Gibson Firebird VII Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 501512, Polaris White lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case. This supremely striking solidbody is an almost unbelievably clean example of THE rarest variant of Gibson's 1960s Firebird family...a Custom-Color "non-reverse" Firebird VII. This model was the top of the line of second series of Firebirds that replaced the earlier "reverse" body guitars starting in summer 1965, made in only VERY limited quantities. As the bodies were made with the opposite offset pattern in a more conventional layout they were dubbed "non-reverse" in the 1970's, which has confused novices ever since! These second-try Firebird models were lower-priced, easier-to-build instruments than the earlier "reverse" body Firebird series guitars. They were available through the late 1960s in dwindling quantities, but never really considered a sales success. This simply stunning example of the top-line Firebird VII is finished in a superbly preserved Polaris White lacquer, one of the custom colors advertised for the Firebird line but in practice seldom ordered. Gibson lore holds that most dealers simply ignored the special Firebird color chart brochure the company helpfully provided, as they were more interested in selling stock models off the wall. "If you've got a red one, they want a blue one" was the complaint, and whatever the truth, the solid color guitars are exponentially rarer than the standard sunburst models. ESPECIALLY the VII models which are scarce to begin with. All of which is a shame really, as they certainly are way more dramatic looking than their sunburst sisters.While still carrying three mini-humbucking pickups and gold-plated hardware, this second edition Firebird VII was not fitted with other deluxe appointments like the bound, block-inlaid ebony fingerboard of the earlier version. Still the top of the Firebird line, the VII was a less fancy-looking guitar than the earlier rendition -- or the top-line SG Custom -- despite a fairly hefty price tag. As usual the plainer models were the better sellers, but in the case of these later Firebirds the difference is even greater than other Gibson lines. The Custom finish puts this one in a whole other category, although the model was ordered in miniscule quantities in ANY finish. Only 79 Firebird VII's shipped after 1965 and the listed total is 110 for that year, at least half of which were likely the earlier reverse version. The non-reverse VII was actually made in much smaller quantity than other oft-quoted Firebird rarities like the reverse VII (around 250), non-reverse XII (272), and reverse I (over 1,000). All FB VII's are rare in ANY finish, so custom color examples of this model are almost never encountered today. Under the creamy white lacquer this Firebird VII has a one-piece mahogany body with a glued-in mahogany neck, a design far simpler to build than the earlier laminate neck-through-body Firebird design. The pickups are mounted directly to the pickguard, making it quicker and easier to assemble as well. The hardware is all gold plated and includes Gibson's "long" Vibrola unit with a plastic-tipped handle and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. Gold-plated Kluson Deluxe strip tuners adorn the headstock, a seldom-seen fitting. The Firebird VII is distinguished by mounting not two but three gold-plated mini-humbucking pickups, an unusual combination only otherwise available on the Gibson-made 1960s Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe and hollowbody Emperor, both also extremely rare models. Besides its killer looks this is a great-sounding guitar; the bright but powerful mini-humbucking pickups have plenty of clarity at lower volumes but really growl when cranked. The three-position slider switch has settings typical for three-pickup Gibsons, offering neck and bridge alone and a bridge/middle selection in the center position. This has an almost "Stratty" phased snap with Firebird pickups, a tonality virtually unique to this model. Visible pot codes on this particular guitar date to the 39th week of 1965 and the serial number suggests shipment was late in the same year. This makes it an early example of the new model, and indeed it appears more carefully built then the sometimes slapdash-feeling later 60's 'birds. The knobs are older the style with a metal cap used mostly from 1961-67, not the later "Witch Hat" type more often seen later on. The neck is narrower at the nut than earlier reverse Firebird necks, but still has a nice feel not quite as insubstantial-feeling as some period SG necks.

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Listed2 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
Brand
Model
  • Firebird VII Non-Reverse
Finish
  • Polaris White lacquer
Categories
Year
  • 1965
Made In
  • United States
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Body Material
  • Mahogany
Neck Construction
  • Set-Neck
Model Sub-Family
Color Family
  • White
Body Shape
  • Double Cutaway
Pickup Configuration
  • HHH
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Neck Material
  • Mahogany
Model Family
Body Type
  • Solid Body
Offset Body
  • Yes
Scale Length
  • 24.75"
Bridge/Tailpiece Type
  • Tremolo Tailpiece
Number of Frets
  • 22

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Sales:1,466
Joined Reverb:2015

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