Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Gibson Firebird Zero

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by FenderGyrl, Aug 27, 2017.

Firebird Zero ... To Be Or Not To Be? That Is The Question !

  1. Yes, Buy One. It Is what it Is! A Gibson for less than $500.

  2. Nah, Hold Out. The price will probably drop even lower.

  3. Firebird Zero? More Like Firebird Turkey! Buy a Squier CV Strat or a 50's Reissue to go with your CV

  4. Hmmm , It is Quirky in a kind of cool way , but I am on the fence about how I feel about these.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. yellowv

    yellowv Tele-Meister

    Aug 14, 2009
    South Florida
    I looked at one at GC. Felt like an absolute piece of junk. Max I would pay for one is $200 knowing it would need more than twice that in mods to be decent. The $299 G&L ASAT Tribute I bought a few months ago is so far in quality ahead of this "Gibson" that it's not even funny and that's coming from a guy that owns several Gibsons.

  2. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    These emit some sort of weird siren song for me, It's like "The Kramer" on Seinfield "it's a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away." Every time I see a used one I'm tempted. If they had gone w/ the traditional Firebird shape in a reduced form factor ( like the single PU MM's a few years back) I would probably have one, as is I have avoided temptation. As for price; in my mind this is a $249 guitar that should sell used for less than $200, hasn't happen yet but I bet both come to pass when the big guys need the warehouse space, and the "OMG I can afford a Gibson" crowd all have one. I am starting to see the M2s that Amazon had on 'Exclusive' for $250 w/ the bag at GC used, so the purge has begun.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017

  3. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    I have a Black Zero with the White Pick Guard coming.
    Scored it for $300 with the Gig Bag. Free Shipping. So all in all, I am hoping that I got a decent project guitar. Hear Me Out:

    I love Trashy Guitars. So this one will fit the bill. I love modding POS Guitars and making them my own. Again, this one fits the bill.

    Projects keep my mind busy thru my Chronic Illness. So this one has my mind racing during this change of the seasons.
    I cant deal with heavy guitars anymore. My beloved LP's are just too heavy now a days.
    While I love EPI's, and own a bunch of them, the Epi Bird I played felt too "Big" for me. Nice Guitar, but just seemed like too much guitar for me.

    I have Tool Boxes full of parts. I need to use them up. I have more than enough to mod this FireBird Zero without spending anymore cash on it.
    I have a set of GFS MEAN 90's with the Quick Plug Wiring ready to go. They fit into the existing Humbucker Rings. I have a Quick Plug Wiring Harness SG Style that I can use also. So, replacing all of the Pick Ups and Electronics = COVERED.

    I am thinking of adding more Volume and Tone Pots - Similar to this FireBird below. I'll move the switch to the lower horn = put the plug in jack in the upper far corner of the pickguard'

    I have a few new Wilkinson Chrome Wrap Around Tailpieces. They are the same height as the GOTOH 510UB that the guy in the YouTube Clip used on his to fix the bridge issue. Mine fits really tight and doesn't lean forward. (I had metal shims machined for mine) So the Tail Piece = COVERED

    I have a few Bigsbys (Original and Gretsch Knock Offs) In keeping with the vibe of what I am going for: the Wilkinson will be perfect with a Bigsby.
    The light weight body with the added weight of the Bigsby: I think everything will balance out nicely. (AngelDeville's Bonamassa inspired this!)

    I have a bunch of Schaller Mini Six In Line keys...and some Grovers. So the keys being replaced : COVERED.
    I even have a good stash of Pre-Cut Bone Nuts and blanks. As for the Super Thin Truss Rod Cover- I can have it mounted to some thicker material at work, and cut to match up. I have a Stew Mac Fret working set, and Nut Files, etc. Pretty sure I have this project covered.

    I bought a Vinyl FireBird Decal (Black) - don't know if I'll have room for it if I move the switch though. And the Gibson Double Slugs = I have a great playing Oscar Schmidt Les Paul Gold Top (Really Nice Set Neck Les Paul Copy) that will benefit from the Double slugs.
    So it's a Win Win in the parts department. ;)
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017

  4. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012

  5. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    So my Firebird Zero arrived today. I'm gonna keep it.

