V guitars are dumb
These are dumb guitars...
...but we still love these things and buy them anyway.
Some quick history.
In the late 1950s, Gibson was feeling the heat from Fender who was gaining huge market share from the Stratocaster and Telecaster models. As a response to this, Gibson released 3 brand new models in 1958. The Futura (which is the Explorer,) the Moderne, and the Flying V.
They didn't sell well and Gibson discontinued them in less than a year in 1959.
Where the V is concerned, Gibson in an attempt to dump all the spare inventory cobbled together what they had and shipped out some Flying Vs in 1963. Four years later in 1967, Gibson started making the V again and has ever since.
As a side note, the 1958 and 1959 model year V made in korina is one of the most highly valued collectible electric guitars in history.
Fast-forward to the late 1980s, around 1987. I was 12 years old then. Rock was the #1 music in America. Heavy metal was also doing quite well at the time. And a staple guitar of the era was the V guitar.
Was the V ever the #1 rock guitar? Nope. The #1 rock guitar of the '80s and early '90s was what's commonly known as the Super Strat. And that doesn't mean a guitar by Fender. It means a guitar with a Fender-ish double cutaway shape, HSS or HSH pickup configuration, two knobs (usually,) and either a hardtail bridge or Floyd-Rose tremolo system depending on player's preference.
Why is the V guitar so dumb?
As a former V guitar owner, I can speak from experience as to why Vs are dumb.
Unless you arch the guitar's body on the leg, it cannot be played sitting down on its own. Guitar strap is required.
No matter how careful you are with a V, the fin tips will get smacked, resulting in dings, cracks, chips of wood taken out (very common,) and so on. There's just no way to keep a V in good condition if played regularly. I mean, yeah you could wrap electric tape around the fin edges, but that just looks stupid.
There is no good spot for an output jack on a V. As such, whether the jack is top-mounted or on the inner fin (either one,) plugging a cable in or taking it out is always a chore.
Most Vs do look like toy guitars because they have that whole "looks like a rocket ship" thing going on.
But not everything sucks about a V
Weight distribution is very good on a V. Because of all that extra wood for the fins, a V is one of the most evenly balanced guitars you could ever play. I have never known a V made by anyone to have neck dive issues.
Another cool thing is that the body remains light since it gets so small right before the neck starts.
When outfitted with low-output vintage style humbucker pickups (as most Gibson V models are,) the guitar actually works very nicely for pretty much any style of music.
Will I ever own another V myself?
I might. But certainly not any time soon.
My V of choice would be an Epiphone.
Which model? Korina Flying-V, of course (if that link shows none in stock, don't be surprised):
This is one of the few V guitars I could get along with. It has the "alnico classic" lower-output humbuckers and that nice late-'50s look to it. Yeah, it has gold hardware and that's dopey, but I'd still like it just the same. I dig the fact the pickup switch tip has that gold-like (more orange-like, actually) color to it.
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