Firebird I Guitars

2009 Gibson Firebird I

Color: Mahogany Sunburst, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 02058)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


An Incredible 2009 Gibson Firebird I, Specially Ordered from The Gibson Custom Shop
Neck Re-Shaped, Re-Finished and Aged to Perfection by Tom Murphy


2009 Gibson Firebird I "Reverse" Custom-Shop (Tom Murphy)


2009 Gibson Custom Shop re-issue of a  'reverse bodied' Firebird l model. This amazing lightweight guitar weighs just 7.30 lbs. Neck-through-body construction with nine-piece laminated mahogany/walnut center section and two glued-on wings. Mahogany neck with nice fat nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale-length of 24.75 inches, and a wonderful medium-to-thick profile. Rosewood fretboard with 22 jumbo frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with gold-painted "Gibson" logo on black plastic truss-rod cover secured by three screws. 'Reverse' peghead with individual Kluson Banjo-style tuners with rearwards metal tulip-shaped buttons. Serial number “090003” impressed into the back of the headstock. One "patent number" mini-humbucker (built without adjustable pole-pieces) with an output of 2.45k, stamped on the underside  "Patent No. / 2737842". Three-layer (white over black) plastic pickguard with beveled edge, eight screws and "Firebird" emblem in red, aged by Tom Murphy. Two controls (one volume, one tone). Early seventies gold plastic bell-shaped knobs with metal tops. Combination "wrap-over" bar bridge/tailpiece with two intonation adjustment screws. All parts nickel-plated. The inside of the control cavity cover has "Firebird I #090003 / neck & finish '10 / Tom Murphy" written in silver marker. This is the closest to an original  '63 / '64 Firebird I (with a neck to die for) that we have ever seen. This guitar is in mint as new (9.50) condition. Complete with all of the original case candy including the original Gibson Custom Certificate of Authenticity. The look, the feel and the sound of this screamer is insane…  Housed in the original Gibson "Custom" five-latch, shaped black hardshell case with padded burgundy plush lining (9.50). Tom Murphy has (in 2010) re-shaped the neck, re-finished the guitar in the correct 1963/64 brown-to-black sunburst color and gently aged the hardware. The result is absolutely stunning… We spoke to our friends at Gibson and they informed us that this guitar was specially ordered in a very small custom run - maybe no more than five examples (DJB).

"Many players have grown to love the unique tone of a 'Bird pickup, somewhere between a regular Gibson humbucker and a Telecaster. Neil Young loved the sound so much he heaved one out and fixed it in the bridge position on his favourite Les Paul, Old Black, and it's half the story in Young's astonishing lead sound. The Firebird I had a single pickup (at the bridge), the III and V came with two pickups, and the glorious top-of-the-line VII had three." (Tony Bacon. Flying V, Explorer, Firebird. p.40). Between it's introduction and early 1965, approximately 750 Firebird I Reverse were shipped from the Gibson factory.

"Announced in Spring 1963, the original Firebird series was conceived as an attempt to produce less conventional electrics likely to appeal to Fender players. Four different models, identified by odd Roman numerals, were marketed simultaneously...The four models produced between 1963 and 1965 (a.k.a. the 'reverse' Firebirds) share the same body specifications and differ only in fretboard style, electronics and hardware...The original Firebird electrics are primarily characterized by: a neck-through-body construction; a reverse body shape with extended lower horn; a reverse peghead with the treble E tuner nearest to the nut; banjo-style tuners with rearwards buttons; and they are all equipped with mini-humbuckers built without adjustable polepieces. According to factory records, the earliest production models were registered in October 1963 with serial numbers in the 131,000s… For all practical purposes, the Firebird III was the equivalent of the Special found in the SG/Les Paul family. Compared to the FB I, the model is characterized by: a bound rosewood fingerboard; two pickups; individual volume and tone controls for each pickup; a 3-way toggle switch for pickup selection; a (short) Vibrola tailpiece with flat metal lever. In spite of a Vibrola tailpiece, the FB III sports the same bar bridge with a pre-set ridge as the FB I. And because of its stud-anchoring this bridge cannot be replaced by a fully adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge...The original Firebird series remained in production for less than two years" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, pp. 198-199).

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