THE SCORPIONS: Attack Of The Flying Vs!

June 26, 2002

The following press release comes to us courtesy of

Rudolph Schenker and Matthias Jabs, rhythm and lead guitarists for German rock band THE SCORPIONS, made an impromptu visit to Gibson USA in Nashville on Monday, June 17th. In town for a Tuesday show, Schenker and Jabs were excited to see the changes that have taken place at USA due to a plant expansion in the late '90s. After their tour, Gibson's Kevin Young and Tom Montgomery presented the very first and as yet unreleased Flying V Voodoo guitar to Schenker, while Jabs received an X-Plorer Pro from the new, upcoming X-Factor model series, only the second one to leave the factory.

"This is excellent, beautiful!" exclaimed Jabs, who's been playing Explorers since 1987. "It's got a mahogany body and maple top like a Les Paul. You grab a guitar, and you either like it or you don't. This one is sympathetic to my playing it rings well and sounds good."

Schenker, who owns between 90 and 100 Flying Vs by his best estimate, was equally thrilled with his new Voodoo model. "It's very light, and a little more open," he said. "I can already feel it." The guitar, made out of swamp ash with a mahogany neck, has a red-stained JuJu finish, Black Magic pickup and black chrome hardware. A red skull inlay at the 5th fret gives it a little added mojo.

When choosing a guitar, Schenker says he listens closely to how the wood sounds. "The humidity in the wood makes a difference to how it comes across. You are very close to the sound of the vibrations from your hand to your body," he explains.

Schenker purchased his first Flying V in 1972 in Hamburg, Germany. He saw blues guitarist Johnny Winter play a limited edition model, and he really wanted one. Younger brother Michael, then lead guitarist for the band, called to say he had just bought a Les Paul, and the guitar shop had a Flying V in stock. Schenker was low on funds at the time, so the kindly dealer worked out a payment arrangement with him, and he got his guitar.

Later, at an outdoor concert in Hanover, Germany, Michael unwittingly locked his instrument in a girlfriend's apartment, so Schenker gave him the Flying V while he played another guitar. Michael liked it so much that he never gave it back, much to the elder Schenker's dismay. So it goes with brothers and guitars.

In another moment of artistic inspiration, Schenker took his Flying V collection — which by then had expanded considerably — and arranged the guitars side by side in a star-shaped pattern on his lawn to photograph them. Suddenly it started to rain, so he and guitar technician Peter Kirkman ran around frantically grabbing up the guitars to move them back into Schenker's house. They succeeded, but not before a number of the instruments got wet. "Fungus on a Flying V is not a good thing," said Kirkman with an ironic chuckle.

After the guitar presentation, Schenker and Jabs were transported by van to the Gibson Custom, Art & Historic division. Grinning like two kids in a candy store, the rockers strummed and tested their favorite models for the better part of an hour. It was a good way to kill an afternoon, they said, and their collections expanded by a few more guitars. Now if they can just get them through security at the airport.

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