I’m sure y’all know the story of the 1959 Appetite For Destruction Les Paul... and how it really isn’t a 1959 Model and really isn’t a Gibson! But one of the most controversial electric guitars, in my minds eye, is the 1958 Gibson Moderne. I’ll spare you the details as there is a bunch of information out there and who knows what is true and what is myth… Suffice to say that some people claim the guitar was never built and Billy Gibbons claims to only original example. Whether it is true or not isn’t nearly as much fun as the myth. What is true is that of three ridiculously modern guitars Gibson designed for that year the Moderne has had the least amount of success. Gibson has attempted to resurrect this guitar a few times and it has never surpassed the Flying V or the Explorer in popularity. When I was growing up there was an early 80’s Moderne at a local guitar shop, I loved that guitar but simply could not resist the allure of the tried and true, classic designs. Since starting Texas Toast Guitars I had a standing deal with myself that if anyone ever paid me to build a Moderne I would build one for myself. Actually, there are a few guitar designs that fall into this category… but I’m not going to tell y’all what those are until another day.
As this project moves forward I have gotten several calls about it. One from my homeboy Jim at Rifle Dynamics. Jim has several of my guitars and decided he needed another one. Looks like I'm going to have to dig into my secret stash of white limba and start making one for me.
As is the case when building a guitar that has a mythical legacy there are some questions that will arise. I have found a few different output jack locations in photos and, indeed, the template raises a few questions as well. The 82 reissue and BFG's guitar have very different control layouts. Some people say that the 82 were the only Modernes that were made. Of course, who is going to argue with Billy Gibbons about it? For what it's worth the template does not have a hole for the jack on the face and the original prints don't show any controls at all. Weird huh?