SOLD! - 1964 Gibson Firebird III Reverse Sunburst Vibrola
What you see before you is the epitome of vintage cool: a 60's Gibson Firebird!
In 1962 Gibson president Ted McCarty decided that a bold new guitar was needed to compete with Fender’s popular Jazzmaster. For a fresh, all-new concept, McCarty sought outside help and hired well-known automobile designer Ray Dietrich. After 50 years of designing for such top companies as Lincoln, Packard, Ford, and Chrysler, Dietrich had recently retired to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Gibson was headquartered at the time.
The new Firebird line—the name was suggested by Dietrich—was introduced in the spring of 1963. The series comprised four guitars, the Firebird I, III, IV, and VII, and two basses, the Thunderbird II and IV. Boasting a unique neck-through-body construction that ran from the tip of the headstock to the bottom strap button, as well as a pair of asymmetrical “wings” attached to either side of the neck’s center section, the guitar had a unique, irregular look. To complete this visual impression, the headstock sported six banjo tuners located on the opposite side of Fender’s familiar headstock.
The unusual construction of the Firebirds made them difficult and expensive to produce. Once the guitars had shipped, the headstock/neck area was found to be weak and easily broken. Unfortunately, the heavy banjo tuners exacerbated this problem.
These issues, along with poor sales and pressure from Fender about copyright infringement on its “offset waist” design, caused Gibson to revamp the entire Firebird/Thunderbird line using more conventional and less costly construction methods. The overhauled versions used a traditional glued-in neck on a more conservative offset body that looked like a flipped over—non-reverse—edition of the earlier guitars
The original price for a Firebird III was $249.50. The current value for one in excellent all-original condition is far over $10,000
On to the beans at stake. This particular Bird is in stunning condition, there are a few marks here and there but no repairs, clean neck, amazing glossy like new finish with hardly any serious weather checking or fading. These a mark on the back and side where it most likely came in contact with a guitar strap laying around in the case for several years. Think it can be buffed out. The mahogany body comes with the neck-thru construction and is equipped with both original Gibson Pat.-Nr. decal Minihumbucker pickups, all original hardware, banjo tuners, vibrato tremolo, tailpiece etc. etc. The bridge was placed a few mm back on the body to get a bit more string length and stabilize the vibrola/bridge setup. It lowers the stress on the bridge and makes it way more playable! The bridge is replaced by a MojoAxe bridge but the original is in the case. Solder untouched, pots date to week 17 1964.
Comes in the original 1964 Gibson case with yellow lining.