Gibson Flying V
About Gibson Flying V Guitars
When the iconic Gibson Flying V electric guitar was released in 1958, it was not an instant success. In fact, like its futuristic sibling The Explorer, it was a bit ahead of its time. Intended to modernize Gibson’s standing in the marketplace to compete with the flashier Fender Stratocaster, the Flying V and Explorer models were met with lackluster sales. While the Explorer continued its initial production run until 1963, the Flying V was discontinued after only a year or so. However, by 1967, with popular culture rapidly evolving, and with the dawning of the psychedelia and hard rock movements, Gibson reissued the Flying V with greater success. It has remained in production ever since, including variations like the V2, from the late 70s, and the limited-run Reverse Flying V, released in 2007. You'll find the best selection of new Flying V guitars right here at Musician's Friend.
The first run of Gibson Flying V’s were constructed with a body of solid korina, or limba wood. It’s an African tonewood similar to mahogany, but lighter in weight and color, with an enhanced midrange. They were loaded with a pair of Gibson’s recently-developed humbucking dual-coil pickups. They had a Tune-O-Matic bridge, with through-the-body strings, rather than the stopbar tailpiece used in later configurations. Early Flying V players include blues and rock virtuoso Lonnie Mack. He bought the seventh V off the production line, and has used it throughout his career. Lefty blues legend Albert King flipped his over and played it upside down, with the low E string on the bottom. He played a collection of V’s over the years, each one named “Lucy,” and was a huge influence on Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, among others. The Kinks helped launch the British Invasion, and guitarist Dave Davies helped popularize the Flying V, which he got for the band’s American tour in 1965.
After it was re-released in 1967, the Flying V caught on with guitarists like Leslie West of Mountain, Andy Powell of early-70s rockers Wishbone Ash, and, of course, Jimi Hendrix, who owned three V’s, including the psychedelic one he painted himself. Other rockers who favored the V were brothers Rudolf Schenker (of The Scorpions) and Michael Schenker (of The Scorpions, UFO and MSG), Johnny Winter, Lenny Kravitz and Eddie Van Halen. Aerosmith’s Joe Perry has a Flying V or two in his impressive arsenal, as does Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, and ZZ Tops’ Billy Gibbons. Of course, Metallica’s Kirk Hammet helped define 80’s heavy metal with Flying V. Today, the Gibson Flying V is still riding high, with models like the Traditional Pro, featuring a mahogany body and neck and loaded with a pair of screaming Zebra humbuckers, or the Heritage Cherry, with ceramic pickups for screaming metal tone. Or check out a signature Kirk Hammett Flying V if you’re looking to Ride the Lightning. Whatever your playing style, the Gibson Flying V will get you there in first class style.
The Gibson Flying V B-2 is a stealthy V that's ready to shred. Its revolutionary, ready-to-take-off-for-the-moon body shape has always left no doubt that you won't settle for the ordinary. This stealth black version drives home the point. A resonant mahogany body and high-output Dirty Fingers + humbucking pickups combine for screaming tone that only needs your best riffage to complete the picture.
Previous Gibson Flying V Models
Gibson Flying V Traditional Pro
The sleekest rocker on the planet, revamped and ready to rumble. The Flying V Traditional Pro starts with great tonewoods. In this case, its a bevy of Grade-A mahogany. A neck made from solid quarter-sawn mahogany and carved in a thin '60s profile is glued into a solid Grade-A mahogany body. The fingerboard is another slice of Grade-A timber, rich-chocolate-brown rosewood in this instance, and carries 22 medium-jumbo frets. Killer looks are assured by a thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish in your choice of Ebony Black or Wine Red, given an added touch of elegance with cream binding around the body and fingerboard, and vintage gold "top hat" control knobs. The time-tested dimensions of a 24 3/4" scale length, a 1 11/16" nut width, and a 12" fingerboard radius ensure that legendary Gibson playability, too.
