Among the first music to really get me interested in becoming a guitarist — apart from The Beatles, who I discovered when I was about 7 — was the mid-to-late-‘80s stuff that I guess now you’d classify as Goth. I remember watching music videos when I was quite young and seeing all these great bands — Fields of the Nephilim, Bauhaus, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cult — and feeling drawn to the darkness and emotion I was hearing. And in the true spirit of rock n’ roll rebellion it didn’t hurt that my parents were a bit freaked out by the way they looked. And I noticed that a lot of these bands played cool old-looking guitars with those funny f-shaped holes like you see on violins. As a kid whose age was still in the single digits I was fascinated.

Eventually I started to notice a connection in the types of guitars I was seeing and the sounds they were making, and it evidently influenced my musical development. Even now, whenever I see a guitar with F-holes and maybe a Bigsby, I can’t help but think ‘I could totally play that through some delay and a flanger or three.’ The Gibson Memphis and Gibson Custom divisions make plenty of instruments that fit this style, and there are some Goth-friendly Gibson USA solidbody models too. Here’s what I’d be looking at if I was gearing up for the Goth band I’ve always daydreamed of putting together.

ES-330L Humbucker

Gibson Guitar

There’s a certain vintage cool to the thinline ES-330L Humbucker, with its block inlays, Bigsby vibrato, dark finish and PAF-style MHS humbuckers, and it’s a great choice for players looking for full-bodied clean tones with a hint of Bigsby shimmer. You may be wondering: how does the ES-330 differ from an ES-335? The biggest difference is that it has a fully hollow body, instead of the semi-hollowbody construction of the ES-335. The L in the model designation refers to the longer neck compared to the original version of the 330: it joins the body at the 19th fret instead of the 16th like the first models from 1959. The model was discontinued in 1972 but has been reissued on occasion. The Gibson Memphis version’s sweet-sounding humbuckers give it a different voice to the P-90s of the originals.

ES-355 Bigsby

Gibson Guitar

If you like the idea of twin humbuckers and a Bigsby but you need the tighter lows and singing mids of a semi-hollowbody, check out the ES-355 Bigsby. Its cherry finish has a hint of ‘blood moon’ about it, and the ’57 Classic pickups have a little more punch for when you need to turn up the gain a little or play low, tremolo-laden melodies.

Les Paul CM 2016 T

Gibson Guitar

This one feels like it’d be right at home with a more aggressive, 90s style alternative goth-associated band like Nine Inch Nails. Everything about the Les Paul CM 2016 T seems geared towards providing a direct line between you and your music: there’s a satin nickel wrapover bridge, a lone Classic ’61 humbucker for clear chords and punchy leads, and the finish is a Satin Ebony that feels as rugged and industrial as it looks. I’ve played a few of these since they were unveiled and they seem especially friendly to lower tunings and aggressive playing, yet they’re also great for blues.

Les Paul ‘60s Tribute 2016 T

Gibson Guitar

Sometimes you just gotta play some jangling chords and twangy riffs through P90s, and the Les Paul ‘60s Tribute 2016 T is a great choice. Interestingly, the bridge neck pickup is wound a hair hotter than the bridge, giving it a darker, fuller tone compared to the bridge’s percussive, hairy bark. Between the two of them you have a whole world of tones that are suitable for alternative and post-punk styles. And the Satin Ebony model looks the part too.

SG Special 2016 T

Gibson Guitar

For similar reasons I like the SG Special 2016 T. Its mini-humbuckers have a narrower magnetic window that gives you more focus and direct sound. It’s also a very affordable guitar, and my inner design-geek likes the black-white color scheme of the Satin Ebony model.