Gibson | Archive Collection - Theodore

Gibson Custom Shop Unveils Limited Edition Theodore

As part of its Archive Collection, Gibson Custom Shop has announced a limited run of a newly rediscovered Ted McCarty guitar design! Dubbed affectionately after its creator’s namesake, the Gibson Theodore evokes the recognizable essence of McCarty’s now-iconic guitar designs, further illustrating, yet again, his immense influence on the history of electric guitars!

Available in Natural, Cherry, and Ebony finishes, the Theodore’s lightweight alder body features a walnut center strip, with balanced construction and a contoured shape for comfortable playability. Production of these guitars will be limited to 106 in each finish, for a total of 318, altogether. Each Gibson Theodore electric guitar also comes with a historic-style brown/pink case, a premium leather strap, a print of the original signed drawing, a “1957-style” catalog print page, and a deluxe Certificate of Authenticity booklet. 

Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry

Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Cherry

$4,999.00
Gibson's legendary former president Theodore ‘Ted’ McCarty helped develop some of the most iconic electric guitars ever during the 1950s and early 1960s, including the Les Paul, ES-335, Flying V", Explorer, SG, and Firebird models. He enjoyed sketching new instrument ideas during meetings, and the height of his creative output was in 1957 when he sought to modernize Gibson's electric guitar designs significantly. On March 18th, 1957, Ted detailed and signed his drawing for a new solid body instrument which was never produced...until now. Gibson Custom Shop is proud to present the “Theodore,” inspired by Ted McCarty’s original drawing and notes. Its unique features include an alder body, scimitar headstock, double Florentine cutaways, and a walnut center strip. The lightweight, balanced construction is extremely comfortable, and the powerful P-90 pickups produce effortless sustain and a rich diversity of tones. This very special Archive Collection run is limited to just 318 total instruments. Each includes a Historic-style brown/pink case, a premium leather strap, a print of the original signed drawing, a 1957-style catalog page print, and a deluxe Certificate of Authenticity booklet.

Serial #: 72272
Weight: 6 lbs 7.8 oz
  
Body Shape: Theodore
Material: 2-Piece Alder with Walnut Center Strip

Neck: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Chunky 1957 C Shape
Nut width: 1.687" / 42.85mm
Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
Scale length: 24.75" / 628.65mm
Number of frets: 22
Nut: Nylon
Inlay: Pearloid Dot

Bridge: Wraparound
Knobs: Historic Black Top Hats
Tuners: Kluson Six In-Line with Cream Buttons
Plating: Nickel

Neck pickup: Custom Soapbar P-90
Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P-90
Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone, 500K CTS Audio Taper Potentiometers, Bumblebee Capacitors, Hand-Wired

Case: Historic Brown/Pink Hardshell
View Details

March 18, 1957, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Amid his most prolific period of creative output drafting innovative, forward-thinking electric guitar designs, Gibson’s legendary former president, Ted McCarty, detailed and signed a drawing for a new solid-body guitar intended to be included among the designs of his Modernistic series set to go in production the following year. But, although it bore all of the hallmarks of a quintessential McCarty design, it never saw the light of day.

Until now, that is! Inspired by McCarty’s Original drawing and notes, the Gibson Theodore boasts hallmark McCarty design concepts, including a scimitar headstock and double-florentine cutaways that bear a recognizable resemblance to the treble bout cutaway on the Gibson Moderne—which was also designed by McCarty as part of the same series and which, similarly, never got to full-production phase.  

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Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural

Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Natural

$4,999.00
Gibson's legendary former president Theodore ‘Ted’ McCarty helped develop some of the most iconic electric guitars ever during the 1950s and early 1960s, including the Les Paul, ES-335, Flying V", Explorer, SG, and Firebird models. He enjoyed sketching new instrument ideas during meetings, and the height of his creative output was in 1957 when he sought to modernize Gibson's electric guitar designs significantly. On March 18th, 1957, Ted detailed and signed his drawing for a new solid body instrument which was never produced...until now. Gibson Custom Shop is proud to present the “Theodore,” inspired by Ted McCarty’s original drawing and notes. Its unique features include an alder body, scimitar headstock, double Florentine cutaways, and a walnut center strip. The lightweight, balanced construction is extremely comfortable, and the powerful P-90 pickups produce effortless sustain and a rich diversity of tones. This very special Archive Collection run is limited to just 318 total instruments. Each includes a Historic-style brown/pink case, a premium leather strap, a print of the original signed drawing, a 1957-style catalog page print, and a deluxe Certificate of Authenticity booklet.

