Recently some employees at Gibson Guitars were looking through the company’s archives and stumbled upon a canister of film. Much to their surprise it was a tour of the Gibson factory dating back to 1967 that’s been unseen until now.
Watching the film I was struck by how much has remained the same in the guitar building. While it’s true I haven’t been to a Gibson factory (or Fender for that matter) in quite some time, there’s still so much that’s done by hand much like back in 1967. Sure, modern CNC machines make routing more precise, but there’s still plenty that’s still expertly handled manually exactly the same as you’ll see in the video below.
One big change is the materials used, as some of the common spruce, ash and rosewood tonewoods that were plentiful back in 1967 are either not available or protected today (here’s a good article outlining the challenges and alternatives). That will only make older instruments from this period more valuable over time (I wish I kept all the instruments I had from back then!)
Whether you’re a hard-core pro guitar player or just dabble in the instrument, this is a good watch if for nothing else than the historical perspective that it brings.