Gibson Guitar Corporation is an American maker of guitars and other instruments, now based in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a division of Gibson Brands. 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.
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