Flying V review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (206 votes)
Gibson: Flying V

Price paid: $ 1052.25

Purchased from: Dolphin Music

Sound — 9
I play mainly blues or blues rock (Wishbone Ash, Thin Lizzy etc), and it fits those styles like a glove. There is a really nice contrast between the two different sounds of the pickups. On the neck you can get a really nice full bluesy tone which literally sings on the higher notes, with an incredible amount of sustain. But in contrast you can get a really crunchy sound out of the bridge pickup (great for those Thin Lizzy riffs), and that really packs a punch when you turn the gain up. I use this guitar through a Marshall AVT 50, usually with the gain on about 7 or 8, and even then you can get an awesome sustain with this guitar. Harmonics are easy to find, pinch harmonics can be a little tricky to get on some strings. As far as feedback goes you never get the high squeal or the low rumble, just a nicely pitched note, which can work really well in solos or to add ambience to a chord progression. Only given a 9, because there is a little too much contrast between neck and bridge pickups, and I find I have to change between neck and bridge when I play above or below the 12th fret. I fitted the Gibson Vibrola unit to make it look like an original 67' V used by guitar legends such as Andy Powell or Jimi Hendrix. This addition also helps add to the unique sound of this instrument, as when your playing the long sustaining solo's either high up the neck or lower down, this guitar really does sing. It's inspiring!

Overall Impression — 8
As I said before this guitar is very well suited to blues, blues rock, prog rock or classic rock. I also have a Fender Mexico Strat, and this guitar beats the socks off that (even for playing blues). I do not regret for a second buying this guitar, it is the best thing I've ever bought! If this guitar were stolen I would rush off to buy another one, or go off to find who stole it from me and beat them senseless! I compared it to a couple of other Gibson guitars (the SG and the Les Paul), and fell in love with the shape, sound and feel of the V. There is a unique sound that only a Flying V can make! The thing I love about this guitar is (as I have said before) the way it literally sings on the higher notes, especially when the gain is whacked up and the neck pickup is being used. I also love the really old school crunchy sound that is possible out of the bridge pickup. The only pain about this guitar is that it is a b*tch to play sitting down, you have to play it like a classical guitar between your knees, but that improves your playing action anyway, so I can't really complain! When I first bought it I really did miss the absence of a tremolo/vibrato unit on this guitar, and I really wish Gibson made it with the old style Vibrola arm, but they're only 75 to buy and dead easy to fit, so it's no big deal really.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is honestly built like a tank! It stays in tune very well (I haven't had to tune it in about a week). I would happily go into a gig with just this guitar and be very confident in its ability to last out the show. The strap buttons are locked down very tight, and I've never had the strap come off while playing. The finish seems to be lasting alright at the moment, I regularly polish and clean this guitar though as I am prone to sweat a lot while playing!

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar came ready to play, I didn't have to adjust anything like pickup height or action or truss rod tensions. Since I have developed my playing style I have lowered the action a tiny bit to make those legato runs a bit easier, and have brought the pickups a little closer to the strings, but that is just personal taste at the end of the day! A small electrical problem developed a few months after I got this guitar, with a loose connection on one of the volume pots that caused the volume to swell unpredictably, but this was soon rectified. The pickup selector can be noisy if you abuse it, but if you guide it firmly into place it doesn't give you much hassle! A common problem with a lot of Gibson guitars is their rediculously tight string tension. This guitar is not like that at all, and the tension is lovely, not to tight but not too loose either. I've played a Fender Strat with 9's on and the tension on this guitar is looser than that and I use D'Darrio 10's. It has quite a wide neck compared with other Gibson guitars aswell (especially the Les Paul), especially when playing at the 12th fret. You have to work to get the sound out of this guitar, it almost repays you for your work! Don't be put off by that, it makes you a better player.

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