Gibson USA 2018 Electric Guitars

Unveiled: The 2018 Gibson USA Electric Guitar Lineup

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Gibson's 2018 Les Paul, SG, Firebird, Explorer and Flying V models include subtle performance/playability tweaks and some astonishing finishes.

A brand with a pedigree like Gibson's is one to be protected. Their electric guitars, particularly the Les Paul and SG, have exerted a huge influence over all of popular music's forms. Recognizing this, over the last couple of years Gibson has been refocusing on its legacy-generating essential ingredients.

But that's not to say there's been no innovation. While Gibson has been intent on nurturing the qualities that gave its guitars their iconic status, subtle tweaks and changes in some models are clearly aimed at modern players. On select models, sleeker neck profiles, updated pickup switching and other refinements enhance playability and serve up the sounds of modern music.

Also setting the 2018 collection apart are some stunning finishes. Gibson's spray booth artisans have come up with some amazing looks that should have fans salivating.

This article will cover the entire Gibson USA 2018 line-up including the Les Paul and SG families, the Firebird, Flying V and Explorer. We'll cover all of the important specifications like neck profiles, pickup configuration, weight relief, woods, tuner types and more. Now, let's take a closer look at the finer details and specs of the Gibson USA lineup for 2018.

Before you move on, if semi-hollow guitar designs, including the ES-335, ES-330 and ES-275 models, are more your style, we also offer a deep dive of information and specifications for the 2018 Gibson Memphis line-up. Interested in the Gibson 2018 acoustic line-up? Check out our deep-dive.


Les Paul Standard 2018
Les Paul Standard HP 2018
Les Paul Classic 2018
Les Paul Faded 2018
Les Paul Studio 2018
Les Paul Tribute 2018
Les Paul Traditional 2018
SG Standard 2018
SG Standard HP 2018
SG Faded 2018
SG Special 2018
Firebird 2018
Firebird Studio 2018
Flying V 2018
Explorer 2018

Gibson USA 2018 Les Paul Line-Up

A deep dive with the Gibson USA 2018 Les Paul lineup.
Filmed at The Chalet Recording Studio, Culver City, CA.

Brian Baggett from Musician's Friend Private Reserve Guitars demos the 2018 Les Paul Standard HP.

Gibson Les Paul Standard 2018

Captivating new burst finishes exquisitely applied over a AAA maple top should stop LP fans in their tracks. As Gibson's standard bearer, the Gibson Les Paul Standard 2018 embodies a well conceived mixture of proven ingredients blended with some updated performance and playability tricks. Key specifications include an asymmetrical slim taper neck that, combined with beautifully finished frets, invites serious shredding. Burstbucker Pro Rhythm and Lead pickups deliver classic PAF-like (AKA, "Patent Applied For") sound that can be shaped any way you want thanks to four push-pull knobs that open up whole new kingdoms of tone. Functions include standard coil taps, phase reverse, plus a pure bypass setting that sends the aggressive output direct from the pickups, bypassing both tone and volume knobs. When employed, the pure bypass tone is markedly more aggressive and biting, helping it cut right through a mix. Long sets are made much more shoulder-friendly thanks to an Ultra Modern weight-relieved body. The 2018 Les Paul Standard is available in four styles: Cobalt Burst (pictured below), Mojave Burst, Blood Orange Burst and Heritage Cherry Sunburst.

 Gibson Les Paul Standard 2018

Gibson 2018 Les Paul Standard in Cobalt Burst

Gibson Les Paul Standard HP 2018

Who says an old dog can't be taught new tricks? The Gibson Les Paul Standard HP 2018 significantly ups the ante on what you can achieve with an LP both musically and cosmetically. A gloriously figured AAA+ maple top creates an impression of great depth thanks to your choice of masterfully applied fade finishes. Gibson opted for Rhythm Pro and Lead Pro+ humbucker pickups that can be shaped up in nearly any way imaginable. Offering 4 push-pull knobs for significant tonal flexibility using its DIP switch, you can set more than 150 different wiring configurations. This Paul knows no sonic limits. The Ultra Modern weight-relieved body combined with the asymmetrical Slim Taper neck and ribcage-friendly belly scarf all contribute to this exceptionally comfortable instrument. Appointments and hardware are also of the highest caliber and include G-Force tuners plus an adjustable titanium zero-fret nut. The 2018 model Les Paul Standard HP is available in four styles: Cobalt Fade, Blood Orange Fade, Heritage Cherry Fade, Hot Pink Fade (pictured below) and Mojave Fade.

Gibson  Les Paul Standard HP Hot Pink Fade 2018  

Gibson 2018 Les Paul Standard HP in a striking Hot Pink Fade.

Gibson Les Paul Classic 2018

The Gibson Les Paul Classic 2018 continues to be the guitar of choice for the LP purist. The 2018 model Les Paul Classic offers plenty of heft  via a non-weight-relieved body that is matched by a pair of growling single-coil P90 pickups that deliver classic old-school grit and texture to your amp's front end. The Slim Taper neck profile and cryogenically treated frets offer new levels of playability. Hand-wired orange drop capacitors help recreate the vintage tone (and vibe) that old-school fans demand. The 2018 model Les Paul Classic is available in striking Ebony, Gold or Pelham Blue (pictured below).

