10 Monsters of the Flying V

Here are 10—well, more than that, actually—of the wickedest all-time wizards of the Flying V guitar. 

Albert King with a Gibson Flying V
1. Albert King (1923-1992): This blues giant from Indianola, Mississippi, is so identified with the Flying V that there’s one etched on his gravestone in a little cemetery near Forrest City, Arkansas. When King got his 1958 korina V, the lefty flipped it upside down so the low E string was on the bottom. That reverse stringing plus his southpaw status allowed him to easily pull down rather than push up to bend notes. He also had a penchant for low tuning and an unhurried approach to soloing. That all added up to the signature sound behind such hits as “Born Under a Bad Sign,” which Cream covered, “I’ll Play the Blues for You,” “Crosscut Saw,” and “As the Years Go Passing By.”
2. Lonnie Mack (1941- ): Mack and his Bigsby-outfitted ’58 Flying V arguably made the first blues-rock recording, the 1962 instrumental “Memphis.” Some musicologists cite this session as the birth of the hybrid genre since Mack’s interpretation of the Chuck Berry tune set a pentatonic melody to a smackdown roadhouse rhythm. However, it’s just as reasonable to believe that African-American musicians including Ike Turner and Louis Jordan beat him to the punch. What’s certain is that Mack’s spartan flair and brawling instincts—captured on subsequent instrumental recordings like his classic “Wham,” his playing on the Doors Morrison Hotel, and his straight blues albums of the 1980s—identify him as an innovative master of blue-eyed soul, stinging rock, and heartfelt distortion. Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan were among his torchbearers, and the mighty Mack’s outlived them both.
Jimi Hendrix with a Gibson Flying V

3. Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970): You know Hendrix, but you might not know that the third Flying V Hendrix owned is likely the Gibson Custom Shop’s first variation on the model. It was commissioned in 1969 as a lefty with a black finish. The guitar, which he played at the Isle of Wight and Rainbow Bridge concerts of 1970, has some radical differences from the era’s standard production Vs. These include Trini Lopez style double-triangle fretboard inlays, a pearl Gibson logo, a bound fingerboard, a bell-shaped truss rod cover, and a flat vibrato arm.
4. Marc Bolan (1947-1977): This Londoner used a clutch of Les Pauls (including the killer ’56 Goldtop in this clip) to help transform his psychedelic acoustic-folk duo Tyrannosaurus Rex into the seminal glam rock outfit T. Rex, making the hits “Get It On (Bang a Gong),” “Jeepster,” and “20th Century Boy” along the way. But he also employed a few Flying Vs for his lead-rhythm style of playing, which was akin to Pete Townshend’s but with a more playful pop sensibility. Bolan’s earliest V was a 1968 on which he replaced the original Kluson tuning pegs with Schallers. But his most famous is a stock 1970 model that was auctioned last year for $36,000.
5. Billy Gibbons (1949-  ): The Z.Z. Top plank spanker is best known for wrangling his famed ’59 Sunburst Les Paul named “Pearly Gates.” But the spangly suited Texan also has an original ’58 korina Flying V in his guitarsenal that showed up on the band’s early 1970s recordings. Gibbons is photographed clutching it on the cover of 1975’s live Fandango!, which includes ZZ Top’s breakthrough Top 40 hit “Tush.”
6. Rudolph Schenker (1948- ) and Michael Schenker (1955- ): More than any other band, the Flying V is indelibly linked with Germany’s Scorpions. Although songwriter and rhythm guitarist Rudolph, whose collection today embraces more than 70 Vs—including a Custom double-neck, was first to introduce a V into the band, his younger brother quickly became one of the instrument’s most influential lead guitarists. Rudolph and Michael forged a unique blend of twin-V generated crunchy rhythms and spare melodic solos that served the Scorpions’ metal-pop compositions well. That sound finally propelled them into the mainstream during the ’80s with the hit singles “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “No One Like You,” and the albums Love at First Sting and Blackout. Michael has continued to play Flying Vs through his subsequent groups UFO and the Michael Schenker Group, and Rudolph still soldiers on with Vs in hand at the helm of Scorpions, which he began more than 40 years ago.
Kirk Hammett with a Gibson Flying V

