The pointed headstock on the Flying V is as typical as it is unique. Like every Gibson headstock, it is carved out of the same piece of mahogany as the neck. It is not a “glued-on” headstock, and the process takes craftsmanship, time, and effort. But the rewards are worth the effort. The headstock is carefully angled at 17 degrees, which increases pressure on the strings and helps them stay in the nut slots. An increase in string pressure also means there is no loss of string vibration between the nut and the tuners, which equals better sustain. A white truss rod cover adds a nice finishing touch to the headstock, and perfectly complements the white pickguard on the Flying V body.
No guitar neck profiles are more distinguishable than the neck profiles employed on the Gibson models of today. The more traditional ’50s neck profile is the thicker, more rounded contour, emulating the neck shapes of Gibson’s iconic models of the late 1950s. The ’60s neck profile is considered the more modern, slim-tapered contour most commonly associated with the Gibson models of the early 1960s. The neck on Gibson’s Flying V Faded has the best of both worlds—it is a hybrid between the ’50s rounded contour and the ’60s slim-taper profile. As with all Gibson necks, it is machined in Gibson’s rough mill using wood shapers to make the initial cuts. Once the fingerboard gets glued on, the rest—including the final sanding—is done by hand. That means there are no two necks with the exact same dimensions. So while it still has the basic characteristics of its respective profile, each neck will be slightly different, with a distinct but traditional feel.
The most central of all Flying V Faded features is its V-shaped, solid mahogany body. Whether it’s the regular Flying V, or the Gibson Flying V Faded, the solid mahogany body provides tone, sustain, and performance. The mahogany goes through the same rigorous selection process as all of Gibson’s woods, and is personally inspected and qualified by Gibson’s team of skilled wood experts before it enters the factories. Inside the Gibson factories, humidity is maintained at 45 percent, and the temperature at 70 degrees. This insures all woods are dried to a level of “equilibrium,” where the moisture content does not change during the manufacturing process. This guarantees tight-fitting joints and no expansion, and helps control the shrinkage and warping of the woods, in addition to helping reduce the weight. It also helps with improving the woods’ machinability and finishing properties. Consistent moisture content means that a Gibson guitar will respond evenly to temperature and humidity changes long after it leaves the factory.
When it comes to guitar electronics, less is definitely better. And that certainly holds true with Gibson’s Flying V Faded. Gibson has chosen to install two volume controls and only one tone switch, which translates into less resistance between the pickup and the actual output. That means you end up with nothing but pure tone from the pickup, and one flat-out screaming rock and roll machine.
No event is more responsible for dramatically influencing the evolution of popular music than Gibson’s introduction of the double-coil “humbucking” pickup in 1955. From the warm jazz tones of Charlie Christian, to the world-shaking rockabilly of Scotty Moore, and the cruching rock of Jimmy Page, countless players around the world explored the limitless possibilities of the tonal spectrum through Gibson pickups and guitars. As the musical landscape changed, so did the development of the humbucker pickup. Introduced in the early 1970s, Gibson’s 496R and 500T pickups filled the need for more powerful humbuckers and energized the emergence of hard rock and heavy metal. The 496R produces incredible sustain and cutting power with its ceramic magnet, adding more highs with increased definition and no muddiness at all. The 500T is one of Gibson’s most powerful pickups, containing a three ceramic magnet structure, which enables a no-holds-barred rock and roll crunch that never loses its rich combination of enhanced lows and crystal clear highs. This is one of Gibson’s most potent pickup combinations.