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Remembering the Gibson Starburst

January 21, 2016

Ok, so near the end of the book, "Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars" they get all kinda gushy about the Starburst model. They even have a picture of Jorma (p.189) pickin'one and grinnin' and it looks to be all psychedelic-ed up. What is the deal with them? You never see one on ebay it seems. Were they just so great that everyone that owns one hangs on to theirs? Or were they just such a flop that they've gone quietly into the night? 

 

The Gibson starburst Model has always stirred up alot of controversy. I have played a few of the Starburst's and think they are great guitars. I see them come up on auction occasionally and in my opinion they are a "well kept secret". I must admit im fairly partial to the whole "Looks' euphoria", and those beautifull Star inlays seem to swindle me into buying one every time. They get no love on the forums, being described as thin or tone dead, etc. Maple back sides & tops. I think the idea was that they were acoustic-electrics & worked well onstage with little feedback. Personally, I always liked the glassy crystalline tone of the Starburst - and I loved the bling factor.

 

As many of you are aware the Gibson's Starburst series was short lived. They were designed, IIRC, by Ren Ferguson & were available from 92 - 93 or so.They made a bunch in 1992. 946 is the total for all models and colors.That is a huge number. 1993 saw the numbers drop off. Why? It's really quite an amusing story. The Plant Manager promised the General Manager that he had secured a source for High Figured Quilted Maple and they could have uninterupted production. Well.... When they placed the order for the wood in 1993 they were told it was all bought by Paul Reed Smith. The same for all other suppliers. There was no "Quilt" available and Gibson had lost out because of poor planing. The Plant Manager lost his job and Gibson lost one if it's most popular guitars. It seems that No one bought one for it's fine acoustic properties. They were stage ready and flashy as hell. This was way back in the dark ages and country acts were looking for a great looking guitar that they could use on a busy stage. Gibson learned a vaulable lesson and moved on. The folks that have them keep them. They are really that good.

 

The body is made from highly figured maple. Check out the gorgeous quilt and flame on the example below. The 3 piece flame maple neck features a rosewood fingerboard with delicate star inlays. A built in preamp and pickup allows you to plug in. A rosewood bridge and Kluson style tuners keep it rock solid. The finish is a gorgeous amber

 

 

 

 

 

lacquer. Made in Montana, USA. An incredible guitar with gorgeous appointments!

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