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In 1952, Gibson introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul which became its most popular guitar to date— designed by Ted Mc Carty and Les Paul.Gibson was owned by the Norlin corporation from 1969 to 1986. Initially, the company produced only Orville Gibson's original designs.Gibson folklore has also claimed its guitars were made by "seasoned craftsmen" who were "too old for war." In 1944 Gibson was purchased by Chicago Musical Instruments. Gibson hired Ted Mc Carty in 1948, who became President in 1950.He led an expansion of the guitar line with new guitars such as the "Les Paul" guitar introduced in 1952 and designed by Les Paul, a popular musician in the 1950s and also a pioneer in music technology.In 1944, Gibson was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) which was acquired in 1969 by Panama-based conglomerate, Ecuadorian Company Limited (E. L.) that changed its name in the same year to Norlin Corporation.

The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984; several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic Gibson designs. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.In the late 50s, Mc Carty knew that Gibson was seen as a traditional company and began an effort to create more modern guitars.In 1961 the body design of the Les Paul was changed due to the demand for a double-cutaway body design.The new body design then became known as the SG (for "solid guitar"), due to disapproval from Les Paul himself.The Les Paul returned to the Gibson catalog in 1968.

The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984; several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic Gibson designs. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.In the late 50s, Mc Carty knew that Gibson was seen as a traditional company and began an effort to create more modern guitars.In 1961 the body design of the Les Paul was changed due to the demand for a double-cutaway body design.The new body design then became known as the SG (for "solid guitar"), due to disapproval from Les Paul himself.The Les Paul returned to the Gibson catalog in 1968.In 2013, Gibson acquired a majority stake in TEAC Corporation.