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Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar   

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A musical chimera, shrouded in the silvered mists of myth and legend, the Gibson Moderne has long been known as the enigmatic "guitar that never was"...Click To Read More About This Product

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A guitar of myth and rumor, reborn for the 21st century.

A musical chimera, shrouded in the silvered mists of myth and legend, the Gibson Moderne has long been known as the enigmatic "guitar that never was"... or, was it? Designed as the third member of a trio of guitars in the new Modernist Series, prototypes of which were displayed at the 1957 NAMM show, the Moderne was originally intended to be the sibling of the Flying V and the Explorer, but never made it off the launch pad the way the other two then-futuristic classics did. Although they are iconic symbols of rock guitar today, even the Flying V and Explorer were too far ahead of their time in the late '50s, and fewer than 200 units of both types were made in their original three-year run before deletion from the catalog in 1960. Perhaps Gibson foresaw that a third Modernist was pushing it just too far? Or did a poor early reaction to the guitar lead to its demise? Ted McCarty, president of Gibson at the time, has said a number of Modernes were made; other tales tell of prototypes and raw bodies being burned in a bonfire at Kalamazoo after early showings failed to set the guitar world alight. Whatever the real story”and perhaps it is lost forever to the mists of time”the Moderne is perhaps rarest and most elusive Gibson guitar ever created. Or was, until now. "New" from Gibson USA, the Moderne captures the look, feel and sound of the original, and puts it in the hands of players today.

The Moderne is made to the precise "pre-space-aged-retro" shape that made the original so eye-catchingly hip, with elements of the Flying V's look, but with an asymmetrical lower bout that makes the guitar much easier to play sitting down. Gibson USA dresses it in your choice of two outstanding finishes, Trans Amber and Ebony, both in genuine nitrocellulose lacquer, with the gold-plated hardware that helped the Modernist series stand out in the late '50s. The body is crafted from solid mahogany (Grade-A beneath the Trans Amber guitars), with a solid quarter-sawn Grade-A mahogany neck glued in with Gibson's acclaimed deep-set neck joint. The neck is carved to a slim, fast profile that measures .800" at the 1st fret and .850" at the 12th, and topped with a fingerboard made from exotic granadillo. The Moderne's headstock follows the rare split-top design, as also seen on the extremely scarce Explorer models from the first year of production.

A pair of '57 Classics captures the sound of the original PAF humbuckers loaded on Modernist Series guitars of the late '50s. These popular pickups feature Alnico II magnets, vintage enamel-coated wire, nickel-plated pole pieces, nickel slugs, maple spacers and vintage-style, two-conductor, and braided wiring, just like the greatest humbuckers of all time. In a variation from the majority of original PAFs, however, the '57 Classics' coils are wax potted to combat microphony and feedback squeal at high volumes so, while vintage voiced, they are suited to high-gain playing, too. The timeless pairing of Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, both in gold, anchors the strings at the body end for solid sustain and precise intonation adjustment. A set of gold-plated, vintage-style tuners with pearloid buttons retains the accurate look and performance up at the headstock.

Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell case with black exterior, and includes owner's manual and adjustment literature, along with Gibson's Limited Lifetime Warranty.

  • Solid Mahogany body available in Trans Amber and Ebony finishes
  • Mahogany neck with slim, fast neck profile
  • Granadillo fingerboard with acrylic dot inlays
  • Features a pair of powerful ˜57 Classic humbucking pickups

Get back to the future with this pre-space-aged-retro gem. Order today.


Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar

  • Body
    Species: Mahogany
    Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50
    Species: Mahogany
    Profile: Slim, Fast
    Truss Rod: Traditional Adjustable
    Joint Angle: 5 (+/- 15 seconds)
    Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50
    Neck Fit
    Joint: Mortise & Tenon
    Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50
    Joint Angle: Tolerance +/- .005"
    Species: Granadillo
    Frets: 22
    Radius: 12"
    Nut/E.O.B: 1.695"/2.260"
    Scale Length: 24.75"
    Inlays: Acrylic Dot
    Material: Corian
    Width: 1.695
    Slots: Gibson PLEK System
    Logo: Gold "Gibson" Logo
    Truss Rod Cover: Black and White Antique Bell with "Moderne" Engraving
    Model: Vintage with Perloid Buttons
    Plating: Gold
    Tuning Ratio: 14:1
    Type: Tune-O-Matic
    Material: Zamak
    Plating: Gold
    Type: Stop Bar
    Material: Zamak
    Plating: Gold
    Knobs: Black Speed Knobs
    Pickguard: 5-Ply with Black on Trans Amber
    Pickup Mounting: Rings Black Plastic
    Control Plate Cover: Black Plastic
    Toggle Switch Washer: Black with Gold
    Strings: .010 - .046, Genuine Gibson strings
    Strap Buttons: Aluminum
    Neck Position: '57 Classic (Alnico II)
    Bridge Position: '57 Classic (Alnico II)
    Potentiometers: 2 Volume Controls, 1 Tone Control
    Type: 300k Linear Volume, 500k Non-linear Tone
    Coil Wiring: Machine Wound
    Toggle Switch: Three-way Switchcraft with Black Plastic Tip
    Output Jack: Traditional 1/4"
    Sealer: Nitrocellulose
    Process: 1-1.5 mils
    Type: Gibson Hardshell
    Case: Exterior Black

