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Gibson Acquires Iconic Amp Manufacturer Mesa/Boogie

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Guitar manufacturer Gibson has acquired boutique amplifier brand Mesa/Boogie, the company announced Wednesday.

Founded in 1969 by Randy Smith, Mesa/Boogie began as an amplifier repair shop before Smith branched out into manufacturing. Among other innovations, Smith is noted for creating a high-gain distorted guitar tone, with early customers including Carlos Santana and Ron Wood and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. Adam Jones of Tool and Captain Kirk Douglas of The Roots also count themselves as devotees of the brand.

Over subsequent decades, Mesa/Boogie's MESA Engineering became a leader in tube amplifier technology and in 1991 introduced the Dual Rectifier Solo Head amp, which became a top seller for the company. Mesa/Boogie’s current flagship product is the MARK I Boogie, billed as “the world's first high gain, high power, compact 1x12 amplifier.”

Under the terms of the acquisition, Smith will join Gibson as master designer and "pioneer of Mesa/Boogie."

"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," said Gibson Brands president and CEO James "JC" Curleigh. "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.”

"I'm 75 years-old and still at work every day," added Smith. "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!"

Along with other guitar manufacturers, Gibson’s sales have surged during the pandemic, marking an upswing for an industry that struggled to maintain its relevance in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Gibson itself declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2018 following an unsuccessful expansion into consumer electronics. It emerged from bankruptcy that same October when a U.S. bankruptcy court approved a plan to wipe $500 million in debt and use as much as $70 million to support the company's growth.

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