Gibson Supreme Collection
| July 9, 2024 |

What Makes the Gibson Les Paul Supreme, SG Supreme, and ES Supreme Evolving Works of Art?

The Supreme Collection was launched with innovation in mind and contains elevated versions of the iconic Gibson Les Paul, SG and ES guitars. Find out more and read the origin story of their Art Deco headstock inlay here

With the arrival of the Gibson ES™ Supreme alongside the Les Paul™ Supreme and SG™ Supreme, guitar players now have an opportunity to build a stable of instruments with an interesting backstory, stunning beauty, and an array of new switching options for increased sonic versatility.

All three models in the Supreme Collection have finishes that are exclusive to Gibson.com and the Gibson Garage, and there are several other vivid colorways to choose from. There’s even a three-pickup version of each model for the sonic adventurers among you.

The new Gibson ES Supreme

The ES-335’s reputation for versatility is legendary—there are many reasons to pick one up—and the ES Supreme builds on this formidable legacy. Whether you’re playing smooth jazz, hard rock, country, or blues, this guitar can handle it all with ease. Toneful Burstbucker™ Rhythm Pro and Burstbucker Lead Pro pickups are further enriched by push/pull volume controls, which unlock coil-tapping for single-coil-style tones—a secret weapon in any band with an eclectic setlist.

This guitar is designed to meet the demands of any musician while turning heads with its aesthetic beauty. In addition to the Gibson exclusive Royal Tan and Ebony finishes (the latter option featuring a third Burstbucker Pro humbucker in the middle position for even more voices), standard finish options available via authorized dealers include Bourbon Burst, Seafoam Green, and Blueberry Burst.

Gibson Supreme Collection, exclusives

Image: The exclusive three-pickup Ebony models in the Supreme Collection from Gibson

Exquisite craftsmanship and cosmetics

The ES Supreme is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Its semi-hollow three-ply maple/poplar/maple body with an AAA-figured top is both durable and beautiful. The Super Split Block mother-of-pearl neck inlays, gold hardware, and a striking mother-of-pearl headstock inlay (based on the aforementioned design from the 1940s found in the Gibson archives—find out more below) add a touch of vintage elegance.

With its Rounded C profile and compound radius ebony fretboard, the ES Supreme’s mahogany neck ensures smooth playability, whether you’re chording near the nut or bending notes higher up the neck.

Gibson ES Supreme guitars

Image: Gibson ES Supremes in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst

A Legacy of rediscovered treasures—the Gibson Supreme origin story

As a 130-year-old brand like no other in the musical instrument industry, one of Gibson’s charms is its rich archive of creative treasures, some hidden away and forgotten for decades until they are rediscovered. Gibson’s journey, shaped by generations of creatives, likely harbors numerous brilliant yet overlooked ideas.

2022’s Theodore is one great example: a Ted McCarty guitar design that lay dormant for 65 years like an artifact in a resplendent Egyptian tomb before it became a reality. Another such drawing influenced 2023’s Les Paul Supreme, and it now adorns the SG Supreme and the new ES Supreme. Let’s delve into it and explore how.

The Supreme Collection as a whole forms a contemporary musical powerhouse, offering versatile pickup tones and a compound fingerboard radius for easy playability. Yet, all three guitars resonate with historical influences. Notably, the headstock inlay—originally depicting Terra in rich abalone on the 2003 Supreme model that paved the way for the class of 2024—has been a hallmark of beauty. The iconic Super 400-style Super Split Block neck inlays continue to adorn these modern iterations.

Les Paul Supreme original design

Image: © Getty Images—The 2003 Les Paul Supreme (Photo by Nigel Osbourne/Redferns)

Les Paul Supreme original headstock

Image: © Getty Images—The 2003 Les Paul Supreme, headstock inlay detail (Photo by Nigel Osbourne/Redferns)

Once just an idea, a penciled sketch sparked the reinvention of the new Gibson Supreme Collection headstock inlay, now fondly known as the “chandelier.” This new inlay design reflects the grandeur and geometric finesse of the Art Deco era, blending opulence with modernity. 

Gibson Les Paul Supreme headstock

Image: The new Gibson Supreme headstock inlay design appears on the ES, Les Paul, and SG Supreme

Let’s talk about the design’s origin. Below is a vintage sketch from around 1940 that was culled from the Gibson archives. The drawing on the left made its way onto a lap steel guitar, and the other would eventually become integral to the current history of the Les Paul Supreme, SG Supreme, and ES Supreme—a trifecta of beauty, versatility in the feature set, and historical significance.

Gibson chandelier drawing in pencil

Image: Gibson archive drawing of the current headstock inlay for the Supreme Collection (right), known as the “chandelier” inlay

The design has been subtly modernized for the new line of Supremes—the Les Paul iteration shares some DNA with the Les Paul Modern and some with the Les Paul Custom, and in Ebony definitely channels some of the latter’s tuxedo aesthetic.

The SG and ES Supreme are no less elegant. Perhaps the hardest question of all—especially when you consider the options on the table such as exclusive finishes and versions with three pickups—is which one would you choose? Perhaps the smartest option is to buy the whole set.

Discover the Gibson Supreme today and explore the Gibson Supreme Collection.