Summer NAMM 2019: Gibson announces collaborations with Echopark, Banker and Jimmy Wallace

The first fruits of the company’s new Authorized Partnership Programme will see three boutique guitar makers produce licensed guitars using Gibson trademarks.

Gary Richrath 1959 Gibson Les Paul headstock logo

Last week, Gibson announced its Authorised Partnership Programme – the much-trumpeted move ‘from confrontation to collaboration’ that the company promised in the wake of a wave of negative publicity surrounding its legal entanglements. At Summer NAMM 2019, Gibson has revealed the first brands who’ll be working with Gibson to create officially licensed guitars using the firm’s classic body shapes. 

The three boutique brands who will be kicking off the Programme are all US-based luthiers who presently make guitars that are inspired by Gibson’s designs – Echopark, Banker and Jimmy Wallace. 

Perhaps most notable among them is Echopark. The brainchild of maverick luthier Gabriel Currie, Detroit-based Echopark’s guitars have a reputation for wonderful playability wrapped up in leftfield takes on vintage classics that have found favour with everyone from Joe Perry to Josh Homme

Echopark Esperanto 313 horizontal
Gabriel Currie’s Echopark Esparanto 313

Now, Currie is going to start producing instruments that license Gibson’s classic body shapes and headstocks. “My goal is to help preserve this legacy and take part in building inspiring instruments,” said Currie. 

Next up is Banker Custom Guitars, who are most known for making the Redtail – signature guitar of Mastodon man Brent Hinds. ““We are honored and humbled to have the opportunity to partner with [Gibson] and utilize their iconic electric guitar designs to further the legacy of quality, playability and artistry that has inspired the greatest music of generations past, present, and future,” said main man Matthew Hughes.

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Finally, there’s Jimmy Wallace, a Texan guitar dealer and luthier who has been building guitars since 1978. “The opportunity granted to me by the new Gibson team brings authenticity back to Jimmy Wallace Guitars in a way I would have never imagined,” said Wallace. “I’m looking forward to the future with Gibson.”

In addition to the three guitar brands, GIbson has also announced a tie-up with boutique capo maker Thalia and vintage-inspired California clothing brand Aviator Nation. 

“We are excited about these collaborations,” said Cesar Gueikian , Chief Merchant Officer of Gibson Brands. “Orville Gibson started as a boutique builder in 1894 in his workshop in Kalamazoo, MI, and these new collaborations are a way to pay tribute to Orville’s legacy in support of boutique builders and luthiers.”

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