The Mystique of the Firebird
For many years I've been intrigued by Gibson's Firebird guitar. It's been fun over the years to see which artists would play them and the musical styles that were represented. The Firebird seems to be a model like the Explorer and Flying V in that it draws responses from people that are extreme - You either love them, or you hate them. Count me in the former group, or rather, cult. Firebird owners tend to be fiercely loyal to this guitar and what its had to offer since it's introduction in 1963. I joined the cult of the Firebird a couple of weeks ago and couldn't be happier!!! My initiation involved a Gibson Firebird 2010 in classic white. Because the white pickguard blends in with the white body, the look is very clean and accentuates the rounded contours of this unique design. Visually stunning! While looks are nice, it's the features of this guitar that really make it stand-out. The "through-neck" construction greatly enhances the sustain and punch of this guitar. The sound is fortified by the use of ceramic mini-humbucking pickups (a 495R in the neck and a 495T in the bridge) that give the Firebird a truly distinctive sound. The low end has good bottom to it, and the high end screams. The middle position utilizing both pickups puts out a kick-ass tone combination that's perfect for rock, blues, you name it. This guitar's clean tone is also impressive when you consider it was designed primarily to rock - which it does with gusto when you turn up the gain! There's nothing "mini" about the sound of these humbuckers when they are cranked up. This guitar can hold its own with any of its contemporaries - Gibson or otherwise. The Steinberger gearless tuners with their 40 to 1 turns ratio give ultra precise tuning for the strings. Contrary to some posted information, the neck profile is a hybrid blend of a rounded 50's neck profile with a slim 60's profile. Being more fond of the slim 60's profile, the hybrid profile on this Firebird has taken some time and practice to get used to. With how very distinctive everything is on this guitar, it's not surprising that the neck carve would be different too I guess. It's not much different than swapping different brands of guitar - you just play it until you get the feel of it. Past reviews of Firebirds mentioned that it took some time to get used to the feel of a Firebird: the balance (which I have no problem with), the neck (which gets easier as you play), and how balanced the guitar is while standing or sitting (I found the guitar to be quite balanced sitting or standing - a design that's very well engineered). The rosewood fingerboard with trapazoid inlays is a nice touch: functional and fancy. When you add it all up you get one hell of a powerful axe with very unique features and one-of-a-kind styling for a very reasonable price as Firebirds go. If you've ever wondered what a Firebird's mystique is all about, you should treat yourself to a little "Firebreathing" with a Gibson Firebird 2010 - you won't reget it!!! Thanks to my Sweetwater Sound Engineers Art and Joe, who helped with info and feedback. You guys do it right, and thanks to you I have become another Firebird believer!!! Bill S. P.S. Is the guitar case lined with Nomex?