Gibson called them collectively their Modernistic guitars and on their debut at the NAMM show in 1957 they certainly were.
Designed by Seth Lover on the request of Ted McCarthy for a more up to date competitor for the Stratocaster, the Flying V, Futura and Moderne were quite a departure for the marque, utilising Korina in their construction to keep the weight down and and setting a design precedent that was decades ahead of its time.
The Heritage series was Gibson’s homage to the first run, utilizing Korina in the construction for the first time since the 50s, with the three models being built in small quantities between 1982 and 1984.
Here we present a rare opportunity to purchase all three together, including a rare korina Explorer prototype...!
This example is stamped as a prototype making it quite a rare prospect and an early example of the work produced by the Gibson Custom shop. It has thankfully escaped any changes or any real serious wear. The three piece korina body is in great shape and has very few marks. The grain of the wood is well showcased and has been well matched.
As with the body, the neck has retained its gloriously glossy finish and again shows no signs of wear. The fretboard looks good with some life left in the frets. The headstock, constructed in three pieces, has a few very minor marks along the edge but again still retains its gloss finish. Similarly, the plastics are well preserved.
The gold hardware has tarnished a little but that is to be expected.
The guitar comes with its correct black tolex, purple lined hardshell case.
Sat down or stood up the guitar does feel comfortable to play, more so than its brother the Flying V, the chunky C profit neck is a handful but not to the point of being too much. Tone wise its more SG than Les Paul though inevitably it has its own sound . The Patent Number humbuckers sound great with no hint of any woolliness and a great bite in the bridge position.
Own a bit of Gibson custom shop history or simply add an Explorer to the collection. Whatever it is, grab this one before it gets away…
Condition wise, this guitar is nearly immaculate, the Korina grain showcased wonderfully by the tinted lacquer. There are a few dings to the finish but it looks like this guitar has only been lightly played in the past 38 years.
This one has a tiny repair just by the heel (see pic). This does not go all the way around and has been well glued and there are no tuning issues. It was done a very long time ago and was pointed out to the previous owner when he bought it from Norman's Rare Guitars in CA around 10 years ago.
The neck is in great shape, the finish is still glossy with a slight mark near the third fret and plenty of life left in the original frets.
Hardware does exhibit some very slight wear which again suggests very little use.
Plastics are in great shape as you’d expect.
Electrically none of the solder joints look to have been disturbed with the pot codes reading 23rd week of 1980 and unmolested Tim Shaw humbuckers dated 1982.
The guitar comes with its correct brown hardshell case with pink lining, the handle is fully intact which is a rare thing, but one latch does not work.
Once you’ve figured out comfortable way to hold the guitar (possible suggestion would be to skip the sitting down and stick it on a strap, one foot up on the monitor) we’re in familiar Gibson territory, especially to those of you who’ve wrangled an SG, albeit with a bit more wood to contend with. Easy access to the whole neck, the Shaw humbuckers delivering a solid rock tone with the Korina yielding a slightly lighter timbre than its mahogany cousin.
If its good enough for Albert then it should for you. You will be noticed with this around your neck. Grab it before it gets away.
Condition wise, this guitar is in excellent, almost near mint shape, the Korina grain showcased wonderfully under its tinted lacquer. The most noted thing is a bit of wear on the treble side bout, and of course the gold plating has started to wear off in places. Structurally, it is sound as a Great British Pound and actually plays real well too.
There are some interesting signatures and factory markings inside that we have photographed so take a look at them. The neck is in great shape, the finish is still glossy and plenty of life left in the original frets.
Hardware does exhibit some wear as is to be expected with the gold plating but again this is not extensive.
Plastics are in great shape as you’d expect.
Electrically none of the solder joints look to have been disturbed with the pot codes reading 45th week of 1981 and it comes with factory original, unmolested Tim Shaw humbuckers dated early 1982. That do sound pretty cool.
The guitar comes with its correct brown hardshell case with pink lining.
Once you’ve figured out comfortable way to hold the guitar (possible suggestion would be to skip the sitting down and stick it on a strap, one foot up on the monitor) we’re in familiar Gibson territory, especially to those of you who’ve wrangled a V or Explorer. With easy access to the whole neck, the humbuckers delivering a solid rock tone with the Korina yielding a slightly lighter timbre than its mahogany cousin.
A fabled guitar made reality of a reissue to far, this guitar will certainly be the talking point of any collection. They don’t turn up very often so if you’re looking to complete the set then look no further.