In the 1950s, competing against the early Fender solidbodies, Gibson was perceived by some as the old, stodgy guitar builder. Even the 1950s Les Pauls weren’t really radical. So company president, Ted McCarty decided, “If they want radical, let’s give them radical!” Gibson proceeded to take everything it knew about building great guitars and used that to create something wildly untraditional. The result was a trio of designs inspired by the automobiles of the time: The Flying V with its twin “tailfins,” the lightning bolt-inspired Explorer, and the mysterious Moderne. Two of the designs actually made it into production and in 1958, guitar players got their first look at the Flying V and Explorer (the Moderne never went beyond the prototype stage, and maybe not even that far). Early Flying Vs weren’t really taken seriously, but after the discovery of just how good a pair of humbuckers could sound when played through an overdriven amp, both originals and reissues from the late-60s suddenly found favor with players. Now, 50 years later, Gibson has unleashed what could best be called a Flying V in reverse. In fact, its official name is the Gibson Reverse Flying V Limited Edition, and only 300 of these guitars will ever be built!
Available in Natural, Classic White, and Ebony, the Reverse Flying V sports a solid mahogany body (the originals were constructed of African limba wood that Gibson called “korina”), a solid mahogany neck with a 1950s rounded profile, a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with classic pearloid dot markers, and a 24-3/4″ scale.
Just like the original Flying V, this reverse version comes with a pair of humbucking pickups and a 3-way toggle switch and single master volume control. A Tune-o-matic bridge is standard and just like the original, there’s no stop tailpiece, but rather a special string-through-body “V” tailpiece. The headstock is actually more like the one that first appeared on the ’58 Explorer, forming a “V”shape of its own. Green Key machineheads complete the picture, and as befits a limited-edition instrument, all of the hardware is gold-plated.