Gibson Les Paul Classic 2018 Pelham Blue

Here's a Gibson 2018 Les Paul Classic in Pelham Blue.

Gibson Les Paul Faded 2018

We were sold the first time we got a glimpse of the gorgeous finishes for the Gibson Les Paul Faded 2018. Gibson calls them "spirited." and we wouldn't argue—these are some of the coolest finishes we've seen from Gibson USA. And as with many of its 2018 stablemates, the combination of a Slim Taper neck with Ultra Modern weight relief makes for a very stage-worthy guitar. The 490R and 490T humbuckers bring the necessary trademark throatiness for which LPs are revered. Moderate pricing makes Faded LPs make a sweet choice for the budget-challenged player eager to step up to American craftsmanship. The 2018 model Les Paul Faded is available in Worn Bourbon and Worn Cherry.

Gibson Les Paul Faded 2018

A closer look at the Gibson Les Paul Faded 2018.

Gibson Les Paul Studio 2018

As with the Faded Les Paul, the Gibson Les Paul Studio 2018 makes a powerful first impression thanks to an amazing finish on the maple top. Whether you choose the Smokehouse Burst or slightly more traditional Vintage Sunburst, their depth and warmth set them apart. A '57 Classic pickup in the neck and ‘57 Classic Plus in the bridge with coil taps gives you all the firepower and tonal versatility you need to exploit the Studio's native saturation and sustain. The Slim Taper neck and Ultra Modern weight relieved body pay big comfort dividends on long sets and sessions. The 2018 model Les Paul Studio is available in Smokehouse Burst (pictured below) and Vintage Sunburst.

Gibson Les Paul Studio 2018

Here's the Gibson Les Paul Studio 2018 in Smokehouse Burst.

Gibson Les Paul Tribute 2018

The aptly named Gibson Les Paul Tribute 2018 pays homage to its heritage with the classic maple top-mahogany body marriage that gives all Pauls their remarkable sustain and midrange complexity. From its vintage-style tuners to the trapezoid inlays and cream pickguard to the non weight-relieved body, the Tribute mirrors its predecessors cosmetically. Addressing the modern guitarist's needs, there's a comfortable Slim Taper neck and a potent combination of 490R and 490T humbucker pickups. While based on the original famed PAF pickups, the 490R and 490T offer more upper-mids, providing the punch and advanced playability demanded by modern musicians. The 2018 Les Paul Tribute is available in Faded Honey Burst and Satin Gold (pictured below). 

Gibson Les Paul Tribute 2018

The very attractively priced Gibson Les Paul Tribute 2018 looks fantastic in Satin Gold.

Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2018

If one instrument can be said to completely capture vintage LP mojo both sonically and cosmetically, the Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2018 may be it. It's built for the player who loves the heft of the original LP's body and neck and who thirsts for genuine PAF sound. Classic burst finishes are applied over the AA figured maple top then complemented with vintage elements such as gold top hat knobs, cream binding, and vintage tuners. The hand-wired pickup circuitry includes orange drop capacitors to wring all the potential out of the Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickup duo. The 2018 Les Paul Traditional is available in Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honey Burst and Tobacco Sunburst (pictured below). 

Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2018

If you're an LP purist, the Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2018 in Tobacco Sunburst is a great choice.

Explore LP lore with our indispensible Les Paul Buying Guide.

Gibson USA 2018 SG Line-up

Take a closer look at the Gibson USA 2018 SG lineup.
Filmed at The Chalet Recording Studio, Culver City, CA.

Gibson SG Standard 2018

When the original Gibson SG electric guitar burst on the scene in 1961, it was a disruptor with its modern, bat-shaped profile and ultra-fast neck. Originally positioned as the latest update of the Les Paul, whose sales had flattened, rock wizards like The Who's Pete Townshend quickly lent the SG its iconic status. The Gibson SG Standard 2018 recaptures the sound of late-era PAF pickups courtesy of 61R and 61T humbuckers. Modern updates include locking tuners and white fingerboard binding that keys in on the traditional trapezoid inlay work. The 2018 SG Standard model is available in Autumn Shade (pictured below), Ebony and Heritage Cherry.

Gibson SG Standard 2018

The Gibson SG Standard 2018 is truly elegant in Autumn Shade.

Gibson SG Standard HP 2018

What's that? You say you love the SG but you're lusting for performance and playability upgrades? It could just be the Gibson SG Standard HP 2018 has your name on it. This is an SG for the non-traditionalist who's looking for maximum sonic and visual impact. The 57 Classic neck humbucker pickup and Super 57 Classic bridge pickup churn out to-die-for tones that go on forever thanks to advanced DIP switch choices and two push-pull volumes. Everything is top shelf from the titanium adjustable zero fret nut to awesomely stable G Force tuners. The AA figured maple cap looks incredible below a palette of fade color options. For 2018 Gibson has added a slight amount of body thickness to improve balance. The 2018 SG Standard HP is available in Blood Orange Fade (pictured below), Cobalt Fade, Mojave Fade and Hot Pink Fade.

