Musikmesse 2011: In characteristically idiosyncratic style, Gibson chose to launch its new range of affordable USA-made Melody Maker electric guitars at Frankfurt without a sniff of any detailed information or pictures being sent out to the media. Indeed, at the time of writing, there's only a very brief mention of the new line and one blink-and-you'll-miss-it gallery image on Gibson.com.
However, MusicRadar was on hand with a camera in the darkest recesses of the Gibson booth at the show to not only bring you pictures of the whole range, but tell you everything you need to know about the new Melody Makers. Not to be confused with the company's traditional Melody Maker design, the new range comprises four models utilising the iconic Les Paul, SG, Explorer and Flying V outlines.
Key specifications across the board include maple bodies, mahogany slim-taper necks with torrefied maple fingerboards and wrap-around tailpieces. All four shapes are available in satin blue, satin ebony and satin white, and they come stripped-down and ready to rock with just a single 491T humbucker at the bridge and a master volume control.
We've already seen UK street prices for these models as low as £449 including a gigbag, which, for a 'proper' USA Gibson is very tempting indeed. Whether these will be a roaring success for Gibson or merely cannibalise Epiphone sales remains to be seen, but the office consensus is that they look very cool indeed, albeit with something of a 'thrown together on a Friday afternoon' vibe. We'd like a white V and an Explorer in blue please.
Click onwards for a closer look at Gibson's new-for-2011 Melody Maker series...