Gibson has announced the launch of the Master Artisan Collection, a collaboration between the guitar giant and a number of renowned luthiers from around the world.
Essentially, each of the luthiers involved will create their own collection of one-of-a-kind electric guitars for the company. The guitars in these collections will be ornate, hand-built and made in incredibly limited numbers.
To that end, Gibson has launched the line with a quartet of stunning Flying Vs, designed by Scala Guitars founder Leo Scala.
Four kinds of Scala Flying Vs will be produced – the Classic, Hybrid, 777 and Seraph. Only 10 guitars will be produced in total – three each of the 777, Hybrid and Classic, and a single Seraph.
Each of the guitars was hand-aged by Scala, and all feature a Korina body and neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, and a single custom hand-wound pickup.
Aside from those basics though, each of the models is distinct in its own way. We'll take you through each of them below.
The most traditional of the bunch, the Classic is modeled closely after the original 1958 Flying V. It boasts individual master volume and tone knobs with '50s wiring, a Tune-O-Matic bridge with 1.5" brass studs, and custom 'bumblebee' capacitors.
The Leo Scala Classic Flying V will be produced in Black, White and Custom finishes, with one example of each set to be made.
The Hybrid Scala V is largely the same as its Classic counterpart, but adds brass stop tails to the guitar's V plate, for alternate stringings.
The Leo Scala Hybrid Flying V will be produced in Black, White and Custom finishes, with one example of each set to be made.
The 777 Scala V, meanwhile, is a tribute to Lonnie Mack's 'Number 7' Flying V, which featured a Bigsby B7 vibrato. Elsewhere, the 777 retains the same spec sheet as the Hybrid and Classic.
The Leo Scala 777 Flying V will be produced in Black, White and Custom finishes, with, again, one example of each set to be made.
The one-of-a-kind Seraph, however, is another beast entirely, with a metal pickguard engraved with a 1937 Pontiac logo and a skull graphic on the back of the body.
The guitar also features a Bigsby B7 vibrato, coil-splitting capabilities via a switch, and a much heavier aging treatment than its siblings in the Scala V collection.
“When I build a guitar, I am not building a guitar,” Scala said in a statement. “I’m first building a knob. Then I’m winding the pickup. I’m 100 percent dialed into each and every one of those details. I build a whole lot of different little things. The guitar is just a place where everything comes together.”
Despite the visual pizzaz of his creations, Scala maintains that his instruments are not meant to be show pieces. “It’s always the sound. 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. That’s what this collection represents, and I feel honored to be asked to contribute to an iconic legacy.”
Like last year's ultra-exclusive Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP, the Master Artisan Leo Scala Flying Vs are only available to order by phone, directly from the Gibson Garage in Nashville, Tennessee. Those interested in purchasing one can dial 615-933-6000.
We have no information on prices as of press time, but given, well, everything about them, one can safely assume that they're not priced like Harley Bentons.
For more info on the guitars – each of which comes with a custom hard case with a ruby interior and a certificate of authenticity with Scala's signature – stop by Gibson.