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Unusual Firebird Nonreverse

Kit Haigh

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Hello everyone, just joined!

I've owned a distinctive Nonreverse Firebird for 24 years, and I'm just getting round to trying to find out a bit more about it. It was decorated with some sort of hot iron engraving and colour stain in 1975 by Jacqueline Schiele (it's signed under the tailpiece) and was owned by Zal Cleminson of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band in the seventies. This is documented by several pictures I've found, a youtube video and by an email he sent me. When I bought it I was told it had also belonged to someone from the Grateful Dead, but I don't have any proof of this.

There are a few odd things about this guitar, but the main one is that the serial number stamped on the back of the headstock is from 1962 - and these guitars didn't go into production until '65. Anyone have any ideas on this?

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Ok, hopefully this link will work - bear with me I'm new to this!


Firebird pictures


Unusual things I've noticed apart from the serial number:

1. Toggle switch instead of the usual slider

2. No 'step' where the neck joins the body

3. There's an inlaid logo on the headstock - though you can see old screw holes where a normal truss rod cover/badge used to be.

The headstock is not quite the same shape as others I've seen.


One explanation for most of this could be that the neck has been replaced with an older one - but did any other Gibsons use this type of neck?


Any thoughts very much appreciated!

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I may be wrong, but the serial number looks like the correct first five digits for a '67- with the headstock mods the last digit may have gotten erased. The body at the neck joint looks like it was modified...looks like a nice old guitar that's lived an interesting life, but it seems pretty unlikely it's a special factory prototype.

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Kit Haigh,

re:Gibson Electrics by A.R.Duchossoir puts your bird between '63-65 with this...


"Those with a flat reverse peghead & conventional tuners- that is built with a peghead

without the carved ledge, and fitted with conventional tuners...

This variant is also characterized by an unbound rosewood fingerboard and usually

sports black-covered P-90 pick-ups instead of mini-humbuckers."


...a lot of great info in A.R.'s reference books.

I'm way curious about the P-90s, they must sound crunchy on solid mahogany.

(Oringo, that's the only other PUs I'd love to have on a solid. Minis w/sparkle!)

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Hey Kit & Vin,

There are pictures out there on the net of transitional Firebirds, neck-through reverse bodies with non-reverse style headstocks in either direction, Kluson inline tuners, and p-90's. In any case p-90's were standard equipment on Firebird I's and III's once the non-reverse bodies went into production in '65. Mini-hum's came on the V, VII and V-XII. I've never played a p-90 equipped 'bird, but I played an ES330 and a LP Special, and p-90's can be great. I've got a project for which I've been collecting pieces, (maple through-neck, ebony finger-board, and just picked up some 40 year-old mahogony for the wings) and I'm 90% sure I'm going to put a p-90 in the neck position, with an old tele pup at the bridge...sorry about that, this is a Gibson forum...


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