Gibson 2018 Guitars Announced!
It?s that time of year again where Gibson reveal their new models for the following year...
And 2018 looks like it?ll be a year to remember!
The 2018 Guitars
We'll be getting all of these guitars in at Andertons so if anything catches your fancy, then we’ll be the place to get it. But before we go on, I’m sure you’re itching to know what’s in the range? Well, you won’t be disappointed because Gibson have ensured that the purists will be happy – while making some modern changes that everyone will love.
Most models are available in the traditional spec but both the SG Standard and Les Paul Standard will give you the option of choosing between Traditional and High Performance spec.
- Traditional: These guitars are probably what you'd expect to see from the Gibson USA line. The appointments and specs are fairly straightforward and rock solid.
- High Performance: High Performance models have got some modern upgrades for the forward-thinking guitarist. And most importantly they've now got rear-mounted pickups which means you don’t have pickup rings on the top of the guitar!
Joy for the left-handers: Gibson have also catered for all left-handed players by offering their entire 2018 line in a left-handed version too!
What's new for the 2018 range?
All of the guitars in the 2018 range have now got cryogenically treated frets. This is a process where the fretwire is exposed to extreme cold before being used in the guitar and this ensures that the frets will resist bacteria, rust and general wear and tear far better than their counterparts.
A lot of the Gibson 2018 range guitars have all got Slim Taper necks too which make them a breeze to play!
The range seems to be smaller than previous years but that makes choosing that much easier because there’s something for everyone. Whether you want a modern shred machine or a more classic and traditional Gibson that you love, the 2018 range looks like it’ll be one to remember.
Not to mention the brand new colours that are sure to turn heads…
Nashville Core Line
In this section, we'll be taking a look at the flagship models from Gibson's illustrious catalogue. This includes classics such as the Les Paul Standard and SG, including their High-Performance versions. The designer series also features, with new Firebird and Flying V models.
With the 2018 core range far more streamlined compared to 2017, Gibson have really nailed each of these models and given the fans exactly what they wanted!
Les Paul Standard
The Gibson Les Paul Standard is the flagship model. The traditional Les Paul Standard is the cream of the crop from the Nashville factory and incorporates their stunning AAA flamed Maple top with the incredible BurstBucker Pro Rhythm and Lead pickups.
As you’d expect from the name alone, the High Performance Les Paul Standard has all of the bells and whistles that a modern guitar player would want. It’s still a Les Paul at heart, and will give you all of those coveted guitar tones, but the construction makes the guitar feel like it plays itself. This is thanks to things like:
- Axcess Neck Join – This smooth, carved neck join makes upper fret access easier than ever before allowing your hand to get to the upper frets with ease.
- G-Force Tuning System – The G-Force tuning system is a self-tuning mechanism that sits behind the headstock. It’s been around for a few years now, but enables the guitar to tune itself. This is handy in-between songs at shows or to quickly access open tunings for slide playing etc.
- Zero-Fret Nut – The Zero-Fret nut is a titanium nut that can easily be adjusted to raise or lower your action. Titanium is also widely regarded for it’s strength and durability and resonant properties.
- Rear-mounted pickups for a stunning look.
- Assymetrical neck that feels like it evolves to fit your hand the further up the neck you go.
- Ribcage friendly belly scarf carve making it comfortable to play standing up or sitting down.
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Les Paul Traditional
The 2018 Les Paul Traditional is your bread and butter Les Paul. It hasn’t got any weight-relief and the PAF pickups give you tones that are reminiscent of yesteryear. The kluson-style tuners and nickel-plated hardware finish off the look. Vintage tones and a vintage look are the order of the day.
Les Paul Classic
This year the Les Paul Classic has got P90 pickups! I'll give you a moment to get your breath back before I carry on…
Yes, P90 pickups in the Les Paul Classic make this one of the coolest releases in the range. You can expect to get powerful, biting tones with that signature Les Paul mid-range – but with a bit more attack than usual. Les Pauls with P90s seem to be something of a cult classic and with the Slim Taper neck you can shred until your hearts content.
This is one of the few models that hasn’t got weight relief. It’s a full-fat Les Paul with raw P90 pickups.