    Good & Bad Things About It:

    The finish on mine is fine. No flaws. Bought it as "Blemished", but I cant find anything wrong with it. o_O It is a solid single piece body. Not planked together. Seems to have a nice grain running under the thin black Nitro. It could be taken down to bare wood and refinished as natural if I wanted to.

    I like the Double Slugs. They sound nice and mid-rangy. Good definition between strings. Sounds good when played clean - nice and bright. The electronics work fine. The pots seem okay, I haven't looked under the hood yet. But all in all, decent as far as I can tell.

    The keys work fine. The bridge is too high (as stated by others). The nut is horrible. Action is high out of the box, but not unplayable. I played it for an hour tonight.

    The neck is nice and straight. Frets are finished good on mine. Noticed some string buzz on the B String at the 3rd fret. But the neck has no relief at all right now. The frets are more Jumbo than Medium Jumbo. The fret board is thick rosewood. Needs oiled. Frets need smoothed and buffed out. Frets have a lot of mass to them. The neck is pretty stable. I can vibrato it a little by doing the right hand on the lower bout while holding a chord. But the neck is very stable. It has a Satin Finish on the face of the head stock. The Truss Rod Cover on mine is pretty thick. (Not as thin as a pick for sure)
    The pick guard is double bound. It is cut very well. Other than the crappy nut and the lousy tailpiece bridge - mine seems okay. It balances nicely with the strap button placed on the upper bout.

    So, that's it for now. The guitar is a keeper for $300. The gig bag is nice.

    The Firebird Zero guitar is ... I don't know ... a guitar with no sense of itself. The Double Slugs are very Rock N Roll pickups. I am still leaning toward putting the GFS Mean 90's into this guitar. (Plus new wiring) Will also swap out the Keys-Tailpiece Bridge-Nut. I think that I will get this "Bird" to reach its potential. I'll post pics as I tear it apart and rebuild it. A good guitar if you get it cheap, and like working on guitars. Reminds me of the old Melody Makers: "Nuthin' Fancy". A thin bodied guitar... a Gibson Plank Guitar. Seriously, it reminds me of the old Melody Makers... just a bare bones stripped down Gibson.

    ROCKERGYRL.jpg graphics-music-209883.gif
    Anode100 and 24 track like this.

  6. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Holic

    Jun 17, 2008
    I bought one for $399. I like mine. it stays in tune it plays well and it sounds good. I haven't done anything to it but play it. I like the poplar/combination too. Everyone cries about how the wraptail isn't tight in the studs and rocks back and forth a little, but so does every vintage wraptail I've ever seen, so I don't know what the big deal is. Mine is clear and resonant, I have no compaints
    fjlauer and FenderGyrl like this.

  7. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    Today I was looking thru the Case Candy. The Gig Bag had all of the Gibson Paperwork, Check Lists,and a Picture of the Firebird on the QC table with the date from the Head Stock on paper sitting next to it.

    After the neck had settled, I measured the string height: 4/32nds from the Low E to the top of the 12th fret - 3/32nds from the High E to the top of the 12th fret. Well within factory specs.

    After playing it some more today, I have to say that the Double Slugs are EXTREMELY quiet. A pleasant surprise actually. While playing it tonight, it seems like the neck goes on for days. :lol: This guitar is really growing on me. I was not sure what would arrive when I ordered it. Maybe Gibson tightened up their QC in light of the bad reviews. The stamp on the back of the neck on mine says that it was made this summer.

    Also, the bridge on mine doesn't lean forward at all. Nothing like some of the reviews I saw that showed the bridge jammed into the body when it was lowered. The Nut isn't cut right on the High E String. It has the "Sitar Buzz" going on. I'm going to get the strings off of it tonight.
    24 track likes this.

  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    What are these "double slugs" anyway?
    A single coil with a dummy coil?

  9. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    A Humbucker that only has 12 Slug Posts...not Six Slugs and Six Adjustment screws. The Gibson Spec Sheet says that they are made to be quiet also...

