Friday, 7 October 2011

Gibson Maurader from 1978: LP style with bolt-on neck and Flying V headstock
Our look at the new Modern Player series from Fender the other day generated a lot of comments, including one that said it was odd that Fender had borrowed the name of an unsuccessful Gibson from the 1970s. To be fair to Fender, they had originally used the name on prototypes in the 1960s, but indeed the Marauder name is best known to most guitarists as being firmly in the Gibson domain.

The Gibson Marauder was produced from 1974 to 1979 and originally sold for under $400 USD. The design is obviously derived from the Les Paul but has some Fender-ish traits in that the body is contoured and the neck is bolted on to the body. The fingerboard on the above-pictured example from 1978 is Maple which is another Fender-like appointment, although a more traditional Gibson-esque Rosewood fingerboard was also offered.

Pickups are custom designed Bill Lawrence units sealed in clear epoxy: a humbucker in the neck position and a solid-blade style single coil at the bridge (angled like the bridge pickup of a Tele or Strat).

The earliest examples produced had a 3-position pickup selector, but the Marauder pictured is a later model featuring a rotary switch allowing a blend of the two pickups to be selected. On even later models (from 1979, I'm guessing), this switch was located between the volume and tone knobs.

Often considered too Fender-like for Gibson players and vice versa, the Gibson Marauder wasn't a particularly successful guitar, although that didn't stop the Japanese producing copies of it. I remember in the punk days seeing The Buzzcocks using these guitars and I thought they looked very cool especially with that Flying V-style headstock shape. I guess they were reasonably cheap at around that time and would have been favoured by the punk bands.

This example is currently listed on eBay UK with a Buy It Now price of £699.50.

G L Wilson

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