Les Paul Studio
The Les Paul Studio is a staple in the Gibson lineup year after year. And that’s because it’s an affordable, American-made instrument that can handle any playing situation you can throw at it.
As its name suggests, it’s incredibly versatile in the studio – but it also makes a great live and practice guitar.
Les Paul Tribute & Faded
The tribute and faded are the most affordable Les Paul’s in the 2018 range and both differ in a similar way to how the Standard and Traditional differ.
The Tribute is for players who want that authentic, old-school tone thanks to the non-weight relieved body and boosted PAF medium-output pickups.
The Faded captures the spirit of a worn Les Paul with ultra-modern weight relief for a light Les Paul with plenty of power. It has got weight-relief making this guitar very easy to gig with. The Faded model is one of the most recent additions to Gibsons line-up and has proven to be incredibly popular amongst users. It’s also incredible affordable making it a great way to introduce yourself to the US Gibson range.
The SG Standard is the no-nonsense flasghip Gibson SG. It comes in the iconic Cherry, Ebony and Sunburst colours with powerful biting pickups. The Slim Taper neck makes this guitar a breeze to play.
Simply put, it’s a rock machine and simple SG tone doesn’t get much better than this. Unless you want the modern features of the High Performance model…
The Gibson SG High Performance models are available in 4 funky finishes that’ll turn heads on-stage and in studios alike. The High Perfomance models have got a 2-piece flame Maple top unlike the all-mahogany SG Standard. And much like the Les Paul High Performance, it has modern features for the modern guitarist.
- Axcess Neck Join – This gives you access to the upper frets with ease.
- G-Force Tuning System – The G-Force tuning system is a self-tuning mechanism that sits behind the headstock.
- Zero-Fret Nut – The Zero-Fret nut is a titanium nut that can easily be adjusted to raise or lower your action.
- Rear-mounted pickups – These pickups are mounted through the body which improves the look because you no longer have to worry about the colour of your pickup rings.
SG Special & Faded
The Gibson SG Special is a more modern variation on the classic SG formula. It still has the heart of an SG but with some different appointments making this guitar that much more special like the mini-humbucker pickups!
It’s got a lightweight body with a stripped back, satin finish for a more organic look.
The SG Faded is the most affordable SG in the range and much like the SG Special, it has a satin finish. The major difference is the humbucking 490R and 490T pickups which put out a serious amount of power. These pickups are great for rock and metal guitar players who want to cut through the mix.
The Offset Shapes - Firebird, Flying V & Explorer
The Firebird is one of the most famous offset shapes in the world. Johnny Winter proved that the Firebird really could breathe fire and that the powerful mini-humbucker pickups could do some serious damage in the Blues world.
The Firebird makes a great rock guitar too with it’s Slim Taper neck for easy playing and Granadillo fretboard for that extra touch of brightness.
The Firebird Studio has a double-barrel combo of P90 pickups! This makes it one of the coolest releases in the entire 2018 range with the simplistic look and powerful single coil tones. They’ve got plenty of bite but without ever sacrificing bottom-end.
Finished off with the Slim Taper neck and Granadillo fretboard.
The Flying V is as iconic as the Les Paul in many ways because it still looks as futuristic today as it did when it first came out in the 50s.
The 2018 model is available in an aged cherry finish and has some slightly different features from the rest of the Gibson lineup. It has a Torrefied Granadillo fretboard which gives a slightly brighter tone than Rosewood does. The neck features the 2018 Slim Taper making this a shredders dream and when paired with the powerful BurstBucker pickups, you’re sure to get some intense tones from the Flying V.
The Explorer came out around the same time as the Flying V in the ’50s. It too has a Torrefied Granadillo fretboard for a slightly brighter attack than Rosewood and the Burstbucker 2 and Burstbucker 3 pickups offer modern power and handle high-gain exceptionally well.
Montana Acoustic Line
Gibson are almost as renowned for their gorgeous acoustic guitar offerings as they are for their market-leading electrics. For 2018, they have refined their acoustic lineup and given all of their models a makeover.
Gibson Montana - What’s New?
For 2018, Gibson have stuck with their tried-and-tested acoustic formula and taken it up a notch.
