2008 Gibson Custom Shop Inspired by Series Johnny Winter Firebird Signed Aged (Sunburst).
Here it is.
I’ve got to confess I’m pretty excited about this one.
Only 125 were ever made, and moreover I’ve been a Johnny Winter fan for years, and hence a huge fan of Firebirds.
I once even got to meet his band members (but unfortunately not Johnny himself) not long before his passing and you could just tell how much they loved and respected him.
Recreating the late blues guitarist’s iconic Sunburst ’63 Firebird V including all the play wear and mods and signed by Johnny himself, this one pretty much speaks for itself.
From what I have heard, Johnny had a pretty rough career and the ’63 Sunburst was probably there by his side on many occasions. It was Johnny’s battle axe.
Gibson Custom Shop obviously did a beautiful job, and I can’t be happier having this one in my hands.
I love the broken-in feel that this guitar has thanks to the aged finish.
Rather light for a Firebird weighing 8.15lbs, there’s a nice midrange that adds on nicely with the shimmering overtone of the mini-humbuckers.
It’s not just bright, but has a nice nasally midrange character that is unique to Firebirds, and when you break out the Winter-esque slide playing, this thing growls.
Johnny swapped the original Lyre (Maestro) tailpiece with a stop-tailpiece which not only gives a more stable intonation but a greater body resonance and slightly tighter harmonic character.
He left the banjo tuners on there, and though I understand there are various opinions about the efficiency of these particular tuners, I personally love them.
The metal chunk on the huge headstock of Firebirds definitely influences the tone and sustain, and I have personally never had trouble with them even on stage (I own a Custom Shop stop-tailpiece Firebird myself).
They stay in tune as long as you tune the guitar with caution, and the tuners give a more open resonance than Steinbergers or Mini-Grovers seen on recent reissue models.
This guitar definitely has some mojo worked in on it, and I’m glad I got to cross paths with it.