NGD: Epiphone Firebird

Bruxist

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Oct 12, 2010
Posts
4,448
Location
Kentucky, USA
So, Firebirds have never been among my "always wanted one" guitars, like a black 70's strat with maple fretboard, Ric 330, or Gibson Les Paul Custom.

At least, not until recently.

I have a firebird pickup in the neck of a tele and it is amazing, so I have been thinking about how much I wanted one in the bridge and then I was listening to more Johnny Winter, and, you know...

...the GAS set in.

I really wanted to play one first since I knew the ergonomics were a little different, but I doubted I would have the opportunity. I had a reminder set at Sweetwater for when they got some back in stock.

Imagine my surprise when there was a used one at Guitar Center. It was love at first play. For one, it was light and very resonant. Looked basically new, except for where the previous owner had used a marker on the knobs to mark his favourite settings, I believe. The ergonomics are different but not jarring. The neck is a little flatter than my ideal, but very comfortable.

I went back the next day to play it again and put some money down to hold it until it goes off pawn clearance and my initial impressions were confirmed.

I went Monday and, after paying a total of 5 bills and another 30 bucks to the Commonwealth, I took it home. Have had a hard time putting it down. I only noticed the difference in the shape when I put it down and played my strat for a bit. The size of the headstock is a little jarring, but you get used to it. In pictures, it does not seem much bigger than a Fender-style, but it definitely does in person.

As far as the pickups, I really like them. Not as clear as the Cavalier Phoenix in my tele, but you can tell they tried to voice the minihum similarly. Will just play it as it is for a while. At some point, I will probably will swap the neck pickups around between that tele and the Firebird and see what I think. A Phoenix bridge may be in my future, but I am not in a hurry.

If I had a gripe, it would be that I am not wowed with the mini-grovers on it, especially the one on the D string. Like with the pickups, I am going to wait a bit to see if the strings are just newer than they look, etc. I know gearless Steinbergers are often on FBs, so if these do not work out, I may give those a try.

Here it is. Sorry for the less-than-optimal pic from my dark basement office.

112387.jpeg

(I spaced that hanger for a Fender-style headstock so with the Firebird on it, it is actually touching the ceiling tile).
 

rockymtnguitar

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Posts
773
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
This *has* been on my always wanted list but I've never had the chance to play one or play Firebird pickups. They're just cool-looking guitars and different, so they make me curious. Glad to hear you're enjoying yours so much and it sounds like you got ahold of easily.

Enjoy! It's beautiful.
 

ChicknPickn

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Posts
2,970
Location
Ole Virginny
Very nice. Have always thought the 'Birds were cool. Thinking of Johnny Winter, master of the Firebird. Personally, I'd put a black guard on it. Or even do without it altogether.
 

Chiogtr4x

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Posts
14,183
Location
Manassas Park, VA
You'd think that someone who loves Johnny Winter as much as I do
( I kind of picked up my Thumbpick+bare fingers/fingerpicking technique from Johnny, along with some of his blues phrasing, but MUCH slower!)
would by now ( at 63!) have a dang Firebird! ( mine would be an Epi, my budget)

Love them, but only ever played one a few times- but I think they are just so beautiful and bold.
It's not too late though, someday!
 

BorderRadio

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 2, 2014
Posts
11,983
Age
42
Location
Phoenix, AZ
HNGD!

I have the same model, love it. I slapped a Bigsby B5 on it (it had a Les Trem II before), but it's getting a Vibrola eventually. Black etched guard, black knobs, and a Mojo Tone Johnny Winter neck pickup. I really, really like FB pickups, so I'll be using a FB neck p/u in my next Tele build.

The bridge pickup is just fine, it is a real deal Firebird pickup, just a little on the 'hot' side. It bugs me they didn't use the right headstock and tuners, like they did for that Joe bonamoosa guy, but then again Gibson does the same on their 1200 dollar FB.
 

526THz

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Posts
185
Location
Italy
Congrats!!! It's lovely! I own one (the Bonamassa signature) and I've just spent a weekend playing it after so many months... and I couldn't stop. And every time I play it... I'd like to have also one with 2 pickups, like yours.
Enjoy it!
 

OmegaWoods

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Nov 10, 2020
Posts
1,492
Age
54
Location
East TN, USA
I love these odd looking guitars. I won't buy one without playing it first but if I find myself in the same room with one, I'm going to head straight to it.
 

Masmus

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Posts
1,026
Age
54
Location
San Jose
I have had a 93 and 64 Gibson but my 2011 ish Epi is fantastic. Even the 90’s Epi’s with bolt on necks play great. Yours looks really nice.
 

davo8411

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Posts
514
Location
Pensacola, Florida
A used one was for sale in my area, but I didn’t realize the asking price was very good. It sold so fast I didn’t even get much of a chance to consider it. Now I want one, but doubt one will ever come up in the used market again. Yours is gorgeous.
 




Top