(SOLD) Gibson Firebird V Vintage Sunburst 1997
Gibson Firebird V, vintage sunburst, made in USA 1997. It's hard to think of a more visually striking guitar than a Firebird, it's such a sweet piece of design. The Firebird launched in 1963 and was designed by Ray Dietrich, who had previously worked for Cadillac designing cars. It's certainly got that 60s-futuristic aesthetic, with bold curves and lines. These mid-90s FBV models were made more or less completely by hand, in an era when Gibson's craftsmanship and quality control was bang-on. This one was initially sold new in Japan too, so it had to pass an additional level of quality control from Gibson's Japan distributor Yamano. The nine-piece neck is a beautiful piece of work, it's straight and stable, slim and fast and topped with a stunning piece of rosewood to boot. There's a certain natural resonance in the body that translates to a lively, responsive feel in the hands. As soon as I plugged this in, I felt compelled to dime the amp and get things cooking... and oh boy, it really delivers the goods turned up loud. The tone sits somewhere between the punchy, immediate growl on an SG and the piquant, sparkling clarity of a Jazzmaster. There's a lot of nuance to be had via the tone knobs too, you can get a pleasing bluesy wail on the neck pickup with the tone halfway up, or a huge snappy rhythm tone with both pickups on and the bridge pickup tone rolled off a whisker. There's a whole lot to love here, it's a proper piece!
Model: Gibson Firebird V
Made: 1997, USA (serial 93017723)
Finish: vintage sunburst, gloss nitro
Body: mahogany, 3-piece
Neck: mahogany, rosewood board, slim taper profile, 12" radius, 24.75" scale
Mods: end of headstock repaired as detailed below, strap pins moved
Pickups: Gibson Mini Humbucker x2
Case: original brown/pink hardcase
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. The headstock has some marks on the end and on the top edge near the nut and some flaking of the black just below the high-E tuner post. The neck is clean and smooth in the hands, minor dimples on the back only. The back has no major marks, just a widely spread arrangement of very minor dimples and scuffs around the body. The sides have some light scuffs on the top horn, some dimples and small dents in the elbow area and a few small dimples along the bottom edge from the jack to the bottom horn. The front has a few dimples near the knobs, scuffs around the jack and some tiny marks in the elbow area, as well as some standard scuffs on the horns and guard. Overall: very good condition (8/10).
Playing condition notes: Neck is straight, action is low, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electrics tested and working properly. The frets have minor wear only, 8/10 for fret life left. No headstock breaks. Wearing fresh 11/49 Moonshiners strings.