1958: a year of innovation
Like sleek, space-aged probes sent from a galaxy far, far away to test the tonal waters of planet earth, the Flying V and Explorer landed to reactions that ranged from total awe to out-and-out bafflement. While the Les Paul at least represented a post-modern interpretation of a recognizable blueprint, these two radical members of the Modernistic line were barely perceivable as guitars at all. Their bodies and necks were carved into super-angular shapes with no discernible bouts, wastes, or traditional cutaways of any sort. The Flying V was even verging on impossible to play sitting down — but who could sit for long while playing an instrument like this? These guitars were made for strutting, swaggering, wailing rock — it just seems no one quite realized it at the time. Even more than the groundbreaking Les Paul, the Flying V and Explorer were guitars aimed at a music that had yet to be born. In the late 1960s and '70s when heavy rock would rule stadium stages the world over, these bold guitars became the ultimate incarnations of the music.