Gibson releases two new 1970s Flying V and Explorer models – paying homage to the players who made them “an enduring symbol of the era’s rock ‘n’ roll rebellion”

Gibson '70s Flying V and Explorer
(Image credit: Gibson)

Not too long ago, Gibson harked back to the ‘80s by introducing Flying V and Explorer models that took inspiration from their 1984 predecessors. These followed in the footsteps of two similar electric guitars, which in turn paid homage to the holy grail 1958 originals.

Now, Gibson has bridged the gap between those two eras by debuting two more six-strings that embrace the aesthetic and functional stylings of the 1970s.

The ‘70s proved to be a pivotal decade for both the Explorer and Flying V. First introduced in 1958 as the now-ludicrously collectible korina-bodied iterations, both models failed to make an immediate impact on consumers, though grew in popularity in the following decades.

After being officially relegated from Gibson’s catalog shortly after their release, both guitars were back in production in the mid-’70s with support from a whole new legion of loyal players who had turned to oddball Gibsons.

Indeed, it’s this crop of players that Gibson is celebrating with this release, with the brand writing, “The iconic 70s classic is ready to take flight again.”

It continued, “The 1970s were an exciting time for music, and a new breed of rock guitarists was discovering the charms of the Gibson Explorer and Flying V models. With this new release, we are celebrating those iconic '70s rockers who made these models an enduring symbol of the era’s energy, defiance, and rock ‘n’ roll rebellion.”

Those who helped popularize these guitars during the ‘70s and onwards include The Edge, Kirk Hammett (who has his own signature ‘70s Flying V), James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Paul Stanley and many others.

As for these throwback models, both guitars are available in either Antique Natural or Vintage White finishes, and a brief first appraisal will unearth a handful of cosmetic and visual quirks that firmly cement the pairs’ 1970s-esque style.

That means both models have bound rosewood fingerboards with acrylic dot inlays, as well as uncovered 70s Tribute humbuckers hand-wired with Orange Drop capacitors. Other universal appointments include a mahogany body and SlimTaper neck, as well as a 12” fretboard radius and 24.75” scale length.

Elsewhere, Stop Bar tailpieces, Tune-O-Matic bridges, and control circuits comprising two volume and a master tone pot can be found across the board.

While the ‘70s Explorer is fairly reminiscent of those variations that came before it – save those humbuckers and that bound ‘board – the Flying V here has some additional extras that further distance itself from ‘50s models, including the white truss rod cover, repositioned Gibson logo, and larger, body-spanning pickguard.

Both models are available now for $2,499 apiece.

Head over to Gibson to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.