The first Gibson-authorized non-Gibson guitars are now available from Banker Custom

Banker Custom Guitars
(Image credit: Banker Guitars)

Back in July, Gibson announced its Authorized Partnership Program, allowing boutique makers Jimmy Wallace Guitars, Banker Custom Guitars and Echopark Guitars a license to use company trademarks, which include body shapes and headstocks for the Les Paul, Flying V, Explorer, ES-335 and Firebird, in their own builds.

Now, the first electric guitar models from one of those partners has been revealed, with Banker Custom unveiling the ’58-spec Korina V and Excalibur, built for sale exclusively at the Chicago Music Exchange.

According to CME’s Nathaniel Murphy, “Matt Hughes of Banker Custom was the first boutique builder to officially sign on with Gibson as part of the authorized partner program, which gave him unique access to Gibson trademarks, body shapes, and headstocks. 

(Image credit: courtesy of Chicago Music Exchange)

“We were chatting with Matt, and he told us about his private stash of super clean white korina and gorgeous Brazilian rosewood. So we asked him if he could build some '58-spec models, the first of their kind, and he did. And they are awesome.

“Chicago Music Exchange is proud to be the first and only dealer carrying these amazing instruments.”

You can learn more about these Gibson-authorized non-Gibson guitars in the video below, and head over to Chicago Music Exchange for more information.

These guitars mark the first products in Gibson's shift from confrontation to collaboration, following the removal of its controversial 'Play Authentic' video, which appeared to threaten builders making Gibson replicas, back in June.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.