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Gibson Firebird - Vintage Sunburst Reviews

4.5 stars based on 9 customer reviews
  • from cali. January 19, 2014Music Background:
    semi-pro for over 40 years. and still going strong !!!

    What a great axe!!!!!

    I have gotten a few guitars from Sweetwater now and it's true they really are the best service out there. Now this Firebird really rock like nothing elese I have. I own 15 guitars all top of the line and most of them are Gibson's. This one is a little different tone (neck through). what a tone monster. And the look is like no other too. It came all set up and ready to play. Very nice job Sweetwater. I did change the pickups with some Seymours. wow!!!!! nice rocker to light jazz. I just roll back the volume and she's clean and sweet, turn her up and look out. I may need another one. I really like her. light weight and EZ going to play. loven it!!!!

  • from New Jersey January 17, 2014Music Background:
    Playing over 50 years. Teach and gig and still do a little studio work.

    Gibson Firebird Again!

    I have been playing for over 50 years and still teaching and gigging. I owned one of these when I was a kid and unfortunately got rid of it. TOM KOCH just sold me another one and I got it today. I own a bunch of Gibsons, from the 60's to modern. This is probably the least expensive of all of them and it just blew me away. Sweetwater's set up is absolutely incredible on this one. I don't think you could get much better action and the sustain (I think because of the neck thru the body) is scary! I play jazz to rock and don't use many effects. This guitar is a monster and doesn't need any help from pedals. Thanks
    TOM KOCH and Sweetwater for a great guitar at a bargain price!

  • from San Diego, CA December 4, 2013Music Background:
    Semi-pro musician

    Different...in a very good way

    Strats and Teles are everywhere, and Les Pauls and SGs are fairly common, too -- but you don't see many Firebirds around. That alone is no reason to get one; the guitar has to work for you. The Firebird is a different beast, and it definitely works for me.

    This is the second one I have owned; the first was a non-reverse Studio version with three P-90s. I didn't like that guitar -- headstock dive, wasn't comfortable to play, the middle pickup got in the way of my picking...so I was a little reluctant to get this one. But I absolutely love this Firebird. It is well-balanced, with no headstock dive (is that bc of the Steinberger tuners? I dunno). It looks iconic and unique at the same time. The mini-humbuckers sound really good; many describe them as sounding somewhere in between a standard 'bucker and a single coil...that seems about right, although definitely closer to the humbucker end of the continuum. Comparing them to Les Paul pickups: not as beefy, not as dark -- but still unmistakably a humbucker. (I bought the guitar assuming I would upgrade the pickups, because I almost always do -- I hear Lollar mini-buckers are great -- but I actually like the stock ones a lot. For the time being, at least, they're staying.)

    The neck is terrific -- a little wider than on my Les Paul, which at first I wasn't sure I would like, but after just a few minutes I adjusted to it, and now it's my favorite neck. It's really a fast neck. As others have noted, it's a long guitar, and while the neck length is standard Gibson 24 3/4 scale, it definitely "sits" a bit more to your left than other guitars -- i.e., your hand will be extended out a bit further when fretting around the nut. That, too, requires a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it feels natural again. The way the guitar sits also puts the upper register of the fretboard in a more accessible position, so I find myself playing up there a bit more, which is nice.

    The finish on mine is immaculate, and set-up was terrific right out of the box. This is the only guitar I have ever bought (and there have been many) on which I haven't changed or adjusted a thing. (Wait -- not true: I did put on strap locks, and you should too -- drop this thing, and you will bust the headstock.)

    Sweetwater was terrific to deal with; I never, ever buy new guitars, but I did from them. The price was low, sales staff was really knowledgable and friendly, and shipping was quick -- it arrived 2 days early!

    The Firebird isn't for everyone, but this one is a great guitar for those seeing something a little out of the ordinary.

  • from New Richmond, Ohio July 8, 2013Music Background:
    Studio Owner, Recording Engineer

