The following profile is from our friends at Vintage Guitars and Bass a very cool UK- based site focussed on distinctive vintage instruments, check them out!
Profile: 1964 Gibson Melody Maker
Very many guitar players of the 1960s started out on a Gibson Melody Maker; they were very fine guitars for the price; high quality wood, a desireable nitrocellulose finish, but with simple electronics, resulting in a lightweight, easy playing, great sounding instrument, but with less tonal range than higher end instruments. There basic body design did change over the years; initially a single-cutaway Les Paul style, then the doublecutaway as shown here, and finally the same body shape as the SG series of guitars.
Quality woodwork on an entry level guitar
The Gibson workmanship, materials, construction and finish are every bit as good as many higher end guitars – these were made in the Gibson Kalamazoo plant alongside the SG, Les Paul and ES335 guitars – but without expensive inlays and binding, and using simple controls and cheaper, plastic covered single coil pickups. Just like the majority of 1960s Gibson solid bodies, the Melody Maker was all-mahogany (South American), with a set (glued in) neck. The typical Gibson look is completed with a nitrocellulose sunburst finish. Production costs were kept down by giving these guitars a slightly narrower headstock (most Gibson guitars have two extra glued-on wings to give extra width to the headstock), body routing on the front only, and simplified controls which could be assembled away from the guitar itself. Combined with simple single ply plastic parts and a lower-cost hardware, such as the PU380 Melody Maker pickup, the 1964 Melody maker had a zone 1 price of $127.50, or $146.50 with Gibson GV19 vibrola. A single pickup SG Junior was $165 (or $184 with vibrola) at this time.
The Melody Maker has since been re-issued by Gibson and the modern day version is an accurate, affordable version of the vintage instruments of the ’50′s and ’60′s. Check the above Gibson promo video on this very cool guitar.