Gibson V Firebird 1965 Cherry Red

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353 Firebird V guitars were built in 1965.  This is one of a handful of guitars finished in cherry from all of the mid 60s production - hailed as one of the most rare vintage Gibson guitars out there.

So many of these guitars have seen devastating damage, due largely to the design of the original case, which allowed the high E tuner to bottom out on the case.  This issue causes headstock breaks when the cases simply tip over or fall by transferring stress to the neck when the tuner hits the back of the case.  Another typical issue is seen around the control cavity, where the body can crack if the guitar is dropped or otherwise mistreated.

This guitar has survived both of the above fatal issues, which could plague as many as half of the original builds, perhaps more.

The Firebird follows the Flying V and Explorer as one of Gibson's most innovative and original designs, icons in solid body guitar history.  The guitars are distinctive symbols of rock and roll and truly are things of beauty.

This particular Firebird retains all the original parts, including the frets, which have been perfectly polished.  

The hardware shows the character that makes nickel the coolest with age, that "fog" patina that screams vintage coolness.  This is mirrored in the checking of the original finish, which shows strong retention of the cherry color that can fade when over exposed to daylight.

The guitar plays like a dream and the tone is that which you can get only from this design.

The one issue with this guitar lies in the original bridge pickup.  The pickup has been out of the guitar and the cover has been removed and reinstalled.  It is likely that the pickup was either repaired or rewound.  The output of the pickup is in line with the neck and with other pickups of the era.  This is a sign that the pickup has been repaired. 

I have found that Firebird pickups from this era are a little different from the humbuckers or P-90s found in other Gibsons.  The wire lead from the pickup to the controls is made of an insulated center conductor and a woven shield, as we're all used to seeing.  Humbuckers and P-90s form the era have cloth wire insulating the center conductor.  Firebird pickups have a plastic or runner insulation that breaks down over time and can case a short by allowing the woven shield to contact the center conductor. 

Skilled pickup rewinders can remove the cover and replace the lead wire without altering the pickup winding.  I believe that is what happened to the bridge pickup on this guitar as it just happened to a 1963 Firebird I have in stock, which already had the same issue with its bridge pickup before I received the guitar.

Otherwise, all solders are original, as is everything else on the guitar.

Included is what appears to be the original case and an SKB flight case that protects the guitar far better than the original.

  • Color: Cherry 
  • Weight: 8lbs 13.3ozs
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Inlays: Mother Or Pearl Trapezoids
  • Frets: Original
  • Fret count: 22
  • Nut material: Bone
  • Nut width: 1 11/16"
  • Scale: 24 3/4"
  • Radius: 10"
  • Neck thickness at 1st fret: 0.82"
  • Neck thickness at 12th fret: 0.96"
  • Action 1st String at 12th Fret: .055"
  • Action 6th String at 12th Fret: .065"
  • String gauge: 10-46"
  • Hardware Color: Nickel
  • Bridge Pickup Brand: OEM Gibson
  • Bridge Pickup Reading: 6.157k
  • Bridge Pickup Original?: Yes
  • Neck Pickup Brand: OEM Gibson
  • Neck Pickup Reading: 6.37k
  • Neck Pickup Original?: Yes rewound
  • Pickguard: Original
  • Bridge: Original
  • Tuners: Original
  • Switch: Original
  • Pots/Codes: Original 137 6448
  • Case: Hard Schell Case
  • Notes: 

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