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Firebirds


George Eaton

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Here I am again -- the aging at home recently resumed player....lusting after another guitar.

 

I had the pleasure of playing a 70's Gibson Firebird while amp shopping over the weekend. A few weeks ago, I got to play a much more recent non-reverse model.... Saw David Hidalgo's white Firebird on the Clapton Crossroads DVD.......The thought of getting one doesn't seem to go away for very long..

 

Looks like they get about $1600 new for a Gibson. Epi makes one you can get for about $500.... how much I would have put to be into (Gibson pick-ups etc etc) the Epi to be happy with the sound ???

 

I am interested in reading about your experiences with / opinions on the Firebird....

 

Thanks and happy long weekend again

Beatles, Stones, Cream, Clapton, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, Peter Gabriel, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes ..................
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I have a 1960s Firebird 12 string. In the past I have owned other Firebirds. Look cool, weigh too much. Very good sound, but an assortment of pickups and combos to choose from, so you have to be pretty specific about what you want. Some have mini-humbuckers (which everyone hates in a Les Paul... go figure...) while some have P-90s, and some are triple pickup, some are double, and some are single.

 

I also beleieve that if you want an apple, you don't buy a pomegranate and try to make it look and taste like an apple.

 

Really, if it is the mini-humbucker sound that you like, a mid-70s/80s Les Paul Deluxe will have a similar if not the same sound (body design and wood choice does affect the sound....), for not so much money. I think that I paid about $900 for my 70's Deluxe. For what it is worth, in one of the books that I have, Les Paul says that those mini-humbuckers were the best sounding pickups.

 

I generally like that shape and weight, but it is really hard to wear one for extended periods.

 

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Firebirds are cool. I'm leery of overseas build quality, so I'd save up for the real thing, but that's just me. I recall you already have a Les Paul. If it's a Gibson, you're going to notice little things about the Epiphone that aren't quite up to Gibson's standards. If you decide you're happy enough with it anyway, new pickups and tone pots could set you back another 300.00 or so, and no one but you will know you spent the extra bucks on it. Point being, it'll still be an Epiphone, should you decide to get back out of it. I'd try another brand or two before I made a purchase. The Epiphone has no more status than say, a Hamer or a Tokai, so both are worth looking at. My gut tells me that if you're lying awake thinking about a Firebird, with that signiature tone of Gatemouth and early Johnny Winter, only the real McCoy will do. The real thing will hold its resale value way better, as Gibsons seem to inflate exponentially, and used off-brands are worth their weight in lumber. Just my 2 cents worth.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Good points Gents...Thanks...

 

I am looking at the mini-humbuckers... I like the line about the pomegranate and the apple....

Very true

Beatles, Stones, Cream, Clapton, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, Peter Gabriel, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes ..................
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The only thing I do not like about Firebirds is the way the headstock seems to have a homing instinct, and the all want to head for the ground at my feet. They look so cool, and they sound just great. But they are infamous for faling off stands and breaking the headstocks off because they are shaped so funny and balances so poorly. But I'd have a new one in a heartbeat if I could afford it.

The Epiphone Firebirds are not put together the same was real Firebirds are. The Gibsons are neck-through, which means the center portion of the guitar and neck are all one piece of wood. Well, one laminated piece, anyway. But the Epis have a neck that is glued into a the body same as a Les Paul or other Gibson/Epiphone axes. They soun different, and look different up close. The Epis don't have the banjo tuners either, but that might help keep the headstocks from trying to dive to your feet...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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I love my 67 Non-Reverse with the 3 PAF pickups. I am so happy I have kept it all these years (I bought it in 1980 for $400). The solution to the falling off the stand issue is to buy one of those Hercules stands. They grip the neck and lock it, and it just hangs there against the stand. I will never sell this guitar unless it was to save a life or such dire circumstances. It is the best sounding/playing axe I could ask for. With some distortion going on, it will sustain for days and cut through any mix I have ever been in in the last 25 years.

Once I thought I saw you, in a crowded, hazy, bar........

 

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