Firebird questions — thinking about getting one

geddy402

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So I’ve been thinking about Firebirds lately and realized I don’t know much about them other than I like how they Lund. Never played one, and I know, first thing I need to do is go play a bunch and find one that speaks to me. But, before I do that I wanted to get an idea if there’s a preferred year or range of years for the reissues. Vintage (to include the 70s) are out of my price range but I’m hoping there are some good opinions of the recent (past 10 years or so) reissues.

Quick search of reverb showed a wide range of years and options. I’m assuming the ones Gibson are making now are the best of the bunch, but are there other years or options I should be looking out for in my search? I would like to keep it basic, with the classic finish and options, with the 3 or 5 probably being my sweet spot for options.

Any help on good years, price I would expect to pay for new or used, and any other thoughts on Firebirds would be appreciated. Thanks for the help!
 

BornToLooze

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I'm in for some info too.

I've always wanted one with a P90 in the bridge like Allen Collins had.
 

rikko

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What's "Lund"?

Firebird is definitely on the bucket list!!!

Pj Harvey, Tom Petty, Brian Johnson....
 

mdubya

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IMHO they are the wildest vintage type guitars you can imagine. I had a reverse FB V at one point, too. I will eventually complete my collection with one that has FB mini hb pickups, too.





The Original Collection FB V is worth a look. They are big guitars with unlimited upper fret access. Custom Shop models can get pretty pricey, so make sure you want one. You could get stuck with it for a while. They aren't all that easy to sell.

The non-reverse ones (like mine) are very SG like. Just wilder.

FB mini humbuckers produce some of the best neck and middle position tones ever. If you like clean classic R&B and funky tones, they are the business.
 

sonar1

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Had one similar to this, half dozen years ago.
Very pretty.
Somewhat SG sounding, but very bright pickups.
These are LARGE guitars, like walking through your house with it on knocking stuff over large.
Fairly versatile. The pickup slant doesn’t match the strings, kinda like an SG special.
The tuning machines were crazy weird, I never really figured out an easy way to change strings.
In the final analysis I didn’t bond with it, so offed it within weeks.
YMMV
BA84F441-A016-4D13-829A-236B6AA5DA8F.jpeg
 

judson

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as you mentioned go play a bunch...i have a 72 and a 91 reverse fbs, they are keepers.

the good news players love em or hate em,

most dont really like them which is great as it keeps the prices reasonable.

i would be curious how the newer 2019/20 line up feel compared to early 90's and before. they have some pretty cool colors, just do not know if the quality is there or not...too lazy to go find out honestly.

i think the early 90s were some good years for Gibson as well for most of their line. i dont know what it is but they work for me with my LPs also.

they are known to be very bright guitars, the bridge the most obvious which might not agree with most. ...i ride the neck pup on mine most of the time anyway which i have found you can control to suit you taste pretty easy....

access to upper registers are a breeze and the thinner body is a plus.

neck dive you hear about but i think you just learn how to hold it and it isnt a factor , i have not thought of it or felt that in years.

oh forgot about the tuners...the banjos are fine but for the first time ever , the 72 had steinbergers in it and i thought those were going to get pulled first thing....but after learning a bit about them , they are perfect, sort of fugly but they stay in tune , string change is a breeze so they are still in the 72.....the look isnt the best but performance is there

happy hunting!....one more thing, i would stay away from the zero, i impulse bought one and sent it back within a week , but maybe its just me...

i like this one...price is decent



like this one too but not comfortable with the japan orgin...i am lookin for a cherry , great price here too


never played a non reverse but this look tempting and a price like that you cant get hurt....and you can get the non reverse vintage 60's at a reasonable price for vintage without selling a kidney....as shown by mdubya in prior post

 
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geddy402

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Thanks for the replies! Anyone try any of the newer ones from the past year or two?
 

mdubya

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Thanks for the replies! Anyone try any of the newer ones from the past year or two?
I haven't tried a Firebird, but if the 'Birds are up to the spec of my 2019 LP Special, they are excellent.

I only buy deals I can't refuse, and I haven't found that deal yet. Otherwise I would own one. Time will tell if the deal I can't refuse is for an Original Collection 'Bird, or another non-reverse, or an older spec reverse. My '95 FB V was perfect (almost). I'd buy one from almost any era, personally.
 

efstop

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I looked at but didn't buy a Firebird 2017 T. It had Steinberger tuners, which is a must have on a Firebird for me. Steinberger tuners appeared in 2016 and 2017 and then went away.
 

Uncle Remus

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I have a 2016. It is a great guitar, but due to the elongated feel I hardly play it. It feels like a bass. I agree about the Steinbergers, they are nice.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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Best year range? 1963-mid '65, of course!. (Not sure when the switch to "non-reverse" was complete, but a friend of mine had a '65 FB V that was reverse-body, non-reverse headstock).

Barring that, the ones that come closest to those - the determination of which will, of course, require not only playing a bunch of later ones, but also a bunch of vintage, so you have a frame of reference. Enjoy!.
 

efstop

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I have a 2016. It is a great guitar, but due to the elongated feel I hardly play it. It feels like a bass. I agree about the Steinbergers, they are nice.
I bought an equally big 2018 Explorer instead :) Once you get the case horizontal, catch your breath and get the guitar on your leg, it's quite comfy.
 

charlie chitlins

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I love them.
It just takes a little while to stop playing in the wrong key and whacking the mic with the headstock...then you're golden!
My 65 FBIII non-reverse is my favorite.
I had a nice, light '13 FBV I never should have sold, so I'm looking for another similar.
Steinberger tuners work great.
There is one recent oddball year to watch for...'15, I think.
Wider fingerboard and oddball nut.
They were not well received but, if you encounter one, try it out...you never know!
The internet didn't like them, but you might.
I've been wanting to try one.
 

Pete M

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I'm loving mine. It takes a bit of getting used to I admit, but now it seems normal to me. The tuners are backwards and I still mix up the G and D tuners, the knobs are in different positions for tone and volume, but logically it makes sense, it's just...different. There is a lot of real estate to consider if you are jumping around onstage. You could land a plane on the area behind the bridge, and they need their own kind of guitar stand, but they are so frikkin cool! Turn the tone down to 4 and these old pickups really sing!

DSC_1302.JPG


DSC_1303.JPG
 
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Pete M

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Also I've seen a few posts about how the bridge pickup doesn't sit flush with the strings, to put foam under it etc, to improve tone. I was fully prepared to do this, but if you sit in front of an amp and tilt the pickup while you play it makes no difference. Firebird pickups are bright and can handle a load of gain. Turning the tone down on the guitar works wonders.
 

charlie chitlins

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I almost forgot!
I recently briefly owned an all gold 50th Anniv bird...what year would that have been? 13? 14?
Paired with my '56 Deluxe cranked to about-to-explode, that was a MIGHTY sound!
Even the bridge pickup sounded great.
One man's icepick is another man's Doesnt Fall Apart When You Twist It Way Up.
I only sold it because it was DEAD mint.
I peeled the plastic off the PG and control cover.
I only bought it a few months ago, CAREFULLY gigged it once, and flipped it to a very nice guy who plays with Queensryche.
Got a great deal on it...I just shoulda kept it.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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Got a great deal on it...I just shoulda kept it.
Indeed you should have! Even my wife - who insists (quite mistakenly, I will add) I have too many & never need another - has been known to ponder "Why would anyone ever sell a guitar?"

(Of course, she has also been known to ponder "Why can't you sell some of those? You'd have so much more room in your office!"..................)
 


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