korinavThe original Flying V story starts in 1958 when Gibson introduced the follow up to the Les Paul – introduced alongside the Gibson Explorer they were radical futuristic guitars with angular and unique designs. Ahead of their times unsurprisingly they didn’t receive a great welcome and Gibson discontinued the guitar in the late 50′s only to resurrect the guitar in the late 60’s after it featured with the likes of Hendrix.

Mention the Flying V and your mind begins to conjure the guitarists that have over the years been featured with the Flying V, from Hendrix to Zakk Wylde, Albert King, Kirk Hammet – bucket loads of guitarists have been seen with a Flying V at one time or another.

Made in Epiphone’s production facility in Korea the ’58 Korina Flying V and Explorer “reissues” have been around a while now. With both of these guitars Epiphone have gone back to the original specs of the Gibson late 50’s models and conjured up some vintage mojo.

For the uninitiated, Korina is the type of wood used to manufacture the instrument, as a wood Korina is quite heavy and is simular to mahogany in the tones that they produce with warm accentuated mids the wood also enhances the sustain of the instrument both of which are the key foundations for any great rock guitar.

Out of the box you can’t fail to be impressed when you look at the Korina Flying V. The combination of the wood, finish and hardware is one which should delight most players out ther. If you didn’t know the price you’d be easily convinced to think your getting much more than the RRP ($499) would suggest.

The two stock humbuckers perform well enough but are not the guitars strong point for those looking for high output there are better replacements out there – the overall sound is a bit muddy but with just enough character to make us for the lack of definition. The pickups are also prone to feedback when cranked really loudly, and for the type of guitar we’re looking at here that could be a problem for some.

For those that are happy to stick with the stock pickups there is a nice thick tone which would make for great rhythm guitar – the bridge pickup has a touch more treble making it suitable for lead work. The added sustain adds some nice complexity to the sound and for recording purposes this we can imagine the Flying V being particularly useful.

You can certainly see why the Flying V appeals to the rock fraternity – with it’s looks and sound it makes a great case for that genre – but that would be to overlook the guitars versatility – with a decent amp we think the neck pickup provides a great Jazz tone and with a “little bite” your into Albert King blues territory.

Although Epiphone still sell the Korina Flying given that it’s been out there for some time – there’s some fantastic ebay bargains to be had (around the $250 mark). Though be aware with the softness of the Korina body it is prone to the odd dings so make sure you take a good look at the body if your looking for a mint example.

Offering such beautiful looks and sustain to die for the Korina Flying V has a lot to offer – yep there are some issues – some of which can be put down to Epiphones hardware selection (this could be more of an issue if you intend to gig with the Flying V) but there’s enough sparkle and tone to appeal to most.

Epiphone Guitars

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