Gibson Flying V Electric Guitar Review (2 years later)
This article is my full review of the Gibson Flying V electric guitar. Just to let you know, I purchased this from a retail shop in Melbourne, Australia, and it was not a gift. I paid full price for this guitar, and my review comes from a place of years of experience with guitars and Gibson instruments.
I have been on the search for a Gibson Flying V for many years. Being that I am a massive Albert King fan, I wanted a Flying V that felt and sounded great to play. It took until 2020 to find a left-handed Flying V that I loved.
When I first saw this hanging on the wall at the guitar shop, I knew I was in trouble. The color of the guitar mixed with the lightweight design and Burstbucker pickups was calling my name. I remember saying to myself, “don’t just buy it because it was a lefty!”. After picking up the guitar and plugging it in, I knew I had found something extraordinary.
This guitar is a faithful nod to the stylings of the ’58 Flying V with a few modern appointments that separate it from the originals.
Body, Neck Size, and Weight
Gibson has used Mahogany on the body and neck. Mahogany is the most common wood used on any Gibson guitar, and it usually has one tremendous downside: it can be brutally heavy! Fortunately, the Gibson Flying V is one of the lightest guitars I have ever owned. It might look quite heavy, but it is not. The Gibson Explorers are also way lighter than they look and are lighter than most Les Paul guitars.
The Mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard feel and look fantastic. I am a big fan of this guitar, and it is my favorite Gibson I have ever owned because it is so much lighter than a lot of my previous Les Paul guitars except the Gibson Les Paul Special.
Thanks to the Graphtec nut, the Gibson Flying V holds tune no problems at all!
Pickups and Tone
I love Burstbucker pickups! Before buying this Gibson Flying V, I had never owned a set. These Burstbucker pickups allow for a clear and bright tone without the low end “mud” you might find on other Gibson guitars. After comparing the Burstbuckers with several different guitars, this guitar and pickup combination allowed for the most balanced sounds.
The Bridge pickup is a Burstbucker 3, and the neck pickup is a Burstbucker 2. Each of these pickups combines clarity and bite not found in all Gibson guitars. Another advantage to these Burstbucker pickups is they clean up thoroughly with the volume control down. These pickups clean up better than all of my other humbucker guitars. The Flying V is easily one of the most dynamic guitars I have ever owned.
Guitarists who love to ride their volume control will love the flexibility and simplicity of this guitar tonal range.
My Gibson Flying V Electric Guitar Video Review
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Neck Size and Feel
The neck on the Gibson Flying V is exceptionally comfortable. The neck profile is a “Slim Taper,” but it feels every bit as comfortable to play as any of my other guitars. Usually, I like a guitar with a fat neck, but this Flying V changed my mind. This neck is not the thinnest I have ever played, but it’s thinner than your standard 50s-style Gibson reissue neck.
Guitarists who are coming over from a Fender American professional Stratocaster will find it very comparable in terms of thickness. The feel and playability will be very different from the Stratocaster, but the width is very similar.
A massive advantage to the Flying V is the shape allows you to play up the fretboard easily. Much like an SG or a PRS Custom 24, high fret access is far more accessible. If you are used to playing a Les Paul, you’ll notice an immediate advantage to the Flying V design in this capacity.
Frets & Hardware
This Gibson Flying V comes loaded with 22 Medium Jumbo frets. The scale length is a familiar 24.75″. Medium Jumbo frets offer the right amount of grab and longevity for the majority of players. Thankfully, Gibson is not in the habit of loading their range of guitars with small frets.
Simplicity is king! Who needs two tone controls? Not me! I love the simplistic design of the V. Two volume controls, and one tone control is perfect for me. I never use tone controls at the best of times, and I always found having two of them on a Les Paul guitar overkill. While this is a subjective point, having one tone control is a total win in my book.
Value for Money
We all know that value for money is a highly subjective topic. If you are in the market for a Flying V, but you don’t want a Gibson, then the new Epiphone Flying V should suffice. Those who want a long term guitar and can afford to buy a Gibson should pay the extra.
