I'm looking to buy 1967-1969 Gibson Flying Vs and 1971 Gibson Medallion Flying Vs. Contact info: email@example.com
Latest additions: 8/12/18: The first-ever 1966 prototype, Serial Number: 811197, 1966 Sunburst Flying V, "The Prototype", factory original & unmolested. Click the Sunburst web link above. This is the latest addition to my collection. 7/4/18: Serial Number: 906932, 1969 Walnut Flying V, factory original & unmolested. Click the Walnut web link above. This is another recent addition to my collection. 7/2/18: Updated info about the Jimi Hendrix "Love Drops" Psychedelic 1967 Flying V. It was sunburst not black. See the Black/Blue section. 6/21/18: Added information about the 1967 Sunburst Flying V that Todd Rundgren owned in the late 1960s. He played it in the 1968 video called "Open My Eyes" by Nazz (see Sunburst web link).
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 353 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 106 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 106 Flying Vs from the 1960's that I have accounted for, there are only 18 "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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 see more pictures and detailed information click on the weblinks at the top of the page, under the picture.
To be redirected to my 1971 Gibson Flying V Medallion website, click here ----> "Medallions"
Pictured below: Group picture of four 1960's Gibson Flying Vs featuring their 1966 - 1969 standard factory finishes: Sunburst, Sparkling Burgundy, Walnut and Cherry.
The first advertisement for the 1967 Flying V
Pictured below: This is the very first advertisement for the re-introduction of the 1966-67 Gibson Flying V. It first appeared in Gibson's literature in September, 1966. The sunburst prototype is pictured in this advertisement. It was the very first Flying V built with the 1966-67 body style. Notice the odd pickguard configuration and the location of the toggle switch. It also has the rare long truss rod cover and gold top hat knobs, plus other peculiar features. 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: My personal collection of 1966-69 Gibson Flying Vs as of August, 2018. Left to right: 1969 Walnut, 1967 Sparkling Burgundy, 1967 Sunburst, 1967 Sparkling Burgundy, 1966 Sunburst Prototype (yes, I now own the Prototype. It is featured in the Sunburst section). All five guitars are original 1960's examples.
Another group picture of my five 1960s Flying Vs.
Another group picture of my five 1960s Flying Vs..
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 wood body control cavity, required additional factory hand-routing on most of the late 60's Flying Vs . 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 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 an aged 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.
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 106 Flying Vs that I have accounted for, only 18 are still totally factory original and unmodified. 11 of the 18 are cherry, 3 are sunburst, 2 are sparkling burgundy and 2 are walnut. Virtually all 18 "survivor" guitars have acquired some dings and nicks over their life spans, but that is typical. Some of the 18 are a lot cleaner than others. Only a hand-full are super clean. Beyond those 18 "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 104 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, factory 1245 Faultless yellow plush-lined 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.
Pictured Below: My personal collection of 1967-69 Gibson Flying Vs as of July, 2018. Left to right: 1967 Sparkling Burgundy (refin), 1969 Walnut, 1967 Sparkling Burgundy, 1967 Sunburst. All four guitars are original 1960's examples. They also have their original Faultless cases. This picture was taken in July 2018, just before I bought the 1966 Sunburst Prototype.
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: Short 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. - Note: The 12 Vs that shipped in 1970 were all sparkling burgundy and had the Faultless yellow-lined square case with no case compartment lid. The case also had the gold stenciled Gibson logo on the front and back.
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, but shorter. ___________________________________________________________________________
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 !
Another group shot of the coolest guitars on the planet: Sparkling Burgundy, Sunburst, Walnut and Cherry.
Pictured Below: From 2012: My personal collection of 1967-69 Gibson Flying Vs from back in 2012. 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. I have since replaced the Sparkling Burgundy V with a much nicer one that only has an added strap button hole. I have also replaced the Walnut V with a factory original, unmolested example.
1966 Korina Flying V
A total of 98 Korina Flying Vs shipped from the Gibson factory in 1958 - 1959. There were a handful of custom-order Korina Flying Vs that shipped from the Gibson factory from 1960 to 1964. There was also one possible custom-order Korina Flying V that was built and shipped from the factory in 1966. It was most-likely the very last Korina Flying V built before the 1981-83 Korina 58 Reissues were introduced by Gibson. The 1966 Korina V was sold on consignment back in 2002 at Elderly Instruments. Prior to that, there is no known provenance other than the person who put it on consignment said he was the original owner. According to the Gibson shipping ledgers, two Gibson Flying Vs were shipped in 1966. The Sunburst prototype was one of them (see Sunburst section). Perhaps the 1966 Korina V was the other. It does not have the rubber grip pad strip on the lower wing and has a very noticeable and uncommon neck shelf that was not typical of the 1958 and 59 original Vs. It has mid-1960's era chrome parts and PAT # decals on the bottom of the pickup plates. It has a small "2" on the back of the headstock and has a 5-digit impressed serial number. The V is pictured below.
_____________________________________________________________________________ Forgeries and Fakes
There are several forgeries and fakes that have unsuspectingly been sold over the years for big money. One of which is a fake "aged" sparkling burgundy Flying V that sold online several years ago. There is also a fake "aged" pelham blue Flying V that was used in several publications in Japan. Both were actually built in the early 1990's by the same craftsman. To this date, no authentic pelham blue 67 Flying Vs have ever surfaced. It was rumored that back in the early 1970s, Wally Bryson of the Raspberries had a real 67 pelham blue Flying V with natural neck treatment, but this rumor has never been substantiated.
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.