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krall

Can anybody Identify This Flying V?

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Hey everybody! I have a very unique Flying V, one of which I've never seen before and was hoping a forum member(s) (or member of customer service) could shed some light about it. So, let's proceed with the specs:

 

 

Body:

 

-One piece mahogany back, cherry finish

 

-Wood carved electronics cover and round wooden input jack cover

 

-Cream colored binding (possibly originally white)

 

-Three piece birds eye maple top (5mm/0.19685 inch thick)

 

-Cherry finish

 

-Lacquer cracking/checking throughout

 

-Pink buffing residue in pickup cavities

 

-Serial number 008320 unevenly stamped on inside bottom wing, above input jack

 

 

 

 

Neck:

 

-Ebony fretboard

 

-One piece mahogany neck, no volute

 

-Medium carve

 

-Cream binding (possibly originally white)

 

-Large flat frets, possibly an old refret

 

-No binding nibs. Remnants of nibs on higher frets indicating there were nibs originally. Nibs either missing from refret or playing wear

 

-22 frets, 17 clear of body

 

 

 

 

Headstock:

 

-Pointy style

 

-Black plastic "Gibson" logo, three gold screws

 

-5/16" trussrod nut size

 

-Pink buffing residue in trussrod cavity

 

-Gold Kluson Deluxe single ring keystone tuners

 

-"wing" on both sides on the back of the headstock, a feature seen on most Gibson headstocks.

 

 

 

 

Hardware:

 

-All screws are gold colored throughout

 

-Neck pickup is an early 80's "Tim Shaw" . Ink stamped 07? 128. Was in guitar when owner purchased it in early 90's. Could be original

 

-Bridge pickup is a non-original Dimarzio Super Distortion installed recently. Had an 80's Seymour Duncan "JB" when owner purchased in early 90's. The JB is deemed not original to guitar

 

-Gold tailpiece appears to be a Gibson piece made in the 60's

 

-Gold tune-o-matic bridge with nylon saddles and retaining wire is a Gibson Pat.No. piece from '61-'65 period. Deemed not original to guitar

 

-Knobs are from a 1962 Melody Maker. Had black, ribbed "witch hat" knobs when owner purchased it. Not sure if the "witch hat" knobs were original to the guitar or not

 

-All pots, caps and wiring are non-original

 

 

 

Unusual/unique features on this guitar not seen on any other Gibson Flying V:

 

-Birds eye maple top

 

-Plastic Gibson logo/cover and placement of screws is different from others seen

 

-The knobs, three in a straight line and their position on the guitar is different from all V's seen/known

 

-The position of the switch is different from all V's seen/known

 

-The position of the input jack is different from all V's seen/known

 

-The carved wooden electronics cavity cover is different from all V's seen/known

 

-The addition of a separate small round wooden cover for the input jack is different from all V's seen/known

 

-Ebony fretboard versus rosewood board

 

-The numbers in the serial appear to have been hand stamped one at a time, are not level and positioned on body edge by input jack, instead of behind headstock. Serial number does not match the system from Gibson at that period (we believe the guitar was made in early 80's from the overall look/style)

 

 

 

I have had two local luthiers/techs with many years of service who have worked on thousand's of Gibsons study it. In their opinions, it's a Gibson. The question is, was this guitar a prototype? Was it a custom order made for a client? If yes, does customer service have records indicating who it was made for and when? Was it possibly made by a Gibson employee for himself? Is it possible it's not a Gibson after all but an extremely well made and convincing copy?

 

I took 70 pictures from all angles to help identify this guitar. Here are a few to start:

 

IMG_4902_zps1fzc1o5b.jpg

 

IMG_4907_zpsspbam0xd.jpg

 

IMG_4905_zpss3wbo3e3.jpg

 

IMG_4908_zpsm2e67tgk.jpg

 

IMG_4906_zpszvrfaxt5.jpg

 

IMG_4904_zpshshmsib7.jpg

 

IMG_4911_zpskeckeitd.jpg

 

IMG_4910_zpshkqz91zj.jpg

 

IMG_4918_zpsalh4adgo.jpg

 

IMG_4913_zps0taoynqt.jpg

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The one I have is not "The V". Look at one of those closely and look at this one. Position of tailpiece, top (the V has flametop, not birdseye maple like mine) the positioning of the knobs, switch, input jack, the headstocks on "The V" are stubbier and have the Gibson logo on the actual headstock, versus mine on TRC and they all seem to have volutes..Mine does not.."The V" has a one piece plastic electronics cover, while mine has two pieces carved out with wood covers, the position of the serial number etc..While at a quick glance it looks like an early 80's "The V", a side by side comparison clearly shows they're not the same...I do feel it was made in the same era though (early 80's).

