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'65 Firebird V-12 were there more than 4 made?

#1 User is offline   ladyscaglyc 

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 09:52 AM

Admin,
It's taken over 40 years trying to figure out how many '65 Firebird V-12s were made?
Even Duchossoir's references can't help narrow it down.
Through The Forum , there's myself, another in France and one other who owned one
while in the States....That's to say there are only 2 that we can actually put our hands on.
Any info would be greatly appreciated, and not that mine would ever be for sale, a relative
value would be cool.
s/Vin


'65 Firebird 12 string

'05 Gretsch White Falcon

'06 EPI Emperor II Joe Pass w/ TruArc

'82 MIK Fender Strat

'00 "Vintage vibe"Squier Strat

#2 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 10:45 AM

Tom Wheeler's book "American Guitars, an Illustrated History", Harper & Row 1982, does not designate the Firebird 12 as a "V", but states 248 Firebird 12's were shipped in 1966, and 24 were shipped in 1967. That would be a total of 272.

It shows no other shipments from the factory of 12 string Firebirds at any other time except '66 & '67.

#3 User is offline   Oringo 

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 11:06 AM

Looks like the 12 string Firebird guys are chasing each other around the forum!
The 1966 Gibson catalogue lists the 12 string 'bird as "V-12," I guess as in "vee 12" Ó la Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar or Lincoln Zephyr...

#4 User is offline   ladyscaglyc 

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 03:41 PM

L5Larry,
Thanks for the info.
The info from Duchossoir's Gibson Electrics The Classic Years, Hal/Leonard 1998:
Total birds including Reverse/Non-reverse & 12s shipped in '65...FB V= 353
& FB VII=110 with a note that this included second issue non-reverse.
also the Firebird V is catergorized as having 2 PUs & a bound rosewood fingerboard w/trapezoids, ( but the bird 12 wasn't bound,
had dots and had the same 12 string head , neck and special inlay as the '65 ES-335-12...and It's stated that in '65 they only shipped
55 of the ES 12 & 12C combined.
Larry, how does that compare w/ T.Wheeler's stats?

BTW, obviously just tryin' to get Admins attention but it's true, to this day, only Oringo, myself and the new guy from France only
know of the existence of 3 of them.

Ah yes, a very rare bird.
Thanks again for the info.
s/Vin


'65 Firebird 12 string

'05 Gretsch White Falcon

'06 EPI Emperor II Joe Pass w/ TruArc

'82 MIK Fender Strat

'00 "Vintage vibe"Squier Strat

#5 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 04:37 PM

[quote name='ladyscaglyc]Larry' date=' how does that compare w/ T.Wheeler's stats? [/quote']

The numbers match exactly, but the Firebird numbers in Wheeler's book specifically do not include any 12 strings, because (according to his listings) no Firebird 12's were shipped in '65.

If all this information is indeed correct, that doesn't mean they didn't build some in '65, they just didn't ship out untill '66. Especially with a new model they would have wanted to build up some stock before offering them to the dealers, so it is very likely that many of those shipped in '66 have what might be considered '65 serial numbers.

I found two other things that might be of interest to you in another old book of mine, "The Gibson Guitar From 1950", by Ian C. Bishop, Musical New Services LTD, 1977. It states about the transition from reverse to non-reverse, "in late 1965 the range was redesigned for a 1966 release". The other thing is in the description of a picture of a 12 it states, "These are very scarce".

#6 User is offline   ladyscaglyc 

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 08:29 AM

L5Larry,
From all I've been able to find out too- There's no question about '65s actually hittin' the dealers in '66.
This (my understanding, too) was decided upon in Mid '65 to build the non-reverse & don't forget, the bird 12
necks are actually the 335-12 necks so makes sense that my serial would indicate '65.
The irony of the non-reverse is that the shape looks more "Jaguarish" than the original reverse.
After all the smoke & lawyers cleared...that had to really be a great send-off to Fender.
Thanks again for the great Barnes & Noble list...you know, there's always a monthly allowance for or about
guitars, and this month, instead of some mild mods on my Epi Standard, I think I'm gonna enhance the library!
BTW, have you got a way to get a backstage pass direct to ADMIN?
Love to get their take, if any, on bird 12s.
s/Vin


'65 Firebird 12 string

'05 Gretsch White Falcon

'06 EPI Emperor II Joe Pass w/ TruArc

'82 MIK Fender Strat

'00 "Vintage vibe"Squier Strat

#7 User is offline   Oringo 

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:57 AM

Going non-reverse definitely made the Firebird easier to adapt to-having the body more Jaguar shaped means having the neck and bridge less thrown out to the left, and the body is a lot lighter.
On the other hand, another reason for going non-reverse must also have been to simplify construction-it must have been a lot cheaper to make the non-reverse with a set neck than the reverse with the multy-ply through neck. Also, all the non-reverse Firebirds had the same body, routing and neck (except the v12), unlike the reverse 'birds which had three different body routings, and three different neck treatments.

