I estimate Gibson only made 35 to 40 1960's Gibson Flying V's with the Sunburst finish. All of them, except the very first Sunburst prototype, were built in 1967. The Sunburst prototype was built in 1966. Only 3 of the 21 Sunburst Vs that I have accounted for are still 100% factory original and totally unmolested, including the Sunburst prototype. The Hendrix Sunburst V and the one I own are the two others. Some of the Sunburst Vs have black or gold Top Hat knobs and some have Witch Hat knobs with gold trim or silver and white trim. Most of them, but not all, have serial numbers that begin with 940xxx or 93xxxx and came from Batches #3 and #4. There were a handful of Sunburst Vs that came from Batches #1 and #2 and have 00xxxx serial numbers. There were two different shades of Sunburst. Most have a black outer edging finish on the body front and sides. But there are a few (also pictured below) that have a lighter reddish-brown outer edging on the body front and sides. The famous Jimi Hendrix Flying V that he did his psychedelic art work on was actually sunburst, not black (see the Black/Blue weblink above). Pictured below are several Sunburst examples including the first 1966 prototype. __________________________________________________________________________
Serial Number: 940154 The Hendrix twin. This is a super clean, totally unmolested, totally original example that spent most of its life in Texas. The original owner played it a few years then stuck it under his bed for almost 38 years. I bought it from a collector in 2009. He got it from a dealer who acquired it directly from a relative of the original owner. As it turns out that same relative bought the guitar for the original owner as a gift back in 1967. This one is a time capsule and has its original case. I spent years looking for one of these that was totally original and unmolested. Finally, my search paid off. This is my dream guitar. It is identical in every detail to the Jimi Hendirx Sunburst Flying V (932954).
The Sunburst Prototype
Serial number: 811197 (1966). Thanks to Don for sending the below pics. This is the very first mid 1960's Flying V that was ever made. Other than the decals, it is totally unmolested and 100% factory original. It dates from 1966 and has some features that are not on any other 1960's Flying V. Notice the location of the toggle switch and front mounting screws on the pickguard. Plus, the front of the pickguard is squared-off over the neck joint pickup cavity. It also has the very short neck shelf and long truss rod cover. I have never seen a short neck shelf or long truss rod cover on any other 1960's Sunburst Flying V. The long truss rod cover is more common on the Cherry finish Vs from Batch #1 and Batch #2. The serial number is stamped on the back edge of the headstock as normal, but it is next to the D string tuner on the opposite back edge. No other late 60's V has the serial stamped in that location. This Sunburst Flying V is probably the first of two that shipped in late 1966 and is the initial prototype.
Notice the short neck shelf. This is the only Sunburst Flying V that I have ever seen with this early Batch #1 feature.
The control cavity is not hand-routed on this one. That would make sense for a prototype.
This exact same guitar was featured in the very first advertisement for the 1966 Gibson Flying V. See below. Notice it has the gold top hat knobs in the advertisement. The knobs were later changed to black top hat knobs.
Notice the elongated truss rod cover pictured above and below. This is the only Sunburst Flying V that I have ever seen with this style of truss rod cover.
Pictured below: Serial Number: 932954. This amazing Sunburst Flying V was one of the two sunburst Flying Vs owned by Jimi Hendrix. It is now owned by the Hard Rock Cafe. Hendrix used it from January 1969 to May 1970 just before he received his custom made left-handed V. This guitar is 100% factory original and totally unmolested. His other sunbust V is the one he did his famous psychedelic paint job on.
Serial Number: 93273x. This beautiful Sunburst V was probably made at the same time as the Hendrix V pictured above. Both have the 932 "gap" series serial numbers. There are also two sparkling burgundy Vs that have the 932 "gap" series serial number. This incredible Sunburst V is factory original except for the added strap button on the inner edge of the upper wing. Thanks Tim. Posted: Oct. 2013.
