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  1. #1

    Vintage Firebird comparison

    I'm in the market for a vintage '63-65 reverse Firebird; realistically looking at a FBIII; but happened to come across a VII that I thought I would try. I was not expecting much from it based on what I've read from others being the poor relation of the FB line; and have to say I was really pleasantly surprised....to the extend I am now thinking of going for the VII.

    It wasn't too heavy; had been refretted (so was playable), and the middle out-of phase quack position felt a lot more usable on the VII than I've come across with late 50s LP Customs with little/if any volume reduction.

    Anyway was keen to get people's thoughts on a FB I vs III vs V vs VII tonally; and how others find them...below my surprised face with the said FB!



  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    Assuming everything is original (cant tell in this photo), that looks to be in very fine condition, and as you will know these are a rare beast...in any condition.

    I have a ‘64 III which is one of the most resonant, expressive guitars I own (admittedly, it has a full size humbucker in the bridge....). The only thing I have trouble with sometimes is the wide string spacing on the lightning bridge. Not something you need to worry about with an ABR. Mind you, these have a wide neck anyway...just be happy that that is OK for your style. Oh, and the middle pickup on these can be annoying to play/strum with....but sounds like you know about this with your reference to a LP Custom 3PU. This won’t help, but I prefer my III to the VII I’ve played...it just felt more “solid”.

    Good luck!
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  3. #3

    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    It is all original and in very fine condition; I think my surprise was I wasn't expecting it to play or sound like much. Based on what I've read most people seem to think the VII is all show and not much go!

    I've heard that the III can sound a little more meaty/hotter...a bit like a LP Jr whereas the V &, VII can are a little more transparent; not quite as hot. I am assuming that's partly down to the ABR...but curious the same model with slightly different trim can sound so different. I've never played a V so wonder how the Ebony comes in to the tonal equation and of course that extra pickup adding yet another magnet to dampen the strings!

    I've played a few IIIs in the past; but I haven't picked one up for at least 10 years so it's hard to be sure what is memory vs what I read!

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member deytookerjaabs's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    You played it, you dug it....


    IMO...you buy it.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    Firebird's are fantastic ,preference of model is so subjective , I own several Historics 111 - V love these guitars . My Les Pauls take a back seat to my Firebird's !
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

    The Myth: If I would have lived with MOM & mooched till I was 48 I would play like Clapton !
    Think about it
    won't you ...... Please !

  6. #6

    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    The firebird VII.. isn't that the one that Brian Jones had? One of the coolest looking guitars ever..and if it plays well, sounds well, hangs well...and you can afford it..get it!

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by RocknRollShakeUp View Post
    The firebird VII.. isn't that the one that Brian Jones had? One of the coolest looking guitars ever..and if it plays well, sounds well, hangs well...and you can afford it..get it!
    Keith had one too. He gave it to Dave Hassinger. It was the lead guitar on Satisfaction! Dave had to EQ. the shit out of it to sound full/fat on that track..

  8. #8

    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    that bridge plus middle position is a beautiful thing
    My Gibsons: 2018 '57 Les Paul Custom Historic, 2018 '59 LP Historic, 2018 '58 LP Jr Historic, 2018 LP/SG Historic, 2016 '63 Firebird I Historic, 2016 Johnny A, 2015 '64 Firebird III Historic, 2015 '67 Flying V Historic, 2011 '59 ES-335 Wrap-Tail Historic, 2011 '60 LP Special Historic
    Quote Originally Posted by 82 Silverburst View Post
    What I see on this forum more and more is akin to little girls playing dress up with their dolls, getting them ready for some tea party.

  9. #9

    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by TM1 View Post
    Keith had one too. He gave it to Dave Hassinger. It was the lead guitar on Satisfaction! Dave had to EQ. the shit out of it to sound full/fat on that track..
    Far out!

  10. #10
    All Access/Backstage Pass lpnv59's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    I’ve had two F1’s, two F3’s and one F7. The 7 was the worst sounding but really beautiful. I love the way a sunburst F7 looks. The last F1 I had and a cardinal red 3 were my favorite for tone. The combination bridge tailpiece fills it out a bit.
    "It's a Marshall bubby. It gets loud." Ace Frehley

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member JJ Blair's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Firebird comparison

    I have a ‘63 VII. Such a great guitar. That middle position is amazing for funk. Better than s strat, even. The guitar is a real go-to in the studio from chimey arpeggios. The notes just sing and articulate so well.

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