#8 User is offline   LPDEN 

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 01:53 PM

I purchased the Non-reverse custom (this one HERE ) thinking I would like it since the reverse (standard) firebird was uncomfortable. After 2 days I took advantage of the dealers return policy and brought it back. I just didn't mesh with it... But i will admit, I loved the sound of the Tri-P90's in it which have at times gave me second thoughts...

Posted Image
-LPDEN----------
Gibson Electric Guitars:
2012 Gibson Jeff Tweedy SG | 2013 Elliot East Signature Tiki Firebird
FOR SALE: 2010 Gibson Custom Historic SG Special VOS P-90s - Faded Cherry

#9 User is offline   ladyscaglyc 

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 09:38 AM

Oringo,
Your avatar looks great. Are you pursuing that bird 12 in Kansas?
LPDen,
That Firebird is still a dream for me.
-Am going to get a slab of some sorts equipped w/P-90s, someday,
and That axe would be perfect alongside my '65 Bird 12.
In the most ideal world, I think I'd prefer a Glossy nitro or lacquer white.
I'll bet the dealer didn't have her on the wall for too long.
s/Vin


'65 Firebird 12 string

'05 Gretsch White Falcon

'06 EPI Emperor II Joe Pass w/ TruArc

'82 MIK Fender Strat

'00 "Vintage vibe"Squier Strat

#10 User is offline   LPDEN 

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 12:18 PM

[quote=ladyscaglyc
LPDen,
That Firebird is still a dream for me.
-Am going to get a slab of some sorts equipped w/P-90s, someday,
and That axe would be perfect alongside my '65 Bird 12.
In the most ideal world, I think I'd prefer a Glossy nitro or lacquer white.
I'll bet the dealer didn't have her on the wall for too long.
[/quote]

Personally, I think they are really great values for a custom shop model! $1499 at my local dealer. That's a steal as far as I am concerned...
-LPDEN----------
Gibson Electric Guitars:
2012 Gibson Jeff Tweedy SG | 2013 Elliot East Signature Tiki Firebird
FOR SALE: 2010 Gibson Custom Historic SG Special VOS P-90s - Faded Cherry

#11 User is offline   Oringo 

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:09 PM

Hey Vin,
Gotta admit, it's very tempting, but I don't think I'm gonna go for it. I've got another guitar project on the workbench, and I think I'm going stop with the 2 'birds for now.
Between them and the LAG I bought my son (LAG is sort of a French PRS, and the model I got my son is a basically inspired by a double cutaway LP-mahogany body, set neck, 2 full-size splittable HB's), we've got a good selection of Gibson sounds, but back when I was playing, I hot-rodded a Silvertone/Harmony with an early Tele pickup, and that is a sound I'd like to have again. So, I've got a Stewmac maple through neck, some old mahogany for the wings, and I'll be putting in some kind of Tele/Broadcaster single coil at the bridge. I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to put in at the neck, but I'm leaning towards a P-90.
(Actually, that poor Silvertone was my first electric, and it got all kinds of Frankenstein mods, first some hot HB's, the tele bridge pickup at the neck, a homemade hum-bucker made from stacked DeArmonds,...and since it had such a wide neck, it finally finished as an 8-string bass!)

LPDen,
One of my local guitar stores has got one of these Custom Shop Firebirds in the window and I use any excuse possible to walk by his storefront. I played it the other day and it's first class! The shop owner was telling me, though, that Firebirds aren't easy to sell, and he's worried about how long it's gonna take to move this one.
I guess everyone agrees that Firebirds are cool to look at, and sound very good, but not everyone is crazy about playing them!

#12 User is offline   kevin134 

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 02:01 AM

I know this is a old post from last year, but found what seems to be a deal. On Chicago's Craigslist someone has a '66 Firebird for sale that the seller calls a Firebird XII 12 string and the price is much less then what I saw on a modded mid '60's regular bird at the chicago vintage guitar show a week ago.. $2499 is what he's asking..
'98 Reverend Slingshot

'07 Danelectro DC'59

'49 Gibson BR-9 Lapsteel

'97 Washburn P-2

'07 Reverend JetStream 390

Epiphone Les Paul JR p90

#13 User is offline   ladyscaglyc 

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 08:28 AM

Thanks for that info, Kevin.
That makes the total at around 6 that are known to exist.
(of course this is a limited search but come on now, if it isn't mentioned on this site,
then we've got to assume "there ain't too many others !")
That price has got to be reflective of the economy.
I can't imagine someone not realizing just how rare this bird truly is.

