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Bleachboy

Help identifying 68’ non-reverse Firebird

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Hello everybody,

I recently purchased my very first vintage Gibson guitar, a 1968 non reverse Firebird, sunburst finish. I bought it from Rivington Guitars’ Reverb shop (I live in France, that shop is in NYC). The price was not very high, and rightly so because it’s a strange Bird indeed, with lots of non original parts and mods.

The serial number, stamped on the back of the headstock is 955547, which dates the guitar to 1968, near the end of production.

- The pickups are not original (as listed). These are Duncan SM3 mini-humbuckers (in a normal 2 pickup configuration).

- Some of the pots look original, some others don’t (the listing said original pots). The one that does look original has the 13764?? stamped number on top if it. The others have 1376426 stamped on the side.

-There is a switchcraft jack in place of the original one.

- Tuners have been replaced by Schallers (as written in the listing).

- There are numerous holes in the body, showing what might have been the three holes for the original short Vibrola, and four small holes that could have been holes for a Bigsby vibrato, but I’m not sure. Curious thing: the three holes align just after the first volume pot, all of the other pics I’ve found of Birds without vibrolas showed the three holes to align just before the first volume pot, or right in the middle of it.

- It came with an original lightning bolt compensated wraparound bridge/tailpiece. It it compensated for a wound G string, and looks like the real deal in every aspect. However, the studs are not original, there are Tonepros. 

- The original lateral (and often problematic) switch was replaced with a regular three-way toggle switch, as is often done with those guitars.

Here’s what’s weird about that guitar:

- There is no copper plate inside the pots cavity.

- Some pots look legit, others I’m not quite sure about.

- There is no strap button on the heel of the guitar, nor is there a hole for it, there’s only one on the bout (back of the neck). I’ve read that most if not all Birds came with a strap button both on the bout and the heel.

- When I unscrewed the pickguard, I noticed that the guitar cavity had three pickup routes, whereas the guitar only has 2 pickups and the pickguard is routed for 2 pickups too. The listing made no mention of this.

- The hole for the bottom right screw in the pickguard (bottom « horn ») is weird, I can’t put a screw there, it doesn’t screw into the wood, but directly into the « empty » cavity, therefore is useless.

For the Firebird experts out there, I would appreciate any thoughts or opinions about this guitar.
Does it seem legit to you ? Frankenbird or Fakebird ? Possibly a former Firebird III  with 3 P90’s turned into Firebird V ?

There’s a lot of odd details about it. However it does feel and sound incredible. It is a pretty lightweigh guitar, and super resonant (even when unplugged). The neck is also absolutely perfect, chunky but not too much. 
 

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you so much.

Louis

 


 

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Edited by Bleachboy
Added info

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EDIT: after some research, I’ve found that all of the non reverse Firebirds were factory routed for three pickups, whether they actually were fitted 3 pickups or just 2. Same thing, if anyone has more info on this I’d appreciate it.

Thanks again

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