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A Retro Rebel Gets a 21st Century Revamp.
For its superb marriage of tonal versatility and revolutionary style, the "Non-Reverse" Firebird of the mid to late 1960s has long been a favorite with rock, blues and fusion players looking for an alternative to the mighty triumvirate of Les Paul, SG and ES-335. Now Gibson USA introduces the Firebird Studio, a guitar with all the eye-catching style and flair of the original 1965-'69 "Non-Reverse" bodied Firebird III, enhanced with added sonic versatility to bolster its vintage-certified tones. Crafted from Grade-A tonewoods, loaded with three of Gibson's amazing new Tapped P-90 pickups for both original fat P-90 tones and brighter, snappier "narrow single-coil" tones, and upgraded with stunning new five-way pickup switching, push-pull tap and phase switching, and a Tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece, this is arguably the fiercest Firebird ever created.
Mahogany has a long and storied history as a Gibson tonewood, and it forms the core of the Firebird Studio from Gibson USA. The guitar's body is crafted from solid Grade-A mahogany, and dressed in an authentic high-gloss nitrocellulose finish in your choice of Pelham Blue or Vintage Sunburst. Its quarter-sawn, Grade-A mahogany neck is carved to a thin '60s profile, glued in, and topped with a hard-wearing baked maple fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and a 12" radius for smooth, choke-free bending. Beyond the PLEK-cut Corian nut, it carries a traditional "hawk's head" six-in-line headstock with high-quality Mini Grover kidney button tuners, while down at the body end a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece—considerable upgrades from original components—help to ensure optimum resonance and sustain, while facilitating pinpoint intonation adjustments. With such a solid foundation beneath it, the piece de resistance of the Firebird Studio's tonal arsenal lies in its complement of three great new Gibson pickups and hotrodded electronics to make the most of their sonic potential. A trio of Gibson USA's revolutionary new Tapped P-90 pickups provides all the fat snarl, crunch and bite that vintage P-90s are known for, with the option of the brighter, twangier sound of a thinner single-coil pickup accessed via the push-pull switch on each pickup's independent volume control. Not "split coil" switching as used on humbucking pickups, the switch on each of these single-coil Tap P-90 pickups accesses a genuine tap wired into the coil windings of each unit, grounding off part of its output to produce a brighter, more focused tone when the switch is pulled. Combine this with the push-pull switch on the master tone pot which puts the middle pickup out of phase when combined with either the bridge or neck unit, and five-way switching to access bridge/bridge+middle/middle/neck+middle/neck pickup selections (either tapped or full), the Firebird Studio offers an unprecedented tonal range.
Experience modern versatility in a true 60's classic.
Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about Gibson Firebird Studio Non-Reverse Electric Guitar:
First off, this is a great product from a company who seems to be reinventing the wheel with many of its newer guitar releases. They really hit the spot on this one. The pickups are not quite as punchy as standard P-90s, but then again standard P-90s cant even begin to acquire the tonal options on this model. This guitar will handle everything from clean jazz to blues to alternative. It looks like a mild and eye pleasing setup but dont let that fool you. I prefer this to my EMG equipped Ibanez for toying around with Nirvana and Metallica riffs. On the other end of the spectrum, I think if Gilmour would have had this instead of his strat, he would be a Gibson guy instead; it is that good and really sets right in with full warm clean tone. The neck feels super smooth and allows for seamless play up and down the fretboard. It is a baked maple fretboard which may turn some people off, but I'm not a wood snob and quite frankly I wouldn't be able to tell the difference blind folded. This guitar projects tone very well off of the fretboard and mahogany body; unplugged it carries an almost semi-acoustic sound if such a thing exists. My uncle plays bluegrass/blues gigs with a koa-bodied Martin, and he really liked the unplugged sound my Firebird produced. He fell in love with it after I plugged it in to my buddies AC15C1.
But with all of the good there are definitely some low points; not many but some. First off, the truss rod cover looks like it belongs on a toy. Compared to the SG and Les Paul, it is totally outclassed. I think a nice truss rod cover would have really set this model off. Also, when i received mine, the pick guard was completely warped. It was almost at the same level as my pickups. There were also scratches on the nitro finish around my volume/tone knobs. Poor quality control on Gibson's part, but I guess that is going around more with their "new" CEO. After removing and reinstalling the pick guard it was fine, and i used some cleaner/wax to hide the scratches. I'll just have to live with the truss rod cover.
All in all, this is still a great guitar and in my opinion a pretty good buy considering the electronics you get. Its cheaper than an American strat and it does everything a strat can and more. I have gotten everything from acoustic tone by tapping the neck, to hard edged crunch by maxing the bridge untapped, and it keeps coming back for more. If you don't like a certain tone, you can tap, reverse phase, 5 way toggle, and even adjust your pickup height and individual string magnet levels. This thing can and will keep you busy if you loose yourself in it. Regardless of the few shortcomings, it is a very unique and very sweet sounding and fast playing guitar.