Which Gibson Firebird?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by WilburBufferson, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Friend of Leo's

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    I was all set to order a set of Rob's Phoenix Firebird pickups to install in a SG I had but I sold the guitar. If you can believe it, it was NOT straightforward to source drop-in adapter pickup rings (normal HB to mini HB).

    I am now thinking of acquiring a Firebird (or similar guitar that is already routed for mini humbuckers or firebird pickups). Other than knowing that Johnny Winter played one, I know very little about this line of guitars. Is there any consensus on which modern reissues are considered good or better without stepping into custom shop territory? I am pretty sure that I don't want a studio version, and definitely don't want one with full-sized humbuckers.
     
  2. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    plenty of players love them, but i owned 2 and never got very happy with either of them. they look so cool, but their ergonomics (imo) are awful. very awkward to play, that was my experience.

    so definitely try to spend some time with one before you buy one.
     
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  3. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic

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    I lusted after Firebirds for a long time before finally getting one, in 2017 I believe. Bought it new via a local chain store.

    I like it. Don’t love it. Unfortunately, my band mates love it, so it’s my go to in that setting (I play primarily rhythm in this group).

    It’s a pretty good all around guitar. Especially for the type of classic rock I play. Still, I’d prefer my tele or strat in most situations.

    As to famous players of the Firebird, I’ve always been partial to the way Allen Collins could make one sing in the original Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    As far as which one, I’d suggest playing a few in stores... go with the one that feels best. I was so hot to get one once I finally could afford it, I bought the first one I laid eyes on in person. In retrospect, I played a couple of better ones back when I was window shopping.
     
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  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I like Firebirds, and have owned a few V models.
    The look cool (the reverse models), and they sound great, too.
    They’re kinda big and unwieldy.
    They stay in tune better than most Gibsons, IMO.
    I’d like to try a VII someday.
    As cool as the reverse models look, I can’t bear the looks of the non reverse models.
     
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  5. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've got the Epiphone Joe Bonamassa Firebird I, and like it a lot. 'Course they don't make them anymore and I'm seeing used ones asking about $400 more than what I paid new.

    DSC_0227.JPG

    I cheated and put a Gibson truss rod cover on it, but I'm not trying to fool anyone other than myself.
     
  6. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Is it working?

    Nice guitar!
     
  7. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Friend of Leo's

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    Well, you've touched upon my biggest worry. It's been a while since I've been able to play one in a store but I remember the same thing: that it feels as though the neck is getting away from you. I like offsets, which is why I am looking at them again. Will have to do more try before you buy. A lot of stores don't stock them around here, presumably because they're not big sellers compared to the LP or SG.
     
  8. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's true, everything feels shifted to the left on a reverse Firebird. Heck the bridge is right in the middle of the body.
     
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  9. Red Bread

    Red Bread Tele-Meister

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    You can find the studios round $7-800
    But there not center blocks like the original Firebirds
    Firebirds are one of those guitars you gota shop round and find what works for,,,,,there a hands on purchase in my opinon
    I played a new model the other day and all though nice guitar it wasnt worth the almost $2k on price tag
    Id hunt the used market

    Alternative id say check out ESP’s version they call a Phoenix
    Great players even in the LTD line up
     
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  10. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    When standing and strapped on, a Firebird feels pretty much like an SG. I love the way they hang, I like their amazing tuning stability and, with the addition of correct pickups, a Firebird has amazing tone, fat with bite.

    The Gibson pickups are the very definition of awful, but you can get pretty much any Gibson reissue since 2010 and swap out the pickups for a set of vintage wound Alnicos (Klein, Lollar, Seymour Duncan, etc.) and you will have a killer guitar. I prefer the banjo or Steinberger tuners, which Gibson no longer offers.

    I own 2, a 2014 Gibson with Chris Klein pickups and an Epiphone JB (which, unlike most Epis, is constructed the same as a Gibson -- neck-through, banjos, etc.). The pickup on the JB is absolutely heavenly.
     
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  11. Fretting out

    Fretting out Doctor of Teleocity Platinum Supporter

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    I bought one of these as an investment,(I also always wanted a Firebird)
    I think it’s awesome
    I think I’m the only person who bought one that didn’t get a gibson cover for it

    If the new epiphones are anything like these I’d try one of them for sure, they even have the right construction

    Or I’d just go for a used gibson Firebird v
     
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  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I’m a recent Firebird convert. Had a Zero, but that’s a weird one. I recently bought a Epi Firebird 2020 and couldn’t be happier with it. The pickups are the same as the ones in Joe Bo-mo-ssssasaasasa something. I hear they he’s pretty good! Lol.

    Jokes aside the two pickups are wound up to 8.1k or so, and I can tell, the bridge sounds great, the neck pickup is too but not so bright and chimey as I’d like. I’m replacing with either a Cavalier neck or a Mojotone Johnny Winter bridge pickup (@6.9K to better match the JB bridge). The Epi has a great build quality for the money, but try before you buy if possible. The guitar is comfortable but the 1st position is out there. No big deal for me, I’m pretty adaptable.

    The neck is kinda chunky, only average in the first position. It doesn’t neck dive, and is built true neck-through, with a 9 piece construction. The headstock and tuners are not the same but I can live with it. The only adjustment is the fact I knock things over with the long headstock. Oops!
     
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  13. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I found this LTD edition right handed Epi bird , converted it to lefty and Im in love with it.

    P1011553.JPG P1012205.JPG
     
  14. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Friend of Leo's

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    Ooooo -- I like the white bird!
     
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  15. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Friend of Leo's

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    Well, after auditioning a few FBs at a local chain store, I can safely say that it is off my NGD list. Play an F chord you say? I get back to you on that one [emoji50]

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
     
  16. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Friend of Leo's

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    Well, time heals old wounds. After going back and forth on this, I spent some concerted time with a FB and really got into it. Despite my comments last summer, I didn't find too bad in terms of the positioning of the neck.

    I am looking at 2016 and newer models. I've heard that 2017 was a good year, but are there any gems that you experts would single out for me? It's gotta be a reverse model, with two pickups, and no vibrola/trem. Also, I like the look of the binding, but not at the expense of the strings falling off the edge of the neck!
     
  17. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Holic

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    I like Firebirds in general but I prefer the non-reverse ones. They feel more comfortable to play and less unwieldy. The reverse ones feel like they’re trying to get away from you.
     
  18. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    Well I'm afraid you just crossed a line right there.... For shame.





    However, they changed things like whether or not you get a case or tuners year to year. But, IMO, they're consistent. My '16 was awesome. Before the beginning of this stay home stuff Stratosphere was selling full Firebird bodies for $700, had my eye on one but next I looked that place sold out of everything.
     
  19. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Same here. I had one, but they're so long that I kept knocking stuff over when I played it. Put a crimp in my rock star moves. :)

    Same reason I no longer own any Explorers, as much as I love 'em.

    - D
     
  20. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Friend of Leo's

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    Was? The vibrola thing is because: a) I don't really use trem enough to want it as a feature, and b) I've heard they are one of the worst trems for holding tune. I know, don't use it then, but I hate tuning, especially with a headstock/tuner design that's less familiar than a good ole Fender. In that regard, I found the min Grovers on current models a little harder to work.
     
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