Ibanez lawsuit Firebird V early 1970s Sunburst image

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Before the Ibanez name became synonymous with shred and fleet fingered guitarists like Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, it had humble origins in the import copy model arena.  In the 1970’s, Ibanez was a brand distributed in the U.S. for budget priced, good quality guitars made in the Fujigen factory of Japan.  This was a time when Norlin owned Gibson and CBS owned Fender, and both the Gibson and Fender brand names were on a downturn due to big corporate design and factory changes that were received unfavorably by guitarists across the globe in the marketplace. 

Ibanez’ copies of Les Pauls, Stratocasters, Telecasters, and Jazz Basses became very popular with working musicians who wanted the 50’s and 60’s designs and rejected the new models from the US brands.  Ibanez also made limited runs of some niche Gibson models, such as the Firebird V, which they dubbed, “Firebrand.”  When record label artists started appearing with Ibanez “clone”  instruments in hand (Tom Petty, Paul Stanley and Cub Koda, to name a few), the US brands retaliated.  A lawsuit over headstock design was filed, but Ibanez had by then decided to focus on its own original designs.  Nevertheless, the quality of the “lawsuit” models was not imaginary, and though attrition has reduced their numbers over the past 30+ years, some examples survive as evidence.  This model is one of them.

Appearance-wise, the Ibanez Firebrand is a stunning replica of a 1963 Firebird V.  The banjo tuners, neck through mahogany design, mini humbuckers and Vibrola tailpiece are identical to the original.  The binding on the neck has aged to a light yellow, the rosewood fingerboard with pearl trapezoid markers is flawless, and the gold volume and tone knobs even have the historically accurate pointy indicators, which can draw blood.  The only difference I have been able to discern is the toggle switch, which does not have a white plastic cap.

Firebirds were known for their high raunch quotient but slicing tone (a Fender sound with a Gibson feel, as Johnny Winter has described it), the Ibanez Firebrand reproduces that aural experience in spades.  The slim neck is like butter and ranks with the best of the 60’s models and current Gibson reissues.  It is much smoother than the thicker ’76 Gibson baseball bat. 

As a guitar that was only gigged with less than 3 times and used primarily for recording, this Firebrand is in practically mint condition and is probably a 9.0-9.5/10.  It comes with a blue faux fur lined hard shell case.  Everything except for the upper strap button is completely original.  The only modification is a Straplock, which I can leave on or replace with a regular strap button.

Though I hate parting with this guitar, I truthfully do not play it enough to warrant keeping it.  I have a Thunderbird bass that I perform with every week and a Les Paul with coil taps that give me much of the Firebird sound when needed. My loss is your gain.

Product Specs

Condition:
Mint (Used)
Brand:
Ibanez
Model:
Firebird V
Finish:
Sunburst
Categories:
Solid Body
Year:
early 1970s
Made In:
Japan

About The Seller

John's Shop
Joined Feb 2013
New York, NY, United States

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This listing has ended.

John's Shop

New York, NY, United States
Joined: Feb 2013