My Allen Collins tributes are done! Explorer and Firebird I

Discussion in 'Other Gibsons' started by Dougie, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Bout time!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this project, it took a lot of research and effort but I finally got both of them finished enough to take some pics and call it completed.

    Learned a lot about Allen's guitars along the way, how they were setup, I couldn't begin to afford one of the Allen Collins Explorer reissues but this one is fitted out very close to what Allen used, even closer than the mega-bucks Gibson reissue with the pickups and the Hopf tremolo arm.

    The Firebird I is very close as well with the neck pickup set back from the end of the fingerboard like his was, and the ultra hard to find Hopf knifedge tremolo, the same exact model tremolo that Allen used on his main Firebird.

    Although he used a chrome or nickel covered P-90 in the bridge, I fabricated bobbins and wound a humbucker that fits in the firebird cover that sounds very close to what that guitar sounded like live. The neck pickup is wound with 42ga plain enamel like the Epiphone mini humbucker in the neck of Allen's main guitar, so the tone is very close to that guitar and not really a Firebird tone at all. That's how Allen liked his main Firebird, and that's the aim of this project.

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    Marln864, vulture, jd0272 and 3 others like this.
  2. formula73

    formula73 Senior Member

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    Hot damn.
     
  3. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    Nice! I always get GAS when seeing natural finish Explorers :applause:

    Es
     
  4. sonofthesouth

    sonofthesouth Senior Member

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    Great job
     
  5. SGMM

    SGMM Senior Member

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    SO cool....congrats!!
     
  6. Spectre

    Spectre Senior Member

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    Great Job they're awesome!!!
     
  7. djphelan01

    djphelan01 Senior Member

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    Beautiful
     
  8. Ken

    Ken Senior Member

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    Nice work!
     
  9. LesPauI+SG=Win

    LesPauI+SG=Win Senior Member

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    Killer man... Wow. :dude:
     
  10. vulture

    vulture Senior Member

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    Good enough for the girls I go around with.

    Seriously, nicely done.
     
  11. AllenCollinsExplorer

    AllenCollinsExplorer Junior Member

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    Very nice!!! I also made a tribute to Allen with my Explorer. Just check my thread and you'll see it. I also added a tremolo to it but not the hopf arm. I added the one that Allen used before the hopf. It's the flat arm from the gibson vibrolas. This is ultra hard to find as well. :jam:

    Cheers,

    Allen :dude:
     
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  12. blues_man_zep

    blues_man_zep Senior Member

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  13. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Nice Explorer man! I found the Hopf bar to be very cool in how it is bent leaves a good bit of room for your picking hand. He used the Hopf bar on a lot of his guitars, all the way through his last gigs. The Hopf tremolo I have on the Firebird took me months to identify what it was and who made it, and then more months of hunting and finally came up with one exactly the same as Allen used.

    When I got the tremolo, I knew how rare it was and instead of just stick it on whatever guitar to hear it or play it, it deserved to become part of a proper tribute and so the Firebird project was started. There are many Gibsons with the vibrola, and I love their sound, but almost no chance to ever play one that is exactly like Allen's until now.

    Much is known about almost any great guitarist in our times but there are some who are pretty much unsung heroes and not much is known about their gear, very difficult to find accurate information about Allen's guitars, what pickups, strings, etc so this is my contribution to the story.
     
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  14. singlecut

    singlecut Senior Member

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    i saw allen bust his bird at a show in boston
    got it on tape here somewhere

    it is up on sugarmegs now though
     
  15. AllenCollinsExplorer

    AllenCollinsExplorer Junior Member

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    Thanks man. And yes, Allen started to use the hopf trem arm on his Explorer in 1977 because he broke the flat arm at the Knebworth Festival in 1976. You can easily see it when Allen is jerking off the tremolo and it goes flying all over the whole stage :dude:. Before I knew that it's a Hopf arm, I always thought that it probably could have been a modified strat trem arm that his guitar tech made for him. :hmm: And for Allen's gear, I agree. It's sadly very unknown and you don't find much information about it on the internet. Luckily, somebody took his time and informed himself about the whole gear that Allen used in his musical career. They listed everything starting with guitars and amps, effects and even the picks he used :wow:. Check it out right here: Allen Collins Equip History
    I'm using the exact same strings as he used as well. Dean Markley Vintage Reissue. He used very light strings, gauge .009. I'am a regular gauge user though. 010-046.

    Cheers,

    Allen :jam:
     
  16. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Sean McMahon aka Firebird, is an Allen Collins nut! LOL Yeah he does a real good job on that list, I helped with the information about the tremolo and he gave me credit for that, nice of him. Joe Barnes was Allen's roadie and he described the tremolo and the knifedge, what held it on, how it worked etc and that got me going on trying to find out what it was. Up until I started this project, nobody knew anything about it, even people that had played Allen's guitars and hung out with him could only say that he got them off some German guitars.

    I would like to one day be able to go visit his daughter and take some time checking out the main Firebird he used with the replaced neck. I'd like to document the pickups and specs, and check out how the neck is set in. I'd like to know how close to the sound of his guitar my black one gets, comparing the P90 to the pickup I made for mine. I'd like to know if my hunch about the neck pickup being either a PAF Epiphone mini or a Patent Decal Epiphone mini and if it is wound with purple wire, I think it is.

    I think this information needs to be photographed, recorded, and shared and kept for history's sake.
     
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  17. brokenarrow5

    brokenarrow5 Senior Member

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    nice duo--- firebirds rule
     

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