Gibson USA's 2017 lineup of electric guitars finds the sweet spot between tradition and innovation
Gibson just lifted the tent flap on its new electric guitar offerings and early indications point to 2017 as a banner year for the brand. The new lineup continues to reflect Gibson’s appreciation for both of its audiences: diehard purists who want their Les Paul or SG built in the classic manner versus those looking for modern playability tweaks and extended tonal options.
With the 2017 Gibson USA Electric Guitar range, both audiences have a lot to get excited about. And Gibson is also giving some of its more exotic models facelifts in the coming year.
We also offer two great overviews of the recently released Gibson USA 2018 line-up, which covers Les Pauls, SGs, Firebirds and more, as well Gibson Memphis' 2018 line-up, which includes the ES-335, ES-330 and ES-275 Custom.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Gibson Les Paul Faded 2017 T
As with all the models carrying the “Faded” designation this year, Gibson aims to evoke the look and feel of a well-loved guitar that has logged countless hours. A lot of work goes into the neck carve and fretwork of the Les Paul Faded 2017 T to evoke that sense of a seasoned and familiar instrument that fits you like the proverbial glove. The Mahogany slim taper neck is a nod to modern shredders while modern 490R and 490T humbuckers exploit all the tonal goodness and resonance churned out by the weight-relieved body. The faded finish underscores the sense of holding a veteran axe.
Gibson SG Faded 2017 T
Like its iconic Les Paul stable mate, the SG Faded T has that thoroughly played look from headstock to tailpiece. The gloss finish gets a carefully applied treatment giving it a convincingly worn appearance. Ditto the nickel-plated hardware and that old-friend feel when you first grasp the slim-taper neck and run your fingers down the nicely finished and polished frets. 490R and 490T humbucker pickups with Alnico magnets offer the same crunch and punch that has made the SG a go-to for rock heroes from Pete Townshend to Frank Zappa.
Gibson Les Paul Tribute 2017 T
Gibson’s intent with the 2017 Tribute range is to deliver a moderately priced, U.S.-made guitar that delivers big on the company’s trademark tone while also offering modern manufacturing technology benefits. The traditional tone recipe is based on the classic mahogany/maple tonewood formula, beautifully finished in a satin texture. Modern Gibson 490R (Neck) and 490T (Bridge) humbuckers crank the output necessary for contemporary music contexts while the weight-relieved body is a shoulder and back-friendly update.
Gibson SG Special 2017 T
Considering its built-in-America credentials, the SG Special 2017 T is a terrific buy, not to mention one tough performer. Cosmetically, it shouts “vintage” with its satin finish and vintage-style tuners. But the modern neck profile and modern humbuckers are all about achieving maximum playability and tone. As with the other guitars detailed thus far, you also get a padded gig bag plus strap and polishing cloth.
Gibson EB4 Bass 2017
Electric bassists weren’t left out in Gibson's rethink of the 2017 lineup. Gibson says the latest edition, the EB Bass 2017, represents a complete redesign. EB Rhythm and Lead pickups deliver chest-whacking thump and growl, enhanced by the premium Babicz Full Contact bridge. Gibson has redesigned the swamp ash body for improved upper-fret access and overall playing comfort.
Gibson EB5 Bass 2017
Gibson wants to take you lower with its 5-string take on the EB. The EB5 shares all the tweaks of its 4-string brother, including precision Grover tuners. The addition of the low B string is tailor-made for bassists needing the extra range of modern, detuned playing styles in rock and metal.
Gibson Firebird Studio 2017 T
The Firebird has been built by Gibson in various incarnations dating back to 1963. Its futuristic-looking, offset profile has continued to have a strong pull on guitarists, perhaps most notably, the late, great Johnny Winter. The 2017 Firebird Studio T addresses the important stuff first and foremost. Gibson has switched out the traditional mini-humbuckers for the new, full-throated sound of 496R and 496T humbuckers. Fretwork is exemplary and invites note benders to dig in with massive bends.
Gibson SG Standard 2017 T
The SG Standard 2017 T continues to be, well, the standard by which all SGs are judged. For 2017 it sports the smaller teardrop-shaped pickguard of the early 60s and traditional Grover kidney-button Locking Tuning Machines. Classic ‘57 Humbuckers pour out classic SG tone that recalls the sweetly complex sound of PAFs. The slim taper neck makes less work of those complex chord forms. We will ship this fabulous interpretation of the SG in its factory hardshell case together with a premium leather strap plus Gibson multi-tool and polishing cloth.
Gibson Explorer 2017 T
Gibson clearly has rock and metal heads in its sights with the Explorer 2017 T. Ever since it burst on the scene in 1958, the Explorer has always stood for bold aggression. The radical shape has tended to disguise the fact this is one very ergonomic and comfortable axe. Armed with high-gain humbuckers for 2017 that address the needs of modern metal amps, its fleet neck and excellent high-fret access should put a blissful grin on just about any shredder's mug.