    Amazing Guitar

    After a lifetime of wanting one of these iconic guitars I finally broke down and bought one. I am NOT disappointed. I've been noodling around with it for a couple of weeks now and every time I pick it up I'm more impressed. The body is very thin and, overall, the guitar seems lightweight and quite well balanced. The slim-taper neck is a joy to play. Like some of the other reviewers before me, I initially found the seemingly long neck (it's still a 24.75 inch scale, like the Les Paul or SG) a bit of an adjustment, but it's something you catch on to rather quickly. Yes, the nut and first fret seem pretty far away, but the 22nd fret is easily accessed across all 6 strings. High note ease of play and articulation are excellent. I was initially concerned about the Steinberger tuners, but now think that ALL guitars should feature them. The angle of your forearm and wrist across the back of the headstock is much more comfortable than traditional Strat or 3 over 3 tuning arrangements, and the tuners themselves seem much more precise, with ultra-fine adjustments a snap. And yes, it DOES sound like the Firebird of old . . . the pick-ups are excellent and are not to be confused with the smooth humbuckers of the LP or SG. These really dig in where it counts . . . while other PUs are often described as having "bite" I'd rate these as more of a "snarl" (purely subjective, of course). Within just a few minutes of tweaking this thing through a pumped-up midrange '65 Twin Reverb the sound was straight out of "Had to Cry Today" or "Presence of the Lord". Quite gratifying. Lastly, this is one BEAUTIFUL piece of wood. Aside from the ultra eye-catching design (we children of the 50s and 60s tend to be drawn to this look) the finish and hardware are flawless! Even if you did nothing more than hang this axe on the wall and stare at it from time to time, it'd still be worth adding to your collection.

  • from Winter Haven, FL June 20, 2013Music Background:
    Playing for 11 years. Currently with a worship group.

    Very Articulate

    This guitar in Vintage Sunburst is one of the most attractive guitars you will ever see! It is deep sounding on one end and bright on the other. It has its own unique sound and doesn't seem to become muddy in any setting. It will growl or chime and be clean while doing it. It does take some getting used to the length and positioning of the fretboard when holding the guitar in a normal position. I played this with a Vox VT80+ and the tones achieved will put you in a trance. You will be playing for hours at a time!

  • from Wes January 17, 2014

    Gibson. Firebird

    Ok.... I purchased this Firebird based upon it's history and looks. Now first. ... When it arrived from Sweetwater, the set up was close to perfect .. A little tweaking is all it needed. When I received the guitar... Visually... I was very impressed.. Beautiful ! ... All around just a great looking and feeling instrument, beautiful! Now , for my build (5'8"), it was not so user friendly playing on a chair sitting on my lap... I was not so enthused at this point ... But, I stayed with it... Played out of Marshall, Fender and Vox amps... I was very pleased and impressed with the mini hummer's... Better than my Fender single's and cooler sound than my Gibson hummer's.... I really like the sound out of my vintage Fender Deluxe... So, I finally acquiesced Nd went to the strap and played this guitar.... That's when I felt the natural way this thing sits on my body and my left hand right at the 7th and 9th frets.... Getting to the nut... No issue... Going high end... Perfect ... I own plenty of Gibson's and Fenders and this guy is so far my favorite... I can't tell you how cool the pickups sound and how natural the guitar feels playing ... The neck is ... Well... Awesome... Fast , flat , and perfect.... Totally in love with this thing !

  • from Etna,Ohio December 25, 2013Music Background:


    This was a great buy! Definitely worth the price and then some. I was blown away by Sweetwater's service. The guitar is the smoothest playing and best feeling guitar I have ever picked up. Some say that it is awkward at first, but I didn't feel that way. It is a Fender guys Gibson, if that makes sense. A few little imperfections but I had to search very hard and they are so small and insignificant, this is why it got a 4.5 out of 5. I am extremely happy with my purchase from Sweetwater. I will definitely order form them again.

  • from Missoula, MT May 21, 2013Music Background:

    Unique Guitar

    I own a dozen guitars, mostly Fenders and Gibsons and this Firebrid is one unique animal. Very long neck, huge headstock and it takes some getting used too, even for experienced players. At first, I thought I may have made a mistake, but within a week I started to love the guitar. My favorite thing is the pickups. Great bite to them, and they break up very easy. They have a deep bass sound, which surprised me.

    Right away I found that I needed to put on a set of strap locks. The odd way the strap attaches lends easliy to the strap coming off. Overall, I really like and enjoy playing this guitar

  • from Seattle February 7, 2013Music Background:

    Unusally Interesting

    First, The only reason I would ever order a guitar online is that one is not available locally for me to buy. That was the case with the Firebird. It is a very beautiful looking instrument. This is the second guitar I have ordered online, the first also a Gibson. That guitar, Les Paul; Jr., had to be returned to the Gibson factory as it was unplayable(could not be tuned), The set in neck was crooked. This guitar was also in need of professional attention when I received it. My guitar tech spent 90 minutes on it. The nut had to be removed, adjusted and reset. The intonation was way off, bridge needed adjusting and so on...Even though it came with a checklist from the factory and an evaluation from Sweetwater, it took some work to set up. It now is very enjoyable to play although a very different feel than any other guitar I have owned. I play through a variety of different amps and it works well with all(usually play through a Bogner Ecstacy) I would recommend the Firebird to someone who is looking for a very beautiful and unusual guitar for their collection.

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