I'm looking to buy 1967-1969 Gibson Flying Vs and 1971 Gibson Medallion Flying Vs. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org Latest addition 9/5/17: Serial Number 906966, 1969 Walnut Flying V, with rare black headstock. All original except for ABR-1 posts slightly moved (see pics towards the end of the Walnut web link section).
Introduction: The 1967 - 1971 Gibson Flying Vs
This is the only website in the world that is dedicated exclusively to the 175 incredible Flying V guitars that were built by the Gibson Guitar Company in the mid to late 1960's. It is also dedicated to the 350 Gibson Flying V Medallion guitars that were built in 1971. These guitars are, without-a-doubt, some of the coolest and most sought-after guitars on the planet. You won't find a more comprehensive website or source of information about these guitars anywhere else.
Concerning the late 1960's Flying Vs......In the past 20 years I have accounted for 102 of the 175 Flying V guitars including the first Sunburst prototype. Pictures and information about many of these fine guitars can be viewed at the above web links. Of the 102 Flying Vs from the 1960's that I have accounted for, there are only 15 "survivors." That means they are completely factory original, unmodified and unbroken. If you are an owner, as I am, or an enthusiast of these great 1960's Flying V guitars, send me your pictures and information and I will post them to this website. Or, if you just have questions or information to share, you can contact me, your web host at: email@example.com. Also, I want to say thank you to those of you out there in the world that sent me information and pictures of your 1960's and 1971 Flying Vs, many of which are now featured on this website.
To be redirected to my 1971 Gibson Flying V Medallion website, click here ----> "Medallions"
Pictured below: Group picture of four late 1960's Gibson Flying Vs featuring their 1966 - 1969 standard factory finishes: Sunburst, Sparkling Burgundy, Walnut and Cherry.
Pictured Below: My personal collection of 1967-69 Gibson Flying Vs. Left to right: 1967 Sparkling Burgundy, 1967 Sunburst, 1969 Walnut. All three guitars are original 1960's examples. They also have their original Faultless cases.
1967-69 Gibson Flying V, General Information
Gibson built 175 Flying V's from 1966 to 1969. Although it is commonly called the 1967 Flying V, two of them were actually built and shipped in late 1966. It was the brain-child of Ted McCarty who also designed the famous 1958 Korina Flying V. He helped design the 1967 version of the Flying V just before he left the Gibson Guitar Company in 1966. All 175 guitars were built in 5 production batches from late 1966 to 1969. Each batch was made up of 35 guitars. The 5 batches are known as Batch #1, Batch #2, Batch #3, etc. All of the guitars had a one-piece mahogany body and shipped from the Gibson factory with a short Vibrola tremelo bar, of which there were three different versions. None of the guitars had a factory installed Stop Bar Tailpiece. The guitars from Batches #1 - #4, all of which were made in 1966 (2) and 1967, had a one-piece mahogany neck. The guitars from Batch #5, which were all made in 1969, had a three-piece mahogany neck. The first Flying V that shipped in 1966 was a Sunburst prototype that had some very unique features, especially with the pickguard and electronics. It is featured on this website along with many other fine examples.
Most of the pickguard assemblies were probably built at the same time due to the fact that most the original pots on the 1960's V's have the pot code 1376630 (30th week of 1966). There are a few with 1376629. Also, the factory machine-routed wiring channels for the pickup harness wires, located in the body control cavity, required additional factory hand-routing. This was due to the fact that the wires that extended from the pickups to the pots were cut too short when the pickguards were mass-assembled.
The nut width used on all 175 guitars was 1 9/16 inches. This nut width was introduced in the summer of 1965 and was used on many Gibson electric guitars until the early 1980's. The tuners that were used on Flying V production batches 1 - 4 were Kluson Deluxe double ring tuners. The tuners used on the Batch 5 Flying Vs built in 1969 were Gibson Deluxe double ring tuners. Both tuners were identical except for the name inscription on the back, Kluson Deluxe or Gibson Deluxe. The standard finishes that Gibson used on the Flying V guitars were Cherry, Sunburst, Sparkling Burgundy and Walnut. There were supposedly also a few guitars that were finished in Black and Pelham Blue. If anyone has a picture of a real 67 Pelham Blue Flying V please send it along. The only '67 pelham blue Flying V that I have ever seen is a copy that was made in the early 1990's
The serial number system that Gibson used in the 1960's leaves much to be desired. For example, many guitars that were built in 1967 often specify a 1968 serial number. Guitars with three piece necks that were built in 1969 often have 1968 serial numbers. As a result of these serial number oddities it can be difficult to pin-down the exact year that many Gibson guitars were actually made. The Flying V did not escape this serial number confusion. However, since only 175 Flying V guitars were built, it is much easier to pin-down when these guitars were built and shipped. Some of the Flying V's from Batch #4 have "gap" serial numbers. This means the serial number falls outside the range of the Gibson serialization publication. For example, the Hendrix Sunburst V, plus at least two others, have a "gap" serial number series of 932xxx which is outside the published serial number ranges noted in the Gibson Serial Number publication. There were also many other Gibson guitars from that era that have "gap" serial numbers, ie: the ES-335, SG, Firebird, etc.
Gibson also built a few custom order and one-off Flying Vs in the late 1960's. Plus, I am sure there were a few employee built guitars that were built after hours that made it out of the Gibson factory. This website will also feature some of those custom order and one-off guitars.
1966 Korina Flying V:
There was also one custom-order Korina Flying V that was shipped from the Gibson factory in 1966. This guitar was sold on consignment buy the original owner back in 2002 at Elderly Instruments. It was reported to have been made from a left over Korina body that was built in the late 1950's. This is certainly possible since there were a handful of Korina Vs that shipped in the 1960 to 1963 time frame.
