Gibson returns Oberheim brand to synth pioneer Tom Oberheim



“Let’s do the right thing,” says Gibson’s CEO.

Guitar giant Gibson has returned the Oberheim brand and trademark back to its creator as a gesture of goodwill, Synthtopia reports.

Tom Oberheim developed legendary instruments such as the SEM, OB-Xa and DMX drum machine in the ’70s and ’80s, but the brand was acquired by Gibson in 1988 following the company’s second collapse into bankruptcy. He’d already left the brand at this point, so Gibson developed synths such as the OB-Mx under the direction of Keith McMillen in collaboration with D.N. “Lynx” Crowe and Don Buchla.

“Of the many stories I have heard and decisions I have made since joining Gibson, this situation seemed simple,” said Gibson CEO James Curleigh. “Let’s do the right thing by putting the Oberheim brand back in the hands of its namesake founder Tom Oberheim.”

“After over thirty years of being without it, I am thrilled to once again be able to use the Oberheim trademark for my products,” Oberheim said. “I am very grateful to the new leadership team of Gibson for making this possible.”

Oberheim has continued to develop synths independently over the past three decades, including a remake of the SEM and a range of Eurorack modules, as well as the OB-6 in collaboration with Dave Smith’s Sequential. He hasn’t revealed what he plans to do with the trademark, but with Behringer developing its own OB-Xa clone, we may well get some official reissues.