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Gibson to expand its Bozeman acoustic factory to meet increased demand due to Covid-19

Gibson acoustic guitars
(Image credit: Future)

With swathes of people across the world looking for the antidote to lockdown boredom, the guitar has experienced a surge in demand, leaving manufacturers struggling to keep up with supply.

In an effort to meet the surge, Gibson has announced the expansion of its acoustic factory in Bozeman, Montana. 

The move will double the factory's manufacturing space, add a new custom shop and showroom, and, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, increase square footage by 25,000.

Speaking at a ceremony last week (March 3), Gibson President and CEO James “JC” Curleigh revealed that the first Covid lockdown initially raised “more questions than answers” for the company.

“We were facing a factory shutdown with a pandemic that we didn’t really see coming,” he said. ”We had guitar dealers that were closed that weren’t selling guitars.”

Back in February, Curleigh estimated that “in the last year, more guitarists have been created and engaged than in the previous 10 years combined.”

The Gibson head honcho's comments follow those he made back in September. “First we were figuring out the basic essentials – where to buy toilet paper, making sure you were isolated in quarantine,” he told the New York Times. “Then the psychological reset hit. People said, ‘Well, I can still self-actualize, I can still self-fulfill.’”

By late summer 2020, he added, Gibson “literally couldn’t deliver enough [guitars]. Everything we were making, we could sell.”

The announcement follows the unveiling of Gibson's 50-guitar-strong Murphy Lab collection, which the guitar giant says ushers in “the future of guitar aging”.

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.