The 9 Best Flying V Style Guitars
The Flying V is one of the most unique guitar shapes ever designed. Gibson’s original model – introduced in 1958 – probably seemed like it came off a spaceship!
While the original run of the Flying V was not very successful, the guitar experienced a renewed interest in the late 1960s after blues great Albert King helped popularize the instrument. Other blues and rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Lonnie Mack and the Kinks’ Dave Davies would also come to appreciate the unique design.
Eventually, other guitar manufacturers started to do their own take on the Flying V shape, and the design became a favorite for metal players like Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett and Dave Mustaine.
Today, there are several cool options if you’re looking for a Flying V style guitar. In this comprehensive list, we’ll take a look at 9 of the best Flying V-shaped guitars on the market. There’s a V guitar here for pretty much every style and budget, so you should be able to find the best one for your needs.
Ready to fly? Let’s take off!
The Best Flying V-Shaped Guitars:
- Epiphone Flying V Prophecy – Our Pick
- Gibson Flying V – Premium Pick
- Schecter Guitar Research V-1 Custom – Best for the Money
- Dean Dave Mustaine VMNTX – Best Under $500
- ESP LTD Arrow-1000 – Best Under $1000
- Jackson Rhoads JS32T – Budget Pick
- Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24 – Best for Metal
- Dean V Select 7-String – Best 7-String
- Dean V Metalman – Best Bass Guitar
Epiphone Flying V Prophecy – The Best Flying V Style Guitar
For a great all-around example of what the Flying V is all about, check out the Epiphone Flying V Prophecy.
Sporting the same classic shape as its Gibson counterpart, the Epiphone Flying V Prophecy adds some modern touches of its own. It starts with a resonant mahogany body capped with a flame maple veneer. It comes in two finishes – black aged gloss and yellow tiger aged gloss.
If it’s fast playability you’re after, the Prophecy has it in spades. Its mahogany neck comes in an asymmetrical Slim Taper shape with a 12” radius ebony fingerboard. A contoured heel also makes it easy to reach all of the Prophecy’s 24 jumbo frets.
For its electronics, the Prophecy definitely didn’t stick to the traditional formula. Instead of typical humbuckers, this V comes with multi-voice Fishman Fluence pickups. These pups give you three distinct voices, including a vintage PAF sound, a modern high-output humbucker, and a hum-free single-coil tone. With 3 voices for each of its 2 pickups, there’s almost no limit to the range of tones you can get out of the Prophecy.
Other cool appointments on the Epi Flying V Prophecy are its locking Grover tuners and attention-grabbing headstock. A GraphTech NuBone nut adds to tuning stability, while the Tune-o-matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece aid in massive sustain.
The Epiphone Flying V Prophecy would make a great axe for someone looking for a solid, giggable V-style guitar with more modern features. At around $900, it’s more affordable than a Gibson, and it’s also got its own thing. The Fishman Fluence pickups give you a wide variety of tonal options to make sounds as futuristic as this guitar looks!
- Multi-voice pickups
- Grover tuners and GraphTech nut
- Modern take on the V shape
- No Case
- Some set up issues
Gibson Flying V – Best Premium Flying V Guitar
If you want the original, real deal of Flying V guitars, there’s no substitute for the Gibson Flying V.
The body of this classic V is made out of resonant mahogany that features a slim, smooth contour for maximum comfort. The SlimTaper neck is also mahogany with a 12” radius that provides great playability. A rosewood fretboard gives you a classic feel, along with 22 medium-jumbo frets.
This Flying V – like many newer Gibson models – also comes Plek’d for precision playability. This means the frets and neck will come set up perfectly – something you usually have to pay a luthier to do. Knowing this guitar will come ready to rock straight out of the box is definitely something to ease the mind.
For pickups, the Gibson Flying V employs its classic PAF-style Burstbuckers. With a Burstbucker 2 in the neck and a 3 in the bridge, you’ll be able to nail classic rock and blues tones, as well as metal and other classic styles.
The Gibson Flying V also comes with Grover tuners and a Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge. A GraphTech nut is another nice appointment.
The Gibson Flying V would make a great buy for someone looking for the original V design without shelling out major cash for a vintage version. Since Gibson made the first Flying V, it’s a no-brainer if you want a guitar that is just like the ones Albert King and others played back in the day. The Burstbucker pickups give you access to all those classic tones, while the Plek process will ensure it comes set up perfectly. For just under $2,000, it’s not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as a vintage Flying V would be.
- Fine replica of original V
- Plek’d set up
- Premium Gibson pickups
- Burstbuckers may be too hot for blues purists
Schecter V-1 Custom – Best Flying V Guitar for the Money
For another great example of the Flying V design that’s not too expensive, check out the Schecter Guitar Research V-1 Custom.
