Gibson Firebird 2017 T – Review.
If you are looking for a left-field, different and perhaps even
slightly ever strange offering for an electric guitar, look
no further than the Gibson Firebird. Designed by the legendary
car designer Ray Dietrich, the look is based on the extravagant
tail finned and chromed American made cars of the 1950s.
Many players have wielded the Firebird such as Eric Clapton
and Warren Hayes, but the most well-known would definitely
be the late Johnny Winter whose main guitar was a sunburst
Moving on to the instrument itself, the design is unusual in
that the lower horn is longer than the upper and in essence
is a reverse body design. On some occasions however Gibson
has issued non-reverse Firebirds as well.
The Firebird features full neck through body construction with
mahogany wings as opposed to the usual glued in neck found
on Les Pauls and SGs.
The headstock, as is the body design is also reversed, with
the low E string stretching to the far end of the headstock
and the high E on the near side, whilst a 60s slim taper neck
makes for effortless playability.
Also different to other guitars this 2017 model uses Steinberg
gearless locking tuners, whilst the original 60s model used
banjo style tuners. The hardware is finished in chrome with
a Tune o Matic bridge and Stop Bar
Electronics wise the Firebird sports two mini humbucker pickups,
the usual Gibson 2 volume and 2 tone controls and a 3 way
switch to control these. A straight string path and self-lubricating
nut takes care of any tuning issues.
Fit and Finish
At first glance the guitar seems
to be solid and well-made and finished. However looking closely
some of the edges between the central body and wings have
a few paint finish issues, also weirdly the finish is not
completely smooth and the grain of the wood seems to peer
through the Pelham Blue paint with the clear lacquer applied
over it. Perhaps on a model with a natural finish it wouldn’t
matter but which a solid colour it looks out of place. Then
again one can only notice this close up, and it definitely
does not affect the appeal of this instrument.
Finally the case is unusually deep and tall, on this model perhaps
to protect the neck through body construction?
Sounds & Playability
The guitar balances well when sitting down with a slight but
not drastic neck dive. It does not seem to be an issue though.
Standing up the same is true, using a padded and wide strap
helps as well. The guitar resonates well acoustically and
plugged in to a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe it fires into life with
warm tones coming from the neck pickup and a sharp biting
sound emanating from the bridge humbucker. Add overdrive and
the guitar roars…. Add more gain and it breathes fire. This
is a real rock/blues guitar…. It sings and the all access
fretboard helps playing solos and such in the upper register.
The neck’s slim taper profile is easy and comfortable and the
frets and no protruding edges,
Once I have played it in a live
I few gigs coming up shortly will add more views.
An interesting guitar which will be enjoyed for many years to