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Old June 14th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Gibson Catalogs: Why Drawings?

I've been going through boxes of memorabilia and found a couple of Gibson catalogs. One is black and white from the 50s, and the other is color from the mid-60s. The one from the 50s has photos of such players as Les Paul, Barney Kessel, John Collins, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Wakely, and others. The inside has drawings, no photos, of electric guitars and amps. The electrics are all hollow bodies, with no solid bodies or thinlines, with the exception of a Gold Top Les Paul with a non-trapeze tailpiece (I forget the term), and an electric bass shaped like a violin. It has no other name than "Electric Bass." A number of amps are included, too. Everything, both guitars and amps are drawings.

The 60s catalog is gorgeous, with nice paper and beautiful drawings in color. It includes a wide variety of guitars and amps, too many to mention.

My main question is why the drawings? They are extremely beautiful, particular the ones in color. I have studied these closely for years, and am convinced that they are drawings. I'm willing to be wrong, and would love to know more about this.

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Old June 14th, 2013, 11:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Here...
http://www.oldtymeoffsetprinting.com/history.htm

Perhaps it was just an issue of cost? Printing 30 or so catalogs in order to sell one guitar has to be spendy.

I do know that at some point in time converting photos and images to type wasn't the most exact process. If you look at old newspapers etc..., you'll notice that the white/black balance of photos and such was quite often "off", too dark.

To this day, I still find that manuals with images are easier to decipher visually when illustrations rather than photos are used. Most of these are traced in photos in ADOBE Illustrator or something. At least that's how I've done it. This isn't cheap either, but an image free off color, shading, background etc... is somewhat less distracting.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 09:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The looking is too deep ese, the boss's girlfriend was a graphic artist, his wife was a photographer. The girlfriend, well she used to work in the circus, and know many tricks.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 10:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Seems like it would be MORE expensive to draw the details of guitars and amps rather than just photograph them.

Maybe they were trying to tell us something about future prices of their guitars...
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Old June 15th, 2013, 10:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Advertising style of the day. In the 50s, every ad agency had illustrators on staff to depict clients' products, primarily because running a photograph in a newspaper was a risky proposition at the time.

By the 60s, though, agencies were often running 4-color photos in magazine ads. If the 60s catalog really is all illustration, I'd think it was an anomaly by that point. CS
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Old June 15th, 2013, 11:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Andy Warhol worked as an illustrator of women's shoes back in the 1950's.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 11:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In the earlier 1960s colour scanning for print was just about established but still in its infancy. It was very expensive indeed to produce a 4-colour-separated set of lithographic negatives and plates or half-tone line blocks for letterpress, and technologically less challenging to do so from drawn or painted illustrations than from actual photographs in the form of colour transparencies, then the requisite format. Not that it would have been impossible, of course, but probably less cost-effective.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 08:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My wife and I are both proud of the fact that the careers we have now, we started in junior high and high school. I played tons of gigs back then, as the whole live music scene was radically different than what one encounters now. My wife, a painter and art professor, drew fashion ads for a local newspaper while still in high school. When she came across these somewhere recently, she was ready to toss them out before I intervened. I have them on the walls of my shop.

As a kid, I happened on a pile of horoscope magazines that my aunt had as a kid. They featured full-page ads of black and while photographs depicting a little story told in panels, just like Sunday cartoons did. Except these were definitely photos, not drawing. Since the ads were for acne cream, the "before" photos were heavily retouched to show a big, honking, pulsating, glowing zit.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 02:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry F View Post
As a kid, I happened on a pile of horoscope magazines that my aunt had as a kid. They featured full-page ads of black and while photographs depicting a little story told in panels, just like Sunday cartoons did. Except these were definitely photos, not drawing. Since the ads were for acne cream, the "before" photos were heavily retouched to show a big, honking, pulsating, glowing zit.
The half-tone process for representing shades of grey in monochrome photographs as little dots of varying sizes was invented in the 19th century and the first newspaper photo appeared in 1879. So there would have been nothing novel about what you describe even in our parents' young days. What has improved steadily over the years is the resolution - finer and finer half-tone dots - achievable through advancement in printing, papermaking and ink technology. Zit prevention and cure is less of an area of expertise for me...
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Old June 16th, 2013, 03:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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One reason why the newspaper photos may have degraded was when they were faxed in.. I think this was a common practice for the news wire services dating back to the 1920s, faxing photos to newspapers across the country.

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Old June 16th, 2013, 04:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Picture transmission by wire started surprisingly long ago, but it wasn't fax in the sense in which we now understand the term. All the same it worked to some extent but with inevitable loss of image quality. The Muirhead machine of 1947 was a big leap forward, transmitting images both in monochrome and in colour. Even now an ordinary desktop fax machine isn't great at sending or receiving pictorial matter even at its finest settings, but of course digital photo files have now rendered analogue picture transmission all but obsolete.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 08:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The first thinline was the ES 225 which came on the scene in 1955, so the catalog was probably before that.
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