Like the first two guitars on this list, the V-1 Custom uses a mahogany body with a maple top. A transparent finish adds a distinctive look.
The V-1 Custom also uses a 3-piece mahogany neck that joins the body at the heel with Schecter’s ultra-access neck joint. This allows you to access the higher frets easily. An ebony fingerboard with a compound radius ensures maximum playability across all of the guitar’s 22 jumbo frets.
For its electronics, Schecter uses its own USA Pasadena pickups. These dual humbuckers give you classic rock tones, while a push/pull knob allows you to split the coils for sweet single-coil tones.
Another cool feature to the V-1 Custom is its string-thru-body tailpiece. This allows for greater sustain and tone. A tune-o-matic bridge is great for intonation adjustment, while locking tuners will help keep you in tune.
The Schecter V-1 Custom would make a great guitar for someone looking for a more affordable version of a traditional Flying V. At under $800, it’s a bit more affordable than the Epiphone V, and its specs are closer to that of the more traditional Gibson model. For the money, it packs a lot of great features, without too many sacrifices in quality.
- More affordable V style
- Easy playability and fret access
- Case sold separately
- Purple may not be for everyone
Dean Dave Mustaine VMNTX – Best Flying V Guitar Under $500
For a super affordable V-style guitar that’s also endorsed by a heavy metal legend, check out the Dean Dave Mustaine VMNTX.
For this super cool signature guitar, Dean collaborated with Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, who has been playing riffs on V-shaped guitars since the early 80s. Dean has been making affordable metal machines for years, including a signature guitar for the late Dimebag Darrell.
The Dean Dave Mustaine VMNTX features a basswood body with a maple top. It comes in two classy finishes – Metallic Silver and Classic Black. The maple neck comes with a Mustaine C-shaped profile for a comfortable shredding experience.
The VMNTX also comes with a string-thru bridge for increased sustain. A rosewood fingerboard with a 16” radius is the perfect platform for breezing across the Dean’s 24 fast frets.
For electronics, the VMNTX comes with stock Dean humbuckers. A 3-way switch lets you access all those classic, fat humbucker tones that are perfect for heavy rock riffs.
In a change from the classic V design, the VMNTX features a six-in-line headstock. Mini Grover tuners are also a nice touch.
The Dean Dave Mustaine VMNTX would make a great guitar for someone fairly new to playing who is interested in classic hard rock and metal styles. For under $400, you’re getting a unique, solid instrument that’s endorsed by one of the top names in the business. It’s also a solid base that could be upgraded with better components as time goes on.
- Very affordable
- Great for Megadeth fans
- Mini Grovers
- Some fret buzz
- Pickups could be upgraded
ESP LTD Arrow-1000 – Best Flying V Guitar Under $1000
If you’re looking for a hot-rodded Flying V and have a little more cash to spend, the ESP LTD Arrow-1000 is definitely a great option.
The Arrow-1000 is an aggressive take on the classic V-shape. One side is a little bit longer than the other, for a cool, jagged look. A resonant mahogany body with a satin finish looks and feels great.
The Arrow-1000 also features a neck-through, 3-piece maple neck. The set-neck construction is great for added sustain. The neck is a comfortable U-shape, while the Macassar ebony fingerboard will have you flying up the ESP’s 24 extra jumbo frets.
For pickups, the Arrow-1000 goes for full-on metal aggression with EMG active humbuckers. An EMG 81 in the bridge will give you searing highs for solos, while the EMG 85 in the neck is perfect for smooth and chunky rhythm tones.
Another cool feature of the Arrow-1000 is its Floyd Rose 1000SE locking tremolo system. This gives you access to all those classic whammy dive bomb effects, along with plenty of sustain and tuning stability. Grover tuners atop a pointy headstock complete the package.
The ESP LTD Arrow-1000 would make a great gigging guitar for the aspiring metal guitarist. The EMG pickups are perfect for those thrashing tones, and the offset V-shape definitely cuts an impressive figure. For around a grand, it’s a great deal for the money, and an instrument that should last several years.
- Offset V-shape
- EMG active pickups
- Floyd Rose system
- No case
- Made in Indonesia
Read Also: The Best Electric Guitars Under $1,000
Jackson Rhoads JS32T – Best Cheap Flying V Guitar
Check out my guide on the Best Jackson Guitars
If you’re looking for a unique take on the Flying V shape that won’t break the bank, the Jackson Rhoads JS32T might be for you.
As you can probably tell by the name, the Rhoads JS32T is based on the original signature guitar designed for the legendary Randy Rhoads. It features that classic, angled Flying V body shape that has come to be associated with the late axeman.
