Interesting Trade Opportunity - 07 Gibson Firebird Zebrawood

Barrakuda

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This weekend I swung by one of my favorite local stores and while there I saw an interesting Firebird on the bench being worked on. Turns out it had just been taken in on trade and I found it really interesting - even though I'm not a Firebird guy.

It was about closing time so I went back the next day to try it out once it was setup and strung and it played much nicer than I expected. Sounded nice, though felt a bit awkward at first like my fretting hand was pushed farther left than normal. I ended up really liking it.

It is a 2007 Firebird V Guitar of the Week - Zebrawood wings, supposedly only 400 made. There is not a lot of information online, and none actively for sale right now. This example actually has flamed mahogany which I did not see on any other picture I found. They have it priced at $2300 - in the vicinity of the last recentish asking prices I found posted.

So - now the opinion question:

I have a 1970 Ampeg SVT Blue Line that is in fair condition with decent tolex. Head only, I don't have the Ampeg cabinet as I ran it through a Sunn 412LH. It needs a lot of cleaning and a new XLR connector. I have owned it since the early/mid 90s and used it a handful of times. I took it in to the store and left it with them for an evaluation. They fired it up while I was there (probably first time it's had power in 15 or 20 years). It's dirty and it crackles, pots and everything need a good DeoxIT cleaning, but basically functional. Their amp tech is going to go over it this week to see what they would offer me for it.

Given that it needs a solid cleaning at a minimum, I was thinking to try trading it outright for the Firebird - turn 80 pounds of gear I don't use into something I could, but I'm not sure if that's relative parity for a trade or not. Any opinions out there?
 

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moreles

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If you don't use the amp then its value to you is zero, or market value if you sell it. The Firebird's market value is not known to me and I've newver seen one, let alone seen a price for one. IMO, the uniqueness of that particular one is not a plus, as it may really change the sound and feel of the guitar. My impression is that people liker vintage-looking Firebirds. Additionally, I don't find it attractive as it has the 70s craft-faire cutting board look -- busy, not pretty. Finally, Firebirds are not for everyone. Collectors love them but few everyday players because they are PITA guitars. I have a beautiful black Bicentennial Firebird and loved the sound and came to like the extended hand position. But I cam to hate lugging it around, trying to avoid banging into things, having to use the right stand, having lousy tuners... Sold it for a nice, fat profit but shed no tears. Personally, I would let the amp go for a good price and reconsider what guitar to acquire. But if that specific instrument jazzes you -- great, and case closed. Looks quite clean, and Firebirds get banged up a lot!
 

mdubya

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I love Firebirds.

What was the question? :hmm:

Did you get it yet? :dunno:

:dude:
 

Prospector

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I would do a straight up trade. Typically easier to re-sell guitars than amps. Trading a guitar you like for an amp you don’t use makes sense to me. Although I personally don’t bond with Firebirds, that is a very unique looking one! Keep us posted!
 

Barrakuda

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If you don't use the amp then its value to you is zero, or market value if you sell it. The Firebird's market value is not known to me and I've newver seen one, let alone seen a price for one. IMO, the uniqueness of that particular one is not a plus, as it may really change the sound and feel of the guitar. My impression is that people liker vintage-looking Firebirds. Additionally, I don't find it attractive as it has the 70s craft-faire cutting board look -- busy, not pretty. Finally, Firebirds are not for everyone. Collectors love them but few everyday players because they are PITA guitars. I have a beautiful black Bicentennial Firebird and loved the sound and came to like the extended hand position. But I cam to hate lugging it around, trying to avoid banging into things, having to use the right stand, having lousy tuners... Sold it for a nice, fat profit but shed no tears. Personally, I would let the amp go for a good price and reconsider what guitar to acquire. But if that specific instrument jazzes you -- great, and case closed. Looks quite clean, and Firebirds get banged up a lot!
The lack of value to me, and the fact that it is a damn heavy thing to be moving about when I'm not using it, is definitely why I was already considering selling the SVT. I figure 10+ or 20+ years of not using it meant I likely wouldn't miss it, other than knowing I'd be giving up a fairly uncommon and badass piece of equipment! I was planning on doing a cleanup myself to get everything in working order before going that route, but that Firebird unexpectedly really caught my eye in person so I figured to see if I could get an even swap without having to do any work.