Gibson SG Standard HP 2018

If you're looking for an SG with modern appointments, the Gibson SG Standard HP 2018 in Blood Orange Fade is the perfect guitar to add to your collection.

Gibson SG Faded 2018

Like a beloved guitar that's seen its fair share of action while also being carefully preserved, the Gibson SG Faded 2018 has the burnished look of a veteran. Below its rich Warm Bourbon nitro finish it possesses a pair of tried-and-true humbuckers—a 490R in the neck and a 490T in the bridge route. The Slim Taper neck coupled with the SG's double cut body grant unbridled access to the entire fretboard. If you're looking for a budget-friendly guitar to give you classic Gibson looks, tone and feel, this is the perfect SG model for you.

Gibson SG Faded 2018

The Gibson SG Faded 2018 offers classic SG look and sound at a price that won't break the bank.

Gibson SG Special 2018

A pair of Mini Humbucker pickups lend the Gibson SG Special 2018 their bright, distinct tone that matches the guitar's simple, streamlined looks. The unbound rosewood fingerboard sits atop a Slim Taper mahogany neck that excels when fleet fretting is needed. The minimalist vibe continues with the teardrop pick guard and block inlay work. While significantly more affordable than the Gibson SG Standard and SG Standard HP models, the Special offers incredible playability to rival the more costly models. The Gibson SG Special 2018 is available in Natural Satin and Satin Cherry (pictured below).

Gibson SG Special 2018

Loaded with Mini Humbuckers, the Gibson SG Special 2018 is a great choice if you're looking for an SG with a slightly brighter tone.

Dig deeper into the lore of the SG with our definitive SG Guitar Buying Guide.

Gibson USA 2018 Firebird Line-Up

Gibson Firebird 2018

Radical upon its 1963 debut thanks to an offset, futuristic body shape from car designer Ray Dietrich, the latest incarnation, the Gibson Firebird 2018, continues to surprise. Equipped with dual Mini Humbuckers for optimal tonal cut, the Slim Taper through-neck construction results in a guitar with great integrity and sustain that's also a pleasure to play (and behold). The bound and torrefied granadillo fingerboard looks terrific and feels sleek beneath your fingers. The 2018 Firebird is available in a rare Ebony finish.

Gibson Firebird 2018

Stand out on stage and in a mix with the classic offset body of the Gibson Firebird 2018.

Gibson Firebird Studio 2018

The Gibson Firebird Studio 2018 differs from its stablemate in two main respects: It's equipped with a pair of nasty-sounding P90s and has a Vintage Sunburst finish. The pickups give it the raw, unbridled single-coil sound so many of us lust after. Deluxe appointments include mini Grover tuners and a black pickguard inscribed with the Firebird image—it looks spectacular against the burst finish.

Gibson Firebird Studio 2018

Gibson's Firebird Studio 2018 offers classic Firebird looks and sonics at an attractive price.

Check out our side-by-side comparison of the Gibson Firebird 2018 and the Gibson Firebird Studio 2018.
Video filmed at The Chalet Recording Studio.

Browse our full selection of Firebird electric guitars.

Gibson USA 2018 Flying V and Explorer

Gibson Flying V 2018

When it was first introduced in 1958, the Flying V was a flop. Maybe it was too far ahead of its time with that then-revolutionary profile. We're not worried about the Gibson Flying V 2018 suffering such a fate, however. Since that ill-fated late ‘50s launch, the Flying V has been played by some of the biggest names in rock and blues including Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Lonnie Mack and it has become pretty much a permanent part of Gibson's electric guitar lineup. The 2018 edition is armed with a Burstbucker 2 and 3 pickup array that generates healthy gobs of sustain thanks to the through mahogany neck. The torrefied granadillo fingerboard is a shredder's playground.

Gibson Flying V 2018

The iconic Gibson Flying V 2018 offers incredible tone thanks to the Burstbucker 2 and Burstbucker 3 pickup configuration.

Gibson Explorer 2018

The Flying V wasn't the only eyebrow raiser from Gibson in 1958. Sharing the limelight was the equally radical-looking Explorer with its asymmetrical body. Adopted by hard-charging rock-blues guitarists such as the late Johnny Winter, the latest incarnation, the Gibson Explorer 2018, is built to take no prisoners. A Burstbucker 2 in the neck and Burstbucker 3 in the bridge position generate enough sonic heat for any modern genre. The set Slim Taper mahogany neck with torrefied granadillo fingerboard is swift and helps generate massive sustain and depth.

Gibson Explorer 2018

Approximately six decades after being originally introduced, the Gibson Explorer still stands out from the pack.

Check out the huge selection of Gibson USA electric guitars at Musician's Friend.

Tags: Electric Guitars

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