If you're a music fan—or a fan of Guitar Hero—chances are good you're familiar with the iconic look of Gibson's Flying V guitar. What you might not know, however, is that the Flying V is only one of a trio of futuristic guitars designed in the late 1950s by Gibson president Ted McCarty. Click through for the story of the Flying V, the Explorer, and the Moderne, plus a peek at their patent drawings.

The guitars used straight lines rather than the curvy ones seen in traditional models. This proved a little too freaky for 1958, and the original production runs of the Flying V and Explorer ended the following year (they were revived in 1967 and 1975, respectively). The Moderne never actually made it into production, or if it did, very few were made—it's a holy grail for the guitar geek (Gibson reissued the model in 1982). Ted McCarty told author Tom Wheeler that

Dealers would buy new Flying V's, but then they'd hang them in the windows just to attract attention. Some of them never tried to sell the thing; they were just too radical. I wish I had kept one each of the original models. I hear they are really highly prized these days.
They are indeed; a 1959 Flying V like the one pictured up front is valued at over $120,000 . You can check out more pix here .