Gibson USA's Stunning 2016 Limited Run Guitars

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Gibson USA’s 2016 models are in full flow, but catching up with and trying out the “regular” improvements can sometimes you miss out on something super-special – like the Limited Run models.

Sometimes it's a limited finish, other times different woods, occasionally different pickups than you'd expect... but the point of Limited Runs is they're just that. By the time you've decided you crave one, they may be all gone! So if you want something a little special from your 2016 Gibson, here's a quick overview. Click on the individual model names for full specifications.

7 String Gibson SGs

This year's 7-string SGs aren't signature models, but may help with that heavy, heavy sound.

The SG Light 7 is white with arctic white binding with trad chrome hardware: the SG Dark 7 has black binding and black chrome hardware. Both stand out from Traditional or High Performance SGs in that they boast Tektoid nuts, Richlite fingerboards, “VII” Mother of Pearl inlay at the 7th fret and powerful Seymour Duncan 'buckers. Like the HP SGs, they both have a fast access heel.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

For a very different vibe, the 2016 SG Supreme has a two-piece hi-gloss AAA maple figured top (in cherry or ocean blue) atop a mahogany body, plus split-diamond MOP fretboard inlays, Burstbucker Pro humbuckers, locking Grovers plus simplified controls. Oh, and lots of chrome. Just might be the most luxurious looking SG ever.

The SG Naked strips it all back. Natural or Walnut Satin finishes on the all-mahogany bodies, plus P-90 single-coils, “Top Hat” 4-knob control set-up, and acrylic dot inlays. These will take a ding or nine and still look fine.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Woods with a Difference

Most players associate classic Gibson electrics with mahogany/maple/rosewood, but from 1958's Explorer and Flying V (korina) to baked maple fingerboards, Gibson has always experimented. 2016's Limited Run models are no different.

The Les Paul Standard Figured Walnut is as you'd expect in many ways (mahogany body and neck, rosewood 'board) but with a two-piece A grade gloss walnut top. The body is mahogany, which makes for a great visual match, and walnut is a dense, full-sounding wood.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Y'all know that the Redwood is the daddy of all trees, and the Les Paul Redwood features a timber top from trees felled over 100 years old. No now-endangered redwoods have been harvested by Gibson. The timber's natural, historic beauty shines under a gloss finish. Redwood's dark, rich tones are more usually found on acoustics and this one is probably more about the looks. But hey, what looks!

John Steinbeck wrote about the redwood tree, "The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No-one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe.

“It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Swamp Ash is a favorite of “shred” guitar builders, offering a twangy, airy, and sweet sound. With firm lows, pleasant highs, a slightly scooped midrange, and good sustain the Les Paul Studio Swamp Ash offers a different visual and sonic flavor to a mahogany/maple build, and the grain also looks great under a matt lacquer finish. 490R and 498T 'buckers make this Studio hot. Bursts be gone!

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Want a Les Paul with depth? How about the Les Paul Sunken Treasure with body and top of carved of mahogany gathered from lagoons and rivers in Belize? The woods in this guitar were thought to be lost for years, but have been precisely vacuum dried. Add a fingerboard of reclaimed, rarely-used bullet wood and this LP is treasure indeed.

Popular Woodworking magazine calls sunken mahogany a “Holy Grail” of timber. Using reclaimed wood like this is eco-friendly, too, so it's apt there's a River Green finish option. Dive in quick. There are only 150 made.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Fine Finishes

Sometimes, you just want a Gibson with killer, unique looks and off-kilter, unique tones. The Les Paul Voodoo 2016 offers both, with swamp ash body and top, Voodoo custom JuJu satin finish, black hardware to red inlays. Scarily striking.

For other fans of the dark arts, there's also the limited Les Paul CM Black adding a Floyd Rose top loader vibrato, Dirty Fingers humbuckers, simplified controls and a carved mahogany body.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

For an ultra-bling six-string, be dazzled by the Les Paul Fort Knox. Gold bullion finish, gold Bigsby, gold Grover locking tuners, 7-ply top binding, '59 Tribute humbuckers, hand-wired electronics and more... The two included removable pickguards are black and, of course, gold plated. A new Gold Standard. Literally.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

For more luxuriant looks in semi-solid spec, check the Midtown Deluxe in Ocean Water or Root Beer finishes. Build-wise, you get a classic blend of solid and hollow with powerful Burstbucker pickups, but it's those AAA grade quilted maple tops that will turn heads as well as ears.

2016 Gibson Limited Run guitars

Check the full Gibson USA Limited Run 2016 range for more, including new Joe Bonamassa LPs, a P-90 Les Paul Junior and a mahogany top Les Paul. But do it quick. Some of these fine guitars are limited to just 150 pieces each. And when they're gone, they're gone.