Cesar Gueikian has done it again. The Gibson CEO has a reputation for using his Instagram account to tease some of the brand’s upcoming guitars, having previously shown his followers advanced glimpses of the newly revived Gibson Les Paul Supreme, some potential Murphy Lab acoustics and Adam Jones’ Les Paul Custom.
He also has a history of sharing early previews of all-new electric guitars – case in point, that quirky model from August last year – and now Gueikian has seemingly showcased yet another Superstrat-style guitar that could be joining the brand’s lineup at some point in the future.
But this case is slightly more intriguing. On Instagram, Gueikian posted a picture of him playing the Pilgrimage Festival’s Midnight Sun Stage with Better Than Ezra – a set which saw him playing a particularly eye-catching axe.
Commenters were quick to spy the body shape and even quicker to speculate that the guitar Gueikian was playing was a Victory – a quirky offset double-cut design from Gibson, which was available for a period in the 1980s.
It was, for all intents and purposes, an answer to the Superstrat hysteria that took hold during that decade, but the model ultimately slipped into obscurity after failing to make a big enough impact to warrant a lasting position in the lineup.
Is Gueikian’s post a sign that Gibson is gearing up to reissue the Victory after all these years? Well, probably, but it’s not as straightforward as that.
First, the evidence suggesting this is indeed a Victory: the body shape is right, what with its elongated upper horn, beveled contours and subtle offset geometry. The electronics and hardware, too, give off the impression of a Victory reissue, retaining the original’s dual humbucker configuration and Tune-O-Matic/Stopbar combo.
The controls look to be broadly the same, with two control knobs presumably for volume and tone sharing the circuit with a pickup selector switch. It’s worth noting that the original had a blade switch, whereas this version looks to have a Gibson standard toggle.
Elsewhere, the pickguard is most certainly Victory in its design. Despite being half the size of a flagship Victory’s scratchplate, a side-by-side comparison shows those flourished edges and curves, albeit slightly more defined, are lifted straight from its predecessor.
However, there are some specs that distance this elusive model from the Victory. The biggest curveball is the Explorer-style headstock. What’s more, the bound fretboard features some unidentified wing-like inlays, which contrast with the original’s offset dot inlays.
Oh, and it’s also worth pointing out the back of the guitar looks to utilize a more exaggerated neck heel for greater playability, as opposed to the regular’s standard set-neck joint.
Is there any chance this isn’t a Victory, and something else entirely? Gibson has a pretty extensive history of Superstrat experiments, so this guitar could well be a culmination of the lot. Take the US-1 and U2 models, for instance: they both had a similarly Explorer-style headstock.
Whatever the case, the biggest clue that this guitar is in fact a soon-to-be-released model – as opposed to an obscure example from the Gibson archives destined for the Certified Vintage ranks – is the body sticker that reads, “Do epic shit.”
It’s become something of a catchphrase for Gueikian, who used those same three words when he was announced as full-time Gibson CEO, as well as during an Instagram Q&A when asked, “What are your plans for Gibson in the future?”
Coincidentally, that Q&A also broke news of the now all-but-confirmed Dave Grohl Epiphone DG-335. Is this new Victory spin-off also destined for a release? If we were on the fence before, that sticker has us pretty convinced.
There’s one final twist in the tale: this isn’t the first time Gueikian has pointed towards the Victory’s return.
Earlier this week, while teasing the return of the Les Paul Supreme, the Gibson CEO was spotted next to another Victory model, which – save the Explorer headstock – was slightly more reminiscent of the original model, complete offset dot inlays and zebra humbuckers.
So here’s what could be happening – there are two newly spec’d, upgraded Victory guitars on the way: a standard model and a Custom Shop version.
After all, Gibson has already set a precedent for leafing through its history books to bring out new models and reissue lost favorites – the Theodore and Les Paul Supreme are prime examples of this – so a triumphant return for the Victory would make perfect sense.
And, lest we forget, the company also experimented with Superstrat-esque models in the intervening years, namely with its ‘lost’ Jimi Hendrix model – the electric guitar based on what Hendrix would have played in 2009 had he been alive, which ultimately never saw the light of day.
Until we have official confirmation, however, the best way to keep up to date with future Gibson releases is to head over to Cesar Gueikian’s Instagram channel. Who knows what he’ll tease next…