We can’t say we’re too surprised. Mesa/Boogie founder Randall Smith is 75 years old, and given the current situation, letting the company go to a larger corporation will ensure the iconic amp manufacturer’s longevity. Just hoping that Gibson does justice to the Mesa legacy… the guitar-maker almost went into bankruptcy a couple of years ago, before a new management team moved in to clean up the mess and focus on its core products.
The amplifier business isn’t alien to Gibson, though… the company turned out a range of well-received models back in the 1950s and 1960s, among the most popular of which was the Falcon. Perhaps we will see some non-high gain amps sporting the Gibson badge once again in the not-too-distance future.
Below is the press release from both the companies:
Gibson, the iconic American instrument brand, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Mesa/Boogie, one of the most respected and prestigious brands in sound and guitar amplification. Mesa/Boogie – the original “Boutique” amplifier company – was founded 51 years ago by Randy Smith, who is responsible for creating the ground-breaking circuits that drive some of the most influential sounds of our time. Randy will join Gibson as Master Designer and Pioneer of Mesa/Boogie and beyond. In his new role, Randy will continue his passion for tube technology and his vision for building hand-crafted, high performance amplifiers, that continue to redefine how we experience sound across Mesa/Boogie and Gibson.
Beginning in a converted dog kennel under the redwoods of Northern California, Randy Smith was wrenching amplifiers for all the great San Francisco area bands over 50 years ago when vintage gear was new. Being close to so many great guitar players, from Bloomfield to Santana and The Rolling Stones,Smith learned the virtues and shortcomings of the era’s gear and began a process of innovation that continues today. Mesa/Boogie, the company Smith founded, was the first boutique amplifier builder and revolutionised amplifier performance in ways that impacted rock music worldwide. Simultaneously respecting and improving the vintage classics he grew up with, Smith, through Mesa/Boogie pioneered the invention of High Gain.
“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,” says James “JC” Curleigh, president and CEO of Gibson Brands.
“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,” says Randall Smith founder of Mesa/Boogie. “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 realises 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!”
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