Gibson launches the Theodore, an all-new body shape based on a 65-year-old archival design


Gibson introduced the very first model in its new Gibson Archive collection, the Theodore – an electric guitar based on a 65-year-old sketch that debuts with an all-new body shape.

Named after former company president Theodore “Ted” McCarty, the six-string design was conceived in March 1957, when McCarty – who had helped Gibson develop the Les Paul, SG, Explorer and Flying V – sketched and signed a drawing of a potential new instrument.

The sketch was unearthed from Gibson’s Vault, and after a period of fine-tuning the original blueprint, the Theodore is officially released today – exactly 65 years after the day McCarty sketched the design on March 18, 1957.

Only 318 units of the limited-edition model will be made, as a nod to the date it was originally created.

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Gibson Theodore

Gibson Theodore in natural (Image credit: Gibson)
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Gibson Theodore

Gibson Theodore in Black (Image credit: Gibson)
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Gibson Theodore

Gibson Theodore in Cherry (Image credit: Gibson)

It’s definitely an eye-grabber. With sporty reverse Florentine cutaways that almost resemble reverse SG horns, the Theodore also utilizes an Explorer-style scimitar headstock, offset triangle pickguard, and racing-style center strip.

The Theodore is immensely faithful to McCarty’s original sketch – which you can check out below – and includes almost everything former President Gibson envisioned. The original design, for example, called for a wraparound bridge and center strip, both included. Heck, even the output jack is in the same place.

The only deviations are the shape of the pickguard and the position of the three-way switch. While McCarty proposed that the toggle be located on either cutaway, the Gibson team instead decided to place it near the rest of the tone control circuitry.

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Gibson Theodore

Original sketch by Theodore “Ted” McCarty, dated March 18, 1957 (Image credit: Gibson)
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Gibson Theodore

Theodore “Ted” McCarty (Image credit: Gibson)

Spec-wise, the Theodore comes in Natural, Cherry, and Ebony colorways, and features a two-piece alder body with a walnut center band. It’s paired with a chunky C-shaped ’57 mahogany neck, topped with a 22-fret dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard.

Other appointments include a wraparound bridge, historic Black Top Hat control knobs, Kluson tuners and a nylon nut.

In the electronics department, a pair of custom Soapbar P-90s are hand-wired to the standard Gibson control layout featuring two volumes and two tones.

As mentioned above, the Theodore is the first model in Gibson’s brand new Gibson Archive Collection. While details surrounding the new series are currently pretty slim, we bet it will bring more historic designs to life in the near future.

The Theodore is available now for $4,999 and comes complete with a historic-style brown/pink case, leather guitar strap, print of the original signed design, and a deluxe certificate of authenticity.

To find out more, visit Gibson.

Gibson Theodore

(Image credit: Gibson)
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