guitar review

Gibson’s archives give up lost treasure.

Delicious smooth-to-silky P-90 sounds. Awesome chunky neck. Pretty, unusual-for-Gibson body profile.

Holy cow, it’s expensive.

$4,999

Gibson Theodore
gibson.com

5
4
4.5
3.5

Gibson has had a lot of time to evolve as a guitar company. But that doesn’t make the breadth of personalities among their instruments any less astonishing. A Firebird, an ES-150, an ES-330, a Les Paul Standard, and an SG Jr. can each inspire very different paths for a given musical idea—or different ideas altogether. Each has its own musicality, attitude, and energy.

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A bold fusion of Santa Ana and Fullerton styles yields a wide range of vintage-to-modern sounds.

Daring styling. Transparent onboard electronics. Powerful tone controls.

No passive operation. Hard to access upper frets.

$699

Jackson X Series Concert Bass CBXNT DX IV
jacksonguitars.com

4
3.5
3
4

I remember the extreme reactions when the PRS Silver Sky was introduced. The mashup (some might say, clash) of two well-known and classic designs was an earthly manifestation of sacrilege to some. The Jackson X Series Concert Bass CBXNT DX IV could be the Silver Sky's bottom-end equivalent: design elements from two legendary instruments fearlessly thrown together to create something new. The mix already has folks talking. But the real question is whether there is more to this bass than the mix of Fender-style P/J and Rickenbacker visual cues?

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Affordability is no obstacle to top quality in this understated P/J-style bass.

Solid construction. Beautiful finish. Affordable price.

Overly bright onboard electronics. No passive operation. No option to switch batteries quickly.

$549

ESP LTD AP-204
espguitars.com

3.5
4
4
4.5

Famed Japanese brand ESP launched the LTD series in 1996 as an affordable line aimed at the beginner market. But a visit to the LTD website these days reveals a line evolved well beyond that original premise, with a wide variety of offerings in several price ranges.

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