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Infamous Or Forgotten Gibson Guitar Models

When people think of an electric guitar, one of the first models that come to mind is the legendary Gibson Les Paul.

The iconic solid-body design, humbuckers and elegant sunburst finishes make the Les Paul a popular guitar for practically any genre from traditional blues to down-tuned death metal, and many accessories for guitar are designed with the Les Paul in mind.

They also have made a lot of other models, some of which were huge successes like the Gibson SG, others eventually became iconic such as the Explorer and the Flying V, and a lot more simply fell into obscurity and infamy.

Here are some of the most forgotten Gibson guitar model ranges, or the ones that have only been remembered for all the wrong reasons.


Gibson Victory

A name that can only be described as painfully ironic, the 1981 Gibson Victory was meant to be Gibson’s attempt to enter the so-called “super-strat” market that Eddie Van Halen had “tapped” into.

The result was a truly bizarre hybrid, with a traditional Gibson bridge, three pickups (two exposed humbuckers and a single coil), a glue-on neck and a strangely warped SG shape with a long upper prong very reminiscent of the Fender Stratocaster and its many imitators.

The problem was there was no obvious market; Gibson fans stuck to the models they knew and loved, and people looking for a genuine superstrat wanted something more versatile.


Gibson Flying V-II

It must be reiterated that the Gibson Flying V was not an overnight success, which given that it was initially released in 1958 may not come as entirely a surprise. The genre that would define the Flying V (heavy metal) was over a decade away, after all.

In 1978, Tim Shaw redesigned the Flying V in a similar way to how the Gibson Explorer E2 was designed, with the general shape remaining but more radical styling and design to keep up with even more intense competition.

However, the Flying V-II was a monumental failure again, in no small part due to how expensive its signature “boomerang” pickup was to make, but even a switch to the exposed humbuckers used on the Explorer E2 did not help, and by 1982 the Flying V2 was discontinued.


Gibson Corvus/Futura

One of the strangest guitar shapes Gibson ever made, this axe-shaped oddity was meant to resemble a crow in flight, but was often described as the “can opener” by fans and detractors alike.

It was meant to be another radical guitar intended to catch people’s attention during possibly the best time for wild and unique guitar shapes, but none of the Corvus models caught on, nor did the set-neck Futura sell any units either.


Gibson Firebird X

The most recent and infamous failure on this list, Gibson’s Firebird was a guitar that people either loved or hated, but it has always sold enough to remain in the company’s catalogues, but also became the home of one of the most bizarre experimental models in electric guitar history.

The Firebird X was meant to be the future of guitars, with robot tuning, built-in effects, the ability to connect to effects pedals via Bluetooth and an exceptionally striking appearance.

However, an initial price tag of well over £3000 made it a guitar only purists could afford, and given that they hated it on principle, most of the range ended up crushed.

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