It is a well told story that following the release of Fender's ultra-modern designed Stratocaster, Gibson's president Ted McCarty began the development of the Flying V. Released in 1958 the V's design was inspired, like the wings of a Cadillac Coupe De Ville, by jet aircraft. Constructed of African Korina wood and mounted with gold plated hardware and two Humbucking pickups it was as futuristic to the eye as it was light and responsive for the player. Like the Ford Edsel it may have been ahead of its time. Barely 98 Flying V's were completed and shipped by Gibson between 1958 and 1959.
In its day there were a handful of performers who embraced its stricking geometic design and raised it to iconic status through their virtuosity as guitarists, such as blues and rock legend Lonnie Mack and St Louis bluesman, Albert King.
Born Albert Nelson in Indianola, Mississippi in 1923 his musical training began as a boy singing gospel in the church where his father played guitar. In his forty years of recording and performance he played with Booker T. & MGs and the Doors among others and was a favorite booked act of Bill Graham's. His influence on blues and rock guitar is deep and lasting with the likes of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield who all credit him for impacting their style.
Albert King's signature guitar had always been a Flying V.
"The first time I saw this guitar it was in the possession of Kosta Kovachev, a client of mine. Kosta was a broker with Morgan Stanley who had a huge guitar collection. When he asked me to sell the V, we hung it on the wall of my father's shop, We Buy Guitars, between a bass once owned by Felix Pappalardi and another by Jaco Pastorious. Richard walked in one day and immediately asked about it. After a lot of back and forth with Kosta it was finaly sold." -Richard Friedman recalls selling the Flying V to Richard Gere in about 1992 or '93.
Sold with an original letter from Gibson dated 7-09-84.