First-year "reverse" style Firebirds take Gibson's future-forward design in a new direction. This custom color Pelham Blue beauty has all the vibe and tone with none of the structural compromises that often plague these solidbodies.
Why We Love This
A remarkable and complete example of one of the coolest models Gibson made in the 1960s in maybe the coolest custom color, this 1965 Firebird I is a total showstopper of a guitar.
1965 marked the first year that this variation of the Firebird I in its non-reversed orientation, evolving from the single-pickup version offered in the first few years of production. With its twin P90 pickups, lightning bar wraparound tailpiece, and short vibrola, this Firebird I shares a lot of the electronic and mechanical aspects of the fellow Mahogany-body Gibson SG models of the same time period. The elongated offset body with the uniquely designed 6-in-line headstock present as one of the more progressive models to come out of Kalamazoo since the Flying V and Explorer.
In true 1965 fashion, the guitar is ripe with transitional features like a narrower 1 9/16" nut width and chrome-plated hardware throughout. The Kluson tuners are of the double-line variety as opposed to the single-line version offered up through 1964.
The original P90 pickups are fat and bright sounding, with great output that still allows for chimey cleans into, say, a Blackface Fender. Into a cranked amp, the P90s come alive with upper midrange bark and a powerful top end cut. Middle position (both pickups engaged) yields a somewhat common out-of-phase tone that delivers a focused quack - perfect for those funk and R&B melodies!
The original custom color Pelham Blue finish is an all-timer of a Gibson color, especially when natural fading and aging occurs. This 'bird shows off a nice combination of the original blue hue along with a more faded and greened out teal, with some natural lacquer checking to enhance the vintage vibe. No breaks or cracks here, which is an exception to the rule when it comes to old Firebirds.
The original owner of this guitar was a lefty, and therefore had the original nut re-cut for left-handed playing. Everything else remained unmodified, and a new nut was cut recently for right-handed use. The original converted nut is included for posterity. The original frets were a bit worn, but they've been leveled, crowned, and polished here in-house and play great despite being on the lower side.
Clean, uncompromised Firebirds are quite hard to find these days, and Pelham Blue examples even moreso. This is an exceptional player that has been very well maintained and represents one of Gibsons coolest 60s electrics to a tee.