5 Rock Gods Who Defined Gibson Guitars

As the iconic American guitar maker files bankruptcy

May 2, 2018
Les Paul plays a signature Les Paul Recording electric Gibson guitar during an extended sound check at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City on May 30, 2005.

Photo by cdm) 2005 / SIPA USA

When Les Paul passed away in 2009 he left behind a legacy that is perhaps greater than the one that will be left behind by Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and many others... combined.

The Gibson Guitar Corporation was founded in 1902, making it one of the country's oldest guitar manufacturers. In the early 1950s, Gibson was forever changed when they introduced a new line designed and engineered by Les Paul. 

Paul was an accomplished musician in his own right, but his contribution to music, specifically to guitar playing, will live on forever in the music created on the iconic Gibson guitars bearing his name.

Earlier this week, Gibson filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy with, reportedly, anywhere between $100 and $500 million dollars in debt. While many believe that Gibson can and will emerge from bankruptcy a better company, we started to wonder how music may be impacted in the event Gibson goes away. To properly express the concern, we decided to create our list of the Top 5 Rock Gods who have come to define Gibson guitars.


Dave Grohl 

The former Nirvana drummer-turned Foo Fighters frontman uses several different Gibsons, including Les Pauls and his own Gibson model.


Jimmy Page

The rock god of Led Zeppelin fame plays and has played Gibson almost exclusively throughout his career.



Leslie West

The Les Paul model played by the founder and leader of Mountain saw a spike in demand after fellow guitarists saw West playing it. So much demand, in fact, that Gibson reissued it in the 70s.


Pete Townshend

The Who guitarist has used a variety of Gibson models, including SGs, Les Pauls, and Flying Vs.


Zakk Wylde

The very large man behind most of the badass shredding you've heard from Ozzy, Black Label Society, and more uses a whole mess of different Gibson guitars to create his sound.


Of course, those are just the five we thought of first. There are literally hundreds of world-renowned musicians who use Gibson guitars to create the music that we all know and love.

So, what becomes of Gibson if this bankruptcy goes south? And of the musicians who rely on Gibson? Who knows, really. But, hopefully, Gibson figures out their finances and continues to be the instrument of choice for rock.