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In a move that puts one of the industry’s leading guitar brands under the same umbrella as one of its most celebrated guitar amp manufacturers, Gibson has announced the acquisition of Mesa/Boogie.
Known as the original “boutique” amp company, Mesa/Boogie was founded 51 years ago by Randy Smith, who created many of the groundbreaking circuits and designs – including pioneering the concept of high-gain amps – that have defined the Mesa line over the decades.
Smith will join Gibson as Master Designer and Pioneer of Mesa/Boogie.
According to Gibson, in his new role, Smith will “continue his passion for tube technology and his vision for building hand-crafted, high performance amplifiers, that continue to redefine how we experience sound across Mesa/Boogie and Gibson.”
In an exclusive interview with Guitar World, Gibson's JC Curleigh and Cesar Gueikian, and Mesa/Boogie's Randy Smith have told the story behind Gibson's monumental acquisition of Mesa/Boogie – and what it means for the iconic brands.
“We don’t have Gibson amps today, so we started thinking about who is the best out there – not just in terms of their brand, but also like-minded in terms of leveraging the iconic past and leaning into the innovative future," Gibson president and CEO James “JC” Curleigh told GW. "There was only one answer and that was Mesa/Boogie.”
In a statement, Curleigh continues, “At Gibson we are all about leveraging our iconic past and leaning into the innovative future, a quest that started over 100 years ago with our founder Orville Gibson.
“Today this quest continues with the addition of Mesa Boogie into the Gibson Brands family, along with the visionary leadership of Randy Smith and his team who, for the past 50 years, have created an iconic and innovative brand that has stood the test of time. This is a perfect partnership based on our collective professional experiences and passion for sound.”
Said Smith, “I’m 75 years-old and still at work every day. This is my art and many of our crew have worked along my side for 30 to 40 years. As we witnessed JC and Cesar transform Gibson, we saw kindred spirits sharing common values and a fierce dedication to quality.
“Today, Gibson’s guitars are the best-ever and when they asked if we’d like to become Gibson’s Custom Shop for Amplifiers, we envisioned a perfect collaboration that would expand our outreach while preserving our legacy beyond my time.
“Gibson realizes the unique value of what we’ve all built together and this next chapter in the Mesa/Boogie story is a continuation of that dream. I am so fortunate for this partnership with the new Gibson after 50 years of doing what I love. It’s been the ride of my life… and it ain’t over yet!”
Added Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian, “Mesa Boogie, led by Randy, has been in service to sound without compromises since the very beginning, and that’s a perfect fit for us. We are looking forward to being the best custodians of Mesa Boogie’s iconic heritage that we can be, and at the same time, a steward of its future.
“We are honored that Randy and the Mesa Boogie team have trusted us to lead Mesa Boogie into the future. Together, we will continue to pursue our mutual quest of sound, quality and craftsmanship and to push the boundaries of how guitar sound is delivered and experienced.”
Tool guitarist Adam Jones, a long-time Mesa Boogie user who also collaborated with Gibson on the recent 1979 Les Paul Custom Silverburst, chimed in as well, commenting, “This is very exciting, I can’t think of a better company to carry the Mesa Boogie torch, and I can’t wait to see what we can do together.
“I have been using Mesa Boogie amplifiers and cabinets for a long time. I use them at home, in the studio when I record and on stage when I play live; they go across all of my needs.”
And for more information, boogie on over to Gibson.com.