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
GibsonLimited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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  • 4 Stars



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  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 5 customers

Displaying reviews 1-5

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(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


Yes yes YES!

By Martin Murcek

from Northeast US (but not for much longer)

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar:

For me, it's this and a Koa top Les Paul Custom, all the rest are for sale now.
Many people think this is the ugliest guitar Gibson ever offered (wrong) If you have always wanted a Moderne, the 2012 reissue will not disappoint. The one I purchased in trans-amber is darker than the one shown in the photos, and I'm fine with that, it does not look like so many Explorers out there, finish wise. I've always felt the '57 Classic is one of the best pickups Gibson offers, and in this guitar, you get a more jangly sound than a Les Paul, Flying V or Explorer offers. The grandillo wood fretboard is also different from the usual ebony or redwood, also a plus. If you want to run away from the pack, this is your chance...
The finish is smooth, not wavy and thick like on some midrange Gibson products. Neck to body join is very smooth.
If you dig the Moderne, there IS no substitute. I think they got this one right.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


My Favorite

By Vincent Michael

from Dallas, TX

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar:

The Moderne is a great guitar and I'm so glad Gibson decided to reissue the rarest of the 58' Space Age guitars.
Almost identical to the two other sisters (Flying V & Explorer). Individual Volume for each pickup and a single Tone, and Gibson's 57' alnico II's are still among the best pickups around and are given a great platform in the Moderne. The granadillo fretboard is very smooth and a joy to play on.
I bought the Moderne in Trans Amber. Fit and finish are outstanding out of the case. Set neck is flawless, it came set up perfectly and needed no adjustments. This guitar was crafted with alot of love and care.
A chance to own a Moderne? The Moderne is a steal at this price and if budget willing I'll buy another, it's just that great.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI

By Brian Galbreath

from Mountain View,California

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar:

I have bought 3 guitars from Musicians Friend in the past 5 years.
2007 Gibson SG Natural Burst
2008 Gibson Les Paul Classic Ebony
2012 Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Trans Amber

The Moderne sounds the best out of the three.
It has 57 Classic pickups which are my favorite sound.
Not too much distortion,just smooth and sweet.
The Mahogany body is thick,of great wood, the
Transamber is beautiful,tand the
Granadillo fingerboard is great looking and feeling,
I'd say a touch harder than rosewood,but smoother.
I was always a neck binding guy,but this neck is great.
I lowered the action and reset the intonation,and overall
I love it.

(2 of 6 customers found this review helpful)


Beautiful looking/sounding guitar

By Pick

from Northern Va

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer


  • Beautiful Woodstyle
  • Good Pick Up
  • Good Tone
  • Great Sounding Guitar
  • Solid Electronics


    Best Uses

      Comments about Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar:

      I have not played a better sounding Gibson, it'd be a keeper and my number one go to guitar except: the frets are not finished smoothly like on Les Pauls and SG's (they are rounded on the edges vs the edges' sloped in towards the center of the fretboard)thus making them feel a bit rough, and I could not find a comfortable position for the guitar on my left or right leg while sitting. I like the looks of this guitar, and the sound, however considering the frets (especially the frets I could live with the sitting issue while playing) and the body shapes inability to find a comfortable place I will be returning it. For comparison I own a number of Fender guitars Strats and Teles, a Gibson SG, and have played a few Gibson LP's and LP Studios.

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


      A look at the past

      By Buddy

      from Villa Rica Ga.

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question


      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Solid Electronics


        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Practicing
        • Recording
        • Small Venues

        Comments about Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar:

        I missed out on the earlier 1980's reissue. I have always like the look you either love it or hate it.

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