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NBD: Gibson Flying V 2012 reissue

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ptensioned, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I've been meaning to post this NBD for ages, but, well, you know. Life and stuff.

    This came in as a trade to my local shop, and as soon as I heard, I asked to try it out. It came in with loose inserts from the typical misaligned three-point bridge, and a few dings and nicks. Otherwise, the frets are mint, the neck is straight, and the electrics all do what it says on the knobs.

    I offered to put a setup and some fresh strings on it in return for taking it home for a couple days, "just to try it out." This is known in the sales world as the puppy dog technique: "Sure, just take it home. I'm sure you won't fall in love and be unable to part with it after some bonding time..." Needless to say, I fell in love.

    First off, after slamming the bridge way, way down (it was literally touching the pickups), and a few other adjustments, the action is low, light, and fast. This is by far the fastest bass I own, a real shred machine. The light tension and compact fret spacing of the short scale really bring out the speed.

    Second, with the right strap, the ergonomics are actually fantastic. It does need a strap even when sitting, but who sits with a V? I have a super wide, super beefy custom strap with a slight cut-out where it rests against my neck (not the bass neck), and I get zero neck dive. I also find that the angle of the body edge is perfect for sliding my wrist along, allowing easy right hand shifts for tonal flexibility. For me, it's super comfy, light, and easy to play.

    They were asking $750 CAD, but I'm already way overstocked, so instead I traded a Jack Casady plus $300 CAD. I loved the Casady tones (it's surprisingly versatile with that Vari-Tone), but just couldn't get along with the ergos, so never played the thing. I probably could've squeezed a few more bucks out of the deal if I'd sold the Casady privately, but I just didn't have the time. Either way, I'm happy with the deal.

    There is a drawback, though, and it's not small. I'm not overly thrilled with the tone from the Thunderbird pickups. Maybe it's because my other new acquisition has a Dark Star in it, but I find it thin and slightly bland. I've swapped the D'Addario XL's for a set of GHS Boomers with a fatter gauge, but haven't been able to try it yet. I'll also experiment with pickup height. Fingers crossed I can coax something more interesting out. Anyone else have one of these with any advice?

    Anyway, here she is:


    Thanks for your time...
  2. Justice


    May 24, 2002
    Houston TX.
    Nice, I have been wanting to add a Flying V and Explorer bass to my pile of stuff. Jealous is me.
    BlueAliceOasis and ptensioned like this.
  3. Sweet! Looks rock n roll.

    As for the pickups, my advice is to install Thunderbuckers, throw on Roto 66s, or play with some tasty overdrive.
    BlueAliceOasis and ptensioned like this.
  4. knockerjoe


    Jun 5, 2016
    Sweet! Good luck with it.
    Why is there no logo on the headstock?
    ptensioned and Gluvhand like this.
  5. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    There's a logo on the truss rod cover, but the reflection hides it. Here's a crappier pic where you can see it better:

    BlueAliceOasis likes this.
  6. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I thought that was what was in there, but obviously I need to do some research, because I don't know!

    The Boomers are definitely an improvement in the XL's, but I only had a few minutes to mess with them this evening before I had to head out. Hopefully the fatter strings (50-107) push the pickups a little more...
  7. Thunderbuckers are aftermarket pickups modeled after the original 63 t bird pickups. Don't know what's in your V, I suspect maybe just TBirds pros in chrome covers? But newer Gibson pickups definitely tend to be deeper and darker rather than growly like the old ones.
  8. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I know two separate modern T-Bird owners who have struggled to get definition in their tone, as the stock pups are all bottom.

    I don't find that to be a problem here, more that the tonal range feels strangled somehow. Gibson lists the stock pups as 'Thunderbird bass (ceramic)', so I assume they're the same as modern T-Bird ones. Either way, the Thunderbuckers sound like they're more my style anyway, so might be worth a shot...
    Bassic Playing likes this.
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Cool bass...all day long. Congrats.
    Tanner5382 and ptensioned like this.
  10. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Probably the best V bass ever produced.
    ptensioned likes this.
  11. FourNotFive


    Dec 30, 2011
    I have one of these and completely agree about the speed and ergonomics.
    My feelings on the pickups are quite different though... I have never played a modern T-Bird so had no frame of reference for the pups, but I REALLY like these pickups. I don't find them muddy or thin, but very direct and pretty hot. Not as in-your-face as Dark Stars though.
    Maybe messing with pickup height and definitely strings. In any case if you don't end up digging them pups are easy and cheap enough to replace and you can probably sell the T-Birds to offset...
    ptensioned likes this.
  12. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I agree, though bias may be a factor. I've seen some nice Japanese ones from the early 80's, and I think Alembic did one, but Gibson has made surprisingly few. Considering how nicely this one plays, that seems a shame, but in the (purely selfish) interest of resale value, I hope they continue to be shortsighted with their bass production...
  13. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    It was certainly unexpected, as all I've ever heard of V's is how awful the ergos are. As for the speed, I think it just has the best of a short scale combined with those ergonomics. I find I can pluck right near the bridge, and where that would sound dead and thin on a long scale, the extra flex in the short scale lets a lot more through while still being taut and easy to play aggressively fast. Either way, if we're doing Maiden or Priest, this is the one I reach for first.

    Yeah, I really feel like my setup is the problem. I'm tempted by the Thunderbuckers because they just sound really cool (and Martin Turner's 60's T-Bird tone is incredible), but having checked the price, will be trying really hard to make these work. I think I've just got the pickups too close to the strings. I'll experiment tonight, as it's really the first chance I've had to mess with it since I posted this thread...
    FourNotFive and Bassic Playing like this.
  14. jay tay

    jay tay

    Aug 12, 2009
    Manchester UK
    Beautiful bass I've wanted a Flying V for years. I once played a gig where the bassist in another band on the bill had one, and he had fitted some custom wound MM style buckers to it. He had to rout out the cavitys, but apparently he used the same pups on all his basses.
    ptensioned likes this.
  15. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I could see doing that, as it's such a fast player, modding the tone would be tempting. I think there's enough options for the stock 'bucker size that if I can't find a way to make the stockers work, I'll be able to swap something else in to suit without breaking out the router (I hope!)
    jay tay likes this.
  16. flam


    Sep 20, 2010
    Tempe, Arizona
    I have a Vantage V (a Japanese Gibson copy), and I really don't understand why the V shape isn't more popular. Yeah, it's a little extreme looking, but everything about it lends itself to being able to play easily, quickly, and accurately. If it sounded as good as my Ric, I would just play it all of the time.
    ptensioned likes this.
  17. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    Maybe you just need a set of Thunderbuckers!

    PS - I love Vantage. One of many Japanese brands of the era that made amazing kit.
  18. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Nice V, congrats!
    ptensioned likes this.
  19. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    Just as a quick update on tone (on the slim chance that anyone reads this), the fatter GHS Boomers improved things massively. I also tweaked the pickup heights a wee bit, which definitely helped, but the strings were the main improvement. The D'Addarios on there before were just a set of medium scale 45-105's, where the GHS's are short scale 50-107's, and I think the added mass just pushes the pickups a bit more...
    RedVee likes this.

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