Last year, Gibson teamed up with renowned luthier Leo Scala of Scala Guitars to debut its Master Artisan Collection, whose first wave included a quartet of stunning Flying Vs.
By its nature, Gibson established the Master Artisan program with the aim of collaborating with some of the world’s most prolific guitar builders in a bid to create an ultra-exclusive collection of custom one-of-a-kind instruments.
Now, the Master Artisan Collection has returned for its third drop, and it’s tapped Leo Scala once again for four more solidbody stunners.
Whereas the first drop comprised only Flying V models, this expansion pack broadens the remit, introducing heavily distressed takes on Gibson’s SG, Theodore, Flying V and and Les Paul models.
“It’s always the sound,” Scala said of his latest Master Artisan Collection contribution. “It can be extremely flashy, but if you pick it up and it doesn’t do its own thing, then you just missed the whole point. It’s not art that should be hanging on a wall; it’s a performing piece of art.”
For a closer look at each model, cast your gaze below.
Gibson Leo Scala Code Red R9 Les Paul
Arguably the most alluring of the lot, the Code Red R9 Les Paul brings to life Scala’s vision for “a vintage Gibson model that never was but should have been”.
It certainly carries the wear-and-tear of a vintage guitar, that’s for sure. Composed from a mahogany body and two-piece maple cap, as well as a mahogany neck with indian rosewood fingerboard, the heavily distressed beauty flashes a Trapeze tailpiece, wraparound bridge and two Master Artisan hand-wound Retrophonic pickups.
This model is all about old-school style, complete with a lightly-bursted Code Red nitrocellulose lacquer top finish, whose deep hue is complemented by those black uncovered humbuckers, gold control knobs and cream pickguard.
Gibson Leo Scala Theodore Retroliner
The Theodore model only arrived last year, but it was first conceived by Gibson’s historic former president Ted McCarty in 1957. Here, Scala’s Theodore Retroliner corrects the timeline, and envisages the guitar had it actually been released back in the late ’50s.
With its alder body, walnut center stripe and mahogany neck, the Retroliner carries all the hallmarks of a genuine vintage instrument, flashing a hand-lacquered and aged Pelham Blue finish.
Performance-wise, more hand-wound Retrophonic pickups make the cut – a PAF-style humbucker in the bridge and P-90 in the neck – with a custom pickguard and wraparound bridge completing the spec sheet.
Gibson Leo Scala Q27 Flying V
Scala’s fifth Master Artisan Collection Flying V is definitely his most radical, capturing a moment in time when his home city was locked down during the Covid pandemic through an apocalyptic artwork.
Notably, the Q27 Flying V was the only Gibson guitar that was completed during the pandemic shutdown, calling upon a heavy-aged finish and “Stay the f*ck home” lettering to hammer home the dystopian inspiration. Some custom hardware further differentiates this V from its peers.
Tones come by way of two humbuckers, which are enclosed in custom Dogear pickup rings, while a custom extended Stop Bar tailpiece supposedly helps promote improved drop-tuned performance.
Gibson Leo Scala ’52 DeVille SG
The most rugged SG you’ve seen? Quite possibly. The ‘52 DeVille SG is said to be a look into an alternate history wherein the SG was first released in 1952, almost a decade before it actually arrived.
As such, the Trapeze tailpiece of a ‘52 Les Paul features, though has been updated with a wraparound bridge for improved functionality. A custom shaped pickguard adds extra intrigue to this peculiar specimen, which comes equipped with hand-wound Retrophonic pickups.
Elsewhere, the covered/uncovered humbucker look is lifted from Jimmy Page’s Number One, while the mixed black Top Hat knob assortment takes cues from the legendary Greeny.
Standard specs include a mahogany body and beck, indian rosewood fingerboard and a hand lacquered and heavily aged finish completed by Scala himself.
To find out more, and for information on how to purchase the guitars, head over to Gibson.