As one of the biggest names in the guitar world, Gibson understands the importance of balancing traditional character with modern innovation. Now, more than ever, they’re walking that line in admirable fashion.
Gibson has revamped their collection this year to be more organized, streamlined, and informative, so customers can easily understand and choose one of their many great guitars.
The overhauled Gibson product collection is broken down into a few definitive series—Modern, Original, and Designer. The name of each series is characteristic of the models it encompasses.
While you’ll certainly recognize the heart of all these definitive models, many have new features for this new era of Gibson.
As the flagship Gibson model, the Les Paul has a wide array of designs, showcasing a large variety of features. Building on its established legacy, Gibson has tweaked it over time to assure there’s a Les Paul for everyone.
The Modern series holds the newest versions of established Gibson Les Paul guitars. Each has some form of weight-relief body, adding present-day playability. This series includes the well-known Les Paul models listed below, plus the brand new for 2019 Gibson Les Paul Modern.
- Les Paul Modern
- Les Paul Classic
- Les Paul Studio
- Les Paul Tribute
- Les Paul Special Tribute DC
- Les Paul Junior Tribute DC
The aptly named Les Paul Modern embraces contemporary design with an ultra-modern weight relief body, asymmetrical slim taper neck profile, and push/pull control knobs for additional sonic features.
The Les Paul Classic has a ’60s style build, with ’61 Burstbucker zebra open-coil pickups, shaped by 4 push/pull pots.
The Les Paul Studio is an enhanced version of the Classic, displaying bold finishes, a slim taper neck, and 490/498 humbuckers with coil-tapping.
The Les Paul Tribute has the vibe and tonality of the traditional Les Paul, sporting a rounded maple neck, vintage deluxe tuners, and 490 humbucker pickups.
If you want a slightly different vibe, the Modern series includes the Les Paul Special Tribute DC and Les Paul Junior Tribute DC (double cutaway models). They both have a satin finish, with the Special packing dual P-90’s, and the Junior a single P-90 at the bridge.
The Original series Les Paul’s are remakes of old-school guitars from the ’50s and ’60s. They have classic simplicity and plenty of nostalgic value, without too many bells and whistles. The vintage enthusiast will love these.
- Les Paul Standard ’50s
- Les Paul Standard ’50s P90
- Les Paul Standard ’60s
- Les Paul Special
- Les Paul Junior
The Les Paul Standard ’50s models have a mahogany body with maple top, vintage ’50s neck profiles, and either Burstbuckers or P-90 pickups.
The Les Paul Standard ’60s has an AA figured maple top, slim taper neck, and Burstbucker 61s, and comes in a number of beautiful, vintage-glossy finishes, which showcase that gorgeous top wood.
If you’re seeking a slightly simpler Original Les Paul guitar, there’s the Les Paul Junior, sporting a single P-90, finished in vintage tobacco burst. If you more enjoy the stripped down look of a satin finish, the Les Paul Special is for you, with its classic TV yellow color and dual P-90’s.
The devilish brother of the Les Paul is divided into the same USA series—Modern and Original, but overall has less model variations. If there’s one thing you can expect from the SG, its rock-hard consistency.
These three Modern series SG guitars bring the SG’s longstanding legacy into today. The SG Modern in particular, with its newly perfected design, is opening a brand new chapter for the classic Gibson model.
The SG Modern model is the newest SG to hit the market. Its design is a combination of an SG and a Les Paul. Though it’s sculpted and scarfed like an SG, the top is made from AA maple, with a mahogany back and glossy, bold-colored finish. The neck sports a modern asymmetrical slim taper profile. It’s capped with an ebony fingerboard and genuine mother of pearl inlays. The SG Modern also has dual Burstbucker Pro alnico V’s with coil-tapping capability.
The SG Standard is more towards the classic look and design of the SG. It’s got an all-mahogany body in gloss finish, with rounded neck profile, and rosewood fingerboard. It also has chrome hardware, the well-known Nashville tune-o-matic bridge with stop bar tailpiece, and dual closed-coil 490 humbuckers.
The SG Tribute features much of the same specs as the Standard, with a satin finish, nickel hardware, and open-coil 490 pickups.
The Original series harkens back to the heyday of Gibson SG guitars—when during the ’50s and ’60s, the SG was developing right alongside with rock n’ roll itself. The five SG models in this series are the epitome of vintage classics.
The SG Standard ’61 honors the year in which the SG became relevant. Retaining the styling of the original, it’s got a mahogany body with deep sculpted scarfing, slim taper mahogany neck with bound rosewood fretboard, and Burstbucker 61 pickups. The SG Standard ’61 is finished in vintage cherry, and also comes in two model variations which have either a maestro vibrola or sideways vibrola tailpiece.
Like their Les Paul counterparts, the SG Special and SG Junior in the Original series, take a different approach to the classic electric guitar.