The Rhoads JS32T is made of all-mahogany in the body, with a bolt-on maple neck. The amaranth fingerboard is a compound-radius design like other guitars on this list, giving this guitar a great feel. The 24 jumbo frets allow you to play as high as you want.
For its pickups, the Rhoads JS32T uses dual high-output humbuckers that were custom designed by Jackson. These ceramic pups are perfect for the type of hard rock and metal that Rhoads played with Ozzy Osbourne and others.
Along with its cool V shape, the Rhoads JS32T comes with a classy Natural Oil finish, which is countered with a black pickguard and gold hardware.
The Rhoads JS32T would make a great guitar for someone who wants a unique-looking, V-shaped instrument at an affordable price. Young metal players just starting out will love it. It would also be a great choice for someone looking to add a V-style or metal-style guitar to their arsenal who doesn’t want to spend a ton of money for it. For under $300, it’s a solid axe that pays tribute to a legend.
- Unique look
- Affordable price
- Some set-up issues
- No case
Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24 – Best Flying V Guitar for Metal
For another take on the Randy Rhoads-inspired V-style guitar with some upgraded components, check out the Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24.
The Rhoads RRX24 takes what was great about the JS32T and takes it up another notch. It retains the same offset V-shape with a basswood body. For finish options, you get the choice of standard black or black with neon pink bevels. The pink and black is definitely a bold look, but hey, it worked for Bret “The Hitman” Hart!
For optimal sustain, the RRX24 uses a through-body maple neck. It also employs a compound-radius laurel fingerboard for maximum playability up and down the fretboard, which comes loaded with 24 jumbo frets.
Probably the biggest upgrade for the RRX24 is its active Seymour Duncan pickups. These blackout humbuckers deliver aggressive crunchy tones with searing, articulate leads. There’s also a Floyd Rose double-locking 2-point tremolo system for awesome whammy bar effects.
Other cool appointments on the RRX24 are its reverse shark fin inlays, a reverse pointy headstock, and all black hardware. This guitar definitely has the looks to go along with its in-your-face tones.
The Rhoads RRX24 would be a great choice for the gigging guitarist who wants a Randy Rhoads-style signature guitar without paying thousands of dollars. It’s a solid all-around axe, and a definite upgrade from the JS32T budget model.
- Seymour Duncan active pickups
- Upgraded hardware & finish
- No case
- Some fret issues
Read Also: The 10 Best Electric Guitars for Metal
Dean V Select 7-String – Best 7-String Flying V Guitar
If you’re looking to rock a V-style guitar, you’re already making a bold choice. So why not take it one step further and add a 7th string? That’s where the Dean V Select 7-string comes in.
Dean takes the classic V shape and adds one more string, to make the V Select 7-string the ultimate metal machine. This Select series guitar features a mahogany body with a set-through, 3-piece mahogany neck. These necks are finished with satin for extra comfortable playing and endurance.
An ebony fretboard with 22 jumbo frets and a 12” is perfect for fast playability across the whole fingerboard. The set-through design of the neck is also great for sustain.
Another cool feature of the V Select are its pickups. It comes loaded with Seymour Duncan TB5 and AP Matte Black Custom humbuckers for huge rock tones and massive sustain. The 250k audio taper pots also provide smooth roll without sacrificing tone.
The V Select also comes with a fixed tune-o-matic bridge for great stability, along with Grover tuners. The headstock itself is a V shape, with 3 tuners on one side and 4 on the other. The Dean “wings” logo is a nice touch.
The Dean V Select 7-string would make a great guitar for someone looking for a 7-string with a classic V design. Many 7-string guitars adopt more of a standard Strat-style body shape, so this style would definitely set you apart. For under $1,000, it’s a high quality instrument with great pickups that will hold up to the rigors of the road.
- 7-string in V shape
- Seymour Duncan pickups
- No case
Read Also: The Best 7-String Electric Guitars
Dean V Metalman – Best Flying V Bass Guitar
A Flying V bass? Why not?! Say hello to the Dean V Metalman.
Complete with the V-shaped body and headstock with the Dean “wings” logo, the V Metalman screams metal. A basswood body and bolt-on maple neck give you a solid base for tone. The neck is carved with a comfortable “C” shape for easy playability.
The walnut fingerboard is perfect for smooth riffing, with a 16” radius and 34” scale length. Because of the V shape, you’ll also have access to all 22 frets. Hello, bass solo!
For classic punchy tones, the Dean V Metalman employs a high-output soapbar humbucker. This single, bridge pickup can deliver everything from crushing metal riffs to warm, clean finger-picked tones.
