The Oldest Guitar Brands In The World

There are have been a many, many incredible guitarists over the years, each with their own incredible talents and unique skills. But what is a musician without the right instrument?

Just as there are legendary guitar players, there are legendary guitar manufacturers. Some of these brands date back more than a 100 years! Here 's a countdown of the oldest guitar manufacturers in the world, oldest last, who are still supplying the best in the business.

1946 - Fender

The young whipper snapper of the group, Fender as a guitar manufacturer has been around since 1946. Late bloomer!

The Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company began its life as Fender's Radio Service, run by skilled technician Clarence Leonidas Fender. Leo Fender found that he had gone from working mainly on radios and public address systems to amplifiers. Noticing a spot in the market, Fender began to build amplifiers and supply them with Hawaiian steel lap guitars he'd produced.

However, it was the creation of the first mass produced electric bass, the P-Bass, as well as the Telecaster and Stratocaster, that cemented the brand's popularity. These classic designs are still widely used to this day. That Strat in particular is perhaps one of the most famous guitar shapes ever.

1902 - Gibson

Originally hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Orville Gibson was a builder of mandolins. However, it was the creation of the first archtop guitars that drew new found popularity to the company.

However, it was probably the release of the Gibson Les Paul first issued in 1952 that is the corporation's biggest success. Jointly designed by then-president Ted McCarty and guitar pioneer Les Paul, this model of guitar perhaps equals the famousness of Fender's Stratocaster.

1887 - Yamaha

Yamaha is one of Japan's oldest corporations, and produces a massive range of products. While it might seem that guitars are just a small part of that huge empire, it was musical instruments that originally launched the company.

Yamaha originally produced pianos and reed organs, but now produces most types of popular musical instruments, including a massive range of electric guitars. The brand is notable for a full range of professional instruments right through to affordable instruments for beginners.

1883 - Washburn

Producing banjos and zithers, as well as guitars, Washburn started its life near to the city's famous Maxwell Street, Chicago. It was in the 1920s, however, that this part of Chicago exploded as a centre of the Delta Blues, a sound that would forever be linked to Chicago.

Being around during this massive surge in the popularity of the Blues was perfect for Washburn, who began to create guitars tailored for these local musicians. The Blues is still big for the company, but their guitars are also overwhelmingly popular with rock musicians too.

1932 - Rickenbacker

Another guitar brand that began by producing electric Hawaiian guitars. These original Rickenbacker guitars, with their long necks and round bodies, these early instruments earned the nickname 'frying pans'. You can almost see something of that old, round body style today, with guitars such as the Rickenbacker 620 Fireglo.

While Rickenbacker was adopted by a great number of rock and roll performers, the brand will forever be linked to The Beatles. Lennon, McCartney and Harrison all used Rickenbackers throughout their tours in the 1960s, cementing the iconic status of these classic guitars across the globe.

1833 - CF Martin & Co

When CF Martin & Co first started business, America only had 24 states in its union and Andrew Jackson had begun his second term as president, facing an assassination attempt the same year. CF Martin & Co has seen sweeping changes, two world wars, and huge economic peaks and troughs. The brand is certainly a survivor!

It was the design of the Martin Dreadnought that the company is most known for. Up until 1916, guitars had a smaller body, very much influenced by the Spanish style. To add a deeper tone and louder volume, the Dreadnought guitar was built. This is now the preferred shape for acoustic guitars outside of the classical field.

About the Author:

Peter Shorney is an artist, guitarist with Chasing Vegas and blogger who writes on many different subjects. Check out Pete's Google+ profile page and if you wish to see some really wicked artwork (and some ramblings), take a look at

Related Articles:
A History of the Guitar
Mark Twain's 1835 Martin Guitar Valued at Over $15 million
The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands
The Best Electric Guitar Brands

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Oldest Guitar Manufacturers

Nice report, enlightening, I would say.
I would have sweared that oldest guitar brands were from Spain.

old guitar company

I though that the family that started BC RICH GUITARS (RICO) has made acoustic guitars since the 1700's gibson ,fender,and martin not even close

to answer

oldest guitar company


oldest guitar company

I just Found Out That Washburn,Epiphone,Martin Are The Oldest.I Never Knew B.C. Rich Was From 1700! I Thought Fender Or Gibson Was The Oldest.

Emperador Classisal Acoustic Guitar

I have an old Emperador Classical Acoustic Guitar which I bought new in in New Zealand in the 1960.s for 60 NZ Pounds. It still has lovely deep melodious tone

*ahem* ¨dollars¨

*ahem* ¨dollars¨

I believe this was titled

I believe this was titled wrong these are the oldest USA brand's

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