Gibson acoustic guitars manufactured during World War II exhibited an odd feature: a golden banner reading “Only A Gibson is Good Enough.” Current records indicate that the banner was applied to low to middle range guitar headstocks from mid 1942 until early 1946. These guitars have become known in the industry as “banner Gibsons” and can command collectible prices compared to the non-banner applied guitars.

1943 Gibson J-45 banner headstock

Gibson’s manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan came under wartime materials and production restrictions that reduced the number of guitars made and changed the materials they used. Not only that, but much of the typically male workforce was rerouted to the war effort. The remaining workforce included a small amount of older and more skilled men as well as an influx of women. While it has been reported that women built the banner applied Gibson guitars, it’s more likely that the small group of older and more skilled craftsmen did most of the building since they had worked in the factory building guitars for many years. Many of the women of the Gibson factory during the war had just entered the workforce in an industry that requires  technical expertise and years of experience.

1943 Gibson J-45 2314 40-004

We don’t know exactly which employees built the banner Gibsons but we do know that modern players consider them among the finest acoustic guitar ever built. This particular banner Gibson is a J-45 model from 1943. It features a solid, one piece Mahogany top and a solid triangular shaped neck reinforcement in place of an adjustable truss rod. We’ve since sold this guitar but we are always looking for vintage Gibson guitars. Reach out to us on our buying page if you are looking to sell your guitar.

This article has 1 comments

  1. RLumbard Reply

    Great article! I started playing on my Great Grandmothers Banner Gibson. It was stolen from my church about 12yrs ago in Arizona. It had pick gouging to the front of the pick guard, Two holes with pear inlays behind the bridge. I’ll always keep a lookout for it. If you ever run across one that looks like it, please let me know.

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