The Gibson Flying V didn’t get off the ground very easily. Along with the Explorer, the design divebombed following its late ‘50s debut. Less than 100 of these original korina body examples are recorded shipping between ’58 and ’59, making it a very rare (and valuable) axe indeed.
Those old Gibson “modernistic” electric guitars were notoriously ahead of their time. It would be years before the Flying V really began to fly.
In the late ‘60s, Gibson relaunched the model, albeit in a different guise with a mahogany body. Following in the footsteps of Albert King, Hendrix famously played a Flying V and from there the progressive solidbody started to come into its own in the world of hard rock.
Fast forward to the ‘80s heyday of metal and the Flying V is riding high with Gibson launching numerous permutations of the model.
Among the countless metal guitarists synonymous with the Flying V-style design are brothers Rudolf and Michael Schenker of Scorpions, K. K. Downing of Judas Priest, and Dave Mustaine of multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning thrash pioneers Megadeth.
Now a veteran of the metal scene, Mustaine has been honored by Gibson with the release of a brand-new signature model – the Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP.
“I think that the Gibson Flying V is such an icon as far as guitars are concerned,” says original ‘big four’ thrash guitar hero Mustaine.
“If you ask someone to draw a guitar, they’ll draw a Flying V.”
Part of Gibson’s Dave Mustaine Collection, the Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP is available in a choice of two finishes: Antique Natural and Silver Metallic.
Priced $2,799, this signature Flying V boasts a longer 25.5” scale mahogany neck with a swanky 24-fret, compound radius ebony fingerboard uniquely featuring mother-of-pearl “teeth” inlays.
While the mahogany body of the Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP follows the traditional Flying V form, the guitar’s headstock profile deviates from the original arrow-shaped peghead and is borrowed from its sibling solidbody, the Gibson Explorer.
Black chrome hardware includes Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners along with a Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece.
Working closely with one of the best pickup builders in the business, this Flying V has been endowed with a dual set of Dave Mustaine Signature Seymour Duncan Thrash Factors. Employing “custom Dave Mustaine wiring” the guitar’s controls comprise a three-way selector switch along with a master tone and independent pickup volume pots topped with retro ‘witch hat’ knobs.
An accessory kit and custom hardshell case are included.
Visit Gibson for more information.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.