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Hello.

 

That is strange. Almost looks like The V, but the controls arranged like on a Dean V or Ibanez Rocket.

 

No volute either. ABR-1 bridge instead of Nashville unit. Stopbar is close to the bridge.

 

My first though was that someone set a Gibson neck into an Ibanez Rocket body.

 

3025_P_1329840078146.jpg

 

Hmmm...

 

Bence.

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Hello.

 

That is strange. Almost looks like The V, but the controls arranged like on a Dean V or Ibanez Rocket.

 

No volute either. ABR-1 bridge instead of Nashville unit. Stopbar is close to the bridge.

 

My first though was that someone set a Gibson neck into an Ibanez Rocket body.

 

3025_P_1329840078146.jpg

 

Hmmm...

 

Bence.

 

Your comments took me by surprise because the first tech I brought it to inspect it is a veteran of the scene, has been personal guitar road tech for Keith Richards, Zakk Wylde, Lenny Kravitz and a bunch of others..He's worked on thousands of Gibson's and the very first thing that came out of his mouth when I opened the case was 'wow, cool Ibanez Rocket!' until he looked at the Gibson logo on the headstock and said 'whoa, what do we have here..' After going thru it for about an hour, his opinion was that it's a Gibson..Either a prototype, a custom one off for a customer or an after hours employee creation... The second guy I brought it to, the first thing he said was 'looks like a Dean'...Until again, after inspecting it, felt it was a Gibson too.

 

So, here we are!

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Gibson customer service has looked at it. Here is their answer: "this instrument does not appear to be an authentic Gibson guitar".

 

If that's the case, does anybody out there recognize which company or luthier that could have made it?

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Gibson customer service has looked at it. Here is their answer: "this instrument does not appear to be an authentic Gibson guitar".

 

If that's the case, does anybody out there recognize which company or luthier that could have made it?

Did they say why not? Not to judge them here, but I've seen examples in the past of Gibson customer service not really showing thorough expertise on Gibsons from the past. I myself wouldn't take their response as gospel.

 

I'm more of a vintage archtop enthusiast, and don't have a lot of knowledge on V's, but I've found this thread intriguing anyway. We've seen a number of unusual custom Gibsons posted about and discussed on this forum over the years, and one always has to avoid being too quick to make judgements.

 

There are a couple of things that I thought I'd mention about your V. First, although you listed the finish as "cherry" (maybe a typo), it's obviously a sunburst, and I'm not sure I would even call it cherry sunburst. It's got some darker red/brown in there. The Ibanez illustrated above is more like a cherry sunburst.

 

Even if this is some sort of "Franken-V", where somebody married a neck and body, I think it's really attractive. The body looks very high quality, so it's puzzling as to what's going on here.

 

I went online to compare it to photo examples of the aforementioned "The V", and I think this one looks better aesthetically- especially the placement of the tailpiece, and the way it pleases the eye when you're looking at the "big picture" (the whole body). Same is true for the selector switch and input jack. Just a nicely designed example of a V. Hope you get to the bottom of this. Have you posted the question on any other guitar forums? I would highly recommend doing that. Maybe the Les Paul Forum ("the other Gibsons" section), or The Gear Page.

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Thanks for your response JimR56. I agree with you regarding Customer Service. I got no explanation as to why they deemed it not a Gibson guitar. I did respond asking what aspect(s) of it makes it 100% not Gibson. Didn't get an answer from them yet. Another thing is that I've owned over 400 Gibson guitars in my life and this one feels like a Gibson..If it's not an "official Gibson" then I would venture to guess it was made by someone with knowledge with Gibson's guitar making techniques..Perhaps a past Gibson employee made it after leaving the company? Something I didn't add is the fact it also has the proper Gibson neck angle. That pink buffing residue in the pickup and trussrod cavities also (apparently) indicates a Gibson made product from a couple of guitar techs. They said it's something they've only seen in older Gibson's.

 

 

Yes, I did consider it to be a dark cherry burst, but I could be wrong..What would you guys call it (perhaps Bourbon Burst?)

 

Close inspection of the neck area shows the neck is the original that came with this body (look at the neck joint pics above).

 

Yes, I already thought of posting at those two forums you mentioned..Might do it tonight.

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... That pink buffing residue in the pickup and trussrod cavities also (apparently) indicates a Gibson made product from a couple of guitar techs. They said it's something they've only seen in older Gibson's.

 

Yes, I did consider it to be a dark cherry burst, but I could be wrong..What would you guys call it (perhaps Bourbon Burst?)