Gibson Flying V 2017
Gibson was feeling the future strongly when it unleashed The Flying V in 1958 alongside the futuristically shaped Explorer introduced the same year. Amazingly, the Flying V failed to catch on and was discontinued the following year. But after guitar aces like Albert King, Lonnie Mack, and yes, even Jimi Hendrix began showing up with Flying V’s in hand, demand ramped up and Gibson obliged by reissuing the guitar in 1967. Gibson equips the Flying V 2017 with dual Dirty Fingers pickups for massive, crunching tone and high-energy lead work. Blessed with copious sustain, the guitar offers a vast comfort zone, being perfectly at home in a wide range of genres.
Gibson Les Paul Studio 2017 T
If you’re looking for a no-fuss LP that’s all-business, consider the new Les Paul Studio 2017 T. The body has been significantly lightened using Ultra-Modern weight relief—a huge benefit on those long sets or late-night tracking sessions. The 490R and 490T humbuckers produce plenty of that classic LP warmth while coil splitting broadens your tonal options.
Gibson Firebird 2017 T
The origins of the Firebird 2017 T’s shape grew out of a collaboration between Gibson and auto designer Ray Dietrich. The company was looking for another winner like the Les Paul, whose sales at this point were faltering. The Explorer and Flying V that had preceded it hadn’t proven to to be that replacement. What they came up with was revolutionary: Gibson’s first through-body neck, a design producing huge sustain and enormous strength. Doubling down on previous improvements such as Steinberger gearless tuners and the searing sound of Mini-Humbuckers (495R in the Neck and 495T in the Bridge), for 2017 Gibson focused on improving fingerboard playability with polished frets and finger-friendly rolled binding.
Gibson Les Paul Classic 2017
In reimagining the Les Paul Classic 2017 T, Gibson has used late ‘60s and early ‘70s LPs as a visual point of departure. But under the vintage skin is an instrument that takes advantage of evolving guitar technology. PAF lovers will recognize the tone they love in the Zebra ‘57 Classic pickups with orange-drop tone caps. Locking Grover tuners, an ABR bridge and aluminum stopbar all ensure tuning stability. The gold speed knobs add add a bit of bling. As with some of its 2017 stablemates, the Classic gets beautifully rolled binding for an instantly broken-in feel.
Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2017 T
Appearances can be deceiving goes the cliché, but in describing the charms of the Les Paul Traditional 2017 T, that has never been more true. You have to get below the surface to find out what’s new here. The Grade AA maple top certainly harkens back to golden-era LPs as do most of the other cosmetic elements. But get your hands on the Traditional and it reveals its hidden self. The Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups are the real deal, dishing out slabs of harmonically complex and sustain-drenched sound. Orange drop caps contribute to that iconic PAF-like tone. The ABR bridge and stopbar with steel posts play their role too in serving up sustain fit for the gods. In the end though, it’ll be your fretting hand that discovers the magic: a subtly rounded neck profile, polished frets and rolled binding that make this among the most comfortable LPs ever.
Gibson Les Paul Standard 2017 T
If you love your vintage LP more than words can say, but you’re either, a) afraid to take it out on the road, or, b) find that hefty body a shoulder-killer on long gigs, maybe you should give the Les Paul Standard 2017 T a look. The Ultra-Modern body shaves off critical ounces while upping sustain for a win-win situation. AAA maple tops speak to the Standard’s “beauty of the ‘burst” heritage while the compound-radius fretboard on a slim-taper neck with rolled binding delivers newfound dexterity for your fingers. Push-pull controls on all four pots give you coil tapping, phase reverse and a pure bypass mode. You get a decidedly non-standard approach to tone options when you plug in your Les Paul Standard 2017.
Gibson Firebird Zero
As a part of Gibson’s 2017 revival of exotic shapes from the past, the Firebird Zero is a natural extension. A part of the eye-popping S Series, it will soak up attention from the bandstand with stunning Nitro Light Gloss on the body. The single-piece maple neck has a fast rosewood fingerboard while Double Slug DS-C humbuckers take care of the firepower. Check the price; it’s a decidedly sweet deal on an American-made axe.
Gibson Les Paul Custom Studio
If one guitar in the 2017 Gibson lineup optimizes a marriage of old and new, the Les Paul Custom Studio may be the most perfect example. Outwardly, its classic lines hew closely to the family tree. What’s different is a swamp ash body with 9-hole weight relief that produces a combination of comfort and astounding sustain. Loaded into that swamp ash top are Double Slugs Alnico 5 Rhythm DS-A5 and Lead DS-A5+ humbuckers that get the job done big time. The slim-taper neck with rosewood fingerboard add playability while nitrocellulose stain suggests a guitar that’s been on hand for many decades.
Gibson Les Paul Custom Special
As part of the deluxe S Series, Gibson USA pulls out all the stops in creating the Les Paul Custom Special. The body is beautifully finished in Nitro Light Gloss while a satin-finish, one-piece maple neck with the slim-taper profile reflects the preference of many modern players. Firepower comes courtesy of Double Slugs Rhythm DS-C and Lead DS-C+ humbuckers with chrome covers. Gibson positions this outstanding Paul at a price accessible to just about any serious player.
See the entire range of 2017 Gibson USA electric Guitars.
Tags: Electric Guitars