As we noted in our previous story about the Epiphone Dave Grohl signature DG-355, Gibson is not partaking in the NAMM 2024 industry group-hug, but has nonetheless capitalized on the industry influx to LA by offering its own 2024 preview event at its artist showroom yesterday (January 25).
While these things are often fun – it’s always good to try out gear – they can be a bit of a damp squib when it comes to actual announcements, but Gibson did not disappoint – surprising us all with an extensive preview of its forthcoming gear.
The headliner for us has to be the Epiphone Dave Grohl, as mentioned, but we also saw a new Slash signature Gibson Les Paul, an enlarged Dual Falcon take on its recently revived Falcon amp, a pair of stunning Epiphone Inspired by Custom Shop Firebirds, alongside the return of the Theodore, new acoustics and more.
Let’s lay out a little of what our resident kid-in-the-candy-store (i.e. Editor in Chief, Michael Astley-Brown) managed to capture while in attendance at the definitely-not-a-NAMM event.
Gibson Slash ‘Jessica’ Les Paul
This Honeyburst Slash signature guitar is based on the factory second model that the Guns N’ Roses icon picked up and began using in earnest as his go-to stage guitar from 1988. It’s got a mahogany body, three-piece plain maple top and a 50s neck profile with an Indian Rosewood fretboard. Then there’s a pair of uncovered Custom Burstbuckers, and it comes with pre-installed Schaller strap-locks for that pro player/stage-ready touch.
Epiphone Inspired by Gibson Custom Shop 1963 Firebird I and Firebird V
The Epiphone Inspired by Gibson Custom Shop line previously brought us the highly-rated Epiphone Greeny and the Korina Flying V and Explorer, and these are the latest offerings in the firm’s premium offshore range.
We love the Inverness Green finish and single pickup simplicity of the fancy Firebird I reproduction, though there is a double humbucker/Maestro vibrola equipped Firebird V (in Frost Blue or Ember Red), should you want more bells and whistles.
Both have a nine-ply mahogany body and walnut neck (in a neck-through construction) with mahogany wings, plus Kluson ‘Planetary’ style tuners, and Gibson USA Firebird mini humbuckers.
We predict two outcomes: many of us will consider buying our first Firebird – and there will be some ‘debate’ on the price tag.
Gibson SG Supreme
The SG Supreme turns Gibson’s electric workhorse into a dressage pony – and is set to make its return in 2024 for the first time since Gibson’s 2018 takeover/subsequent turnaround.
Expect a mahogany body paired with a triple AAA maple top, and a mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard and flashy split block inlays. It’s loaded with gold Burstbucker Pro humbuckers, plus a push-pull coil tap and a host of other luxe appointments.
Gibson Theodore Standard
Golden-era president Ted McCarty’s previously-unreleased design, the Theodore, was brought to vivid life by the Gibson Custom Shop team in 2022 and now, for the first time ever, it’s set to join the standard line-up.
This time it’s got a mahogany (not alder/walnut strip) body and neck – and comes with ’57 Classic humbuckers, as opposed to P-90s. It’s quite the statement to bring it into the main line-up, so it will be interesting to see how these fare in the wider market.
Gibson Dual Falcon 20 amp
It’s no surprise that Gibson has more products in the works for its recently revived amp brand – especially as the new Mesa-made Falcon 5 and 20 seem to be very well-received so far. The first follow-up will be another installment in the Falcon, er, flock, in the shape of this Dual Falcon.
Product details were not on hand for this one, so we can only speculate, but it looks like a two-channel take on the Falcon 20, with independent volume, tone and reverb controls, plus a master tremolo.
Again, you get the two inputs and Full/Half/Low power break options. However, they they seem to operate independently on each channel, meaning, you could potentially drive one side to full-on dirt and the other to high headroom heaven.
New Gibson acoustics
Unplugged players are still set to get some love in 2024, with a new rosewood back/sides take on Gibson’s go-to dreadnought, the J-45 (with an LR Baggs under-saddle VTC pickup and preamp).
Then there’s a surprise Custom Shop return for the Gibson Everly Brothers J-180 – last seen in production in the early-’00s. Some regard it as the most beautiful Gibson acoustic ever made, others debate the controversial tonal qualities of the (huge) double-sided ‘moustache’ pickguard, then there’s the unique spec – including a maple body, sitka spruce top, star inlays, and an ebony nitro finish.
Either way, we’re happy its back and pleased to see Gibson giving players the option to decide for themselves…
That’s it from our reporter on the ground in LA. We don’t have release dates or prices for any of the above yet (though we know the aforementioned Epiphone Dave Grohl is due in March), so stay tuned for more detail throughout the year.
In the meantime, you can also keep an eye on Gibson for more information.