NGD: 2017 Firebird T - Gibson Upgrades Review

Discussion in 'Other Gibsons' started by JMon, May 1, 2017.

  1. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    Thank you to all that helped me make an informed decision by providing your input on this thread: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/threads/need-help-with-a-2015-17-gibson-firebird.388843/

    As you may know, I was mostly concerned with the ceramic pickups on the Firebirds and thought they would be too hot/muddy for my tastes. Well, I was wrong about them and very pleased with the improvements Gibson has made this year to the Firebird line. Read on!

    2017 BINDING COLOR: Typically, when I first see a recent Gibson guitar, the first thing I notice is the horrible pinkish hue to the cream binding. Some don't really notice it at all, some don't mind it, others like me just plain hate it. I am happy to say that the new ALL WHITE binding on this year's Firebird is gorgeous. It matches the pickguard perfectly, guaranteeing they will both age well together.

    ROLLED BINDING: When you pickup the guitar, right away you feel something is different. It feels better than your other guitars. It feels better than last year's Firebird. It's because this year, Gibson rolled the binding more at the fretboard edge, giving the neck an improved smooth and comfortable feel. This change is not even listed in the Gibson page (linked below) and should be a major selling point. Best neck I have ever felt.

    FRETBOARD: This one is very dark, near ebony. Exceptionally nice.

    ELECTRICS: The only notable change is the output jack was changed from the usual Switchcraft type to a gold plated positive contact jack encased in plastic. The soldering is atrocious, a ten year old could have done a better job the first time out with 15 minutes instruction.

    PICKUPS: HUUUUGE change here, but not in the pickups themselves, they are the same and they sound great. Part of the reason they sound better may be that Gibson FINALLY fixed the issue of the pickups not being parallel to the strings by installing some angled trim rings. Easy fix and they look great. What took them so long?

    TOM & TAILPIECE: Are now ALUMINUM instead of zamak. I wish I had that 2016 around still so I could hear them side by side, but the ring and sing as well as sustain is phenomenal and I think the aluminum has something to do with it (maybe a lot to do with it).

    WEIGHT AND DIVE: Lighter in weight than previous years due to using aluminum now instead of zamak. Down side is that while the 2016 had no neck dive, this one has the slightest bit of neck dive. Very slight, but noticeable. Unlike an SG however, the back of the guitar offers a nice elbow rest so neck dive becomes insignificant. For reference, my zamak tailpiece weighs 3.2 ounces, the aluminum weighs less than one.

    HARDSHELL CASE: Mediocre quality. My Fender G&L case is night and day better. This case feels flimsy and the build quality is just...cheap. Very large case.

    CASE CANDY: The new Gibson multi-tool is pretty awesome and should become a collector's item. The "Premium" leather strap is just a run of the mill cheap leather strap that has Gibson screened in gold on it. The best part, was that the warranty card package included an actual photograph of my guitar on the Gibson QC bench. That is a worthy keepsake.

    MUSICIAN'S FRIEND: Shout out to this fine business. They bend over backwards to address concerns and make sure you are happy. Can't beat their customer service.

    OVERALL: Great improvements from 2016 plus you get somewhat of an improvement with a hardshell case. Worth $1499.00? Gibson still has some issues with quality and they are present in this guitar as well. I have some minor finish and setup issues. Unfortunately, if you were to return it for those things, you would never get a single good one, they all have some issue or another. Gibson has a long way to go in quality, but they have made definite improvements with this year's model and that tells me they are working to improve. I bought this one as OPEN BOX MINT for $1123.00 and I will keep it for that price.

    Here is the link to Gibson's 2017 Firebird T page with lots of photos and data: http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2017/USA/Firebird.aspx

    CHEERS!!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  2. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Senior Member

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    :dude:
     
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  3. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    I am still loving this guitar. The neck is fantastic and the pups flat out sing. The only tweak I have to make for it on the amp is to raise the volume a bit.
     
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  4. syrinx

    syrinx Senior Member

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    I have a 2016 and I agree on some points. First the binding does have a edge to it- rather it did as I took a fingernail buffer to it and now it is sweetly rolled. I also agree on the shape negating the slight neck dive the 2017 has-its a non issue. Really the only thing I am cheesed about is I always miss the case candy or hard case or whatever the trinket of the year is on all my purchases! I always get the basic set! Otherwise I am super happy with mine, and with the updates you should really dig yours! For me the firebird is the go to guitar in multi guitar situations where you want to be heard.
     