They’ve retained all of the classic curves, ornate design and resilient hardware that you’ll know and love, unveiling some beautifully authentic instruments that could be mistaken for 50 year-old relics – whilst having the stunning playability you’d expect from a brand new, handmade guitar.
It’s not all nostalgic however; the Avant-Garde models are the new kids on the block. These guitars are still rooted in Gibson’s timeless design, but have been optimised for the modern player with several tweaks.
- A slimmer body profile ensures a lightweight, comfortable guitar that you’ll happily play for hours on end. Gibson have made use of rosewood and walnut in the bodies of the AG guitars, so despite their smaller size, they’ll still resonate with warmth and excellent projection.
- These new models also boast the advanced response neck, ranked among some of the nicest, most accessible acoustic necks on the market.
- A flatter radius means easy access and supreme comfort – perfect for those long sets, rehearsals or recording sessions.
- Beautiful sound, gorgeous looks and unmatched feel make the Montana Avant-Garde guitars a more-than-worthy addition to Gibson’s acoustic legacy.
- All of the Montana releases feature LR Baggs pickup systems, Gibson’s go-to add on for their electro-acoustics. They uniquely detect the minute vibrations of your strings, allowing them to accurately mimic the sound of a mic’d acoustic.
These features make for a line of guitars that are both modern and classic at the same time.
SJ-200 Standard VS
This might just be the instrument that springs to mind when you hear the words ‘Gibson acoustic’. Instantly recognisable for its bold yet beautiful looks, the SJ-200 is also known for a rich, booming tone full of character and definition. The 2018 version is no exception, with small additions such as a rosewood bridge and a luscious vintage sunburst adding yet more tone and beauty in equal measure.
The distinctive Hummingbird has long been synonymous with versatility. Its perfectly assembled combination of woods provide a huge sound that adapts to every circumstance. The striking Vintage Cherry Sunburst finish coupled with the unique hummingbird pickguard design are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd in vivid fashion.
Wielded by the likes of Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, the J-45 is a true piece of guitar history. Originally introduced in 1942, its design has remained largely unchanged but for a few tweaks here and there. For the 2018 Montana release, Gibson have opted for authenticity, embodying everything that made the J-45 their all time best-selling acoustic.
Hummingbird Rosewood AG
A modern take on a classic design, this square-shoulder acoustic features a single cutaway and a slimmer body than its namesake. Ergonomics are the aim of the game here. Compensating for the decrease in size, Gibson have used rosewood for the body to ensure beautiful depth and sustain. The advanced response neck and richlite fretboard will make your playing experience both comfortable and consistent.
Parlor Rosewood AG
Gibson like their big-bodied acoustics, but the Parlor Avant-Garde packs everything you’d want into a smaller package. Again, ergonomics are key; the Parlor’s alluring curves and slim profile make it almost huggable in its construction! The J-165 shape and design combined with the use of rosewood make for a distinct resonance, full of sparkly character. Richlite is again used for the fretboard and bridge, giving you consistently great tone and low maintenance longevity – perfect for the working acoustic guitarist!
J-45 Walnut Burst AG
Again, Gibson have managed to combine authenticity with mould-breaking design with the J-45 AG. A more compact take on their round-shoulder design, the use of walnut provides you with truly gorgeous tone. Walnut is an extremely dense tonewood, allowing for a deeper resonance and great sustain. The smokey walnut burst finish and hand-scraped binding give you a classic aesthetic that’ll have you spellbound at first sight!
Arguably the most understated addition to the range, the J-15 is the bare essence of Gibson Montana. Lovingly handmade with top-quality woods, simple & elegant design and practical features. Its round shoulder design, walnut wood combination and LR Baggs Element pickup give you all of the Gibson acoustic tonal palette whilst remaining comfortable to play and timeless in appearance.
Memphis Hollow-body Line
Gibson wouldn't be Gibson without their hollow-body range. In production for almost 100 years, these guitars still stand strong in the 21st Century. And for 2018, Gibson have added plenty of attractive new instruments to this vintage line.
Gibson Memphis - What's new?
