Gibson has announced the first guitars to come from its Gibson Master Artisan Collection - a series of Custom Shop collaborations with renowned luthiers from across the globe - and it starts with 10 Flying Vs from the chisel of Scala Guitars' Leo Scala.
The line-up sees Gibson's iconic symmetrical V-shaped model overhauled in four different Leo Scala Super '58 Flying V models: The Seraph, The Hybrid, The 777 and The Classic. Each guitar features a Korina body, Korina neck, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, hand-wound pickups and every guitar ships with a custom hard case with a plush ruby interior and Certificate of Authenticity.
“When I build a guitar, I am not building a guitar,” says Leo Scala of his creations. “I’m first building a knob. Then I’m winding the pickup. I’m 100% dialed into each and every one of those details. I build a whole lot of different little things. The guitar is just a place where everything comes together.”
But it's not just about getting the visuals right. “It’s always the sound,” Scala adds. “It can be extremely flashy, but if you pick it up and it doesn’t do its own thing, then you just missed the whole point. It’s not art that should be hanging on a wall; it’s a performing piece of art. That’s what this collection represents, and I feel honored to be asked to contribute to an iconic legacy.”
Let's take a look at the four designs.
Scala has produced The Classic to be his idea of the closest approximation of the original Flying V. It features a Korina body and long tenon neck join, with some impressive hand-finishing and ageing carried out by Scala. The humbucker is a custom wound Retrophonic with a 50s wiring circuit, custom bumblebee capacitor, master volume and master tone. Three Classics have been built, with either white, black or custom metal pickguard.
Key to The Hybrid's design is the custom V-shaped stoptail which gives you the option of terminating the string on the top of the guitar body, or if you'd prefer, traditional through-body stringing, or - as one Hybrid is supplied - a combination of both!
Named partially after Lonnie Mack's 'Number Seven' Bigsby-equipped Flying V, the other two '7s' come from the fact that it features a Bigsby B7, and was the seventh guitar in the series that Scala began working on. As with the other guitars in the series, it's a Korina body/neck combo with Retrophonic humbucker, 50s wiring and comes in three white/black/custom pickguard finishes.
Billed as "Over-the-top originality. A single guitar that stands above the rest", Scala describes The Seraph as "An art piece project, basically". It features the same construction as the rest of the collection, alongside a Bigsby B7 and a Schaller roller Tune-O-Matic bridge. and is adorned with a full-face, symmetrical metal pickguard which follows the outline of the body, engraved with a 1937 Pontiac logo. Furter bling is added with the inclusion of rubies set into the bronze control knobs.
"It's based on Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Rick Vito's '58 Flying V, which was the only one shipped out of the factory with the additional side of the pickguard.
No word on pricing yet, but with only 10 guitars available exclusively from the Gibson Garage, our money is on these being waveringly expensive!