To truly capture the tonal superiority of the great original Vs of the late '50s, the Flying V Traditional Pro carries a pair of vintage-style humbucking pickups. A '57 Classic in the neck position delivers warm throaty tones with plenty of clarity, and a slightly hotter BurstBucker 3 in the bridge offers searing crunch and soaring lead tones. Two of Gibson USA's most popular humbuckers. Both are installed uncovered with exposed "zebra coil" bobbins. These units are made with genuine Alnico II magnets and wound with 42 AWG wire, just like the legendary PAFs of the late '50s and early '60s, and offer a blend of richness and clarity that few pickups can match today. A Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece ensure a solid anchor and optimum sustain, while a set of high-quality TonePros Vintage Kluson button tuners grace the soaring arrow-shaped V headstock. For thundering metal or ripping blues, the Flying V Traditional Pro offers unbeatable tone, and undeniable style.
Gibson Faded Flying V
The faded finish gives it the look of a seasoned performer. The Gibson Faded Flying V was born to rock. When the original V came out in '58, it was ahead of its time. When it was reissued 9 years later, it became a favorite of progressive rockers and still is to this day. This Faded Flying V has all the features and specs of the '67 model and the look of a guitar that has been loved and cared for since those early days.
Gibson Reverse Flying V Limited Edition
Gibson's original limited run of Reverse Flying Vs flew out of stock, selling out faster than any other electric guitar model. Hundreds of lucky guitar players were very happy and tens of thousands hollered for a Reverse V guitar of their own. Since then, the letters and e-mails to Gibson have flooded in, demanding another chance to own a Reverse Flying V. You asked, Gibson listened, and they have handcrafted a small number of Reverse Flying V guitars for another very limited run of these flame-throwing cult classic collectibles. For those who missed it the first time, here is one more chance to grab an amazing Reverse Flying V electric guitar from Gibson USA. If there is this much demand for them now, think what they will command when they are vintage.
Innovative, groundbreaking, daring, and revolutionary were the the words most commonly used to describe Gibson's legendary Flying V, first introduced in 1958. In 2007, when Gibson took it a step further with the bold and fearless Reverse Flying V, people couldn't believe their eyes. Smart guitarists grabbed one while they could, nabbing one of the most popular and collectible Gibson electrics of the past 20 years. Now, in response to a popular demand that has increased ever since the original run, Gibson USA is proud to once again offer the Reverse Flying V, in a very limited edition. This limited edition Reverse Flying V features a solid mahogany, V-shaped body, four-ply pickguard, Kluson-style green key tuners, and retro-style V-shaped gold tailpiece. The neck sports the traditional Flying V profile, a hybrid between the classic '50s rounded contour and the popular '60s slim-taper. The ebony fingerboard and gold-pasted truss rod cover round out this testament to Gibson's bold and pioneering design tradition. Each has a pair of '57 Classic humbuckers for legendary vintage Gibson tone.
Gibson Custom Jimi Hendrix Flying V
A dazzling Custom Shop re-creation of the master's hand-decorated axe. The Gibson Jimi Hendrix Flying V Electric Guitar is meticulously handcrafted in Gibson's Custom Shop to replicate in every nuance the instrument Jimi toured Europe with in 1967-1968. Gibson artists precisely replicate the swirling psychedelic design that Hendrix himself applied to the original. A limited run of just 300 instruments, this is sure to become a collector's item. Includes a certificate of authenticity signed by the Hendrix family.
Gibson Grace Potter Signature Flying V
Along with her band the Nocturnals, Grace Potter channels the best of late '60s and early '70s rock into a hip and original brew. Grace's soulful voice and stellar guitar playing on her favored Flying V tipped her as a classic rocker right from the start with her band's self-released 2005 debut when she was just 21 years old. Gibson USA proudly released the Grace Potter Signature Flying V. Crafted from Grade-A tonewoods and loaded with premium hardware and two of the finest contemporary recreations of legendary PAF humbucking pickups, the Grace Potter Signature Flying V is the hippest tone machine to head down the pike in a long time. Its unique look, designed by Grace, includes a hand-sprayed Nocturnal Brown gloss nitrocellulose top finish and satin natural back, sides and neck, and cream-painted Lexan pickguard with custom silkscreened art deco border.
In the image of the classic second wave of '60s Flying Vs, the Grace Potter Signature Flying V from Gibson USA is crafted in solid Grade-A mahogany, a rich, resonant tonewood that has been responsible for many of the finest Gibson electric guitars ever to come off the line. Its glued-in Grade-A mahogany neck is carved to a "Slim V" profile that measures .800" at the 1st fret and .850" at the 12th, and topped with a luxurious dark-brown chechen fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets. A PLEK-slotted Corian nut ensures a maximum amount of that crucial neck resonance arrives in the guitar's final sonic brew, while vintage-style TonePros tuners with pearloid keystone buttons maintain a traditional look at the back-angled headstock. All this along with Gibson's renowned craftsmanship and the classic specs of the 24-3/4" scale length, a 1-11/16" nut width, and a 12" fingerboard radius ensure legendary playability, too.