  10. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

    Apr 10, 2014
    I bought this Epiphone Firebird VII 63 reissue for around $300. It had a hack job mod of full size HB in the bridge which I reversed. Also added a roller bridge so now the vibrato works really well. However this is way heavier than my Gibson Firebird V. I wanted to upgrade all the pickups in the Epiphone to Duncan MB Antiquities but they are seriously expensive! I'll get round to it one day!

    CFFF, Frank'n'censed, Zepfan and 2 others like this.

  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I bought a couple of the M2's late last year. I'm a die hard Gibson fan. I swapped out the cheap wraparound for a wilkinson wraparound and that allowed the strings to come down to nearly touch the frets. The guitars are great and are a good platform to experiment with.

    Yep, it has cheap parts. That's why they were $3-400 new. Haters hate everything Gibson does and will find fault with anything on the new guitars. It's like they are First Act guitars ( which aren't as bad as they are made out to be either). The critics must never have played the 60's non Gibson and Fender guitars because many of those define crappy guitars. I would swap out the switch and pots for CTS and Switchcraft though.
    CFFF, Believer and FenderGyrl like this.

  12. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    Beautiful Guitar! Classy... you did a great job restoring it.

    I played an Epi like yours... they are pretty heavy.

  13. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    So I had enough energy to get the original strings off. (It was a long day at work) I took the tuner keys off so I can XXXX steel wool the back of the neck and smooth it out some more. (Not that it's bad as is...its just what I do). The tuners are pretty nice. Definitely not "cheap quality". They have smooth action. Not sure I will bother to replace them to be honest. The Truss Rod Cover is 1/32" thick.

    The lugs for the bridge are set 3/32" deep into the body. The Wilkenson bridge fits nicely on the existing lug screws. So that makes the bridge swap easy. More than enough room to lower the action.

    Popped the pickguard to have a peek. Wow, very professional electronics! Large Pots, look very beefy. Braided wiring. I am very impressed with what I saw. Heavy duty wire, the pickups have the Gibson Quick Plug wiring. The wiring is waaaaay nicer than the GFS Quick Plug Harness I have. (I'm not sure if I am gonna replace it)! I was expecting some very cheap flimsy electronics...not what I found. Eveything is nice and neat with ties on it. Wow.

    When trying to take the strings off, I noticed that the G and High E strings were stuck in the nut. Had to pull them out of it. The Low E and A were riding outside of the Nut Slot.

    So, that's were I'm at. Need to change the Nut. Buff out the frets and oil the fingerboard. Set Up the Wilkenson Bridge. Have to think about the pick ups...but honestly ... I am leaning toward leaving them alone. I'll put the Mean 90's in my Epi SG Special.

    EDIT: So I popped the Pick Guard off again. Looked at it closely and decided that I can easily install the Mean 90's into the Firebird. I can bypass the Quick Plus wiring. I want P90's in this guitar! :twisted:
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
    CFFF, Zepfan, ReaL Madras and 2 others like this.

  14. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    Congrats glad you bit the bullet and got it, I have an large luv on for firebirds and early 60's jaguars (65' ford mustang fastbacks but any shelby will do) thats another story , cool guitar ROCK ON KID ! you deserve it!
    FenderGyrl likes this.

  15. ReaL Madras

    ReaL Madras Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 8, 2012
    They shouldn't have given it the Firebird tag.....big mistake in terms of raising expectations.
    FenderGyrl likes this.

  16. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    I enjoyed reading FG's review of her instrument.

    I'd have one in a heartbeat.

    Seems that Gibson annoy people when they bring out expensive models, and now folks with lighter wallets can have a go at them too!

    They can't win, but I suspect they really don't give two hoots about that.
    FenderGyrl and guitarbuilder like this.

  17. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Really? Is that possible? Seems frighteningly shallow.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

  18. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    What I was trying to say is that the top of the lugs are set 3/32 below the face of the body..the lugs don't have a lip that sits on top of the body.

  19. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Is that 2 stupid questions in a row for me in this thread?
    CFFF and FenderGyrl like this.

  20. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    Yeah, they could have called it "The Reverse RD" or something. And naming a guitar The Zero... o_O

    You have a point, Firebirds are iconic...they should have used another name for sure. :cool:
    stinkey likes this.

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