Gibson Memphis refers to the Gibson factory in Memphis that's responsible for building all of the semi-hollow and hollowbody guitars. 2018 looks like a fantastic year for the humble hollowbody
Authenticity is the aim of the game here. Gibson have aimed to make several tweaks to the Memphis range; great new features and stunning aesthetics without ever compromising the classic style of the range. Beautiful woods, alluring arch-top curves, orange-drop capacitors, and precise ABR bridges are just some of the neat features that define this year’s releases, striking the perfect balance between vintage and modern.
These guitars use a mixture of bright maple and poplar body tonewoods, providing lots of high-end presence. This combination gives unbelievable definition to picked chord progressions or searing solos, ensuring that you can cut through any mix!
With all models now featuring comfortable rounded “C” neck profiles too, these guitars will feel familiar – substantial without being too chunky. Rolled binding also offers a smoother feel and a sleek transition between the side of the neck and the fretboard, an ergonomic feature that you will find only on high-calibre instruments like these.
The iconic ES-275 model is back, boasting its traditional vintage looks, beautiful build quality and incomparable warmth and resonance. With a full hollow-body, this instrument delivers large and open acoustic-like sounds.
Its quarter-sawn mahogany neck is topped with a rosewood fingerboard, bringing out plenty of warmth. This combination of neck and body tonewoods gives this guitar an incredibly full-bodied sound, great for both live use or studio sessions. Dual MHS humbuckers pickups give a rounded, warm tone with medium output, lending themselves to varied playing dynamics and expression. With crunch or distortion, they can sound fairly raunchy and bold, meaning this guitar is not just a one-trick pony by any means. You can use this for jazz, blues, classic rock or indie – it’s that versatile!
The Gibson ES-330 model is another classic full hollow-body electric guitar. Apart from it’s double-cutaway body, the ES-330 is similar in construction to the ES-275. Retaining the essence of the longstanding design from decades ago, this new addition to the 2018 Memphis range has been improved with modern appointments like it’s counterparts.
Also featuring a modern ABR-1 bridge with titanium saddles, a classy thinline trapeze tailpiece gives this instrument its vintage charm. Dual MHS P-90 pickups deliver a pronounced mid-range tone, with lots of warmth and a medium output. These versatile pickups will cut through a busy mix effortlessly, and with overdrive they can sound very punchy, perfect for lead lines.
ES-335 Traditional (Antique Ebony & Antique Faded Cherry)
The Gibson ES-335 model is one of the most recognisable in Gibson’s iconic instrument range. Renowned for their versatility, these models also have updated hardware and versatile MHS humbuckers. We think the 2018 ES-335 will be seen in the hands of far more modern players.
With its semi-hollow body delivering plenty of volume and reonance, the response you get from this guitar is very inspiring, where you can feel every note or chord surge through your body! It’s maple centerblock and thin body reduces the feedback you’d normally get with these type of guitars, meaning it can handle overdrive or distortion with ease.
ES-335 DOT (Wine Red & Blue Burst)
The Gibson ES-335 Dot is the perfect workhorse in the studio or onstage. Its amazing looks will inspire you to just pick it up and play – for hours on end!
Like its counterparts in the range, the use of maple and poplar tonewoods gives this guitar a strong resonance, with lots of top-end. This gives unbelievable definition to picked chord progressions or searing solos, ensuring that you can cut through any mix! Unlike the other guitars in the 2018 Memphis range, the DOT models have a solid maple neck topped with a rosewood fingerboard, providing plenty of snap to riffs.
A pair of Burstbucker humbuckers deliver lots of output, with a strong punchy mid-range as well as a tight bass response. Like some of the Les Paul models, the ES-335 DOT’s burstbuckers can take distortion without any issues, making this a super-versatile instrument!
The ES-335 model is similar to the aforementioned Traditional model spec-wise, with remarkable build-quality and incredible tones. This model however has a gorgeous AAA figured maple veneer in a beautiful Aquamarine burst.
Also sporting a pair of MHS humbuckers, the ABR-1 bridge is combined with a solid locking aluminium stopbar that makes string changes effortless.
Gibson have a couple of legendary bass designs, and in 2018 the Thunderbird and SG shapes continue to lead their bass line. The new EB bass also gives modern players the chance to own a premium, US-crafted Gibson.