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Playing a 12string as a 6.


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In the early days, I had played the firebird as a 6string and with those vintage mini humbuckers, it really became my go to guitar.

A few years back she's been strung for 12 strings but for the sake of 3 to 4 songs, never really got much strap-in time, so I went back to the 6.

Now for those who may not be familiar with them, the neck is an ES 12 string (1965-6) and

is one of the thinnest & narrowest necks ever made.

Simply removing the "octave" strings leaves a very comfortable & easy to play fingerboard.

So that's my latest "mod" for an old Gibby yet keeping it stock! [thumbup]post-690-099468700 1290788446_thumb.jpg

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Hey Vin keep that baby singing with 6 or 12!


When I got my 12 the original tuners were gone and someone had put in 6 Grovers. Since I was a poor student and the Firebird was my only good guitar (traded in a Gretsch to get it, only a couple of hacksawed Harmony plywood guitars left as backup)I never did get to string it up and play it as a 12. It was such a sweet guitar and I remember the neck feeling just great as a 6 string. The mini-humbuckers would just sing through the old fender amp I used.

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And all this time I thought you had that bird to 12 at one time or another.

Just imagine that same resonance the bird has with the added overtones & harmonics.

Have you added any more to the "flock?" Myself,I've still got extreme gas for another "bird", although this one has just recently left the White Falcon on the stand for 3 of the 4 sets!


Thanks guys for the comments & good to hear from you Oringo.

post-690-001075800 1290880927_thumb.jpg

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Hey Vin,

Despite regular GAS attacks, (a white bicentennial reverse that got away, an es325-like an es330 with mini-hums- that I got out bid on, and a 12 string bird that was sitting in a shop in London for 6 months, but got bought by a dealer in Holland before I could get it)the flock hadn't grown over the last couple of years, then I stumbled on an almost unused 2006 reverse at a hard to resist price and bought it this morning. It cost me only a little more than I think I can get for the Orville, so I'll play them both for a couple of months and then decide which one I want to keep. My only fear is that I'll find them very diferent and want to keep them both! Well, it'll be a chance to compare 90's Japanese guitar making to current Nashville quality. I'm not taking any bets...the Orville is really well-made!

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That is soooo freakin' cool. Good for you!

You know, in your heart, that unless you've got to go to the pawn shop, you should keep both.

Is the new one with full size HBs?

If you wanted to try it out, there are a few outfits now making P90s in HB size. I put 1 GFS Mean90 (HB size) in my Joe Pass and if I ever get another "bird" that has HBs, that will

be the route I'll go.

Congrats again on the new "flock" addition.

We will need pictures! [thumbup]

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It has mini humbuckers, but since it's a 2006 I assume they're the newer ceramic high output type. The new one is till in the mail so I won't get to play it for a few days.


I do love the sound of P-90's, though and I put one in a guitar I made:




I started with a maple through neck from Stew-Mac and was going to make my own "Firebird," but since I got the two black 'birds in the mean time, I decided to go another route and grafted wings from a '64 Gretsch Corvette body. The bridge p/u is a really sweet vintage tele (nocaster style) so this guitar gives me something different from the mini-hum equipped Firebirds. The P-90 at the neck can get very warm "jazz" sounds with the tone turned down, and sounds great for "dirty" blues as well. I bet the GFS sounds great in a Joe Pass.

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That build is gorgeous and with banjo tuners to boot!

Nice, sweet Vette/bird!


That PU combo is impressive too.

I imagine it's got Dynasonic chime when needed, all the way to a Crunchy Tele!


I'm hoping to do a new PG/PU combo for my older Squier w/ a mini at the neck & a P90

at the bridge.

You're right about the JP, too.

I love the combinations.

Now if someone could build a CharlieChristian within a GFS price point, the possibilities would be endless ! (laughter like a mad scientist)

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That combo on a Strat sounds very good. To tell the truth, I've been thinking about putting a P-90 at the bridge of my Firebird VII. The pickguard isn't original and I almost never use the bridge p/u alone (modern ceramic mini-hum), so maybe with the other p/u's I have in there (original vintage Gibson at the neck, Seymour Duncan SM3 in the middle) a P-90 at the bridge would get more playing time...of course it does look nice now with three gold mini-hums...

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Would you not have to adjust the neck going from 12 to 6 strings......?


Surely the tension on the neck would be very very different dropping from 12 to 6 strings....?


Also how to get to see the full sized picture of your Firebird all I can see is the thumbnail....

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@ Blues,

I've not had a problem with having to adjust the neck.

Of course I leave the main 6 strings at their orig. tuners so, seems to me,

that the head has just about the same tension as it did when the lighter octave strings

were in place.

Whether or not my action changed drastically, I never noticed it.


I'm sorry about the thumbnail only- I'll look around for better pix.

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If I may be so bold as to call you Vin....


I downloaded the PDF lovely vintage axe what year was it again and when did it get it's pup change.....if you have already stated all this then just point me at the information rather that retype. Shame it aint got the original pickups in there.....what's the story......?


I have a 12 string electric and was advised not to take it down to 6 strings, that is why I was interested in your Firebird XII.

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I imagine that an axe without that Gibby/Epi head angle may need to be truss adjusted, but

I'm not a luthier. I do know I've not had a problem w/ it.


Now to the "Bird", The neck PU is orig.

I soldered out the cover years back when it was the thing to do!

Still have the cover, too.

The bridge mini is the early 70s SD replacement. (That orig.PU is long gone).

The mini switch is phase/out of phase done same time the SD was installed, & guitar rewired to mono.

I'm 2nd owner since '68.

The pots are dated '65.

All orig. except for Guild tuners (done by EUWurlitzer when new)

& I don't have the orig. STEREO truss rod cover.


The B.B. sig was done in mid seventies in Salem, MA.

We were to back him up that night.

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Vin, did you say STEREO?


My XII was not wired stereo and the electrics seem to have been factory original. As far as I have read in Firebird lore, I'm not aware of any models being wired stereo from the factory, though there were quite a few stereo Gibsons and Epi's at the time. I'm really curious! What kind of jack did your 'bird have in it when it was stereo? The 65's should have come from the factory with the "low-profile" plastic Carter jack, which usually broke about the same time the slider pickup selector switch died...

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Oringo,It must have been done by EU Wurlitzer at the time they did the tuners.

I never had a problem with the jack so I imagine it was a Switchcraft but had to make up a stereo plug w/ a jumper on my cord! That freakin' cord would static out at the worst times.

When I finally changed to the SD, and had her only refret, that cord was taped up like Roger Daltry's microphone!


So, if anyone knows where I can find a Gibby Truss Rod Cover with STEREO in vertical, let me know.

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