Serial #: 72165
Weight: 6 lbs 7.4 oz
  
Body Shape: Theodore
Material: 2-Piece Alder with Walnut Center Strip

Neck: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Chunky 1957 C Shape
Nut width: 1.687" / 42.85mm
Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
Scale length: 24.75" / 628.65mm
Number of frets: 22
Nut: Nylon
Inlay: Pearloid Dot

Bridge: Wraparound
Knobs: Historic Black Top Hats
Tuners: Kluson Six In-Line with Cream Buttons
Plating: Nickel

Neck pickup: Custom Soapbar P-90
Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P-90
Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone, 500K CTS Audio Taper Potentiometers, Bumblebee Capacitors, Hand-Wired

Case: Historic Brown/Pink Hardshell
View Details

The Visionary Futurist Behind Gibson’s “Golden Era”

President of Gibson from 1950–1966, during what’s now known as Gibson’s “golden era,” Theodore “Ted” McCarty was responsible for some of the most iconic and daring guitar designs the company ever produced, including the Les Paul, the ES-335, the SG, and the Firebird, in addition to McCarty’s Modernistic series, which included the Flying V and the Explorer. 

While those two designs from McCarty’s Modernistic series went into production and debuted 1958, future-minded aesthetic approach McCarty took when designing his Modernistic guitars went under-appreciated, at first—except among few early adopters, like bluesman Albert King and Dave Davies (The Kinks), whose ‘58 Korina Flying Vs were among the only 98 guitars shipped from the Gibson factory’s initial production. But, compared alongside McCarty’s simultaneous achievements at Gibson, like the revolutionary ES-335 semi-hollowbody guitar design also released in 1958, reception of Modernistic series was relatively poor, and Gibson stopped producing them by the following year. 

Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony
Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony

Gibson Custom Shop Archive Collection Theodore Ebony

$4,999.00
Gibson's legendary former president Theodore ‘Ted’ McCarty helped develop some of the most iconic electric guitars ever during the 1950s and early 1960s, including the Les Paul, ES-335, Flying V", Explorer, SG, and Firebird models. He enjoyed sketching new instrument ideas during meetings, and the height of his creative output was in 1957 when he sought to modernize Gibson's electric guitar designs significantly. On March 18th, 1957, Ted detailed and signed his drawing for a new solid body instrument which was never produced...until now. Gibson Custom Shop is proud to present the “Theodore,” inspired by Ted McCarty’s original drawing and notes. Its unique features include an alder body, scimitar headstock, double Florentine cutaways, and a walnut center strip. The lightweight, balanced construction is extremely comfortable, and the powerful P-90 pickups produce effortless sustain and a rich diversity of tones. This very special Archive Collection run is limited to just 318 total instruments. Each includes a Historic-style brown/pink case, a premium leather strap, a print of the original signed drawing, a 1957-style catalog page print, and a deluxe Certificate of Authenticity booklet.

Serial #: 72297
Weight: 6 lbs 6.1 oz
  
Body Shape: Theodore
Material: 2-Piece Alder with Walnut Center Strip

Neck: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Chunky 1957 C Shape
Nut width: 1.687" / 42.85mm
Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
Scale length: 24.75" / 628.65mm
Number of frets: 22
Nut: Nylon
Inlay: Pearloid Dot

Bridge: Wraparound
Knobs: Historic Black Top Hats
Tuners: Kluson Six In-Line with Cream Buttons
Plating: Nickel

Neck pickup: Custom Soapbar P-90
Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P-90
Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone, 500K CTS Audio Taper Potentiometers, Bumblebee Capacitors, Hand-Wired

Case: Historic Brown/Pink Hardshell
View Details

Eventually, however, the stark, linear aesthetics of the Gibson Modernistic series guitars caught on—proving, ultimately, the prescience of McCarty’s visionary imagination, forever establishing his influence on all future electric guitar designers. With estimates ranging as low as 22 Gibson Explorers shipped from the factory’s initial production run, the roughly 120 Modernistic series guitars produced from the initial runs have become some of the most sought after solid-body vintage guitars on the market today! 

While later runs of the Flying V and Explorer designs went into production starting in 1967, the designer’s lasting contribution to the history of the guitar have not only sustained its popularity as an instrument for creative musical expression—his designs have forever changed how electric guitars are played and heard today across the globe!

To experience this historic example of Ted McCarty’s contributions to the sound, look, and feel of Gibson electric guitars, preorder the Gibson Theodore from Chicago Music Exchange, today!

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