Introduced in 1959, the Gibson Melody Maker was introduced as an entry-level electric guitar for beginners or players on a budget. The Melody Maker has seen many iterations, but each is recognizable by distinct features that keep costs low: slim Mahogany body and drop-in pickguard electronics. The slimmer mahogany body is cheaper to produce than other Gibson models, and the drop-in pickguard cuts down on assembly time considerably. When you pick one up, it's no surprise the lightweight Melody Maker has found a home across a variety of genres, delivering rich Gibson USA sound in a simple, workingman's package.
Only offered from 2011 to 2013, the Gibson Melody Maker Special is an interesting—albeit rare—version of the Melody Maker. Most Melody Makers sport a single pickup, but the Melody Maker Special has two pickups and a three-way switch. On top of that, those pickups are Alnico V P-90s instead of the cheap single-coils you traditionally see on Melody Makers. Also, the Melody Maker Special has the iconic Gibson flared headstock instead of the thin, streamlined student-model shape.
This 2011 Melody Maker Special sports the classic GibsonTV Yellow finish, and because it has been played heavily, the thin satin finish shows some cool character and wear. There are bumps and finish chips all around, especially along the back of the neck and around the edges of the body. Nevertheless, the setup is excellent, and the frets have plenty of life left.
At some point along the way, the previous owner upgraded the hardware on this student-model Melody Maker Special. In place of the simple wraparound stop-bar bridge (which never allows for proper intonation), this one has a fully-intonatable Stewart McDonald Wraparound bridge. This bridge also has more mass than the original stop-bar, so in addition to greatly improving the intonation, it also adds to the sustain and dynamics of the instrument. Also, the cheap Gibson-branded tuners have been upgraded to TonePros Kluson tuning machines.
This 2011 Gibson Melody Maker Special is a sweet US-made electric. The simplified control harness—with just one volume and one tone—makes it a lot different from a Les Paul Special. This guitar has a lot to offer, and it includes a basic Gator gig bag.