Up for sale, a 1964 Gibson Firebird VII in exceptional, collector-grade condition, 100% original side from a clean refret and new bone nut. After Ted McCarty saw the eye-popping design work emanating from Detroit and the auto industry in the early '60s, Gibson hired auto designer Ray Dietrich to create a pioneering new line of instruments resulting in the reverse-body Firebirds. As the top of the line iteration produced in exceedingly small numbers, the Firebird VII was only offered from very late 1963-mid 1965 in this configuration, with only 173 instruments shipped in the 1964 calendar year.
A no-excuses vintage example with zero breaks or repairs, this Firebird VII is as inspiring and revolutionary tonally as its visuals would dictate, and the neck-through mahogany/walnut body construction and slab ebony fretboard deliver tones that balance the wooly warmth of mahogany and the snappy, glassy articulation of ebony. Delivering a cutting and dynamically responsive sound that has more note definition than any of the rosewood fretboard-equipped Firebirds, this Firebird VII has a treble-centric bark and zing that interacts wonderfully with tube amps. The Firebird pickups have a distinct tonal character that sets them apart from a traditional mini humbucker, and the original trio of pickups does an excellent job translating the smooth and clear acoustic qualities of the instrument. Whether you're looking for detailed cleans or snap, snarl, and aggressive cut that'll push your amp to the brink of overdrive, this Firebird is simply an elegant guitar with a tonal range applicable to a wide range of genres. The guitar weighs 9lbs 4oz. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, we've dialed in this Firebird with 10-46 strings and low action.
The neck features a slender C shape with more shoulder and roundness as you travel up the bound ebony fretboard. The profile measures .838" deep at the first fret, graduating to 1.015" at the 12th fret. The profile retains the majority of the original gloss nitro lacquer, with palm wear limited to a light sliver of wear down to the bare mahogany at the fretboard edges adjacent to the binding. The guitar has been refretted with slender vintage wire that matches original spec, and the new frets show zero wear, playing well in every register. The nut has been upgraded to a hand-carved piece of bone, measuring 1 11/16" in width. On the headstock, the original banjo tuners turn smoothly and retain most of their original gold plating.
All of the electronics are intact, with untouched solder joints and CTS pots which date to 1963, while the serial number pushes the production into early '64. All three pickups retain their complete patent stickers on the baseplates. And while the original plastic jack has proved problematic at times, the contacts have been thoroughly cleaned and we've opted to leave the stock jack in place, to be replaced at the discretion of the next owner. All of the original hardware is intact including the gold ABR-1 bridge with correct foundry stamp on the base, as well as the long frame Maestro Lyre Vibrola which has a very smooth response and original arm. The original pickguard shows moderate shrinkage away from the two mounting holes at the guard’s extremities, with a bit of buckling near the bridge pickup as well. Some of the original firebird graphic silkscreening is intact on the guard too. The stock quartet of reflector cap knobs is also present.
Cosmetic wear includes notable patina down to the bare nickel on much of the gold hardware on the body. The nitro lacquer Sunburst finish is 100% original with zero touchup or overspray, exhibiting buckle rash central to the back, wear down to the bare mahogany on the lower bout back edge, and an assortment of smaller finish chips and nicks around the parameter of the body. There is also wear through the lacquer on the outer edge of the treble side body horn, and the small circles of wear present in this area are indicative of the lacquer getting too close to a heat source. Overall, this Firebird presents exceptionally well, with the kind of honest playwear consistent with age, and is one of the straighter and cleaner examples of this model to surface in recent years.
A modern Gibson Firebird case is included.
A note on shipping: Shipping in the continental USA will be $275, fully insured and shipped via FedEx Two Day. Expedited shipping available for an additional fee at buyer's request. We will happily ship WORLDWIDE, but please contact us for an accurate international shipping quote before bidding or buying, as cost varies by buyer location.