1977 GIBSON MK 72, Rosewood/Ebony, dot, Natural, 2° Year ed, Original Case, 2 extra bridge saddles and all origimal papers and sheets, EX+
The Mark Acoustics
During the ’70s, one of the big buzzes in the guitar press was the work of Michael Kasha, a physics Ph.D. who was doing a thesis on the physical aspects of acoustics as they relate to the mechanical system design of the acoustic guitar. Kasha developed all these groovy variations on the standard fan bracing, with an asymmetrical bridge that transferred heavier bass waves to the top via a fat round part and thinner treble wave via a tapering skinny part, and other such swell ideas derived from hours of staring at an oscilloscope. Another neat feature, by the way, was a slide out interchangeable saddle.
A marriage of art and science
True to its experimental mentality, Gibson decided to pursue this scientific approach to acoustic guitar design and using its discoveries, introduced the Mark series which debuted in the Spring of 1975 and died in 1979. The first active promotion of the Marks occurred in August of 1975 with full spread ads in Guitar Player.
According to accounts published in The Music Trades, in May of ’73 Gibson began the Mark story by contacting Dr. Adrian Houtsma, Professor of Acoustic Physics at MIT, to confirm some research Gibson itself had initiated. Receiving a favorable review, Gibson then went to Dr. Kasha, who was at the time, a chemical physicist working as Director of the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University. Combining the findings from Gibson’ R&D department and Drs. Houtsma and Kasha, the company finally landed on the doorstep of well known luthier Richard Schneider, who was charged with making the scientific information practical, designing a guitar that fit with Gibson’s aesthetics and capable of being put into production. The Mark series was born.
Eventually six Marks were produced. They were, to wit, the MK-99, MK-81, MK-72, MK-53, MK-35 and MK-35-12. The model number, by the way, is branded into the back joint strip, visible through the soundhole. Appointments, according to Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, were as follows. MK-99 custom order handmade by Schneider with gold parts, steel or classical. The MK-81 had a rosewood body, removable pickguard, ebony board with abalone block inlays and gold hardware. The MK-72 had a rosewood body, a three-piece ebony/rosewood/ebony board, dot inlays and nickel hardware. The MK-53 (shown here) had a maple body, rosewood board, dot inlays and nickel hardware. The MK-35 had a mahogany body. The MK-35-12 was a 12-string; only 12 were made in 1977.
Gibson Guitars The Experimental ’70s By Michael Wright in Vintage Guitar magazine