NGD - Sorta-Gibson Non-Reverse Firebird "Prototype"

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by widefault, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. widefault

    widefault Tele-Meister

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    Picked this up a week back and just had a chance to take it apart for clues.

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    For those that have not seen them before, Maestro is/was a sub-Epiphone brand Gibson used on Guitars sold through WalMart and other box stores. They made LP and SG single pickup models as well as an acoustic. Per the guy I bought it from, this would have been a prototype for a Non-Reverse Firebird model they never released.

    Pulled it apart today, looking for any clues or markings that might back up the story, but the closest I got was a potential "3" on the neck heel.

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    Routed for a single humbucker, which has no markings and is medicore sounding.

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    In short, it's kind of a piece of crap as it sits, but there's promise. Under 6lbs, but ridiculously neck heavy, Absolutely needs straplocks. Tuners are terrible, gritty and hard to turn. Nut is terrible, plastic and doesn't let the strings move freely. Wrap-around tailpiece is a wrap-around, might be worth swapping for an adjustable. It does have a belly cut but would probably benefit from a forearm contour as well, even if not true to the original.

    But overall it is playable and should be pretty good with new strings and a proper setup.
     
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  2. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I like it. It looks nice!
     
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  3. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks cool.
     
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  4. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been BEGGING them to do an Epiphone non-reverse with minis and a vibrola.
     
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  5. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    $99 guitar ... I like it !!!
     
  6. Esquier

    Esquier TDPRI Member

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    "Everybody's talkin' about the bird...."
     
  7. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    If it were me:

    1) upgrade nut & tuners to basic functionality

    2) P-90 or if you wanted a drop-in, no-mod, similar option, P-94

    3) try it with the wraparound, you might be pleasantly surprised!
     
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  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    The bird IS the WORD!
     
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  9. widefault

    widefault Tele-Meister

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    Nut for sure, tuners are better after a drop of oil and some turning back and forth.

    I've got a few guitars with wraparound and it's always a crapshoot if it's going intonate with your chosen strings.

    And if I change the pickup, I'll make a new guard and put in a Firebird pickup. Lots of P90 and humbucker guitars, not a single firebird or mini-hum right now.
     
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  10. djh22

    djh22 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    It's got potential! :)
     
  11. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    I'm officially signing off on the firebird pickup. Great plan!


    So - here's what I've decided to try on my Melody Maker's wraptail.

    I bought a cheap Epiphone lightning bolt wraptail and ground the zigzag ridge off of it. The zigzag was for a perpendicular bridge mount, my MM is pre-angled so it needs to be almost straight along the tailpiece.

    My plan is to work out where it EXACTLY wants to intonate with a fresh set of .010s, and - I hope - grind it just a little to match that. 20 bucks and some time and effort vs. 100 for a nice pre-compensated one, but this will be sure to work with my preferred string set - IF I can do it right. I know how to work a Dremel so I'm hopeful.

    For a MM I like the sound of the light one piece wraptail a lot - I'm hoping this will give me my cake and I can eat it too.

    Wish me luck! Keep this thread going ok? I really want to see how yours turns out, that Maestro's a really cool base for a project. The FB pickup is a perfect idea (especially if it fills a gap in the lineup.)
     
  12. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never seen one like that, but Maestro has made a whole bunch of other models, like that mini Flying V that Epiphone also sold in packs, and a double pickup bound Les Paul, but with a bolt-on neck and dots on a bound fingerboard. And a 3 pickup superstrat, it seems.

    Plus the ones labeled "Baldwin" instead, some of which are different from the maestro range.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
  13. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    The neck end/heel looks like it was sanded to get the intonation right. If it's off, I would sand more, or add a shim, whichever way you need to shift the neck. Then plug and redrill the neck bolt holes.

    Love the looks, could be great player.
     
  14. widefault

    widefault Tele-Meister

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    Wrap-arounds have adjustment screws on each end, so I won't need to touch the neck.

    The issue on a wrap-around is that with the screws you can get the high and low Es intonated, but you're at the mercy of the gods for the others because the saddles are not adjustable. If you run the "right" string set, you'll be okay, but with something like .010-.052 you're going to have issues. There's also issues with a wound-G, the saddle is in the completely wrong spot on modern wrap-arounds. Same issue with using lighter strings on a vintage bridge. Here's a pic, modern on the Firebird and the one below is from a 60s Melody Maker.

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