Classic designs, modern improvements
2017 spells an even more interesting year for Gibson. They’re totally spoiling us with this new range, which has so far included a gorgeous array of acoustics for the modern musician, but the imminent release of some of the best electric guitars the brand has ever made has set tongues wagging. A complete set of Les Paul’s, SG’s, Firebirds and some really cool Explorers and Flying V’s make up the Gibson 2017 range and they really are worth shouting about! Gibson have provided a vast range of choice to suit the vintage style purists as well as those who want a more modern guitar to add to their collection. We take a look at some of the range.
Well, we have to start with a Standard! The Gibson 2017 Les Paul Standard T range features a beautifully constructed mahogany body with luxurious AAA grade maple top and new ultra-modern weight relief. This new style of weight relief not only ensures you avoid those shoulder aches when you’re 3 weeks into a tour, but provides added resonance or ‘sonic depth’. You’ve got some of the coolest colour finishes the brand have ever conceived to choose from too. The Honey Burst and Blueberry Burst models are a particular finish worth taking note of and Gibson have even removed the scratchplate and pickup selector ring so you can get a closer look!
Those who appreciate a vintage feel to their guitars will love the fact the neck is shaped to the new slender slim taper profile which features rolled frets to give you that ‘played in’ feel and a more comfortable playing experience. In addition, both of the upgraded Burstbucker Pro pickups have coil splits, with the bridge tone knob providing a ‘blowout’ mode that sends a signal straight to the jack, bypassing all the internal guts of the guitar for a pure signal and the Peter Green influenced Phase reverse on the neck pickup which is activated by hitting the neck tone knob. You also get a Gibson hardshell case, premium strap, multi-tool, and cloth with each guitar. This is the top of the range Gibson Les Paul and definitely one you should consider trying out!
For those who want that classic Gibson weight, you’ll be relieved (see what we did there) to know that the Gibson 2017 Les Paul Traditional T range is non-weight relieved and has the 50s neck profile to capture essence of traditional LP feel and comes packed with Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups providing you with that legendary Les Paul tone. Featuring a luxurious AA grade maple top, mahogany body, aluminium bridge and tailpiece as well as Franklin Titebond 50 adhesive to reinforce the stability and strength – this is definitely the workhorse you’ve been looking for if you like the sought after 50s style Les Paul models. The Les Paul Traditional is also equipped with Orange Drop tone caps to give your mid and high frequencies the little extra they need to cut through when you’re using the volume control for added dynamics. When you roll them down, there’s no treble loss! Again, Gibson have also provided a Gibson hardshell case, premium strap and accessories with each model. A tough guitar for the pro musician who needs reliability and versatility.
If you want all the tonal styling of a classic Les Paul but with added comfort and modern playability, the Gibson 2017 Les Paul Tribute T is a great option. In this model you have two Alnico 490R pickups which are powerful enough to handle blues, rock or pretty much any style of music you prefer. Gibson have kept it simple with the independent volume and tone knobs for each pickup and finished them with those classic “Top Hat” knobs. However, it’s the slim taper neck, Tektoid nut and aluminium Tune-o-Matic bridge with steel thumbwheels for added sustain and reliability that the modern guitarist will appreciate. Gibson have also crafted this guitar with 9 hole weight relief for extra comfort – those 8 hour jam sessions just got easier!
This years Gibson 2017 Les Paul Studio T guitars are designed to be a more visually stripped down version of the Les Paul as a keen eye will spot the fact there’s no binding. However, this guitar still has everything you need to play any genre of music. It’s versatility shines through when you start wailing on the Alnico 498T and 490R pickups that are coil tapped, giving you the power to change up the sound to your needs as and when you see fit. It also features a slim taper neck and the newly designed ultra modern weight relief. Available in some seriously cool colours including a beautiful Black Cherry Burst.
If you don’t fancy a heavy chunk of wood hanging off your shoulder like a traditional, but don’t really like how light the new standard Les Paul’s are, then the Classic could be for you. The 9 hole weight relief on the Gibson 2017 Les Paul Classic T feels comfortable but chunky enough to throw around on stage and the Zebra ’57 Classic pickups provide that PAF-style warmth and tonality, which are enhanced by orange drop tone caps that protect your treble even at lower volumes. The ABR bridge, aluminium stopbar and locking Grover tuners are welcome improvements that will increase reliability as well as playability. The Grade-A maple top looks stunning, especially when coupled with the new colour schemes – a favourite being the Green Ocean Burst.
