Why aren't Firebird bodies flush?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by thesamhill, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jun 2, 2003
    My guess is they need the center thickness for pickup cavities etc but wanted to save weight. Aesthetic too. I always thought they should be mirror image with the longer lower bout on the top instead of bottom.
  2. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    firebirds were part of the gibson moderne line , with the moderne, explorer, flying V's, firebirds etc in the late 50's early 60's
    the firebird was pushed to compete with the jags and jazzmasters from fender, , a light weight neck through experiment that caught on , this one guitar that doesnt look stupid when played left handed but a compensating bridge is neededto pull the E-1 into intonation, I have a white epi LTD edition with mini humbuckers , a fun guitar to play

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  3. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    very easy to play guitar, right strap & away ya go.. 5150rig.jpg
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  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    Well it's funny how the history of the guitar in music went:

    The first centuries had it used to play single note melodies quite a lot, looking back to the lute, maybe including the oud, and then the Spanish Guitar.
    Remember that at the beginning of the 20th C we had no electrics or archtops, just the flat top Spanish guitar, which Gibson adopted the name of in their line of Electric Spanish AKA ES 175, ES 335 etc.

    But after centuries of guitar playing as much melody as rhythm, American music moved it more into rhythm duties and in Jazz is was almost always strummed, so your suggestion that raising the strings higher off the body sort of fits.

    As much as player convenience though it was actually designed to get more volume from the guitar as bigger bands with louder instruments drowned out the guitar, and the archtop design borrowed from the violin family was used for a while to hammer out loud enough rhythm guitar.

    Making hollow body electrics was in a way cost cutting in the engineering department.
    As amps got bigger those hollow bodies pretty much sucked, with feedback making them poor tools for getting audible melody lines like the lute, the oud, and the Spanish guitar had done for a couple hundred years.

    Finally Mr Bigsby devised a better tool, and did not do it to cut cost.
    Leo was focused on affordability of pro gear, but the design was based on superior function.

    Continuing to make sort of fake archtops with solid bodies is more anachronism for old guys than a deluxe design for better function.
    Many players including me, follow the top as a reference point for our picking hand when playing more complex passages without looking at the guitar.
    Adding a plastic shelf supposedly to protect the finish is a half hearted solution that helps those of us who use the top as a reference point.

    The string bass has no such guard, and good ones cost $100,000!
    It does retain the arch, but that's essential to the acoustic design.
    Veitchy, thesamhill and 24 track like this.
  5. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
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