Serial Number: 930085. This one has the Stop Bar tailpiece holes and added pickup rings. The holes from the stop bar tailpiece and pickup rings were filled in after this guitar was sold in the Spring of 2013.
Here is the same guitar after restoration. The stop bar tailpiece holes and pickup mounting ring holes have been filled in. The restoration of this guitar took place during the summer of 2013. Its too bad this V had been modifed....it is one of the cleanest I have ever seen. But unfortunatly it fell prey to the dreaded stop bar mod and added pickup ring mod.
Serial Number: 940112. This example had the top refinished and some wood patching done in the Vibrola tremelo area. Notice the shorter style Vibrola tremelo unit.
The Control cavity was also routed for a 9 Volt battery to support active EMG pickups this guitar had at one time.
This example had the back of the headstock re-caped and refinished. As a result the serial number is unknown.
Serial Number: 940712. This is a really nice V, but unfortunately it has a repair at the lower V point corner that is only visible in direct sunlight or under a black light. This guitar changed hands several times from 2003 to 2007 and was eventually sold to a collector in England in 2007. This V was offered for sale again in May of 2016. I owned this V for a short time then sold it to a collector in Pennsylvania in June of 2016.
Here is the same Sunburst Flying V pictured with a beautiful 67 Cherry V. They were both displayed on the Rumbleseat Music website back in 2007 as pictured here. Rumbleseat acquired both of these guitars in the 2003 to 2005 time frame and sold them as a pair in early 2007.
The same Sunburst V pictured above (940712) sold for $16,500 in 2005.
Serial Number: 940113. Grovers and newer Gibson tuners were added and removed from this V over the years. Lots of wear. This guitar has had five different owners in the past 15 years, three of which were in the USA. It then sold in Japan in mid 2012, and again in March 2018.
Serial Number: 954912. This cool V was a "player" for many decades. It has the Stop Bar Tailpiece mod and a repaired headstock. The previous owner had the guitar since the mid-1970's. He recently sold it to his friend in April 2018. Posted April 2018. Thanks Scott.
The picture below is an excerpt from the 1968 video called "Open My Eyes" by Todd Rundgren and Nazz. In the late 1960's Todd owned a 67 Sunburst V that he is playing in the foreground. Notice that the configuration of the toggle switch and knobs is different than the standard factory arrangement. The video can be seen on Youtube. It is perhaps the earliest video of someone playing a 1967 Flying V. There are a lot of nice shots of the V in the video. The youtube link is below.
Pictured below are a few of the Sunburst Vs with the lighter reddish-brown outer edging finish. The few that have surfaced have broken and repaired headstocks.
Serial Number: 005xxx. This guitar was routed for a third pickup then restored with a replacement pickguard. It also has a severely cracked headstock and had Grovers at one time.
Notice the original pickguard, third humbucker and stop bar tailpiece added in place of the ABR-1 bridge. This guitar has since been "restored" as shown above. At one time "lightning bolts were in." Ha ! The Sunburst prototype also has a lightning bolt sticker.
Serial Number: 00029x. Notice the lighter reddish-brown outer edging finish. This one has had a headstock repair. It is most-likely a Batch #1 or early Batch #2 Sunburst V due to the 0002xx series serial number associated with those early production batches.
Another Sunburst Flying V with the lighter reddish-brown outer edging. Notice the non-original parallelogram fret inlays and added neck binding. The neck was also refinished. Unfortunately, the serial number was sanded off when the neck was refinished.
Eric Johnson's 1967 Sunburst Flying V. Serial number unknown. Notice the gold Top Hat knobs and short style Vibrola bar. This is a very recent picture. Posted: June 2014.
Eric Johnson with his '67 Sunburst Flying V and one of his Cadillacs. This is a fairly old picture, probably from the late 1990's.
One of Rudolph Schenker's Sunburst Flying Vs. He has two of them. Both have pickup mounting rings that were added.
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