Price paid: £ 900
Purchased from: PMT
Sound — 9
I'm primarily a rock and metal player, with a bit of funk thrown in for the hell of it. I play a fairly wide variety of different kinds of metal, mostly from the 80's and 90's ranging from thrash, glam, death, to progressive. I use a Peavey 6505+, but I've also used a Mesa Dual Rectifier, a Marshall JCM2000 212 and an Orange Rockerverb 212 with this guitar. This guitar really surprised me in terms of tone. The bridge pickup is fantastic for high gain because its articulation and somewhat breathy tone really helps to cut through a mix. Its has a fairly bright attack, but the undertones are dark and crushing. Leads are clear and articulate with a breathy midrange voicing. IN crunch, with the 6505, it was really surprised at how good this guitar is with funk; it has a great brownsound which makes playing all the funky riffs a barrel of laughs. The neck pickup is great too. For clean, its very clear-sounding with a warm low end and a sparkly high end. I love it. For leads, it maintains this character well and it isn't so loaded down with bass that you can't hear the high end sparkle. Its also not so HOT that it distorts your clean channel either. The guitar doesn't have an enormous amount of sustain (more than most guitars though) because although the wood and the construction are excellent in quality, there isn't physically that much here to resonate, but it means that the guitar is extremely light and perfectly balanced. The only complaint that I have with this guitar is that it sometimes gets noisy. This is probably because the inside of the guitar is not foil shielded, which is a shame, but production guitars rarely have copper shielding in their cavities, so I won't judge the guitar too harshly. Its not a big problem as a noise suppressor or simply touching something metallic solves it, its just a minor complaint. Overall though, this is one of the best sounding Gibson's I've ever played for my style of music, so it scores very high in that regard. It even sounds huge unplugged, in fact it sounds a lot like it does when amplified, which I like because it shows that the guitar is doing its job of being resonant, as any quality guitar should do. Overall, its not a particularly sweet-sounding guitar but its versatility with different amp setting really showcases this guitar's capabilities. Overally, its clear, brutal and articulate. Hearing such a tone from the speaker cabinet is inspirational.
Overall Impression — 9
A '68 Gibson V was my very first love affair with guitars and guitar-orientated music when I was a 7 year old boy, I've wanted a Gibson V ever since. I was a bit worried that I was going to be disappointed but the guitar turned out even better than I thought it was going to be. I've been playing for 5 years now. I've done several jam sessions with former professional band members along with private guitar lessons, I consider myself to not be completely shit at guitar. I've owned a small variety of instruments probably the most similar to the Gibson V is my Epiphone Futura Prophecy EX with EMG 81/85's. But this guitar is an awful lot more versatile. If it was lost or stolen, I would go f--king apesh-t, I would rape whoever stole it in their sleep until they give it back. The things I love about it is a long list of things, The guitar looks AWESOME; it wows everyone who sees it including other players and bandmates. What I love the most about the guitar are what counts the most in a guitar; the guitar is a tone machine that pretty much plays itself. I would get this guitar if you love most classic metal and hard rock. Its not a jazz guitar by any means but its versatility really impresses in how it does blues and funk in its own unique and vibe-y way. This guitar is a bit of a dream machine with a lot of rock and metal history behind it. Its earned that history for a reason; its a great guitar that does what it says on the case and more. The only thing I wish it had is possibly locking tuners for the sake of convenience with restringing, but that's pretty much it. Take it from me, if you play the sort of things I play, do check it out.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I'm sure it would withstand years of playing. The only thing I might change out are the tuners. They look great and they hold tune fine, but they can be a little twitchy because the large buttons make small changes more significant. It just means that you need to turn the machine head a few times to get the tuning exactly right. Everything else feels rock solid though. The controls are all tight fitting and robust. The Switchcraft Jack and switch are chunky and positive-feeling. TOM bridges are virtually indestructible so no problems there in terms of wear with use. The nitro finish on the guitar feels solid enough. Nitro finishes tend to scratch a bit more than poly in their nature, but at least they allow the wood to dry out, making the guitar sound even better with age. Even when the finishes are old and decrepit, the relicing effect looks cool on them. The buttons feel fine, but I did put Jim Dunlop straplocks on the guitar just in case. There isn't really anything else to say here, it just feels like a dependable guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This guitar really caught my eye when I first glanced at it in the shop. The finish was IMMACULATE when it was new. The only slight blemish was a small defect just to the right of the bottom of the split. But its almost invisible visually. I examined the guitar carefully when I first got a close look at it and never noticed it until months later. The action on this guitar was fantastic. Low and absolutely zero buzz on all notes. No fret-out with bends, nothing, even the intonation was correct. The only thing was that the fretboard was very dry when I first got it, but some lemon oil fixed that. The board was also a bit rough, but that problem has smoothed itself out with playing. The neck profile is glorious on this guitar. It has a D-shaped neck that is thinner than a lot of Gibson's, but its not as thin as your typical shred machine guitar. I have enormous hands, with long, thin fingers and very large palms. Everyone's hands are a bit different to one another's, but this guitar fits my hands perfectly. I haven't come across any other guitar in my life that has a more comfortable neck profile for me. The pickups required adjustment though, the bass side of the bridge pickup was high, but it took nothing to solve it. I'm not going to mark the guitar down for it. The bridge feels just fine, it does what its intended to do perfectly and no sharp saddles to speak of. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't stay in tune perfectly. That may be because I tend to play it an awful lot, causing the strings to go old quickly; old strings do fall out of tune frequently. There can be a bit of pinging in the nut, but a bit of pencil lead in the slots fixed it in a snap.
Features — 7
This guitar is a reissue of the 1968 Gibson V made famous by so many famous player, Metallica, Schenker, Hendrix, Ratt and a load of others. At this price range, the guitar isn't that heavily specc'd, but it makes great use of what it does have. - Made in USA 2011. - 22 medium jumbo frets. - Comes in a few finishes, ebony, cherry and white, mine is in ebony. - Mahogany body with a 1-piece quartersawn mahogany neck with a North American rosewood fingerboard with a 12" radius. - TOM bridge and a stopbar (of course). - Passive Gibson 500T/496R ceramic humbuckers. - 2 volumes, i tone, 3-way Switchcraft selector. - Kluson tuners and a corain nut. - Came with a nice hardshell case (truss rod Allan wrench included which is nice). I received a couple of freebies including a Gibson shirt and a capo.