The Dean V Metalman would make a great bass for the aspiring metal player who wants something a bit different. Because the V shape makes it tough to sit down and play, I’m not sure it would be the best first bass for someone learning the instrument, but it could make a great second bass for someone ready to start playing in bands. Its set up is as basic as you can get, in a cool, no-frills way. And for under $300, it’s a great all-around deal.
- It’s a Flying V bass
- No-frills, 1 pickup
- May not be for beginners
- Lower quality components
How to Choose The Best Flying V Style Guitar (Buyer’s Guide)
Now that we’ve explored nine different V-style guitars in-depth, let’s take a look at some other important factors to consider before buying one of these guitars.
The build quality of any guitar is usually dependent on the brand, where it’s made, and how much it costs.
A USA-made guitar like the Gibson Flying V is going to be a top quality instrument that should need few, if any, upgrades or set-up tweaks. Since newer Gibsons also come Plek’d, that’s especially true.
However, guitars made in Indonesia or China, like the Jackson JS32T, are going to cut costs with labor and materials. That doesn’t mean these are poorly-made guitars, but understand what you are getting for your money.
The ESP LTD Arrow-1000, for instance, is made in Indonesia but it is by most accounts still a high quality instrument. The Schecter Guitar Research V-1 Custom is made in South Korea, and it packs in a ton of high-quality features and components for the money.
If a guitar has a solid base of tonewoods, most other things like hardware and electronics can be upgraded. A good set up from a luthier can also solve many issues.
For the classic V design, humbuckers are the pickup of choice. However, there are several different options that you’ll find depending on the style you’re going for.
The classic Gibson Flying V uses more traditional PAF-style Burstbucker pickups, though they are a bit higher output than the original PAF pickups.
The Epiphone V, meanwhile, has Fishman Fluence pickups that give you 3 distinct voices for a variety of tones.
Since the V-style is loved by several metal players, higher output active pickups are favored by many. The ESP Arrow-1000 uses classic EMG active humbuckers used by Metallica and many others. The Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24 also uses active humbuckers made by Seymour Duncan.
While pickups can vary in quality, many differences are about what kind of style and feel you prefer. Experiment with a few different styles to decide what works best for you.
Everyone wants a highly playable guitar (except for maybe Jack White) and that’s especially true for hard rock and metal players who use V-style guitars.
A cool feature on several of these guitars – like the Schecter Guitar Research V-1 Custom – is a compound-radius fingerboard. This gives you a tighter radius on the low end for easier riffing, and a wider radius higher up the neck to give you more space for leads.
Several of these guitars also use comfortable neck shapes like the U-shape or C-shape so your fretting hand fits snuggly around the neck.
You also can decide whether you want a set-through neck design, like the ESP Arrow-1000, or a bolt-on neck like the Rhoads JS32T. This usually affects sustain more than playability, but that’s definitely part of the overall feel of a guitar.
You get what you pay for, and that’s certainly true with guitars.
For some players, “only a Gibson is good enough.” If you want the highest quality – and can afford it – then by all means go for the classic Gibson Flying V.
If you don’t have quite that budget but still want a high quality, giggable instrument, the ESP Arrow-1000 and the Schecter Guitar Research V-1 Custom are really solid options.
For beginners or those on more of a budget, the Jackson Rhoads JS32T or the Dean Dave Mustaine model would make great choices.
The most expensive option is not always the best for you, however. Go with what best fits your style and budget, and you can always upgrade later.
Read Also: The Average Price of an Electric Guitar
Recap of the Best Flying V-Shaped Guitars
|Best Flying V Style Guitar||Award|
|Epiphone Flying V Prophecy||Editor’s Choice|
|Gibson Flying V||Premium Pick|
|Schecter Guitar Research V-1 Custom||Best for the Money|
|Dean Dave Mustaine VMNTX||Best Under $500|
|ESP LTD Arrow-1000||Best Under $1,000|
|Jackson Rhoads JS32T||Budget Pick|
|Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24||Best for Metal|
|Dean V Select 7-String||Best 7-String|
|Dean V Metalman||Best Bass Guitar|
What is a Flying V guitar?
A Flying V guitar is basically any guitar with a V-shaped body. Gibson designed the original Flying V, but there have been several takes on it over the years with slightly different designs and features.
Are Flying V guitars any good?
Of course! They look super cool and have a distinct sound. While they may not be for everyone, especially for beginners or players who like to play sitting down, they are iconic guitars that never fail to make a statement.
Who makes the best Flying V guitar?
That depends on your style and musical taste. If you are looking for the classic V style, then Gibson will probably be the best for you since they invented the design. However, metal players may appreciate the Jackson models originally made for Randy Rhoads. In the end, it’s all about what you’re going for.