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Unveiled: The 2018 Gibson USA Electric Guitar Lineup
Posted on Thursday, 31 August 2017 18:13.
Gibson USA’s 2018 collections of Les Pauls, SGs and more 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 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.
So let's take a closer look at the entire lineup for 2018:
Gibson USA 2018 Les Paul Line-Up
2018 Les Paul Standard
Captivating new burst finishes exquisitely applied over a AAA maple top should stop LP fans in their tracks. As Gibson's standard bearer, the 2018 Les Paul Standard embodies a well conceived mixture of proven ingredients blended with some updated performance and playability tricks. The latter includes 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. Long sets are made much more shoulder-friendly thanks to an Ultra Modern weight-relieved body.
2018 Les Paul Standard HP
Who says an old dog can't be taught new tricks? The 2018 Les Paul Standard HP 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. Output from the Rhythm Pro and Lead Pro+ humbuckers 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.
2018 Les Paul Classic
The Les Paul Classic continues to be the guitar of choice for the LP purist. The 2018 Les Paul Classic offers plenty of heft via a non-weight-relieved body that is matched by a pair of growling P90s 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.
2018 Les Paul Faded
We were sold the first time we got a glimpse of Gibson's finishes for the 2018 Les Paul Faded. 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.
2018 Les Paul Studio
As with the Faded LP, the 2018 Les Paul Studio 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.
2018 Les Paul Tribute
The aptly named 2018 Les Paul Tribute pays homage to its heritage with the classic maple-mahogany marriage that gives all Pauls their remarkable sustain and midrange complexity. From its vintage Keystone tuners to the trapezoid inlays and cream pickguard to the non weight-relieved body, the Tribute mirrors its predecessors cosmetically. Addressing the modern player's needs, there's a comfortable Slim Taper neck and a potent combination of 490R and 490T humbuckers for the punch and advanced playability demanded by modern musicians.
2018 Les Paul Traditional
If one instrument can be said to completely capture vintage LP mojo both sonically and cosmetically, the Les Paul Traditional 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 locking kidney tuners. The hand-wired pickup circuitry includes orange drop capacitors to wring all the potential out of the Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickup duo.
Explore LP lore with our indispensible Les Paul Buying Guide.
What's New In The Gibson USA 2018 SG Line-up
2018 SG Standard
When the original SG 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 LP whose sales had flattened, rock wizards like The Who's Pete Townshend quickly lent the SG its iconic status. The 2018 SG Standard 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.
2018 SG Standard HP
What's that? You say you love the SG but you're lusting for performance and playability upgrades? It could just be the 2018 SG Standard HP 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 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.
2018 SG Faded
Like a beloved guitar that's seen its fair share of action while also being carefully preserved, the 2018 SG Faded 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.
2018 SG Special
A pair of Mini Humbucker pickups lend the 2018 SG Special 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. The most affordable Gibson USA SG, the Special has all the playability of more costly models.
Dig deeper into the lore of the SG with our definitive SG Guitar Buying Guide.
Gibson USA 2018 Firebird Line-Up
Radical upon its 1963 debut thanks to an offset, futuristic body shape from car designer Ray Dietrich, the latest incarnation, the 2018 Gibson USA Firebird, 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.
2018 Firebird Studio
The Firebird Studio 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 USA 2018 Flying V and Explorer
2018 Flying V
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 2018 Gibson USA Flying V 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 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.
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 2018 Gibson USA Explorer, 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.
Check out the huge selection of Gibson USA electric guitars at Musician's Friend.
Tags: Electric Guitars Gibson Gibson Les Paul Gibson SG Gibson Explorer Gibson Firebird Gibson Les Paul Standard Gibson USA Gibson 2018