 

Close inspection of the neck area shows the neck is the original that came with this body (look at the neck joint pics above).

 

...

Gibson still used that pink polish in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Some of mine made these years showed remains of it, too, and I guess removing the machine heads might shed a light to some more of that stuff. [rolleyes]

 

I have no idea what the naming of the finish could be. The back looks cherry-red, but the top is no heritage cherry sunburst I believe.

 

To my senses there is no obvious clue saying the neck was replaced, but I'm not an expert. Natural aging and checking could have covered the tracks. :-k

 

The point I was reluctant to speak about yesterday in my reply to your introduction has been the shape of the pickup routings. I have never seen some originally made by Gibson that would be apt for using humbuckers with three mounting and adjustment screws. They were used then by Ibanez and can still be found on some Fenders. This design allows for three-dimensional pickup adjustment - a huge advantage in my opinion.

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Here's a pic of an 80's Les Paul Standard showing the same 8 sided routing as my V..So it does exist:

 

 

1229030268_lp16.jpg

That's why I felt unsure about them - I just hadn't seen some like these and wasn't able to find them on the web. Unfortunately I'm beyond my flatrate until next week which makes my web connection pretty slow, so I don't get stuff to view on my screen within a reasonable time. <_<

 

I also was searching for Vs with wooden back covers and serial numbers embossed to the body side, but couldn't find any up to now. Your V seems to be a very special one indeed.

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Hello.

 

Look at the headstock of Your guitar:

 

IMG_4912_zpse61tlzln.jpg

 

This is how they looked like in 1980:

 

original.jpg

 

Note the difference in logo type, the placement of the screws, and the size of the truss rod cover.

 

That's not a Gibson article.

 

...

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The pickup cavity of the "V":

 

IMG_4954_zpspbiifanl.jpg

 

This is a 1980 Les Paul:

 

1980%20Les%20Paul%20Pickups_zps6nnxymp9.jpg

 

They were shaped like this always! Also, if You look closely at the cavities of the "V", it doesn't looks very clean cut.

 

Bence.

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Yes, I did consider it to be a dark cherry burst, but I could be wrong..What would you guys call it (perhaps Bourbon Burst?)

Back in the day, I think this would have just been called "sunburst" (not being cherry sunburst or tobacco sunburst as specific sunburst variations). In more modern parlance, I thing "bourbon burst" is probably pretty accurate, but I tend to just look at it as "sunburst".

 

Yes, I already thought of posting at those two forums you mentioned..Might do it tonight.

I may see it if you post it at the LPF (probably less likely if you post it at the Gear Page, as I don't follow that as closely or as often). Anyway, please update here with any new info, or perhaps post a link here to any other discussions.

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I posted it at the My Les Paul forum..Link here: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/showthread.php?t=377261

 

The general consensus is that it's not a Gibson, probably made by a skilled luthier..

 

Although one former Gibson employee who worked on V's in that period did have this to say:

 

"It's definitely a FV CMT. With all the "oddball" features, my guess is that it was some kind of

early Kalamazoo trial run (prototype). I've never seen a serial number stamped in that location.

My first records of building FV CMT's was in June of 1983. Since the first four of the serial no. appear

to be on the same horizontal "plane" and the last two are different, my interpretation would be:

0083 = 1983 and 20 would be the unit number. Plus, the numbers appear to be stamped on top

of the finish, which would indicate not regular production. The wooden backplates also indicate

not regular production. Sometimes they would have to "create" backplates for prototypes until the

final design was decided and the vendor could "tool-up" for the parts. No "Made in USA" also indicates

it was not regular production, probably an employee purchase. Not sure if it could have been sold new

through a dealer without that. Cool guitar. Let me know if you find out any other details.

 

Randy"

 

 

So, I have this to ask you guys..If this V we're to be determined to be a Gibson prototype, what kind of value would it have? On the other side of the coin, if it's determined to have been built by an (unknown) skilled luthier, again, what would be it's ballpark value?

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krall, thanks for posting the MLP link. I enjoyed reading that thread. This is the best "mystery guitar" topic we've had here in quite a while.

 

Edit: It just occurred to me (duh) that I could post a link to this thread for you at the LPF and/or TGP, if you aren't a member or would prefer not to join. Up to you.

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Edit: It just occurred to me (duh) that I could post a link to this thread for you at the LPF and/or TGP, if you aren't a member or would prefer not to join. Up to you.

 

I'm a member of TGP, but didn't post there..Oddly enough, when I tried to sign up at the LPF a few years ago I was rejected/not allowed to join for no reason. You can link this thread to both forums if you wish.

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