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Nighthawk Guitars


Nighthawk Guitars
Gibson unveiled the Nighthawks in January 1993 and they became one of the most successful debuts of any model in Gibson history, winning the top design award from The Music Trades magazine at the 1993 National Association of Music Merchants show. The Nighthawk brought a new look and feel to the Gibson line, but most importantly, its unique pickups and electronic system offered electric guitarists a broad new spectrum of sounds. As Gibson celebrated its Centennial in 1994, the Nighthawk and the guitars of the Hawk Series served as a bridge of innovation into a second century of success for Gibson.

But when Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman took over Gibson in 1986, the company was in shambles. In rebuilding, they focused on Gibson's strongest traditional models. Innovative efforts were aimed in the same direction, as R&D head J.T. Riboloff developed a successful series of historic reissues.

By the early 1990s, Gibson was healthy again, re-established as a formidable force in the marketplace with its reputation for quality restored and sales growing. Now it was time to re-establish Gibson as a leader in innovation with a vision that would lead the guitar industry into the future. In Gibson's R&D lab, Riboloff set about fulfilling that vision with a completely new electric guitar-one that would handle all a guitarist's needs.

Starting with a traditional Gibson single-cutaway style, Riboloff widened the body, opened up the cutaway and extended the scale length to 25 1/2". For new sounds, he designed three new pickups. A slant-mounted humbucker combined three different magnetic materials and produced a higher output than standard-design pickups. The classic Gibson Firebird mini-humbucker was revamped to utilize both Alnico and ceramic magnets for a warmer sound. And a new single-coil design produced twice the output of conventional single-coil pickups. With coil tapping, as many as 10 different combinations were available. Optional pickup configurations, vibrato units and ornamentation guaranteed that every guitarist could find just the right Nighthawk to fit his style.

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  • davek