Friday, 19 October 2012

1965 Gibson Firebird III non-reverse is a rather unusual oddity
When I first saw the photo (above, top) of this Gibson Firebird III from 1965 I could tell that there was something out of the ordinairy about it but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was exactly.

This guitar is in original condition and has not been modified in any way; aside from the usual knocks and signs of aging, it's as it would have been when it left the Gibson factory in 1965.

Designed by car designer Ray Dietrich at the behest of Gibson president Ted McCarty, the Firebird was introduced in 1963 and has remained in production more or less up until the present day. The so-called "reverse" body shape was replaced with a more conservative "non-reverse" design between 1965 and 1969. Possibly the example we see here is a transitional model. Have you noticed what is unusual about it yet?

It's the headstock. The original "reverse" body Firebirds also sported reverse headstocks, but you'll notice that this example has a non-reverse headstock. (Note also the banjo-style tuners. I've often wondered why these aren't more commonly used on guitars.) Quite how rare this is, I'm afraid I cannot tell you, but the eBay seller here obviously thinks it's worth the $13,500 Buy It Now price.

G L Wilson

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  1. According to Ian C. Bishops book "The Gibson Guitar from 1950, Volume 2" (P22/23) the first batch of Firebirds had the non-reversed headstock. And here's a video showing Bob Wilson of The Steve Gibbons Band playing another one of them -



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