Scarce and beautiful, Gibson’s Flying V was an ahead-of-its-time marketing failure when introduced in 1958. Made of exotic limba (a mahogany cousin from Africa trademarked in the U.S. as “Korina”) and being joined the following year by the equally radical lightning-bolt shape of the Explorer didn’t bolster sales, which means today the two rank amongst the rarest collectibles. Both were redeemed in the ’70s, though, when rock guitarists were drawn to reissues like moths to a PAR 64.
Accompanying these Flying Vs from ’58 and ’59 is a ’59 Explorer and ’61 Skylark lap steel, also made from Korina.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.