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  5. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    The three things I love the most about it: Rolled WHITE (hate the pinkish creme) binding, angled pickup rings, Steinberger tuners.
     
  6. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    [​IMG] Wow, thanks for the informative post! I just got a smoking deal on a technically "used" one from Sam Ash in Pelham blue. I played one of these in Guitar Center 3-4 months ago and really liked the sound - I personally like the hot pickups. I never noticed the differences between the 2016 and 2017 models - i just really liked the new color and the sound. Bummed to hear the case feels cheap, but at least it comes with a case - these cases can be expensive and hard to find in the aftermarket. The rolled neck edges are nice, as is the aluminum bridge/tailpiece, but the angled pickup rings are a big deal. Check out the pics from Gibson's website - it's a huge difference:

    [​IMG]Gibson Firebird Pickup Rings by jimmacnair, on Flickr
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
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  7. 74JMP

    74JMP Senior Member

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    I do NOT like these pickup rings. Might be why I can't find and old ones for sale from Gibson. used up the stock and keeping the rest for special jobs/sig/ri and warranty stuff.
     
  8. Guitaraxe

    Guitaraxe Senior Member

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    MOJOtone might have some rings.
     
  9. Metlking

    Metlking Senior Member

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    I'm shopping for the angled rings to retrofit my 2011 F-Bird. They look like a spacer that goes under the metal ring?

    Anybody find a source to purchase these from?
     
  10. Hothands

    Hothands Member

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    I love my 2017 Bird. I couldn't believe the size of the case! Add some legs and it's practically a dining room table.
     
  11. Frisco Kid

    Frisco Kid Senior Member

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    Might be a perspective issue but it appears the bridge ergo the strings are much higher on the 2017 to accommodate the taller rings? Is the action substantially higher cause it looks like it is?

     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  12. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    So there are rings( the chrome rectangles surrounding the pickup) and there are angled spacers(the black angled plastic between the rings and the top of the body). The spacers don't make anything "taller". Yes, they are raised off the deck, but pickup height remains the same. What the spacers do is keep the top of the pickup parallel to the strings, instead of wonky as in the 2016 and older. The action is the same (I had sent back a 2016 before getting a 2017).

    In the pic posted above that you are referring to, the action is definitely higher on the blue one, it is just not related to the spacers.
     
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  13. premiumplus

    premiumplus Junior Member

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    Great review, I've got a 2017 Firebird in vintage sunburst. It's my new #1 guitar, I've got over a dozen nice electrics and I'm playing the 'bird 99% of the time. I really love the tone the mini humbuckers deliver and the playability is great. Good job, Gibson. I really dig this instrument!
     
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  14. syrinx

    syrinx Senior Member

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    Now that I have had mine for a year perhaps, I stand by my original feelings- great guitar for jams with a need to cut through. Its also a great guitar if you are playing blues that really need you to dig in deep. But after the honeymoon-it really doesnt get played much other than in group settings. Would not be my only guitar-but is one sweet guitar!
     
  15. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Senior Member

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    I'm going to make a little net for mine so I can play pingpong with the fellas in the green room between sets ;)
     
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  16. pwhite

    pwhite Senior Member

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    Congrats on the Firebird.
    I just dove into the Firebird pool myself 2 weeks ago. I did a stupid thing and ordered it during a re-model of a couple of rooms in my house, so I haven't had much time to spend with it. I have never owned one before so I don't have anything to compare it to but this is my first impression. It is light, so light but I am a stay home player and sit most of the time when I play, the time I have gotten to play it seems awkward in a sitting position. The guitar needs a good setup, which I will do when time allows. My fretboard is not dark like yours, in fact it's almost chalky in appearance. The binding is very white like yours, the neck is comfortable for me, as my Les Pauls have 60's necks a shape I happen to like. I really like what I have heard of the pickups, they fall somewhere between my Les Paul and Strat/Tele sound wise, really unique. I have not had time to do a NGD yet but I will soon and get up some pictures. It's the 2017 T in Pelham Blue and it is an awesome looking guitar. I agree about the case being huge, the day it arrived my wife asked me if I had bought a Bass guitar the box was so big. I will try to get a NGD thread going in the next couple of days.
     
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