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1963 Gibson Firebird
The Gibson Firebird may not be as well known as its cousins the Les Paul
and SG, but it does have a cult following of its own. Modeled after the
then, futuristic-looking Explorer, the Firebird has a more subtle appearance. Ray Dietrich, best known for his work on a different type of classic—the automobile—was hired by Gibson president Ted McCarty to
create a new guitar. Faced with this challenge, Dietrich went against the
grain by making the lower bout more prominent than the upper. The
guitar was also the first Gibson to have a neck-through construction, as
earlier models had been set-neck designs.
Due to the nature of the design, all early Firebirds are considered
“reverse,” both in the prominence of the bouts and the headstock.
Later models, with the tuners on the bass side and a larger upper
bout, are “non-reverse.” The Firebird seen here, however, is a rare
gem featuring a transition headstock (with the tuners on the bass
side), a reverse body and a gorgeous sunburst finish.
Thanks to Andy Gerber, Daniel Demchuk and Scott Silver of
Chicago Music Exchange for listing this guitar on Gear Search.
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PREMIER GUITAR APRIL 2010 179