Thanks again Kev.

Vin
s/Vin


'65 Firebird 12 string

'05 Gretsch White Falcon

'06 EPI Emperor II Joe Pass w/ TruArc

'82 MIK Fender Strat

'00 "Vintage vibe"Squier Strat

#14 User is offline   Rick 

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 02:11 AM

Quote

Looks like the 12 string Firebird guys are chasing each other around the forum!
The 1966 Gibson catalogue lists the 12 string 'bird as "V-12," I guess as in "vee 12" Ó la Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar or Lincoln Zephyr...


do you like Ferrari and Lamborghini ?
__________________________________________________________________________

Riccardo - Mercatino (Seymour Duncan pickups) - My Gear | ź Drugo voleva solo il suo tappeto. Nessuna aviditÓ. ╚ che dava... un tono all'ambiente. ╗

#15 User is offline   kevin134 

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:14 PM

Glad I could contribute Vin. I saw that one and remembered seeing this post when doing a search a few days before for something else...
'98 Reverend Slingshot

'07 Danelectro DC'59

'49 Gibson BR-9 Lapsteel

'97 Washburn P-2

'07 Reverend JetStream 390

Epiphone Les Paul JR p90

#16 User is offline   Robert Seagrove 

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 07:49 AM

Hey Guys :

Well you can count five 1965 Gibson Firebird 12 Strings now. Mine is black and mint condition. I have had it for about 20 years now. Nothing like it. Its the biggest and sweetest 12 string electric giutar I have ever heard and I have been playing guitar for 46 years.

#17 User is offline   Oringo 

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:28 AM

Quote


do you like Ferrari and Lamborghini ?


Does anyone who is crazy about cars have the right to not "like" Ferrari or Lamborghini? I guess if you like to walk less crowded paths you could prefer something less famous and say you'd prefer a Maserati Mistral or a Lancia Flaminia Zagato to a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but hey, the only Ferrari I can afford is about 2 inches long and would come in a paper box...

Rick, since you're from Bologna (one of my favorite cities in Italy) I should mention I'm nuts about old Ducatis and Lancias (Maseratis are also a bit out of my price range). One of these days I'm going to get a Flavia/2000 coupe, but only if I stop buying Firebirds...

I should correct what I said about the "V-12" name-if it was a marketing thing to capitalize on high performance cars, you'd have to leave Jaguar off the list since they didn't start making a v-12 until the 1970's. As far as I know, the only v-12's available in a "street-legal" car in 1966 would have been Ferraris (250, 275, 330) and the Lambo 350gt and 400gt. (The Lincoln Zephyr of course goes back the the 1930's-my Dad had one) Anyone know of any others?

Hey Vin, I'm sure there must still be a lot of V-12's out there. Once we got in touch on the forum and started looking around, it became clear that there are always a couple for sale between Ebay, Gbase and Craigslist. If you compare how many are up for sale compared to reverse and other non-reverse Firebirds, and take into account how many were made, I bet a fairly high proportion have survived. It was a rare guitar to begin with, and I bet the majority wound up in the hands of guitarists who appreciate them.

#18 User is offline   Oringo 

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:45 AM

Quote

Hey Guys :

Well you can count five 1965 Gibson Firebird 12 Strings now. Mine is black and mint condition. I have had it for about 20 years now. Nothing like it. Its the biggest and sweetest 12 string electric giutar I have ever heard and I have been playing guitar for 46 years.


Hi Robert, is your black 12 string an original finish? I know black was available as an option, but it wasn't part of the "Custom Color" catalogue, and original black Firebirds are very rare!

My black non-reverse was refinished, and judging from the control cavity, the truss rod cavity and the serial number which has been left unpainted, I think it was a sunburst to start with. The pickup cavities have Pelham Blue overspray, but I think this poor old 'bird has been re-finned a few times...

#19 User is offline   ladyscaglyc 

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 02:09 AM

Robert, I can't say mine is in the great shape like yours, but I love her just the same.
The pickguard is tired But signed by B.B. King way back when.
The finish is checked with plenty of battle scars.
I keep her in an open case when not going to a special "bigger" gig.

[IMG]http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj230/ladyscaglyc/photo1.jpg[/img]
s/Vin


'65 Firebird 12 string

'05 Gretsch White Falcon

'06 EPI Emperor II Joe Pass w/ TruArc

'82 MIK Fender Strat

'00 "Vintage vibe"Squier Strat

#20 User is offline   Oringo 

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 02:19 AM

Say, have you guys taken the screws out of your pickguards at the far ends? The original pickguards shrink like mad, and the screw holes at the top of the "loop" and at the bridge end that sticks out almost always crack. If you take out those screws, you can keep the guard intact longer.

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