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Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar
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      Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar (H71168)

A guitar of myth and rumor, reborn for the 21st century.

A musical chimera, shrouded in the silvered mists of myth and legend, the Gibson Moderne has long been known as the enigmatic "guitar that never was"... or, was it? Designed as the third member of a trio of guitars in the new Modernist Series, prototypes of which were displayed at the 1957 NAMM show, the Moderne was originally intended to be the sibling of the Flying V and the Explorer, but never made it off the launch pad the way the other two then-futuristic classics did. Although they are iconic symbols of rock guitar today, even the Flying V and Explorer were too far ahead of their time in the late '50s, and fewer than 200 units of both types were made in their original three-year run before deletion from the catalog in 1960. Perhaps Gibson foresaw that a third Modernist was pushing it just too far? Or did a poor early reaction to the guitar lead to its demise? Ted McCarty, president of Gibson at the time, has said a number of Modernes were made; other tales tell of prototypes and raw bodies being burned in a bonfire at Kalamazoo after early showings failed to set the guitar world alight. Whatever the real story—and perhaps it is lost forever to the mists of time—the Moderne is perhaps rarest and most elusive Gibson guitar ever created. Or was, until now. "New" from Gibson USA, the Moderne captures the look, feel and sound of the original, and puts it in the hands of players today.

The Moderne is made to the precise "pre-space-aged-retro" shape that made the original so eye-catchingly hip, with elements of the Flying V's look, but with an asymmetrical lower bout that makes the guitar much easier to play sitting down. Gibson USA dresses it in your choice of two outstanding finishes, Trans Amber and Ebony, both in genuine nitrocellulose lacquer, with the gold-plated hardware that helped the Modernist series stand out in the late '50s. The body is crafted from solid mahogany (Grade-A beneath the Trans Amber guitars), with a solid quarter-sawn Grade-A mahogany neck glued in with Gibson's acclaimed deep-set neck joint. The neck is carved to a slim, fast profile that measures .800" at the 1st fret and .850" at the 12th, and topped with a fingerboard made from exotic granadillo. The Moderne's headstock follows the rare split-top design, as also seen on the extremely scarce Explorer models from the first year of production.

A pair of '57 Classics captures the sound of the original PAF humbuckers loaded on Modernist Series guitars of the late '50s. These popular pickups feature Alnico II magnets, vintage enamel-coated wire, nickel-plated pole pieces, nickel slugs, maple spacers and vintage-style, two-conductor, and braided wiring, just like the greatest humbuckers of all time. In a variation from the majority of original PAFs, however, the '57 Classics' coils are wax potted to combat microphony and feedback squeal at high volumes so, while vintage voiced, they are suited to high-gain playing, too. The timeless pairing of Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, both in gold, anchors the strings at the body end for solid sustain and precise intonation adjustment. A set of gold-plated, vintage-style tuners with pearloid buttons retains the accurate look and performance up at the headstock.

Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell case with black exterior, and includes owner's manual and adjustment literature, along with Gibson's Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar Features:

  • Solid Mahogany body available in Trans Amber and Ebony finishes
    Mahogany neck with slim, fast neck profile
    Granadillo fingerboard with acrylic dot inlays
    Features a pair of powerful ‘57 Classic humbucking pickups
    Vintage-style, pearloid-button tuners with 14:1 tuning ratio

Gibson Limited Run Moderne XI Electric Guitar Specifications:

  • Body
    Species: Mahogany
    Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50
    Species: Mahogany
    Profile: Slim, Fast
    Truss Rod: Traditional Adjustable
    Joint Angle: 5° (+/- 15 seconds)
    Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50
    Neck Fit
    Joint: Mortise & Tenon
    Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50
    Joint Angle: Tolerance +/- .005"
    Species: Granadillo
    Frets: 22
    Radius: 12"
    Nut/E.O.B: 1.695"/2.260"
    Scale Length: 24.75"
    Inlays: Acrylic Dot
    Material: Corian
    Width: 1.695
    Slots: Gibson PLEK System
    Logo: Gold "Gibson" Logo
    Truss Rod Cover: Black and White Antique Bell with "Moderne" Engraving
    Model: Vintage with Perloid Buttons
    Plating: Gold
    Tuning Ratio: 14:1
    Type: Tune-O-Matic
    Material: Zamak
    Plating: Gold
    Type: Stop Bar
    Material: Zamak
    Plating: Gold
    Knobs: Black Speed Knobs
    Pickguard: 5-Ply with Black on Trans Amber
    Pickup Mounting: Rings Black Plastic
    Control Plate Cover: Black Plastic
    Toggle Switch Washer: Black with Gold
    Strings: .010 - .046, Genuine Gibson strings
    Strap Buttons: Aluminum
    Neck Position: '57 Classic (Alnico II)
    Bridge Position: '57 Classic (Alnico II)
    Potentiometers: 2 Volume Controls, 1 Tone Control
    Type: 300k Linear Volume, 500k Non-linear Tone
    Coil Wiring: Machine Wound
    Toggle Switch: Three-way Switchcraft with Black Plastic Tip
    Output Jack: Traditional 1/4"
    Sealer: Nitrocellulose
    Process: 1-1.5 mils
    Type: Gibson Hardshell
    Case: Exterior Black

Product Reviews
(Based on 2 reviews)
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  • Gibson Moderne

    As reviewed by Francisco Novoa on 7/10/2012

    Great looking instrument,great fit, finish, beautiful instrument. My only compliant is the action on the guitar, action was not set from the factory. Buzzes like crazy. A quality instrument sent straight from the factory should be set to reasonably play. Wondering how it passed quality control.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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  • Tone Machine

    As reviewed by Todd Davidman on 3/9/2013

    Amazing look feel and sound. Mine was set up nice out of the box. The action is great. Play any style from Bo Diddley to Jimmy Page and any sound in between. I've heard it called a tone machine. I agree.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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