2011 Gibson Firebird Studio Non-Reverse (MODEL DSFBS)


The Blue Book Says:

– asymmetrical hourglass-shaped Firebird Non-Reverse-style mahogany body, set mahogany neck, 22-fret baked maple (appears dark) fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, non-reverse Firebird-style headstock with black overlay, black truss rod cover with gold “Gibson” logo inlay, six-on-one-side mini Grover kidney tuners, tune-o-matic bridge, stop tailpiece, white pickguard with engraved Firebird symbol, three coil-tapped P-90 pickups with black plastic covers, four knobs (three v, one tone, all with push/pull), five-way pickup switch, chrome hardware, available in Pelham Blue or Vintage Sunburst finish, 1.695 in. nut width, black hardshell case included, limited edition run of 400 instruments, mfg. 2011 only.


I Say:

Previously owned by Alex Green of the band “Attention Thieves.”  This guitar has rocked the stages at the Leeds and Reading Festivals – and has commensurate dings and chips to bear testament to its use.  I managed to find some photos of these events and have included them in the media gallery.

I always thought that these guitars were a bit of a whacky shape, but in reality they balance well and sound great.

This particular guitar features 3 coil tapped P-90 pickups, a five way selector and 3 individual volumes, phase shifting and one overall tone.

Mahogany forms the core of the Firebird Studio Non-Reverse from Gibson USA. The guitar’s body is crafted from solid Grade-A mahogany, and dressed in an authentic high-gloss nitrocellulose finish in Vintage Sunburst. Its quarter-sawn, Grade-A mahogany neck is carved to an ultra thin (.800-.850) profile, glued in, and topped with a Grade-A rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and a 12″ radius for smooth, choke-free bending. Beyond the PLEK-cut Corian nut, it carries a traditional “hawk’s head” six-in-line headstock with high-quality Mini Grover kidney button tuners, while down at the body end a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece-considerable upgrades from original components-help to ensure optimum resonance and sustain, while facilitating pinpoint intonation adjustments.

With such a solid foundation beneath it, the piece de resistance of the Firebird Studio Non-Reverse’s tonal arsenal lies in its complement of three great new Gibson pickups and hotrodded electronics to make the most of their sonic potential. A trio of Gibson USA’s revolutionary new Tapped P-90 pickups provides all the fat snarl, crunch and bite that vintage P-90s are known for, with the option of a the brighter, twangier sound of a thinner single-coil pickup accessed via the push-pull switch on each pickup’s independent volume control. They don’t feature “split coil” switching, as used on humbucking pickups. The switch on each of these single-coil Tap P-90 pickups accesses a genuine tap wired into the coil windings of each unit, grounding off part of its output to produce a brighter, more focused tone when the switch is pulled. Combine this with the push-pull switch on the master tone pot, which puts the middle pickup out of phase when combined with either the bridge or neck unit, and five-way switching to access bridge/bridge+middle/middle/neck+middle/neck pickup selections (either tapped or full), the Firebird Studio offers an unprecedented tonal range.

The neck is slim, has a couple of minor dings that can’t be felt whilst playing and has low action, the frets and rosewood fingerboard only show the very lightest of wear.  I’ve done my best to show the many superficial dings and dents that this guitar has.  There’s some wear to the pick covers due to the pickup height being set too high (or possibly just an over aggressive playing style!)  The Firebird logo has also been eroded away, possibly by sweat and abrasion.

Remember this is one of just 400 of these sonically very adaptive and individually attractive items available.

The neck pickup produces a thick and aggressive sound, middle slightly less so and bridge is bright and articulate.  In phase reversal mode positions 2 and 4 sound snarly and have a tendency to unpredictable overtones, especially with overdriven and compressed sounds.  In coil tap mode it’s very bright and articulate throughout.  It does suffer from the single coil plight of hum.

Sonically it’s great – pinched harmonics ping off this with ease!