Nashville-based Gibson guitars closed facilities Friday in an effort to combat the spreading of the novel coronavirus. Gibson confirmed a temporary closure hours after an order Sunday from Metro Public Health Department to stop all non-essential Nashville business, beginning Monday, for the next 14 days.

The Les Paul and SG model guitar maker operates facilities in Nashville and Bozeman, Montana. In Nashville, Gibson employs about 350 to 400 factory workers and about another 120 in a Nashville-based custom guitar shop.

J.C. Curleigh

Gibson CEO

There were no known coronavirus, or COVID-19, cases among employees at the time of closure, said J.C. Curleigh, Gibson CEO and president. Curleigh began leading the 126-year-old company in late 2018 after Gibson filed for bankruptcy.

“It’s unprecedented, and I think what we’re reading from the board to the leadership team to every individual at Gibson,” Curleigh said, “is no one’s been through this. It’s not as though there’s a playbook.”

“(There are) a lot of ways, as leaders, we’re navigating this unprecedented time together,” Curleigh said, later adding, “We have a prerogative as a leadership team … two weeks of a factory (closure) or a month of the factory (closure) pales into insignificance of the rebuild we’ll all have to do.”


The Montana-based Gibson facility, which manufactures acoustic guitars, also closed Friday. In Nashville, the brand migrated primary offices last July to Cummins Station. Gibson office employees, about 100 total, began working remotely last Wednesday, Curleigh said.

Due to COVID-19, Gibson closed international showrooms in the U.K., Japan, Europe and domestic stores in Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Texas, and Nashville.