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Gibson Victory guitars
MV stood for multi-voice. They were created by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo, MI, with the body work by Chuck Burge, and the multi-voice electronics by Tim Shaw. The period of production was short: mid 1981 - 1983/4. Early models were Kalamaoo-built, but by the end of 1981 they were being produced at the Gibson Nashville plant. There were also three Gibson Victory bass models (See Chuck Burge's interview with FlyGuitars on the development of the Gibson Victory bass), and these went on to outlast the guitar versions by several years. The Gibson Victory MV2 and MVX were last listed in Gibson prices list of January 1984, whilst the Gibson Victory Standard and Artist basses remained until 1986.
According to the 1981 pre-owners manuals, they were attempts to add "in-demand" tones, to Gibson's classic sounds. Direct competition for the Fender Telecaster (MV2) and Fender Stratocaster (MV10). As well as the Fender-esque shape, these guitars were fitted with pickups and circuitry that could give single coil tones. This was not the first time Gibson had created guitars to directly take on Fenders sound; the Gibson Marauder and Gibson S-1 had done much the same thing 6 years earlier, but with more traditional Gibson body styling.
But to say the Victory series were just Fender copies would be very wrong indeed. Although they could produce single-coil sounds, these guitars were actually fitted with humbuckers for the fatter tones associated with Gibson, and along with a hard rock maple body and a set (glued-in) maple neck, they owed a lot more to Gibson tradition than might seem obvious at a first look. In many ways they are descendents of the all-maple Gibson RD series guitars; the design teams previous effort.
By this time Gibson were having serious financial problems, and unprofitable models were being discontinued. The Victory MV guitars were good quality instruments, with wide tonal palettes. So why were they a commercial failure? It was a time of falling guitar sales in general, and perhaps Gibson buyers wanted Gibson classic styling? Price may also have been a factor: in 1982 the MV2 cost the same as the SG Standard, with the MVX a shade below the Les Paul Standard. Another factor may have been insufficient advertising. The MV2 never appeared in a Gibson catalogue, whilst the MVX just made it into the 1983 catalogue. Marketing the MV2 as a country guitar was perhaps a bad idea - although useful in alikening the instrument to the Telecaster, the Victory body shape was probably too 'rock' for country players, whilst the country tag must have put off may rock players.