With Gibson 2017 Models Right Around The Corner, We Take a Look Back at Some of Our Favorite Gibson Guitars.
With 2017 only round the corner, many folks will be focusing on Christmas, the new year and when the next season of Game of Thrones will be coming out. We however, are more excited for the launch of Gibson's brand new 2017 lineup of instruments.
There's a lot of speculation with some models having been confirmed while others are having us scratching our heads. Instead of playing the guessing game, we thought we would recap over some of our favorite Gibson's from the past few years.
From limited runs to returning favorites, here are 10 guitars chosen as being the best playing, most unique and most desirable Gibson's we've seen and tested.
Number 10 - Gibson 2015 J-200 Standard (1937-Present)
Known as the 'King of The Flat Tops' and heavily featured in the 2007 film 'August Rush', the J-200 Standard is an iconic guitar striking an interest in country players, folk artists and blues players a-like. What really sets this one apart for us was the consistency of the guitars themselves, we've yet to see a bad J-200. The Super Jumbo body shape produces a massive yet finely articulated sound which will go down very well with finger-style players, it also sounds epic when strummed and articulates lead runs incredibly well.
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, from its mustache tail-piece to the finely detailed inlay and binding work, we think you'll agree that this is an impossibly pretty instrument and easily makes it onto our top ten list. We can't wait to try the new SJ-200 which yes, is CONFIRMED for 2017.
Number 9 - Gibson Tak Matsumoto Signature Guitar (2013-2015)
Tak Matsumoto, for those of you who might not have stumbled across him yet is Asia's pride and joy of the guitar world. Tak first hit stardom in 1988 with his band, 'B'z' but it wasn't until fairly recently (2013) that Tak teamed up with Gibson to create his signature guitar. This axe is super easy to play thanks to a double-cutaway design and features a single tone and 2 volume controls similar to that of the Flying V's.
A guitar you might not have seen but won't soon forget. If you can find one of these tremendous guitars then be sure to give it a go. Right down to the fit and finish, these are exquisite guitars.
Number 8 - Gibson Memphis 1963 ES-335 Block Reissue (2015 - Present)
The original ES-335 was introduced in 1958 and has been favored by the likes of Eric Clapton, Freddie King, BB King and Chuck Berry. This axe revolutionized the guitar industry being the worlds first thin-line, semi-hollowbody guitar put into production.
The 2015 Block Reissue (named so because of it's block inlays as opposed to dots), are phenomenal examples. There's something about these guitars which really makes you want to dig in. Phenomenal sound, stunning looks and unmatched play-ability are just a few reasons why this particular 1963 Reissue 335 makes it onto our list. As of the time this article was written, unfortunately no 2017 Gibson ES-335 has been confirmed. We hope Gibson amends this however should that not be the case, this is certainly a model to look out for!
Number 7 - Gibson Reverse Flying V (2007)
Back in 2007, Gibson pulled a very bold move by reversing the iconic 'Flying V'. Some love it and some hate it but what we can tell you for free is that these are amazing, underrated guitars.
Starting off, this is the fastest selling electric guitar of all time. The guitar has a very hot-rod approach to it with just a single volume control, two Classic 57 pickups and very little else. The result is a perfectly weighted guitar which sits like no other does, shifting it's center of gravity thanks to it's wacky reverse body. It also sits perfectly on the knee due to the reverse angle of the body and is easier to make intonation adjustments to than the standard 'V' as the tuners fan outwards instead of inwards, effectively changing the string lengths and tensions. You might need to digest this for a while but what you're looking at is one of, if not the best playing guitar Gibson has ever made. No Seriously.
Number 6 - Gibson Nighthawk Standard Limited Edition (2010)
The original Gibson Nighthawks were introduced in 1993 as a means of incorporating some of Fenders trademark features into a brand new guitar design. The results were poor sales which eventually led to the discontinuation of the line in 1998, just 5 years after it's launch. In 2010 Gibson went back to the drawing board to produce this, a limited edition Nighthawk available in 3 stunning colors (Chicago Blue, Memphis Mojo and St. Louis sauce).
This guitar features a 25.5" scale length (usually found on Fender guitars), 3 pickups and a 5-way 'Blade' selector switch. The host of tones available from this axe is nothing short of insane. When in the right hands it can sound like almost any guitar you've heard. Being semi-hollow it's also incredibly light, comfortable to play for long duration's and very easy on the eyes with that glorious 'AAAA' Flamed Maple top.
Number 5 - Gibson Lyre Tail Firebird (2016)
The Gibson Firebird was originally introduced in 1963 when Gibson called upon car designer Ray Dietrich to create a striking new body shape for them.
The resulting Gibson Firebird has since become one of the most recognizable guitars in world, finding its way into the hands of Johnny Winter, Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton, Joe Perry and Brian Jones.
For 2016 Gibson have removed the trademark Firebird banjo tuners in favor of Grovers and added a Lyre Tail Vibrato to the mix. This adds up to a more stable, more versatile Firebird then we have seen in a long time. If you haven't played a Firebird yet then you're missing out. These guitars are superb and play exceptionally well.
Number 4 - Custom Shop Gibson SG Vintage VOS (2013 - 2014)
This 3-pickup, custom shop installment of the Gibson SG might just be one of the finest that Gibson have ever put out. These models aren't so easy to come by but they look, sound and feel incredible. It's 3-pickup configuration gives this guitar a very distinct tone which is best done justice during Jimi Hendrix's performance of 'Red House' live in Stockholm Sweden.
Number 3 - Gibson Flying V Custom (2016)
Our personal favorite Gibson to come out of 2016, the Custom Shop Flying V borrows it's stunning design cues from the Black Beauty Gibson models.
Fret access is further improved here from the standard 'V' as you'll notice a slightly bigger cut into the body at the neck joint. Through and through this is your typical Gibson Flying V but with those added aesthetics it instantly sets itself apart as one of the most strikingly beautiful models we've ever seen from Gibson. Prices can be quite steep for these custom shop models but are sure to remain very collectible over the course of time.
Number 2 - Gibson SGS3 (2015)
Making it to our number 2 spot is the stunning Gibson SGS3 guitar which has also recieved the full 'Black Beauty' treatment and sports a sideways Vibrola tail-piece.
As mentioned earlier some guitars are just a fine example of their time and have a certain mojo to them. This is certainly one of those models. For whatever the reason may be (were putting it down to magic), this is just such an easy guitar to play. The sideways Vibrola is not your conventional whammy bar in the sense that it's really just to add a slight vibrato to your playing and does not accommodate dive bombs or other whammy madness. This is a pure tone machine for a serious guitar player and we think its gorgeous.
Number 1 - Gibson Les Paul Supreme (2015)
Can this guitar really live up to the Supreme name? The short answer is yes. Absolutely yes.
The 2015 Les Paul Supreme is a semi-hollowbody, center block version of the Les Paul which cancels out feedback. Spec'd up to the clappers, this guitar features a 'Zero Fret' adjustable nut, locking Grover Keystone tuners, upgraded titanium Tune-o-matic bridge, wider neck/fingerboard for enhanced play-ability, extra thick cabling, a reinforced jack plate, floating mini humbucker in the neck, 492R pickup in the lead position and finally a beautiful molded golden case.
We can talk about specs all day but this guitar really speaks for itself. The finish and build quality is completely unrivaled while the action and play-ability of this guitar just blows all (if any) competition out of the water. While we adore the Seafoam green finish, this guitar is also available in a more traditional looking sunburst.
We hope you have enjoyed this brief blast from the past. Be sure to keep up to date with the blog for all the coming info on Gibson 2017.