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Encyclopedia > Gibson Firebird
Gibson Firebird
Manufacturer Gibson
Period 1963 — present
Construction
Body type Solid
Neck joint Through-body; some models have set necks
Scale 24.75"
Woods
Body Mahogany
Neck Mahogany and Walnut
Fretboard Rosewood or Ebony with trapezoid, block, or dot mother of pearl inlays
Hardware
Bridge Tune-o-matic
Pickup(s) 1, 2 or 3 Mini-Humbuckers, Full Size Humbuckers, or P-90s
Colors available
Olympic White, Ebony, Pelham Blue, Heritage Cherry, Cherry, Heritage Sunburst, Antique Brown, Natural

The Gibson Firebird is a solid-body electric guitar manufactured by Gibson from 1963 to the present. The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is a manufacturer of acoustic and electric guitars. ... For other uses, see 1963 (disambiguation). ... This article is about the timber. ... For other uses, see Walnut (disambiguation). ... Rosewood refers to a number of richly hued timbers, brownish with darker veining. ... For other uses, see Ebony (disambiguation). ... A piece of nacre Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is an organic mixture of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of platy crystals of aragonite and conchiolin (a scleroprotein). ... Typical Tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar Tune-o-matic (also abbreviated to TOM) is a fixed bridge for electric guitars, designed by Gibson and introduced in 1954 in Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... The mini-humbucker is a smaller variation of the full size humbucker pickup. ... Traditional Open Coil (uncovered) humbucker pickup A conventional humbucker (or Humbucking pickup) is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils, both generating string signal. ... For other uses, see P90 (disambiguation). ... Two different electric guitars. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is a manufacturer of acoustic and electric guitars. ...

Contents

History

The Gibson Guitar Corporation released several new styles of guitars during the 1950s to combat Fender's successful and modern guitars, such as the Stratocaster and the Jazzmaster. Fender's range of colors, shapes and multiple pickups were endorsed by many notable guitarists of the 1960s. Gibson guitars seemed old-fashioned by comparison, and this impression among guitar buyers (coupled with Gibson's generally higher price tags) contributed to a decline in Gibson's sales. The Gibson Guitar Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is a manufacturer of acoustic and electric guitars. ... The 1950s decade refers to the years 1950 to 1959 inclusive. ... Fender redirects here. ... A Fender Stratocaster with rosewood fingerboard and three-tone sunburst finish. ... 1962 Fender Jazzmaster Sunburst The Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar was introduced in 1958 and was designed as a more upmarket instrument than the Fender Stratocaster, which itself was introduced in 1954 as a higher-priced product than the companys Telecaster series. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969. ...


Gibson had slight success with the Les Paul in the 1950s, but their initial forays into radical body shapes (the Flying V and Explorer) were marketplace failures. The president of Gibson at the time, Ted McCarty, hired car designer Ray Dietrich to design a guitar that would have popular appeal. The Gibson Les Paul is a solidbody electric guitar originally developed in the early 1950s. ... The 1950s decade refers to the years 1950 to 1959 inclusive. ... The Gibson Flying V is an electric guitar model first released by Gibson in 1958. ... The Gibson Explorer (now marketed as X-plorer and Explorer Pro), made its debut in 1958, then known as the Futura. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Under Dietrich, the Firebird took shape around the lines of mid-50s car tailfins. Dietrich basically took the Explorer design and rounded the edges. The most unusual aspect of the design is that the guitar is somewhat "backward" in that the right-hand (treble) horn of the body is longer than the other. Thus, the original Firebirds were unofficially referred to as "reverse". The Firebird hit music stores in mid-1963, and enjoyed moderate success among buyers.


It was the first Gibson solid-body to use neck-through construction, wherein the neck extended to the tail end of the body. The neck itself is made up of five plies of mahogany interspersed with four narrow strips of walnut for added strength. Other unique features of the Firebird were its reverse headstock (with the tuners on the treble side) and "banjo" tuning keys, and was also the first Gibson to employ mini-humbucking pickups; these were virtually identical to Epiphone mini-humbuckers, but lacked adjustable pole pieces. Some Firebirds from 1965 featured Gibson's single-coil P-90 pickup. For other uses, see Banjo (disambiguation) The banjo is a stringed instrument developed by enslaved Africans in the United States, adapted from several African instruments. ... Epiphone Emperor The Epiphone Company is a guitar manufacturer. ...


