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1981 ES 175 made in Kalamazoo??


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From Tony Bacon's (excellent) 'The Les Paul Guitar Book';


"In July 1983 Gibson president Marty Locke informed Jim Deurloo that the Kalamazoo plant would close and the last production was in June 1984. The plant closed three months later..."


Three long-time Gibson employees, Jim Deurloo, Marv Lamb and J.P. Moats rented part of the plant and started the 'Heritage' guitar company in April 1985. The company is still there AFAIK.



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You're getting confused with the Epiphone production move in '71.


Snippet posted by Larens in the Epiphone acoustic board a couple years ago:



1975- Norlin opens the Nashville operation producing the higher volume instruments such as the Les Paul models while the Kalamazoo operation, now antiquated, continues making the lower volume models. By 1977 the corporate center of Gibson's universe was Nashville. Epiphone corporate operations are moved to Lincolnwood, Illinois. At about this point Epiphone began using the "Norlin" square label replacing the blue K-Zoo-type label. The higher-end line of Matsumoku-made Epiphone labels continue to reference "Epiphone/Kalamazoo"


June 1979- Norlin merges Gibson Inc. into Norlin Industries Inc. and Gibson ceases to exist as a manufacturing operation becoming only a brand name as Epiphone had previously become.1979/1980- The "FT" acoustic line is replaced by the "PR" Presentation line of acoustics. The "PR" series continues production in Korea after production is moved there in 1983.


July 1983- he decision to close the Kalamazoo factory is made and a year later in September,1984 operations ceased in Kalamazoo. For the last year of operation the Kalamazoo factory diversified into making things like clock cases, water bed frames and conversion van parts to keep the employees working.

1979/1980- The "FT" acoustic line is replaced by the "PR" Presentation line of acoustics. The "PR" series continues production in Korea after production is moved there in 1983.


1983- Most Epiphone guitar production is moved to Korea and contracted out to Samick. Matsumoku continues to make the higher-end line of Epiphone instruments in Japan. Some Epiphone instruments at this point in time are also made in Taiwan and Indonesia ...."

So... this one could have been made in 81, in K'zoo, along witn clock faces, water bed frames and conversion van parts.


Hey :blink: My bed frame could be a Gibson! It no longer has the water bladder, but the frame is from about the right time frame. Wonder if there is a Gibson water bed forum? Ooo, and I had a 1980 Ford Econoline conversion van once. with teak like real wood accents added at the conversion van factory in Indiana. Maybe these would be my first 'Gibson's.

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Guest FarnsBarns

Careful not to break the headboard off. I've heard they are a weak spot. Some of them have a volute but they were unpopular for some reason.


Maybe the water bladder burst.

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I'm sure I heard from other sources that the SG was made in Kalamazoo until 1971...


According to the same source book as earlier (Tony Bacon's Les Paul tome) work on what would become Gibson's Nashville plant started in 1974 and the plant opened in June '75.


Mr Bacon goes on to add that, as Stan Rendell (president of Gibson at the time) stated; "The original intention was to keep both Kalamazoo and Nashville factories running, with the new Nashville plant producing only acoustic guitars......The real challenge was to schedule a flow of work through the factory so that everybody was kept busy. For example, the amount of work needed to finish an electric guitar is tremendous, whereas with an acoustic guitar about all you've got to do is put on strings and machine heads. So the types of guitars flowing through the final assembly at any one time makes a big difference to the workload. I wanted to try to specialise and remove the flat-top acoustic guitars out of the mainstream at Kalamazoo and get a group of people who lived and breathed nothing but acoustic guitars at Nashville."


Unfortunately this didn't work out as hoped and, later on, 'the management' decided to transfer, to Nashville, "...the bulk of the Les Paul line..."


Stan Rendell resigned in November '76.



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