Flying Colors: The Six Best Flying Vs Ever Made

Few guitars say rock and roll more than a Flying V. It looks like rock ‘n’ roll, it sounds like rock ‘n’ roll, and when you pick one up, you’re bound to do some rocking. It’s not subtle, and it behooves you to play standing up when you’ve got one, so this guitar is all about flying high on stage. However, the V, like other guitars, is not limited to one genre. Like any guitar, it’s as versatile as the guitarist playing it. I’ve always loved Flying Vs. It wouldn’t be wrong to say it’d be a tad impractical if it’s your only guitar, but who cares about practicality anyway? Let’s take a look at some of the V-style guitars on the market today.

Echopark Albert 58

Gabriel Currie is building some of the finest electric guitars available today, and the Albert 58 is a terrific example of his incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail. Echopark guitars are for players for a superbly crafted instrument with attention to detail. Dave Catching of Eagles of Death Metal swears by his Albert 58. Make no mistake: this guitar is for high rollers. Currie crafts most components from the ground up, and uses high-quality old-stock timbers in pursuit of creating perfectly balanced instruments. If you dream about playing guitar solos during work meetings, have an affinity for the finer things in life, and have plenty of cash to spare, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a finer example of a vintage Flying V than the Albert 58. It isn’t a standard model in the Echopark lineup, but if you’ve got a hankering for a stellar vintage V, you can contact Currie for a custom build.

Epiphone 1958 Korina Flying V

This is a great option for the budget-conscious rocker. At a distance, it looks quite similar to the much more expensive Echopark and some Gibson Custom models, yet it’s available on the used market for around $500. Featuring a korina body and neck in a striking natural finish with gold hardware, the 1958 V cranks out classic tones courtesy of a pair of Epiphone Alnico Classic humbuckers. If you’ve always wanted a V, but don’t want to shell out a ton of cash, check out this Epi if you can get your hands on one. If you’re the modding type, you can get a pair of your favorite humbuckers, drop them in the V, and still come in at less than all the other guitars on this list. Although this model is not currently in production, it can be found on the Interwebs and the used section of fine guitar retailers everywhere. However, if you’re a Mastodon fan, Epiphone currently offers the Brent Hinds signature Flying V Custom in a sweet Silverburst finish.

Gibson Flying V

The O.V., the original V. Gibson started it all in 1958 with this space-age guitar. Offering limitless fret access and a futuristic vibe, the guitar was aimed at progressive guitarists looking for something different from the boring old Les Paul or Telecaster. Along with the Explorer, and the later Moderne, the V was designed by Gibson head honcho Ted McCarty. The guitar may have been a little too ahead of its time, as sales were poor and Gibson ceased manufacturing it just a year later in 1959. But, as the saying goes, time heals all wounds, or something like that. Many years have passed, and now we all know how kick-ass Flying Vs really are. Gibson offers a wide variety of V models, from the stripped down satin versions to high dollar custom shop offerings with custom colors and vintage spec pickups. Also noteworthy is the fact that Gibson gave lady rocker Grace Potter a signature Flying V—bonus points if you can snag one of those rare birds.

Hamer Vector

Hamer notably created quality guitars “inspired” by the radical Gibson designs such as the Explorer and Flying V. The very first Hamer instrument to be built was a Flying V bass, and as the company and its reputation grew, high profile 1970s artists such as Kiss, Bad Company, and Cheap Trick used Hamer guitars on stage and in the studio. Early versions of the Vector featured a mahogany neck and body and DiMarzio PAF-style pickups. More recent versions featured flame maple tops and Duncan-Designed pickups developed specifically for the Vector. Hamer was eventually purchased by Fender, and the brand is no longer in production, so if you want a Vector, you’ll have to scour the used market. It may be tricky to find, but you can rest assured when you do manage to get your paws on one it will be a sweet axe that will be your partner in riffs for a lifetime.

Jackson RR1 Randy Rhoads

Designed for the Flying V lover with modern needs, the Jackson RR1 Randy Rhoads model features a shape inspired by the Flying V with updated appointments such as a compound radius neck with ebony fretboard, double-locking Floyd Rose tremolo system, and high output humbuckers. Blues jammers need not apply; this is for shredders ready to enter the metal zone. The look of the RR1 will have major appeal for players looking for something a little different. The jagged offset V shape is highlighted by pinstripes on white and black models, and you can also order one in a subtle-but-deadly Cobalt Blue as well as the super-metal Lightning Sky version. The Flying V is already a flashy guitar, and the RR1 takes that to another level. Fans of Rhoads’s work with Ozzy and Quiet Riot, or fans of neoclassical metal in general, will want to check this one out.

Reverend Volcano

Reverend Guitars is a fine purveyor of korina-bodied beauties, and the Volcano is one such offering in their lineup. This model was recently reborn with the option of a snazzy-looking flame maple top, and you can also snag it in a beautiful Silverburst or classic black finish, the latter two featuring Reverend’s powerful Railhammer Chisel pickups for players that need extra power. The first-generation Volcano is also available in a stunning vintage clear finish, which shows the beauty of the korina body. Again, you’ll have to hunt for one of these, but you won’t be disappointed. Also worth mentioning is the Ron Asheton signature Volcano, which features a Rock Orange finish with three P-90 pickups. It also has a five-way selector switch, allowing you to coax out Strat-esque tones from the fierce rocking V body. Throw in Reverend’s signature Bass Contour function, and you’ve got an incredibly versatile axe that looks badass on stage but also features tons of tonal flexibility. Again, this model is not currently in production, but it can be found if you’re willing to search for it.

We all have our favorite guitars. Through years of playing, we discover what works best for us based on tone, feel, and playability. Sometimes things can take us by surprise, and we fall in love with them. The Flying V is the guitar I didn’t expect to love, but I now find it to be irresistible. The radical shape, complete fretboard access, and incredible vibe set it apart and establish it as a legendary instrument for bold players. If you haven’t played a V, make it a point to in the near future, and you may find yourself adding another guitar to your collection.

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