Gibson introduces new Faded Series, with satin nitro finishes as standard for a classy retro look

Gibson has added the subtly refreshed Faded Series to its Original Collection, presenting three classic acoustic guitars and three classic electrics in a muted satin nitro finish.

There are a pair of Les Paul Standards in the series – a ‘50s Faded in Vintage Honey Burst, a ‘60s Faded in Vintage Cherry Sunburst – with a SG Standard ’61 Faded with Maestro Vibrola in Vintage Cherry rounding out the electric guitars.

The acoustics comprise a Hummingbird Faded in Natural finish, a J-45 ‘50s Faded in Sunburst, and intriguingly for the pre-war crowd, a J-35 ‘30s Faded in Natural, the latter complete with tiger-stripe pickguard.

All the acoustics come equipped with a soundhole-mounted LR Baggs VTC acoustic guitar pickup. The electrics offer a choice of pickups, with the Les Paul Standard ‘50s Faded equipped with a pair of Burstbuckers, the Les Paul Standard ‘60s Faded and the SG with Alnico 5 ‘60s Burstbuckers. 

All come with open-coils, with the customary shoulder-mounted pickup selector switch and dual volume and tone controls, all hand-wired with Orange Drop capacitors.

The series presents a range of guitars that are not aged as per the Murphy Lab yet nonetheless look a little lived in, a tactile alternative to their high-gloss siblings in the Original Collection. Otherwise, the spec is quite familiar. 

The SG Standard ’61 has a solid mahogany body, a glued-in mahogany SlimTaper neck, a 12” radius rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets and a 24.75” scale length. 

It has Vintage Deluxe tuners with Keystone buttons, black ‘Top Hat’ controls with silver reflectors and, of course, the ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and Maestro Vibrola with Lyre engraving on the tailpiece.

The ‘50s Les Paul Standard Faded has a AA figured maple top, mahogany body, and a rounded ‘50s profile mahogany neck, a 12” radius rosewood fingerboard, which, as per the other electrics, has trapezoid inlays. It has gold ‘Top Hat’ dials with Pointers, and a nickel-plated ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic and aluminium stop bar.

It is a similar story with the ‘60s Les Paul Standard, except here we have the SlimTaper neck, there are silver reflectors in the control dials.

As for the acoustics, the J-35 references the pre-war era of Gibson flat-tops, and offers a round-shouldered acoustic platform, Sitka spruce up top, mahogany on the back and sides. 

Befitting the hard times of the mid-‘30s, the J-35 is somewhat stripped-down when compared to the Dove or Hummingbird.

It has a rounded profile neck, a rosewood fingerboard with MOP dot inlays, a 1.725” bone nut, a rectangular bridge, and the aesthetic largesse is kept to a minimum. There’s that striped pickguard and some multi-ply binding on the top of the body to finish things off nicely.

The J-45 continues in a similar fashion, taking things forward a decade and change. The now familiar Gibson logo is on the headstock. The slope-shouldered dreadnought profile is instantly recognisable. This, after all, is Gibson’s top-selling acoustic of all time. 

The recipe is familiar; once more, Sitka spruce on top, mahogany on the back and sides, mahogany neck, rosewood ‘board. Like the J-35, there is traditional hand-scalloped X-bracing, and there is multi-ply binding on the body’s top, single on the bottom. 

It has a Fat 50s pickguard, Gotoh white button tuners, 20 frets and what Gibson describes as “full-spectrum sound with incredible dynamic range, warm mids, and tight, punchy bass”. 

Finally, the Hummingbird is the finest dressed of the lot. If the J-45 is the workhorse, this is the show pony. Or, if you like, the songbird. Again, we have the same tonewood formula, albeit applied to the boxier square-shouldered dreadnought format. It has a rosewood ‘board with MOP split parallelogram inlays. 

Like the J-45, it has a traditional ‘belly up’ rosewood bridge. But if you don’t mind we have gold Gotoh tuners here with snot-green Keystone tuners. The decorative Hummingbird pickguard will catch the eye for sure, even with this matt finish.

The Faded Series is available now. Both the Les Paul Standard Faded models are priced £2,149/$2,499. The SG is priced £1,899/$2,199. The J-45 retails for £2,199/$2,499, the J-35 for £1,899/$2,199, while the Hummingbird, unsurprisingly, is the priciest at £3,299/$3,499.

For more details, head over to Gibson.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.