Gibson Acquires Mesa/Boogie; Randy Smith Joining as Master Amp Designer

Gibson has announced its acquisition of Mesa/Boogie, the highly-regarded brand in boutique guitar and bass amplification. Mesa/Boogie was founded 51 years ago by Randy Smith, who is responsible for creating the innovative circuits that drive some of the most influential sounds in popular music.

Smith will join Gibson as Master Designer and Pioneer of Mesa/Boogie and beyond. In his new role, Smith will continue his passion for tube technology and his vision for building hand-crafted, high-performance amplifiers.

Beginning in a converted dog kennel under the redwoods of Northern California, Smith was wrenching amplifiers for a lot of the great San Francisco area bands over 50 years ago when vintage gear was new. Being close to so many great guitar players, from Bloomfield to Santana and The Rolling Stones, Smith learned the virtues and shortcomings of the era's gear and began a process of innovation that continues. Mesa/Boogie, the company Smith founded, was the first boutique amplifier builder and pushed amplifier performance in ways that impacted rock music worldwide. Simultaneously respecting and improving the vintage classics he grew up with, through Mesa/Boogie, Smith pioneered the invention of High Gain.

"At Gibson we are all about leveraging our iconic past and leaning into the innovative future, a quest that started over 100 years ago with our founder, Orville Gibson," says James ‘'JC' Curleigh, president and CEO of Gibson Brands. "Today this quest continues with the addition of Mesa Boogie into the Gibson Brands family, along with the visionary leadership of Randy Smith and his Team who, for the past 50 years, have created an iconic and innovative brand that has stood the test of time. This is a perfect partnership based on our collective professional experiences and passion for sound."

"I'm 75 years-old and still at work every day," says Smith. "This is my art and many of our crew have worked by my side for 30 to 40 years. As we witnessed JC and Cesar transform Gibson, we saw kindred spirits sharing common values and a fierce dedication to quality. Today, Gibson's guitars are the best-ever and when they asked if we'd like to become Gibson's Custom Shop for amplifiers, we envisioned a perfect collaboration that would expand our outreach while preserving our legacy beyond my time. Gibson realizes the unique value of what we've all built together and this next chapter in the Mesa/Boogie story is a continuation of that dream. I am so fortunate for this partnership with the new Gibson after 50 years of doing what I love. It's been the ride of my life . . . and it ain't over yet!"

"Mesa Boogie, led by Randy, has been in service to sound without compromises since the very beginning, and that's a perfect fit for us," adds Cesar Gueikian, chief merchant officer at Gibson Brands. "We are looking forward to being the best custodians of Mesa/Boogie's iconic heritage that we can be, and at the same time, be a steward of its future. We are honoured that Randy and the Mesa/Boogie team have trusted us to lead Mesa/Boogie into the future. Together, we will continue to pursue our mutual quest of sound, quality, and craftsmanship and to push the boundaries of how guitar sound is delivered and experienced."

"This is very exciting, I can't think of a better company to carry the Mesa/Boogie torch, and I can't wait to see what we can do together," says Adam Jones, guitarist for the multi-platinum and multiple GRAMMY-Award winning band Tool. "I have been using Mesa/Boogie amplifiers and cabinets for a long time. I use them at home, in the studio when I record and on stage when I play live; they go across all of my needs."

"I've been using Gibson guitars together with Mesa/Boogie amps onstage with the Roots for well over a decade," adds Captain Kirk Douglas, guitarist for the legendary hip-hop group The Roots. "Recently, I've been doing a lot of home recording with my Mesa/Boogies; it's exciting to see the two brands joining collaborative forces."

Gibson Brands is distributed in Canada by Yorkville Sound.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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