Gibson is producing their best guitars in years, and if it has convinced a Japanese guitar fan like myself to buy them, then they are reliable instruments. Just to reiterate, I paid retail price for this guitar. This guitar also comes in a killer Gibson Hardcase making it a great value guitar, in my opinion.
As I mentioned earlier, we get a great Hardcase for the guitar. Included in the case, we get a photo of the guitars’ “birth.” This photo is of the finished guitar at the assembly line at Gibson’s warehouse. I love the fact that Gibson includes these photos.
We also get a tool to adjust the truss-rod and a leather Gibson guitar strap. These little additions make the purchase feel validated rather than just receiving an empty case or no Hardcase at all.
Who is this Guitar for?
The best thing about a Gibson Flying V is they can be used for almost any style of music. Sure, they might not appeal to country players or pop musicians, but the tones of the guitar can cover any style of music. As a huge fan of Albert King and Michael Burks, I wanted to get a Flying V out of respect for my blues guitar heroes, and I am not disappointed.
The Burstbucker pickups sound great clean, but they can handle Metal tones with ease. This makes it a viable (and lighter) alternative to the Les Paul. The Flying V stands out on stage, and it can also stand up against your amp at a live show without falling over.
Who Should Avoid This Gibson Flying V Guitar?
I think it’s pretty clear that while the Gibson Flying V sounds excellent, the shape is not for everyone. Those reading this review will already have a soft spot for the design of this guitar.
Another deciding factor is if you sit down and play guitar more than stand. For seated players, the Flying V is not an ideal design. The guitar has the tendency to fall off your lap thanks to the shape and no “grip” underneath it.
Some players can get away with the “Banjo” position while seated, but I am not one of them. In a seated position, these guitars can be far less easy to play than a Les Paul or Stratocaster, for example.
This video below covers the pros and cons of a Gibson Flying V:
Concerns or Quality Control Issues
I didn’t buy a Gibson instrument for years. I avoided them because of some previously poor experiences with their guitars. Since 2019, their quality control has become a lot more consistent. I was still very skeptical when I went to play this guitar because, at the time, I didn’t own a Gibson and preferred the Tokai branded guitars.
This was the first Gibson that changed my mind regarding their quality control. I since have played, tested, and reviewed a number of guitars from the 2019 and 2020 range, and all of them have been fine. This is a really well-built instrument that did not have any issues that weren’t quickly resolved.
The only slight tweak that was made to the guitar was I raised the Tune-O-Matic bridge half a turn on the bass side, and it was perfect. Tuning stability-wise, this is a far more reliable guitar than even my Gibson Les Paul Special.
I love this Gibson Flying V. After waiting for so many years for Gibson to release a left-handed version of this guitar, I wasn’t disappointed. This is my favorite Gibson in my collection and also my favorite Gibson I’ve owned. The playability, tone, and weight of this guitar make it a pleasure to play as long as I am standing up. Seated players should really avoid this one. If you stand and play, you’ll get a kick out of what this has to offer.
Comparable Left-Handed Guitars
- Epiphone Flying V
- Dean Flying V
Check out all of my Left-Handed Guitar Reviews
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- Body Type: Solidbody
- Body Shape: Flying V
- Number of Strings:6
- Body Material: Mahogany
- Body Finish: Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Color: Antique Lacquer
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Neck Shape: Slim Taper
- Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
- Fingerboard Inlay: Acrylic Dots
- Number of Frets:22, Medium Jumbo
- Scale Length:24.75″
- Nut Width:1.695″
- Nut Material: GraphTech
- Bridge/Tailpiece: Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar
- Tuners: Grover Rotomatics
- Neck Pickup: Burstbucker 2 Humbucker
- Bridge Pickup: Burstbucker 3 Humbucker
- Controls:2 x volume, 1 x master tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch
- Case Included: Hardshell Case
- Manufacturer Part Number: DSV00ANCH1