody Maker.
Conceived as a budget-friendly electric
for an underserved beginner market in the
days before competition from Asian builders, it debuted in 1959 at just $99.50 retail
(when the Les Paul Junior was $132.50, the
Special was $195, and the Standard $265),

and echoed an awareness of Fender design
ethics, with electronics mounted to the
pickguard and a small, newly designed
single-coil pickup covered in plastic. The
similarities were undeniable.
The first-generation Melody Maker had

VINTAGE GUITAR

36

September 2018

a slab mahogany body shaped like a singlecutaway Les Paul Junior (but cut 3/8" thinner),
and its headstock was the now-iconic "straight
and narrow" version measuring only 21/4"
wide. The Melody Maker 3/4, with its 223/4"
scale, was also introduced in '59 at the same
price and outsold the full-scale version in that
first year. In 1960, the pickup used on both was
narrowed to 5/8" (from 7/8"). Also that year,
the Melody Maker D, with two pickups and
three-position toggle selector, was introduced
at $135. Over time, this version proved almost
as popular as the original.
In '61, the Melody Maker body shifted
to a symmetrical double-cutaway with
rounded edges and small, blunt horns that
pointed slightly away from the neck. In '62,
a Maestro vibrato became a factory option
(presumably because by then the guitar had
proven itself in the market), and by '63, the

Photo: VG Archive.

SUCCESSFUL
STARTER
The Gibson Melody Maker

An assortment of Melody Makers
including an early-'60s D version (with
two pickups), a '59 3/4 variant, '59 lefty,
circa-'63 in Cherry Red, and a '59.


http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 4
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 5
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 6
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 7
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 8
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 9
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 11
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 12
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 13
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 14
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 15
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 16
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 17
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 18
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 19
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 20
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 21
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 22
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 23
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 25
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 27
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 29
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 30
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 31
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 32
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 33
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 34
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 35
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 36
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 37
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 38
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 39
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 40
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 41
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 42
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 43
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 46
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 47
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 48
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 49
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 50
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 53
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 55
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 56
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 58
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 89
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 90
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 91
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 97
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 98
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 99
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 100
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 101
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 103
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 131
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - BC
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