Epiphone Flying V – ’58 Reissue – Review – 19/12/2017
First released in 1958 as part of the modernist series, which
included the Flying V, Explorer, and Moderne (Never Released), the Flying V was a radical design
introduced by Gibson to compete with the other solid bodied
guitars that were gaining popularity at the time.
The model we are reviewing is the Epiphone reissue version of
that first release, initially so radical that it did really
catch on with most players of the time.
Early adopters of the V were players such as Albert King and
Lonnie Mack, Jimmy Hendrix was also seen to occasionally swap
his Stratocaster for one. Later in time many heavy metal acts
adopted them for their aggressive looks.
The V also inspired other manufacturers such as Dean and Jackson
to create their own versions of this iconic instrument.
The V is made of solid Korina wood both for the neck and body. Korina
is also known as African Limba and is a sub-species of Mahogany to which it is
quite similar in appearance aside from having a slightly lighter
This V sports a rosewood fingerboard, onto a Korina
neck which is glued onto the body. The neck has a slim taper
profile. All hardware is gold plated, the bridge being a tune’o’matic
item with the classic V shaped string through body tailpiece
and Kluson style sealed tuners.
In the electronics department, full size 500k potentiometers
are used with one volume for each pickup and a master tone.
The 3 way toggle switch is placed quite near the volume knob
which could mean accidental contact for some, although I have
not yet encountered this problem. As for the pickups these
are two Alnico Classic humbuckers which Epiphone say are styled
after PAF items. The output jack is front facing and has a
protective plastic ring.
Fit & Finish
For a mid-range guitar this V is very well made. There are no
discernible flaws on view and the fret work is smooth and
well finished. The pickguard is cut carefully with no extra
burring occasionally seen on some import models. The tuners
also seem to be quality items. The rosewood does not seem
to be of the highest quality with a few white marks on the
wood but this is acceptable on a guitar within this price
range, I would think it would clean up in any case. The electronics
seem solid but as always with import guitars this might be
the first upgrade to save up for. The setup/intonation wasn’t
quite right out of the box but a restring and adjustment soon
sorted that out.
Sounds & Playability.
The V has quite a unique sound it’s hard to describe, but I
would say it’s similar to an SG but harder with more bite.
The guitar plays well with its slim taper neck, and even with
the unusual shape it can be played sitting down thanks to
its lower rubber grip pad.
Clean it sounds warm and can take distortion and overdrive very
well. I tested it with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier and
a Boss Waza Craft SD1-w (which we
also reviewed) and was quite impressed at the sound and tone.
Also noticeable is that the pickups are quite hot with noticeably
more volume than my Gibson SG 61 RI for example.
A great looking and performing guitar. Please see our video
demo for further details.
By Ernest H Slade