The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson Firebird V Reissue Vintage Sunburst, 2006

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Here is one of our all-time favourite guitars, the Gibson Firebird V.  Introduced in 1963, the Gibson Firebird V with its neck-through design was a radical departure from most of the guitars available at the time. The original models were referred to as ‘Reverse’ as the offset body used the opposite orientation as most guitar bodies, particularly Fender’s then-new Offset-body Jazzmaster and Jaguar. These guitars also used a new, small bar-magnet humbucking pickup that is not to be confused with the mini-humbuckers used on the later Les Paul Deluxe models.

In the beginning there were four Gibson Firebird models, all based on neck-through, Mahogany construction. First was the “I” with a single pickup, dot inlays, unbound Rosewood fingerboard and stop-tail bridge; the “III” with two pickups, dot inlays, unbound Rosewood fingerboard, stop-tail bridge and short Vibrola tailpiece; the “V” with two pickups, bound Rosewood fingerboard with trapezoidal inlays, tune-o-matic bridge and either a stop tailpiece or a long Vibrola tailpiece with cover; and the “VII” with three pickups, bound Ebony fingerboard with block inlays, gold hardware, tune-o-matic bridge and long Vibrola tailpiece with cover. Unusually, the headstock – which clearly took design cues from a reversed Fender head – used a set of large banjo tuners, with the gear housing and buttons sticking out of the back of the head.

Distinctively, the center section comprising the body core, neck and head is built up of nine layers of Mahogany and Walnut for stability. The body section is given a V-notch on each side. The slightly thinner body ‘wings’ get matching V cuts and slide right into the body, leaving the center as a raised section.

Nothing else really looks like this design, and it was quickly adopted by players like Brian Jones, Eric Clapton, Howlin’ Wolf, and later of course Johny Winter and Allen Collins of Lynyrd Skynrd.

Gibson soon ran into a trio of significant issues. First, sales were poor, second, the neck-through design is expensive to make, and third, Fender began complaining that the ‘Reverse’ body design was very close to just mirroring Jazzmaster and Jaguar bodies. To address all of these issues, in 1965 after just two years, Gibson completely revised the design to use traditional set-neck construction, and simply flipped the body template over. Pickup choices also widened with P90’s added to the original Firebird pickup line. These revised models also used standard right-angle tuners.

The Firebird line was discontinued in 1970, and has been reissued repeatedly with varying features and specifications. It’s one of the most distinctive – and physically large – guitar designs. Many of the revised versions use the ‘Reverse’ design but with the less-expensive (and easier to repair!) set-neck construction, and often use considerably lighter standard tuners; some models have used Steinberger gearless tuners, which help maintain the original look but with improved performance and reduced weight. Steinberger has been a Gibson brand since 1986.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson Firebird V Reissue, dating to August 17 2006 and built at Nashville. This example is in all original and very good shape in terms of both playability and condition, and is sold with its original hard shell case.

If you need (or just want) a Gibson Firebird V — and in truth, who among us does not? — this example is an excellent choice and well worth considering.

Here’s what the builder says about the current Gibson Firebird V:

“The Gibson Firebird rocks a reverse body and headstock design as originally introduced in 1963 and was Gibson’s first neck-through-body design. The traditional 9-ply mahogany/walnut neck through body construction provides rich, warm tonality and incredible sustain. A slim taper neck with a bound, rosewood fingerboard and acrylic trapezoid fingerboard inlays offers fast and effortless playability. The newly refreshed Firebird is outfitted with the redeveloped Alnico V Firebird pickup to recapture the scorching output and searing tones of the original voice for which the Firebird is known.


 

Price: $1,895.00 CAD
  • Model: Firebird V Reissue
  • Year: Current
  • Finish Vintage Sunburst
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 022960310, dated to August 17 2006 at Gibson Nashville
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 22/07/2022

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 7.48lbs 3.4kg
  • Scale Length: 628.6mm 24.75in
  • Nut Width: 43.13mm 1.697in
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