To capture the tonal splendor of this well-crafted guitar, Gibson USA loads the Grace Potter Signature Flying V with a pair of its finest PAF recreations. The BurstBucker Pro Rhythm at the neck and BurstBucker Pro Lead at the bridge are both made with Alnico V magnets and wound with 42 AWG enamel-coated wire like many of the best original PAFs. They provide output levels in line with vintage humbuckers, although the bridge pickup is given extra turns of wire for a little more grind in the lead position and an excellent balance between the two. Also, in a contemporary twist, both pickups are wax potted to combat microphonic feedback, so you can crank this sweet, soulful tone monster through your amp of choice, achieving everything from warm, rich, bluesy tones to wailing lead and crunching rhythm, without fear of howl or squeal. The classic pairing of Tune-o-matic bridge and stud-mounted stopbar tailpiece keep it all locked down for maximum sustain and easy intonation adjustment, and a pair of individual volume controls, a master tone, and a three-way switch give you all the sonic versatility required.
Gibson Rudolf Schenker Flying V
A distinctive body shape with arena-ready colors and sounds. The Gibson Rudolf Schenker Flying V Electric Guitar is a signature model by the Scorpions' founding member and is sure to please any enthusiast of classic guitars. Rudolf is known for his love of the Flying V's distinctive shape and sound and this model is packed with his favorite features. It has a mahogany body with a set mahogany neck and the fingerboard is granadillo for smooth feel and a sustainful touch. Dual '57 Classic humbucking pickups put out enough power to fill any room or arena. Grover tuners with oval pegs and a tune-o-matic bridge keep intonation locked tight for performance.
Gibson Custom Kirk Hammett Flying V
The aged Kirk Hammett Gibson Flying V. Only were 100 made. One of the most influential heavy metal artists of all time, Kirk Hammett commands the #11 position in Rolling Stone's "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." Inarguably a master of heavy metal through his long career with Metallica, Kirk Hammett is one of the most multi-dimensional artists of recent history. In celebration of Kirk Hammett's amazing career, his influence on generations of guitarists and ever-evolving approach to the craft of guitar playing, Gibson Custom presents the Kirk Hammett Flying V. It is a true recreation of Kirk's own 1979 Flying V which has been his trusted companion throughout his playing career.
Gibson Custom Zakk Wylde Flying V
Zakk's Bullseye paint job, Floyd Rose trem and EMGs on a Flying V. The Gibson Custom Shop Zakk Wylde Flying V Custom with Floyd Rose is a limited edition electric guitar that is definitely its own beast. You've seen the paint job before, but if you haven't seen it on the Flying V before, you have to take a look! This is a Flying V guitar with its own sound and personality-”just like Zakk! Combined that with the Gibson Custom Shop's peerless craftsmanship, and this guitar is destined to become highly prized by collectors. You'll find everything you love about the Flying V guitar in this custom Gibson model: the resonant, mahogany body and set mahogany neck, a hot EMG-85 humbucker pickup at the bridge, and an EMG-81 humbucker at neck. Big block inlays on the ebony fretboard and nickel hardware look awesome with Zakk's bullseye paintjob. The Floyd Rose tremolo supplies you a pilot's license to drop bombs of sonic mayhem on your awaiting fans.
Gibson Custom 1959 Mahogany Flying V VOS
This was a historically accurate reproduction of a 1959 Gibson Flying V, with mahogany replacing the original korina for the body and neck. The guitar is hand-finished in VOS (Vintage Original Spec) to give the look of a new guitar, some decades old, that has been stored and played very little. The Flying V' shape was a wildly original futuristic shape with heavy, resonant tone that is both iconic in the world of rock and blues today. From its arrowpoint headstock to its dual volume and single tone controls to its vintage tulip tuners and Holly headstock veneer to its V tailpiece, the Flying V is a craft that fully appears to have blasted its way forward from half a century ago.