Is this a design gem or the ugliest guitar in the world?

Modern Flying V guitar by Gibson

Can the new limited edition Modern Flying V guitar ease the financial woes of guitar-makers Gibson?

Times are tough for Gibson, the US guitar manufacturer once favoured by Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page and now beleaguered by heavy debts and declining sales.

Amid speculation about its long-term future Gibson has unveiled the new Modern Flying V. A reworking of the famous Gibson Flying V, the new version features a contoured maple top, Apex headstock carve, counter-sunk output jack and color-matched hardware.

Will this re-working of a guitar classic kick-start a recovery for Gibson?

Judging by the mixed response from guitar geeks, probably not. While some have described the angular design as “cool” and “bold”, many others, including outspoken guitar critic Glenn Fricker, have slated it.

Fricker says the Modern Flying V is “the ugliest guitar in the world” and its US$4,500 price-tag is outrageous. He accuses Gibson of “building guitars of questionable quality and attempting to sell them for far too much money”. Ouch.

Modern Flying V guitar by Gibson
The Modern Flying V guitar by Gibson

Before you write-off the Modern Flying V altogether, it’s worth noting that the original Flying V, released in 1967, wasn’t an instant hit. Back then many people baulked at its futuristic design. It took years to become a “classic” and a favourite with heavy metal guitarists. Perhaps the Modern Flying V will experience a similar fate. Meanwhile, let’s hope Gibson’s execs have something else up their sleeves to save the company founded in 1902.

Limited Edition Modern Flying V spec


  • Wood Species: Solid Mahogany Body w/ Contoured Top
  • Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer


  • Material: 1-Piece Mahogany, Apex Headstock Carve
  • Neck Profile: Slim C-Shape
  • Scale Length: 24.75″, 62.865cm
  • Fingerboard Material: Richlite
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12″
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Frets: Medium-Jumbo
  • Nut Material: Corian
  • Nut Width: 1.687″, 42.85mm
  • End of Board Width: 2.264″, 57.50mm
  • Inlays: Pearloid Small Block


  • Finish: Plated metal
  • Bridge: Tune-O-Matic
  • Tailpiece: Stop Bar
  • Tuning Machines: Mini Grover
  • Pick Guard: Plated Brass


  • Neck Pickup: 496R
  • Bridge Pickup: 500T
  • Controls: 1 500K CTS Volume Pot, 1 500K CTS Tone Pot, Hand-Wired Harness, Switchcraft Toggle Switch


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