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2021 IAF Custom SNAFU


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Somehow they fiendishly managed to make the case even heavier.  The new latches can't weight THAT much.  I was thinking I need a roadie just to carry it upstairs past the unsuspecting wife.

I read a couple of online reviews about this one which got me interested; one guy said really nice, one guy said bites without a ton of fiddling around with so here's my two cents.  The only other Firebird Vs that I'm familiar with are from 2011 on up.

The fit and finish is beautiful although the fretboard really appreciated some lemon oil.  All of the other new ones came pretty well lubed up (this is a 2020 model).  These pics were taken as soon as the case was opened, plastic still on the pickguard, original strings, etc.

They changed the frets but they're really low.  The neck has more girth to it and it's rounded a bit so it doesn't have quite as much of that flat Firebird feel.  Picture a cross between a 60s Les Paul neck and the shallow Firebird profile and that's pretty much it.  I think it's a comfortable, fast neck with a slick back to it.  That's always a big plus.

They cheapened the headstock and now it's just flat with no bevel and they lost the Steinberger's and put on Grovers.  Maybe a groupie will throw her thong at me and I can use it to hide the headstock?  Hope it's not a giant fat one who heaves some oversized bloomers at me but beggars can't be choosers.

Just like on an Explorer, the tuning pegs are crammed up right against one another and the ratio is pretty low.  The good news is it stays in tune really well.  No neck dive, it just stays put and is very comfortable.  The seller had two and I decided to go with the heavier one which is a little over 8 1/4 pounds.  I also liked the wood grain better as it had more going on.  Lots of sustain which I attribute to the weight but that could just be my imagination.

They updated the pick ups and they have more output and considerably more midrange and bass than the previous ones.  For once, the bridge pick up is especially good.  The 2011 I have came with Seymour Duncans and they just bite by comparison.  I'm not sure what they were going for but I think they missed the mark.  Which ones they are, I dunno.

One guy was complaining about how he couldn't get the action low and the neck needs a redesign due to the studs, the nut was too high, the saddles needed work, etc. but no problems with this one.  I  use 11s so I ran a welder's tip file through the slots in the nut and will have to give the truss rod a few tweaks over the next few days.

It sounds like they used the same updated pots and whatnot on the Firebird as now the middle position is actually useful.  I think you can also adjust the tailpiece with an Allen wrench if you're not able to get a grip on the knurled nuts.  I always hit the nut threads with WD40 and screw them all the way in so they turn easily.

If you're looking for a Firebird and can get past the Fedner-ish looking head stock I'd say these are worth getting.

BB King had his Lucille, this one reminds me of the color of a cough drop so I'll call it Luden.

IAF?  Well, I wouldn't go that far.  



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26 minutes ago, rct said:

Oh hell yeah.  I could put a strat/tele case in there, protect the stickers!


Yes the stickers make the case.  And along with your Tele/Strat case  you can also store a small dog, 3 average size 5 year old's and a Latvian weight lifter.

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In all my years of playing I have never held one of those in my hands.  I played with a guy who owned one a couple of times, but he wasn't lending it out.  Anyway I really like the finish and grain on that one - hope it sounds as good as it looks.  Congrats👍

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Twang Gang,

They're really different.  This one article I was reading described them as being the most un-Gibson model made.  The 17th fret is pretty much at your belly button and then you've got the body of the guitar way over on the right so it can seem like they're all neck.  It takes some getting used to but, like everthing else, after a bit it seems normal.  If you switch back and forth between a Firebird and an SG or whatever it's easy to get lost on the neck.  Where's the 12th fret at on this thing?

The pick ups are a lot different than the other Gibsons, too.  Like a brighter P90 would be the best description.  I don't know anything about the original or 70s reissues but these pick ups are the best of the later Firebirds. 

Shame they chintzed out on the headstock bevel to do a little recreational penny pinching.  That was such an ICONIC feature.

Other than that I have no complaints.



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There's one on Reverb right now but it's not cheap.  That silver looks really good on it, I like what they did with the neck, that's very distinctive.

I was watching a 2005 VII in that tanslucent cherry and, of course, I was about 3 days away from being able to afford it.  Somebody grabbed it and when it resurfaced at a couple of hundred bucks more I was about 3 days away from being able to afford it and then it vanished.

Someday that iconic model will be mine once again.


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Normally I'm not a fan of firebirds, but I'd hit that one...  The headstock bevel thing,, yea, that was one of the things on the Firebird headstock that I always found cool.  Why do they eliminate these little details.  I guess they don't realize some people pay attention to the little things..



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I could do a Rick Nielson thing and just hang them all over myself.  That would be an iconic shot.

The problem is that Gibson has been around an awfully long time and they've certainly made their share of ICONIC models.  Even if you hold up a liquor store you'll run out of money before you snag one of each that appeals to you.  

Uncle Fester, I found a knock out of an Explorer which I think has your name on it.  My beady little eyes bugged out of my head when I saw it but I don't know if he'll ship.  Facebook Marketplace can be kind of weird.  I already have one and need to quit screwing around a get that VII so I can put paid to the insanity.


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