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Guitar of the Day: Gibson Flying V 120

In 1958, Gibson launched the Flying V as one of its Modernist line of guitars, but production was discontinued by the next year due to lackluster sales. There is no way that Gibson’s then-president, Ted McCarty could have known that these guitars would eventually become one of the most valuable, sought-after production guitars on the market. In 1963, a small number of Flying Vs were assembled from leftover parts and sold. Gibson fully re-issued the V again in 1967 and that became the standard for the Flying V. Now it’s fitting that on Gibson’s 120th anniversary they have released the Flying V 120, a limited-run tribute to an iconic instrument.

The V 120’s body is made from Grade-A mahogany and is cut to the original’s radical angles but with thinner dimensions. The glued-in neck, also made from Grade-A mahogany, is carved in a fast, slim profile and features a one-piece rosewood fretboard and a slimmed-down “arrowhead” headstock. The slight alterations make the V 120 lighter, better-balanced, and more comfortable to play while still retaining the original V’s classic look and sound.

Gibson’s Burstbucker Pro humbucking pickups give the V 120 the range of sounds that the Flying V is famous for; from smooth and sultry to raucous and snarling, it’s all there. A Tune-o-matic bridge and Grover tuners keep it solid and simple. The old-school nitrocellulose lacquer finish is put on thin, which increases the wood’s ability to resonate. This not only enhances the guitar’s tonal characteristics but adds a gorgeous, vintage vibe to its look. Completing that look are the familiar “witch hat” knobs and white-dot-inlay fret indicators.

With a discreet marker displaying Gibson’s 120th anniversary at the 12th fret, the Flying V 120 is sure to become a collectible classic in its own right. It is, however, a limited edition, so pick yours up soon!

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