And the Firebird is definitely big to be moving around - but only a 10th of the weight of that head!
 

JOC

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Hi Barrakuda,
I had a Firebird and the shifted left of center thing is real. It makes the neck seem extra long and at least for me, difficult to play open chords comfortably. I'm 5'10 and about average size. I consider the Firebird to be a tall man's guitar. I love the design and look of the guitar but just couldn't bond with it.
Coincidently I also had a Custom Shop Les Paul with a Zebrawood top. Very nice looking wood but... when it came time to sell it I found little interest. The LP purists want maple tops. I did finally sell it and make a profit but that might be another consideration for you unless you love the wood and want to hold on to it.
I also used to own a 2007 GOTW Explorer Pro. Very nice guitar. New list was $1799 and I got it for $1100. So yes there were only 400 of each GOTW made but they were really just stock guitars with a special feature, like the Zebrawood. I would guess that $2300 might have been the original list but the original owner did not pay that much. I sold my Explorer in 2016 for $1600. It was in mint, as new condition.
Lastly, the biggest issue for me with both the Firebird and Explorer was the length of the cases. Neither would fit in my trunk so they had to go in the back seat. My bass guitar cases are long but at least they fit in the trunk. On the other hand I understand about the Ampeg head and its weight. My bass amp is a '74 Ampeg V4B. Just the head weighs 76lb. I also don't have the original cab, which is the size of a fridge. I use a Peavey cab with one 15". It has casters which makes it much easier to move it around with the Ampeg head on top. Good luck!

JO'C
 

Barrakuda

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I also used to own a 2007 GOTW Explorer Pro. Very nice guitar. New list was $1799 and I got it for $1100. So yes there were only 400 of each GOTW made but they were really just stock guitars with a special feature, like the Zebrawood. I would guess that $2300 might have been the original list but the original owner did not pay that much. I sold my Explorer in 2016 for $1600. It was in mint, as new condition.
Thank you for the feedback. Though the SVT is not doing anything for me beyond the neat factor, I know there is value there in a direct sale scenario. If I clean it up and replace the XLR connector it's a $2500-$2800 head. Of course the cleanup is currently unknown - could need tubes at several hundred $ - and selling it is likely a hassle especially since I would not be willing to ship that thing.

So trying to determine if the trade is roughly on par or not. If that Firebird is really not a $2300(ish) general market value, I'd rather sell the SVT outright and go with a really nice burst LP or something like an early '80s Mockingbird. But if it is close enough in value, I'm good to go for a guitar I will use for at least a while that I can resell for near enough the value I traded for it (assuming I sell in similar market conditions).
 

Barrakuda

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For the curious - They're not interested in the SVT as they're indicating it does need some work beyond the cleanup. It is a 52 year old amp, after all.

So I'm likely letting the Firebird go to a different home instead.

I'm going to take the SVT to a local guy whose business is amp repair and have him give me an estimate on what he thinks it needs to get it into good shape for an outright sale. Than I'll be on the hunt again for the next addition.

Thanks for the feedback and opinions you all shared!
 

judson

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surprised the store didnt have an interest in the head, if there was a value there for them they would have made you some type of offer, usually it would have been half the retail value, but who knows.

bought a 1972 medallion limited edition FB, years back and i was hooked on FB's....had to sell it to pay rent in the 80's, common theme here.

but recently purchased another 72 medallion with the others i have accumulated in recent years.

you either love them or hate them, seems to be the consensus.

thats a decent price for that FB, if you play it for awhile, you should know real quick what side you fall on. Take a look on Reverb for pricing of all years. I try to buy as far back vintage as my wallet allows and FBs are in my daily search.

they are the most comforable guitars for me to play as i only had 1 guitar back then which was that original 72 FB for years and played it every day....

make them an offer, see what they say, they can only say no!

but i would grab it....i dont think they are going to take anything under $2k and it would not be a bad deal if you really want it, like it and plays well for you!

post pics soon of your new purchase!!!! :dude:
 

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