The Firebird line of guitars had four guitar models. Unlike the Les Paul and SG line, which used the terms "Junior", "Special", "Standard" and "Custom" to mark the range, the Firebird line used the Roman numerals "I", "III", "V" and "VII" to distinguish each model. Gibson's line of Thunderbird basses is rooted in the design of the Firebird, and uses the even Roman numerals of the same number series to distinguish its models. From 1966 to 1969, Gibson made "non-reverse" models after failing to achieve marketing success with the more unusual reverse body design, and after receiving complaints from Fender that the Firebird headstock simply mirrored that of the Stratocaster. The "non-reverse" body is a more standard double-cutaway design, with the bass horn longer than the treble horn, and the headstock has the tuners mounted on the bass side. It also did not have the neck through design, but a standard set neck. Pickup and tailpiece options were the same as the earlier "reverse" models. After a few years of disappointing sales, the line was dropped and was not reissued until the late 1970s. Epiphone Thunderbird The Gibson Thunderbird is an electric bass guitar made by Gibson. ...


Reissues

The "reissue" Firebirds are usually based on the original reverse body design; however Gibson reintroduced the non-reverse Firebird in 2002 as a Custom Shop guitar. While prices for just about all vintage guitars have skyrocketed, the reverse body Firebirds are the more-popular design, and they command much more money than their non-reverse siblings. Many model types have been released of the Firebird. Epiphone, which is owned by Gibson, have also re-released the Firebird model. Epiphone Emperor The Epiphone Company is a guitar manufacturer. ...


Notable Firebird players

Les Paul onstage with his highly customized Les Paul This is an alphabetized list of musicians who have made notable use of Gibson Guitar models in live performances or studio recordings. ...

Configurations

The distinctive "banjo" tuners on a Firebird V
  • Firebird I - One pickup. Combination stud bridge/tailpiece. Chrome hardware.
  • Firebird II Artist CMT - A limited production instrument from the early 1980s; features a maple top, mahogany body, set mahogany neck, two standard-sized humbuckers, and toggle switches to control active Moog electronic tone controls.
  • Firebird III - Two pickups, Tune-o-matic bridge and Gibson Vibrola. Chrome hardware.
  • Firebird V - Two pickups, Tune-o-matic bridge with Maestro "Lyre" Vibrola; reissues feature a stop-bar tailpiece. Chrome hardware.
  • Firebird VII - Three pickups, Tune-o-matic bridge and Maestro "Lyre" Vibrola tailpiece. Gold hardware.
  • Firebird Studio - Two standard-sized Alnico humbuckers, Tune-o-matic bridge with stop-bar tailpiece. Chrome or gold hardware. Set neck.
  • Firebird XII - Two pickups, twelve string non-reversed version on the Firebird.
  • Non-Reverse Firebird - Collectors' term for a Firebird I, III, V or VII featuring a headstock with the tuners on the bass side, and a body having the bass side horn slightly longer than the treble side horn.

See also

The Gibson Explorer (now marketed as X-plorer and Explorer Pro), made its debut in 1958, then known as the Futura. ... Epiphone Thunderbird The Gibson Thunderbird is an electric bass guitar made by Gibson. ...

External links

  • Gibson Firebird

  Results from FactBites:
 
Gibson Firebird - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (572 words)
Gibson had success with the Les Paul in the 1950s, but their other releases (Flying V and Explorer) were failures.
It was the first Gibson solid-body to use neck-through construction, wherein the neck extended to the tail end of the body, to which extension pieces or "wings" were attached.
The Firebird line of guitars had four guitar models and one bass model, the latter known as the Thunderbird.
Gibson Guitar Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1196 words)
Gibson was considered a bit eccentric and there has been some question over the years as to whether or not he suffered from some sort of mental illness.
Many of Gibson's bluegrass instruments (such as the banjo and violin) are assembled at the "Gibson Bluegrass Showcase" at Opry Mills Mall in Nashville.
Gibson EB-6 (Initially a six-string bass version of the ES-335, later adopted the SG body design; string gauge and spacing is similar to that on the Fender VI and Danelectro six-string basses)
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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