The Special replaces the more common Burstbuckers with dual P-90’s and adds two additional finish options – faded pelham blue and vintage sparkling burgundy.
The Junior maintains a vintage cherry finish, but holds only a single P-90 at the bridge.
Gibson’s inimitable hollow body line has been around since the dawn of the electric. With a flawless combination of airy acoustic tone and electric power, they’ve established a level of quality and versatility, which amazingly, is still expanding.
Like the Les Paul and SG Modern series, the ES Modern encompasses tried-and-tested design with today’s build technology. It also includes a new for 2019 model—the ES-235.
With the brand new ES-235, Gibson has created a modern hybrid design that draws upon facets of an ES-125 and a Les Paul. It has a single cutaway Les Paul shaped body, which is made from 3-ply maple/poplar/maple and semi-hollow, like an ES. The neck is a single piece of maple in rounded “C” shape, topped with a rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets, and pearloid dots. The excellent semi-hollow tone is amplified through dual Burstbucker Pros.
The ES-335 is perhaps the most well-known semi-hollow guitar around. It’s also the longest in continuous production by Gibson. The 335 relies on it’s somewhat thin bodied, double cutaway design, and large lower bout, to afford versatility in sound and feel. All of these ES-335 models have bodies crafted from 3-ply maple/poplar/maple, a neck with rounded “C” profile, and a rosewood fingerboard.
True to name, the ES-335 Figured has a gorgeous AAA figured maple top, supported by a thermally engineered chambered maple centerblock, and thermally engineered quarter-sawn Adirondack bracing. It’s the only ES model in the group with pearloid block inlays, has an ABR-1 bridge with titanium saddles, and has MHS II humbuckers with a hand-wired Memphis Tone Circuit Premier control assembly.
The other ES models have more subtle differences.
The ES-335 DOT has pearloid dot inlays with rolled binding on the neck, an ABR-1 with plated brass saddles, and black top hat knobs with silver reflectors. The DOT also has MHS II pickups and MTC Plus circuitry.
The ES-335 Satin has the same specs, but with a lovely satin finish.
Last, but not least, the ES-335 Studio differs in that its neck is a single-piece of maple and the pickups are 57 Classics.
The ES-339 is the smaller, lighter version of the 335. It features a very similar build, with 3-ply maple/poplar/maple, a quarter sawn mahogany rounded “C” neck, and MHS II humbuckers. The Modern series has an ES-339 Figured and an ES-339 Gloss.
The Figured showcases an AAA figured maple top, ABR-1 bridge with titanium saddles, and pearloid small block inlays on a dark rosewood fretboard.
The ES-339 Gloss has an ABR-1 bridge with plated brass saddles and pearloid dots on a rosewood fretboard.
The Original series specs are essentially the same as the Modern for these ES models, aside from different finishes offered. However, the ES-335 Original series also includes an ES-335 DOT with P-90’s.
- ES-335 Figured
- ES-335 Dot
- ES-335 Dot P-90
The ES-335 Figured in the Modern series has the options of purple burst, blue burst, and glacier blue, while the Original series has sunset burst, dark natural, sixties cherry, and heritage cherry finishes. Similarly, the Modern ES-335 DOT has cherry burst, blues burst, and graphite metallic finishes, while the Original offers antique faded red and dark natural.
The Designer series are the innovative classics from Gibson. Known for their uniqueness, these models often speak for themselves. Gibson Designer guitars play as awesome as they look and fit those looking for a distinct style.
The Firebird, for example, is recognized for its reverse body style and matching headstock, and wears its symbol on its pickguard. Additionally, it holds the title of Gibson’s first neck through design. The newest iteration has a mahogany body and 9-ply mahogany/walnut neck, with slim taper. It’s also stocked with dual Firebird Mini Humbuckers.
The Flying V is another highly recognizable Gibson shape. Its V body is cut from mahogany and it’s got a slim taper neck with rosewood fingerboard. It’s complete with a special set of calibrated Burstbuckers, controlled with 2 volumes and 1 tone knob.
The Flying V B-2 is basically the same, with two Dirty Fingers + pickups and single volume/tone knobs.
The Explorer is the original guitar with an edge. With its large mahogany body and set mahogany neck, this axe has a lot of power—not to mention it’s really cool looking. This year’s Explorer also has a rosewood fretboard, aluminum Nashville tune-o-matic bridge with stop bar tailpiece, and Burstbucker pickups.
Like the Flying V B-2, the Explorer B-2 replaces those pickups with two Dirty Fingers + humbuckers.
So if you’re in the Market for a Gibson…
There’s plenty for you to sink your teeth into in 2019. With new and revamped designs, you’ll want to give at least a few of these guitars a try—whilst keeping an eye out for what’s to come.