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In typical Mc Carty “take no prisoners” fashion, he made a series of bold moves that resulted in the development of several of the most desirable and valuable electric guitar models of all time, including the sunburst Les Paul Standard, ES-335, Explorer, and Flying V, all of which made their debut in 1958.The Flying V was one of several “modernistic” models that Gibson developed during that period.
Allegedly, mockups were built and three final models were chosen from those contenders.
Gibson filed patent applications for those three guitar body designs in June 1957, with the patents eventually being granted in January 1958.
Note on Dating – we used the Custom Shop serial number breakdown.
Here the serial is CS 600644, with the CS being Custom Shop. The second digit is the factory ID and 0 is Nashville (Memphis is 5). Read more about the Gibson Custom Shop Flying V Standard at the Gibson Guitars website!
This was an unusual strategy, as previously Gibson had filed patents only for engineering inventions and not cosmetic designs.
Although model names were not submitted with the patent applications, the guitars became unofficially known as the Futura, Moderne, and Flying V.
By Chris Gill Fender didn’t design the innovative-looking Gibson Flying V solidbody electric guitar, but the company deserves credit for inspiring its creation.
In the mid Fifties, Fender introduced the Stratocaster, whose then-futuristic design made Gibson’s guitars look rather staid. In 1957, Gibson president Ted Mc Carty decided that Gibson needed to restore its image as an innovator and industry leader.
Early prototypes of the Flying V and Futura/Explorer that were built for trade shows had mahogany bodies, but before the models went into production Gibson switched to African limba wood, better known as korina.
In addition to being lighter than mahogany, korina’s pale-blond color was more in step with the prevalent aesthetic of the late Fifties. In essence, that is the reason why we went with korina.” When Gibson displayed the Flying V and Explorer prototypes at trade shows in 1957, they certainly generated the desired reaction from dealers.
Now this is a treat – a brand new Gibson Custom Shop Flying V Standard in Washed Cherry sunburst!