Gibson Tribal V
Gibson Tribal V
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tjon901 09/25/2011

Gibson Tribal V : tjon901's user review

« Cool 80s style Flying V with graphics »

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This Flying V is part of the 2009 Limited Run series. Gibson came up with a new gimmick guitar every month for this series and in my opinion the Tribal Explorer and V were the best guitars to come out of that run. The Flying V and Explorer were way ahead of their time when they were first introduced in the late 50s but in the 80s they came into their own. This guitar emulates the style of the time with its finish and hardware. This Flying V has a mahogany body and neck like most Gibsons. The set neck has an Ebony fretboard with 22 frets. Up top you get no locking nut or even locking tuners which normally would be fine but since you have a Floating tremolo its just a sign of lazyness. That or they were trying to emulate an 80s guitar shop mod from a dumb tech. The Kahler tremolo is an 80s peice. You can tell it was an after thought because they got the top mount version that mounts directly to the standard tune-o-matic mounting points instead of getting a real one. You get two standard Gibson pickups on this guitar. The 496R in the neck and the 500T in the bridge. The controls are simple with a master tone and master volume with a 3 way toggle. You get cool black flame graphics on the white finish of this guitar. They kind of look like deer horns too.


This guitar overall plays like a normal Flying V. It is the 67 design so the upper fret access is ok but not as good as the original 58 design. The ebony fretboard is nice and something you dont get on many Flying V's. If they can put it on this one I wonder why they dont put it on the rest. Having a floating tremolo without a locking nut or even locking tuners is silly. They could have at least done the 80s style behind the nut lock for this guitar. The Explorer is the same way. If you are a big tremolo user this isnt the guitar for you. Get a guitar that was designed to have a tremolo.


The tone of this guitar is all Gibson with the standard Gibson pickups. It would have been cool if they threw in some EMG's or something but this kind of has a classic sound. You get the good mahogany base which is key to the sound on any Gibson. The 496R is kind of bright for the neck position but 80s tone is all about brightness. It can really cut through. The bridge pickup 500t is nice and crunchy. It has decent output and nice string clarity on every string. The Gibson pickups are alright but with the style of guitar this is some hotter or active pickups would have been better.


This guitar is a lot like another model they had the Gibson Shred V. That guitar had pretty much all the same features but came with active pickups and was black. If they put the active pickups in this guitar and kept the paint it still would have been tribal and would have sounded better.