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Guitar maker Gibson offering reward for missing ledger

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Gibson Brands, Inc., is looking for a ledger -- not just any ledger.

And it's ready to pay well if someone has it.

The company, which began as the Gibson Guitar Corp. 126 years ago in Kalamazoo, is on the hunt for a late 1950s shipping ledger that's gone missing -- and was last seen, in fact, in Kalamzoo before the company clsoed up shop there in 1984 (it's now based in Nashville). The record, which spans 1958-61, details the manufacture and sale of 643 Les Paul model sunburst guitars, one of the most collectable models in Gibson's history, as well as some of its Flying V and early SG guitar models.

"It's probably the most important piece of our ledger history," says Cesar Gueikian, Gibson's Chief Merchant Officer. "We learn a lot every time we look at our ledgers; There's more information than what guitars were sold and where they were shipped. There's a lot we think is in (the ledger) that would be very useful, and enlightening."

Gibson is offering $59,000 for the return of the ledger -- with no questions asked, Gueikian promises. "I think somebody took it, but I"m not looking to get people to explain why them have it or who took it," he says. "Once we verify it I'll say, 'Thank you very much, and here's $59.000'."

Gibson can be contacted via 59Ledger@gibson.com, with a written description, photographs and videos and contact information. The Gibson Historical Committee will review the submission and contact the party if it looks authentic.

Among the musicians who have played guitars of that vintage are Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, Beatles George Harrison and Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Slash of Guns N' Roses and scores of others. The guitars' estimated values start at $500,000, and they've been sold for considerably more at auction.

Gibson's ledger search is part of a larger campaign to recover a variety of pre-1970 company documents, blueprints and other historical artifacts. "We have been really focused on being good custodians of our brand -- organizing, cleaning, making sure we have everything cataloged," Gueikian says. "I think in order to continue to be the most relevant guitar company ever, we have to look back and learn from our past, learn from our legacy and learn from our history. That's when we started talking about what's missing.

"A a few months ago I said to the team, 'Why don't we just do this ourselves? Let's put it out there to the rest of the world and get people excited to search for them."

Gueikian says Gibson was prepared to begin the campaign earlier this year but delayed it due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also shut down the company's manufacturing plants for more than two months. They re-opened during early June.

Web Site: www.gibson.com

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