Gibson Nighthawk Standard
Gibson Nighthawk Standard

Nighthawk Standard, Other Shape Guitar from Gibson in the Nighthawk (1993-1999) series.

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phraseland 12/04/2008

Gibson Nighthawk Standard : phraseland's user review


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This is an American Gibson Nighthawk. I think they released this newly developed modell around 1994 (maybe a bit earlier). The idea was to craft a new type of guitar that differed from the classic LesPaul and SG Shapes. The guitar is quite small and very light. The neck and playability feels quite like a LesPaul.
They designed some new pickups for this modell - one small Humbucker at the neck and a diagonally placed Humbucker at the bridge postition. There is another version with a Single Coil in the middle (P90 or standard) - at the time my budget did not allow for it.
I bought this guitar at Elderly Instruments in the US.


The neck feels great! That has always been the big plus point of Gibsons and this one is no exception. I also like how light it is and the small body makes it very comfortable to play. Maybe it doesn't have the same bottom end as a LesPaul but it can still deliever long sustain and can definately stand its own.
The sound is very dynamic - this is good...and bad at times. When I play leads or single lines this makes the guitar sing very nicely. When I play rhythm and sing along it becomes harder to handle (I am used to a Stratocaster).


As I said I love the sound it makes. I usually use the front pickup as I like the warmth on this position. It also complements my Fender Twin '71 quite nicely and gets a fat lead tone with my Tube Screamer and Bluesdriver turned on (maybe some delay added...).
It does not 'crunch' as nicely as a good LesPaul would but the single notes really sing.


I own this guitar now for 14 years and it has had its ups and downs. First I had to replace the tuners as they didn't really take a lot of beating. So I installed Schaller Locking Tuners. After about seven years the neck started warping in the middle - which is the worst place. I had a luthier take out the frets and file down the neck (having to replace the Abalone inlays) in order to get it straight again. I hope this will be it for the future as this couldn't really be done a second time. He actually showed me another Gibson where the Truss Rod was inserted so close to the neck that while filing down he actually broke through!
So beware!
I really don't like the company. They have been making crappy guitars for years now and keep feeding on the few things they have done right. But then they make instruments that are a joy to play at the same's complicated :-)