The Gibson 2017 Les Paul Faded T range is firmly placed in the more budget friendly arena, but this certainly doesn’t mean the brand have skimped on quality of construction. It’s a powerful and versatile guitar aching to be played, equipped with Alnico 490R & T pickups to give you that signature Gibson growl. the new ultra modern weight relief makes it a comfortable guitar to carry around in the gig bag you get with it and the slim taper neck makes sure you reduce that ache in your hand after hours of playing. A USA Gibson rarely comes at such an affordable price. The mahogany body and maple top look amazing when finished in the Worn Cherry and Worn Brown colours.
This new Gibson 2017 SG Standard T features that more old school teardrop scratchplate on top of the mahogany body that fans of vintage 1960s SG’s will appreciate. The 57 Classic neck pickup and 57 Classic+ bridge pickups make sure it can handle all your metal riffs, blues solos or rock freakouts and the slim taper neck makes sure you can fly up and down the fretboard wth ease. The locking Grover tuners and the self lubricating Tektoid nut are a nice additions, as is the Gibson hardshell case that is included.
The Gibson 2017 SG Special T is a new rendition of the iconic SG model with a slim taper profile mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard with block inlays and a gorgeous traditional satin finish. This beast is packed with 490T and 490R humbucking pickups making it perfect for a wide variety of different musical styles. It’s a real beauty and one of this writer’s favourites within the range thanks to that Satin Vintage Sunburst finish and powerful Gibson tone. It also comes with a padded gig bag to keep it safe.
If you’re a fan of the uncovered humbuckers, dot inlays rather than blocks and those sweet double-cutaway horns finished in a faded style, the Gibson 2017 SG Faded T might just be the guitar for you. It’s a stripped back version of the Gibson SG that provides all those classic tones and looks via the Alnico 490R & T pickups and faded finish without all the bells and whistles. This is a budget friendly workhorse for those who need a no nonsense guitar that will serve them for many, many years to come. It’s available in either Worn Cherry or worn Brown and comes with a padded gig bag to make it easy to take to gigs/practice etc.
The Gibson 2017 Explorer T may be more suited towards rock and metal thanks to the Gibson ’496R and 500T hot ceramic humbucker pickups, but it’ll handle all the nuances of your playing every day of the week, whether you’re busting out metal riffs or U2 inspired delay fused guitar licks. The Mahogany body and set mahogany neck are a joy to play and the access to the higher frets will definitely be appreciated by those who favour soloing. Available in a beautiful Heritage Cherry and Ebony finish.
An absolute legendary guitar returns for 2017! The Gibson 2017 Flying V T has been a renowned rock and metal icon for over 50 years and still continues to impress to this day. This version has been fitted with a pair of howling Dirty Fingers humbucking pickups that love a cranked amp and some distortion. However, this is definitely not a one-trick pony. Just roll back the volume and enjoy sultry sweet blues tones. The mahogany body, mahogany neck and tune-o-matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece ensure each and every note rings out clear and loud. This awesome guitar also comes with a Flying V hard shell brown case to keep it safe as well an owners manual.
A guitar that sounds as cool as it looks, the Gibson 2017 Firebird T has been revisited this year thanks to it’s ever growing popularity (thank you Rival Sons) and this model certainly does not disappoint. A welcome addition to this years model is the Gibson Hard shell case that is now included in the package – great for the touring musician. The powerful mini humbuckers may be small in size, but pack some serious blues and soul tones when plugged in to a good amp. The body is constructed entirely in mahogany offering great resonance and the mahogany walnut mix in the neck feels great, especially as it’s coupled with the new slim taper profile. A stunning guitar that will surely turn heads. Available in a gorgeous Vintage Sunburst and the awesome Pelham Blue.
If you’re more of a fan of the larger humbucker pickups than those on the previous model, the Gibson 2017 Firebird Studio T may be the model for you. You’ll get a variety of gorgeous tones out of those Gibson 496R and 500T hot ceramic humbucker pickups, as well as a hotter, punchier sound which may be more suited to those who play on the more rock/metal end of the musical spectrum. This beautiful Firebird has been updated for 2017 with a few modern improvements without taking away from the classic aesthetic that made it so appealing. The thicker rosewood fingerboard boosts the sound output, the hand picked mahogany body offers beautiful acoustic resonance and the Mini-Grover tuners provide tuning you can rely on. You also get a padded gig bag, strap and polishing cloth to clean it after those mammoth jam sessions.
Check out the full range of Gibson guitars over at the Dawsons website.