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In 1944, Gibson was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) which was acquired in 1969 by Panama-based conglomerate, Ecuadorian Company Limited (E. L.) that changed its name in the same year to Norlin Corporation.Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names and builds one of the world's most iconic guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. Gibson was at the forefront of innovation in acoustic guitars, especially in the big band era of the 1930s; the Gibson Super 400 was widely imitated.Gibson folklore has also claimed its guitars were made by "seasoned craftsmen" who were "too old for war." In 1944 Gibson was purchased by Chicago Musical Instruments. Gibson hired Ted Mc Carty in 1948, who became President in 1950.He led an expansion of the guitar line with new guitars such as the "Les Paul" guitar introduced in 1952 and designed by Les Paul, a popular musician in the 1950s and also a pioneer in music technology.In 1958, Gibson produced two new designs: the eccentrically shaped Explorer and Flying V.These "modernistic" guitars did not sell initially.

The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984; several Gibson employees led by plant manager Jim Duerloo established Heritage Guitars in the old factory, building versions of classic Gibson designs. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments.In 1952, Gibson introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul which became its most popular guitar to date— designed by Ted Mc Carty and Les Paul.Gibson was owned by the Norlin corporation from 1969 to 1986. Initially, the company produced only Orville Gibson's original designs.The company (Gibson) was within three months of going out of business before it was bought by Henry E. In 2011, Gibson acquired the Stanton Group, including Cerwin Vega, KRK Systems and Stanton DJ.Gibson then formed a new division, Gibson Pro Audio, which will deliver professional grade audio items, including headphones, loudspeakers and DJ equipment.

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