Gibson’s brand president Cesar Gueikian recently teased that a contemporary version of the mysterious Moderne is in the works after eagle-eyed fans spotted Metallica’s Kirk Hammett jamming to one on stage at the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival last Friday (27 May).
At the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival 2022 last Friday, eagle-eyed fans spotted Metallica’s Kirk Hammett shredding on what appears to be a sleeker-looking, black Moderne on stage during the band’s encore performance.
In response, Gueikian took to Instagram to confirm that the guitar was in fact a new Moderne prototype that Gibson has been developing with Hammett, though whether or not the model will get a release remains a mystery: “Experimental Prototype from the Gibson Lab. The concept developed with Kirk was ‘modernize the Moderne’. Will we release it in the future? We don’t know (yet)”
Dubbed a holy grail of collectible guitars, the Gibson Moderne was designed alongside the Flying V and Explorer in the 1950s as part of a line of futuristic-spacey-looking electric guitars to rival Fender’s increasingly popular Telecaster and Stratocaster models.
While the V and Explorer eventually made it into production, the Moderne was so poorly received that production was shelved, until the guitar company finally decided to issue a limited run in 1982. Because so few prototypes were made back then and no authenticated Moderne is currently known, the model remains the “great white whale” of the guitar world.
Since then, The Moderne has seen a handful of re-issues, the first of which occurred during 2012’s NAMM which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Moderne’s official release.
With this year’s NAMM just two days away and with 2022 being the Moderne’s 40th anniversary, it remains to be seen if Gibson intends to follow-up on its teasing.
In other news, Gibson recently announced the hybrid Explorerbird signature guitar in collaboration with Halestorm frontwoman Lizzy Hale.