Gibson Firebird

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About Gibson Firebird

The Gibson Firebird is an original design solid body electric guitar. It was created in 1963 after Gibson hired a car designer for a fresh approach. The hot-rod inspired Firebird featured a bold design with a backwards headstock and a 'softened Explorer' body. Normally made with a through body neck, the Firebird is a smooth and sustaining instrument.

The Firebird is typically made with mahogany and has two humbuckers, usually the 'mini' versions. It also normally features a hard tail bridge and has a 24.75" scale length. This gives it the familiar Gibson feel, meaning it is very easy to play both lead and rhythm parts on. It has been very popular with inventive artists such as Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera and Blues soloist Johnny Winter.

A number of variations have been created, such as the 'non-reverse' Firebird, the Studio (featuring humbuckers) and Gibson Custom Shop reissue models. This is a guitar for those who value individuality and creative freedom.

What Makes The Gibson Firebird Different?

  • An original hot-rod inspired design
  • A unique tone from the mini-humbuckers that sets it apart from other Gibson models
  • Has been used by the likes of Dave Grohl, Gary Moore and Brian Jones
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Gibson Firebird

    Question: Which famous players have used a Gibson Firebird?
    Gibson Firebirds have been used by artists including Phil Manzanera, PJ Harvey, Johnny Winters, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, Dave Grohl and Joe Bonamassa.
    Question: Some Gibson Firebirds are 'reverse' and 'non-reverse'. What does this mean?
    In the context of Gibson Firebirds, 'reverse' and 'non-reverse' refer to the body and headstock shape. The original Firebird design is the 'reverse' style. This means that the treble horn of the body is longer than the bass and the headstock is carved in a reverse shape so that the tuners run along the bottom rather than the top. The non-reverse model was introduced a few years later and has the opposite styling in terms of its shape. The bass horn here is bigger than the treble and the headstock has the tuners along the top in a more standard fashion. The non-reverse model is also frequently made with a set neck style of construction rather than the through-neck style of the reverse body Firebird.
    Question: How do the mini humbuckers found on many Gibson Firebird guitars differ from standard sized humbuckers?
    Mini humbuckers, like those found on many Gibson Firebirds, have a distinctly different sound to that of standard humbuckers. Due to the physical size of them, mini humbuckers have less copper winding and therefore less magnetic pull, so even though they operate like humbuckers (i.e. they 'buck' the hum), they have a far snappier, more trembly sound than full-sized humbuckers. This makes them sound particularly good in clean and low-gain settings.
    Question: What is meant by 'through neck' construction?
    'Through neck' construction refers to instances where the wood used for the neck continues for the entire length of the guitar, forming the central part of the guitar's body. Two extra pieces of wood (known as 'wings') are then joined to either side to make up the rest of the body. This type of construction is renowned for its sustain and sturdiness. The Gibson Firebird is just one Gibson instrument that is made in this manner.