Ted McCarty

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Ted McCarty (1910 – 2001) was a pioneer of electric guitar design and production. This began when he was chosen as vice president of the of Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1949, then later as president from 1950 to 1966. This period became known as Gibson’s golden age of electric guitars. During his tenure, Les Paul’s electric guitar design, the first solid-body guitar produced by Gibson, came to fruition. The Gibson Les Paul later became the company’s flagship solid body.

Never satisfied, McCarty sought to create a hybrid design that would combine the sustain of a solid-body electric with the mellow warmth of a hollow-body. The ES-335 was created as a ‘semi-hollow,’ with both a central block running the length of the guitar and hollow wings. McCarty was also responsible for the development of the Tune-o-matic bridge system, the humbucking pickup, and the Explorer, Flying V, Moderne, SG and Firebird guitars. Like Leo Fender, McCarty never played the guitar. He instead talked with every guitarist he could in order to find out what guitar players were interested in.

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