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Gibson Heritage Flying V – Korina

Posted by John Blanco on

This was a limited edition run from ’81-’83 where Gibson reissued three of their truly radical designs of the late 1950s, the Flying V, Moderne and Explorer.

The original V’s were made of ‘Korina’ (Gibson’s name for African White Limba wood) which is pale in colour, typically lightweight, closely grained and often with attractive birdseye figuring making it ideal for clean lines and transluscent natural finishes. The radical arrow-shape was inspired by automotive design and was a radical departure from the period Gibson solid body range and the buzz surrounding the burgeoning space race, and a deliberate attempt to challenge Fender’s striking and ergonomic designs.

The V was discontinued in the late 50s, and re-issued in a modified form in ’66/67, and in typical Norlin style evolved further and further from the original design throughout the ’70s. A few notable hard rock players brought the V and Explorer back into the public consciousness around this period, which may have prompted Gibson to re-isssue them with predominantly correct vintage build and features, but also tweaked colour schemes for an even more visual impact.

The Heritage Vs are a close facsimile of the 1958 Flying V with Korina bodies (some one piece) with string-through design, three piece Korina necks with a 50s style profile, gold parts and either black or cream plastics. As well as the classic honey tinted Natural, these were issued in black ,candy apple red and white. The pickups are Tim Shaw designed PAF’s, with inked date codes and the Patent Number stamped on the base, which due to their lower output and Alnico magnets made for a guitar that sounded as good as it looked.

The early examples came with a distinctive serial number scheme of a letter followed by three digits, which can help to indicate the year of manufacture, when referenced with pot codes and features and were produced in low numbers.

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