Gibson Dove

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Gibson Dove
Gibson Dove 2005.jpg
2005 Gibson Dove
Manufacturer Gibson
Period 1962-present
Body type Flattop
Neck joint Maple
Body Maple
Neck Maple
Fretboard Rosewood
Bridge Tune-O-Matic or Adjustable or Fixed Rosewood
Pickup(s) LR Baggs
Colors available
Sunburst, Natural, Ebony

The Gibson Dove is a flattop steel-string acoustic guitar made by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. First made in 1962 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, it was Gibson's second square-shouldered dreadnought (based on the Martin D-style dreadnought[1]), after the introduction of the Gibson Hummingbird in 1960.

Both guitars have solid spruce tops and engraved pickguards. The Dove has solid maple back and sides instead of the solid mahogany used for the Hummingbird, and the Dove has a longer scale length (25.5" vs 24.75"). The Dove's longer scale length and maple back and sides make it a louder, brighter guitar than the Hummingbird.

The double parallelogram fingerboard inlays, the two doves on the bridge, and the dove on the pick-guard are mother of pearl. The Dove has factory installed LR Baggs active electronics powered by a 9-volt battery. The original Doves had Gibson's tune-o-matic bridge. While the tune-o-matic bridge seemed like a technological improvement at the time, the metal bridge had negative effects on tone and volume.

The Scotty Moore web site has photos of several different Dove bridge types; tune-o-matic, adjustable, and fixed. In 1968 the internal bracing of the Dove was made heavier;[2] while this made a sturdier guitar that was less likely to be returned to Gibson for warranty work, the volume of the guitar was reduced and the tone suffered.[3]

In 1985 Gibson's new owners began to address the quality issues that were affecting the company's products and reputation.[4] By 1992 production of Gibson acoustic guitars was shifted to Bozeman, Montana. While until recently Gibson said the Dove was the "Legendary 1962 model with all the original details!", in 2007 the Dove became one of Gibson's Modern Classics.

Among the features of the Modern Classics are "Big Sky" radiused fingerboard edge, bone nut, and Tusq saddle. Since it has been stated that “'The Modern Classics are designed for the contemporary player...we are convinced these are also the most playable acoustic guitars available today'...[and have] The industry’s lowest action and finest playability ”,[5] these new model Doves will be easier to play but have a bit less volume and projection than the older models (although the improved nut and saddle materials may offset that somewhat). For a number of years the Dove has been a Custom Shop instrument available in special limited runs.

Special models include the Dove Performer (with a Fishman Prefix T Pickup), the Dove Quilt (limited to 20 made with quilted maple back and sides), the Doves in Flight (with extra ornaments), and the Elvis Presley Dove, based on the 1969 custom Dove that Elvis used in the early 1970s.[6] For those seeking the Ebony finish of the Elvis Dove, the Dove Performer has a similar look.

Epiphone versions[edit]

Epiphone also made a Dove. It is available in natural and black, and at one time cherry, and was manufactured in China. Epiphone reintroduced their version of Gibson's Dove in 2012. Called the Dove Pro, it features a solid spruce top (instead of a laminate top), a maple body & neck, Fishman Sonitone/Sonicore pickup system, and a violinburst finish. The Dove Pros are made in Indonesia.


  1. ^ Hembry, Gil;Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty's Golden Era 1948-1966; GH Books; Austin, TX; 2007.
  2. ^ "Vintage Guitars Info - Gibson flattop vintage guitar collecting". Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  3. ^ Eldon Whitford , David Vinopal , Dan Erlewine.; Gibson's fabulous flat-top guitars : an illustrated history & guide; GPI Books; San Francisco; c1994. ISBN 0-87930-297-6
  4. ^ Kevin Maney.; Guitar-playing Harvard man turns Gibson around; USA Today; 02/21/2006.
  5. ^ "Gibson Lifestyle: True Vintage and Modern Classic: The Preservation and Evolution of Gibson Acoustic Guitars by Dave Hunter 08.29.2007". Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  6. ^ "Elvis' 1969 Ebony Custom Gibson Dove". Retrieved 2007-03-09. 

External links[edit]