When it was announced that electric guitar behemoth Gibson was acquiring guitar amp powerhouse Mesa/Boogie, it was viewed by many as one of the most monumental acquisitions in the modern guitar world – and for good reason.
At the time, the onus was on the pair’s “mutual quest of sound”, and it was fully expected that Mesa/Boogie would continue to do what it does best – produce Mesa/Boogie amps – with the guidance and support from Gibson.
Well, Gibson Brand President Cesar Gueikian has now revealed the amp brand’s founder Randall Smith is not only continuing his Mesa/Boogie commitments, he’s also currently designing the “next generation” of Gibson amplifiers.
While in conversation with MusicRadar, Gueikian said, “The addition of Mesa/Boogie into the Gibson family, I think is another one of those incredibly exciting moments for us, and also having the blessing that Randy Smith is still as active as ever.
“So Randy,” he continued, “we call him our master pioneer, and he's still in the lab working on designing new concepts and new circuit boards.”
Gueikian then clarified that, as well as continuing the Mesa/Boogie amp name, Smith is also hard at work designing a specific line of Gibson-branded, American-made amps.
“To talk about life cycle of a product and the introduction of something new, it's going to take a while, but Randy is working on the design of what are going to be the next evolution of Gibson amplifiers as well. They are going to be made in Petaluma, California. So Randy's been leading that."
Gueikian further discussed the amp “journey” the brand will be embarking on in the near future, crediting manufacturing and tone experts Jim Aschow [director], Doug West [Tone Lab leader] and Steve Mueller – the latter of whom played a key part in instigating the acquisition – for their efforts.
“When it comes to tone,” Gueikian reflected, “Steve Mueller, he's been there for 30 years, and they call him the new guy. He's from Texas, so we call him Tex. He's like my tone brother. And he and I connected first.
“That's how we started the relationship, it was Steve and I talking about amplifiers and collaborating. Us sending some Gibsons and then them sending some Mesa/Boogies so we could do content.
“That's how the relationship developed. And then that led to, okay, this is an amazing collaboration to an amazing partnership to… why don't we?
“It was organic, it wasn't, 'Let's go buy an amp company.' It was working with Mesa/Boogie, one thing led to another to having the conversation.”