7. Kirk Hammett (1962-): After Dave Mustaine was bounced from Metallica in 1983, Hammett was drafted from San Francisco thrash merchants Exodus into the band by leaders James Hetfield—who favors Explorer-style guitars—and drummer Lars Ulrich. Hammett used mainly a 1975 Gibson Flying V to help map out Metallica’s dense, thundering, and highly influential early sound—from 1983’s incendiary Kill ’Em All to 1988’s monumental …And Justice for All, a sound that redefined metal for a post-punk world.
8. Andy Powell (1950- ): British group Wishbone Ash’s often spectral, frequently complex, and highly melodic instrumental approach starts with the guitar of Andy Powell—primarily a 1967 Flying V he’s owned since shortly after the band’s inception in 1969. From the start Powell and Ted Turner, who went on to play guitar on John Lennon’s Imagine album, crafted a distinctive twin guitar attack built around harmonized, sinuous melodies. That approach was later adopted by Def Leppard and others. Today Powell plays on in Wishbone Ash as the band’s sole original member from his new home base in Connecticut.
9. Bob Mould (1960- ): Born in New York State, Mould burst out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with 1983’s Everything Falls Apart as point man for the influential art-punk trio Hüsker Dü. Their next five albums were manifestos of power and creativity that stretched the boundaries of punk and developed a unique compositional architecture with Mould’s wall-of-sound guitar as its foundation. Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, and Candy Apple Grey in particular are resonant reminders of punk’s early uncategorizable nature and reach into the breadth of human experience. Mould couldn’t afford a Gibson V on a struggling punk’s budget, so he became the poster boy for the ’70s Ibanez Flying V knock-off called the “Rocket Roll Snr.,” which could be found used for a few hundred bucks back then. Now they auction for over $1,400.
10. Other “V” Notables: The list runs deep, but other top-flight players known to occasionally tote Flying Vs include Pete Townshend (the Who), Dave Davies (the Kinks), Jay Geils, Lenny Kravitz (who has his own Gibson signature model), Yngwie Malmsteen, K.K. Downing (Judas Priest), Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), and even Eddie Van Halen, who reportedly used his original ’58 to cut “Hot for Teacher” and “Top of the World.”

Don’t forget to read the “Flying V Turns 50” article, which also includes our Top 5 favourite Flying V models!

[originally Ted Drozdowski | 01.31.2008, Gibson.com]


~ by dolphinblog on January 31, 2008.

One Response to “10 Monsters of the Flying V”

  1. Vielen Dank für die Richtlinien bereitgestellt hier. Etwas anderes Ich möchte sagen ist, dass Computersystem Speicher Forderungen Allgemeinen Erhöhung zusammen mit anderen Brüche im Technologie-Know-how . Zum Beispiel jederzeit neue Generationen von cpus werden eingeführt auf den Markt, es sicherlich Regel ein ähnliches Zunahme Dimensionen Einstellungen von all PC Speicher zzgl Festplatte Zimmer. Dies liegt daran, Software-Programm betrieben einfach diese Prozessoren wird unvermeidlich Zunahme Macht make neue Technologien . Eine Sache Ich würde es vorziehen zu sagen ist, dass vor Kauf mehr PC Erinnerung, könnte gut sein, installiert. Bei der Maschine ist unter Windows XP zum Beispiel die eigentliche Speicherdecke ist 3.25GB. Installieren über würde dies rein darstellen irgendeine Art von Abfall. Stellen Sie sicher, dass jemandes Hauptplatine verarbeiten kann der aktualisieren Volumen, wie Gut. Groß Blog-Post.

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