I estimate there are no more than 25 of the original 175 guitars still left on the planet that are completely factory original, and unmodified. Of the 102 Flying Vs that I have accounted for, only 15 are still totally factory original and unmodified. Virtually all 15 "survivor" guitars have acquired some dings and nicks over their life spans, but that is typical. Some of the 15 are a lot cleaner than others. Only a hand-full are super clean. Beyond those 15 "survivors" there are 4 others that have pickguard issues whereas pickup rings were added, or extra pickguard screws were added, or large support washers were added at the input jack due to the pickguard breaking at that vulnerable spot. Another one had a complete re-fret and a newer nut installed. However, the 5 slightly altered guitars that I just mentioned do not have any modifications to the wood body. Wood body modifications can have a huge affect on the value of these guitars. Also, 2 additional guitars had an extra strap button installed with no other mods. Beyond that, the rest of the 102 guitars that I know of have been modified, refinished, broken or repaired. Some had holes drilled in the body to move the input jack or add a strap button. Many had the Vibrola plate removed and a stop bar tailpiece added in its place. Some had routes added to the wood under the pickguard to incorporate additional electronics or a third pickup. Many of these guitars have been heavily modified with multiple modifications. I am sure some have also been lost or destroyed over the past several decades.
The most common mods that were inflicted on these guitars were swapping out the Kluson/Gibson Deluxe tuners for Grover tuners or, as I mentioned, removing the Vibrola tremelo bar and installing a Stop Bar Tailpiece. The Grover mod required enlarging the tuner holes. Unfortunately, most of the 1960's Flying V's have at least one of these mods. Finding one of these gems in all original condition with its original case is incredibly rare. The square, yellow-lined factory Faultless cases that came with the guitars were so big and heavy that they would usually fall apart and then be discarded. A majority of the 1960's Gibson Flying Vs are missing their original cases.
A note of interest.....I have been contacted by two '67 Flying V original owners that both bought their guitars brand new and still own them. Both gentlemen are in their mid to late 60's and play in bands in the mid-west. Both are Batch 1 guitars with cherry finishes. One of them was refinished in the mid-1970's. The other one was essentially put under the bed for 48 years and is in near mint condition.
Detailed information about the five Gibson Flying V Production Batches (35 guitars per batch) is listed below:
Batch #1: - Mostly Cherry with a few Sunburst. Built and shipped in 1967 (33) and 1966 (2). - Most serial numbers begin with 0009xx. - One of the two that shipped in 1966 was serial number 811197 (Sunburst prototype). - One piece Neck, one piece body. Headstock front is black. - Neck joint shelf: The earliest Vs had the short neck shelf. Later Batch #1 Vs had the longer U-shaped neck shelf. - Some guitars, including the first Sunburst prototype, have the elongated truss rod cover.
Batch #2: - Mostly Cherry and a few Sunburst. All built and shipped in 1967. - Most serial numbers begin with 0009xx, 0002xx, and 001xxx. - One piece neck, one piece body. Headstock front is black. - Neck joint shelf: Longer U-shaped neck shelf. - Some Cherry finish guitars have the elongated truss rod cover.
Batch #3: - Sunburst, Sparkling Burgundy, a few Walnut. Built and shipped in 1967. - Most serial numbers indicate 1968 (9xxxxx). Some serial numbers are 005xxx and 007xxx (1967). - One piece neck, one piece body. Headstock front is black. - Neck joint shelf: Longer tapered V-shaped neck shelf. Some early Batch #3 Vs had the long U-shaped neck shelf.
Batch #4: - Sunburst, Sparkling Burgundy and a few Walnut. All built in 1967. 8 shipped in 1967, 15 shipped in 1969, 12 shipped in 1970. - All serial numbers indicate 1968 (9xxxxx). Some are "gap" serial numbers, ie: 930xxx, 932xxx. - One piece neck, one piece body. Headstock front is black. - Neck joint shelf: Longer tapered V-shaped neck shelf.
Batch #5: - Walnut. Built in 1969. Shipped in 1970. - All serial numbers indicate 1968 (906xxx or 907xxx). - Three piece neck, one piece body. Headstock front is also Walnut (one with black headstock). - Neck joint shelf: Short neck shelf, similar to Batch #1. ___________________________________________________________________________
Pictured below: This is the very first advertisement for the 1966 Gibson Flying V. The sunburst prototype is pictured in this add. It was the very first guitar built with the 1966-67 body style. Notice the odd pickguard configuration for the knobs and the toggle switch. This same guitar is featured in the "Sunburst" section. Click on the "Sunburst" web link at the top of the page to be directed to the Sunburst web page. Added April, 2016.
Pictured Below: The Gibson Dealer Price list from September 1, 1967. On page 8 it shows the Flying V and its price.
Pictured below: The unmistakable pointy headstock !
More group shots of the coolest guitars on the planet: Sparkling Burgundy, Sunburst, Walnut and Cherry.
Full body shots: The Cherry Flying V on the end is actually a 2001 Historic Series 1967 Flying V. I discuss the differences between the Historic Series and the 175 originals from the 1960's in the "Refins & Reissues" web link at the top of the page.
For tons of additional pictures and info about these great guitars, including info about the various finishes, parts, details, refinished Vs, etc, go check out the other nine web links at the top of this page.
You can also click on the below web link to be redirected to my personal vintage Gibson guitar collection (mostly Gibson Flying Vs).