The evolution of the Gibson Melody Maker – the original student's favorite electric guitar

Gibson Melody Maker
(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

At first glance, the 1959 debut Melody Maker closely resembles the original single-cut, sunburst-finished Gibson Les Paul Junior introduced earlier in 1954. Similarly constructed using a mahogany slab-body and neck with an unbound 22-fret Brazilian rosewood ’board featuring dot markers, it’s clear where this single-pickup electric guitar takes its design cues from. 

But with a depth of just 1 3/8", the body of the Melody Maker is significantly thinner than the 1 1/4"-deep Junior. Its headstock, too, is more slender than the Junior’s, with a straighter appearance it forgoes Gibson’s iconic profile.

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Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.