I've played a couple of it's P90s cousins, the Blueshawk. One I played has a thin neck that didn't appeal to me, the other, which I played recently, had a sharp V that I liked, I'm half considering buying it. But I don't think I've ever picked up a Nighthawk.
I had a Blues hawk and really enjoyed it. They're cool guitars, but they're very un-Gibson in alot of ways. Didn't like it as much as my SG standard, but i liked it a whole lot more than my gold top Les paul ( a weight issue with the LP, still can't understand who would want a 13 lb guitar).
I have a Nighthawk in translucent amber with 2-pickups. I think it gets a bad rap around here but I like it. I'm more of a strat player and I guess that's why I like it since it's got the scale length. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I believe they are 25 1/2 inch same as a strat.
You're not going to get LP sounds out of it, but it sounds good and you can cop some similar strat tones. I remember when they came out in the early 90's and I went to see "Brother Cane" and Damion whips out a Nighthawk for one or two of the songs in the set. It definately had more of a trebley thing going on than the LPs he played on the other songs, but sounded nice.
I have a '93 Nighthawk, 3-pickup model, Standard specs with a custom trans-flame finish that I've never seen on another 'Hawk. Will have to post pix one of these days.
I love mine, had it for about eight years. It's a very unusual guitar for Gibson, basically their attempt at a souped-up Telecaster hybrid. String-through-body bridge, 25 1/2 scale length (ala Fender), some tonal variety through a coil-tap and Fender-style selector switch.
Very bright-sounding for a mahogany solid-body, but just great for blues. Nice and light too.
I still have my amber standard 3 pup nighthawk I picked up at Chuck Levin's in 95. Very cool little guitar, Does have a great strat vibe with a bit more chunk in the notes.Bridge HB can be a bit muddy. Im a Gibson guy and this is a better strat to me. I never felt at home with a Fender,Maybe cause i grew up playing Gibsons. Its a great idea that had some great sounds and has no weight to it. I will never part with it!
There were 3 main models of Nighthawk: the Special, the Standard, and the Custom. All 3 were available with either 2 or 3 pickups.
The 3 pu guitars have a mini-hum in the neck, a strat middle, and an angled bridge humbucker, along with a 5 way selector. The 2 pu is the same but without the middle strat pu, and the selector is a 3 way with a pull pot on the tone control.
The Special has dot inlays and a plain top. The Standard has double paralellogram inlays and a AA figured maple top. The Custom has cloud inlays, ebony fretboard instead of rosewood, binding on the headstock, and a AAA maple top.
All Nighthawks have gold hardware and a 25-1/2 inch scale. The normal model has a fixed bridge with strings through the body like a telecaster. The Floyd Rose is less common.
There was also a series of Nighthawk offered for a couple of years called the Landmark, which commemorated US national parks: Everglades Green, Sequoia Red, etc. They are very similar to a Special other than the finish color and a Landmark decal at the base of the neck. They also feature 2 mini-hums with a pull pot on the tone control.
All of the Nighthawks I've owned (about a dozen) had fairly slim necks, though there is subtle variation. All of them play and sound terrific - a nice mix between Fender and Gibson. The bridge hum is more like an SG than a Les Paul, but it's really a sound all its own. The neck mini-hum is great. The in-between sounds are good too, but kinda different from classics, like a PRS. The 3 pu model does in-between strat stuff better, but I like the 2 pu model better overall.
These guitars are lightweight, have a back tummy round for comfort, and are well balanced.
The only negative thing you might say is that it's not as Gibson-y as other Gibsons with the Fender scale and the brighter pickups. If you like Fender scale and tone but like the Gibson feel, you would probably like them.
Heres mine, a '95. It's been played a lot and still gets regular rotation. I use it in a country project and it has great tones for classic to modern country, southern rock and country rock. It's the best of a Tele, LP and Strat all rolled into one. The pups are a little dark but I really like the bridge and neck HB tones. The bridge split is also very good.
I've got a Nighthawk Landmark and love it. It covers a lot of ground tonally, all of which I like. I go back and forth thinking about taking out the mini-humbuckers and dropping in p90s or Filtertrons. I think the p90s would work very well on this guitar. The Landmark series is nice in that it doesn't have the slanted humbucker so there are options for changing things fairly easily. Features I like: medium thick neck, 25 1/2 scale, string-through body, single volume and tone, maple topped mahagony, single piece neck. It's also nice having the pull tone knob, to put the pickups to single coil, but I find that I play it more that way on my own and leave it in humbucking mode with a band, with the exception of both pickups pulled for getting in the neighborhood of the 2 or 4 selector on a strat. There are things I might want different in a custom made guitar, but at the price to value ratio it's a great deal for a guitar that's to me is very versatile.
I agree. They are priced very reasonably for a USA made Gibson set neck instrument. You can easily get a Standard or Landmark for less than a grand. The Specials are a bit less, and the Customs are a bit more. Still less than a LP Standard and more versatile.