Gibson Moderne

Late 50s solid body guitar, designed by Ted McCarty alongside the Flying V and Explorer models

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1982 Gibson Moderne

1982 Gibson Moderne.

The Gibson Moderne was first conceived in the late 1950s, along with the Flying V and Explorer. In 1958 a few prototypes were built, at Gibson's famous Kalamazoo factory, but they were deemed insufficiently popular to turn into a production model. These guitars were made from African Korina wood (also known as limba), and all three models had small production runs, before quickly being discontinued. The use of Korina is explained by designer and then Gibson boss Ted McCarty.

if we had made them out of maple, they would have been too heavy. If we used mahogany, we would have had to bleach it to get the colour we wanted - we called it a limed finish - and bleaching is unsatisfactory because the wood discolors after a few years. Korina is pale yellow, the grain is similar to mahogany, and it works like mahogany, so Korina was ideal.

The 50s Modernes are probably the rarest of all Gibson solid-bodies, if any exist at all. None have been seen since the 1950s, and its thought they were probably disposed of at the factory.

Nobody is sure how many were built, estimates vary between 20-35, with as few as 6 being actually completed.

Both the Flying V and Explorer were re-released over the coming decades (1967 and 1976 respectively) and in 1982, the Moderne got it's turn.

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