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Gibson Custom Johnny Winter Firebird Electric Guitar

Sound Quality

Well, if you like a regular old USA issue Firebird, with its super-high output pickups (complete with the ice pick in the forehead bridge pickup) you'll like this guitar, and THAT is one of my main criticisms. Gibson, in their typical "We'll do what we want, cause we're GIBSON" fashion, chose to put run of the mill, off the shelf Firebird mini-humbuckers in this ($7500) guitar. They hand you a line like "no detail was overlooked", and "painstaking recreation", and then put generic pickups in a replica guitar. Folks, these pickups read 16k on the neck pickup, and 24k on the bridge pickup. There are no original '63 Firebirds (which this is supposed to be a recreation of) that have pickups that read like this. An original, '63 to 'early '65 "reverse" Firebird (I've owned 9 of them) would have pickups in the 5.5k to 6.5k range, and sound COMPLETELY different than the pickups in this guitar. On a guitar that costs this much, you'd think Gibson could have taken the time and "painstakingly recreate" a set of original pickups (no doubt the same as whats in Johnny Winters guitar) and applied them to this guitar. Supposedly there are only 100 of these Johnny Winter guitars in existance. Gibson could have even used Seymour Duncan Antiquity Firebird pickups (which sound 1000 times better than the pickups in this guitar). This kind of "they wont notice it" attitude on a guitar purported to have "no detail overlooked" is SUCH a slap in not only the consumers face, but a slander to the name of Johnny Winter as well. On a guitar that costs $1000, or $2000, this could be excused. On a guitar that lists for over $11,000??? This is just typical Gibson policy, thinking that they're gonna get over on the buyer of this guitar, and dont expect them to give a flying s#!t what you think about it, cause they dont.


As the guitar sits now, it would be usable in a live, performing situation. As received it absolutely would not have been. The finish is aged (relic'd), so to comment on it would be pointless. It is what it is, and thats it. It DOES look like a 45 year old guitar, but how much is THAT worth to you?? Honestly, Im positive that this guitar is nothing more than an off the shelf, USA generic Firebird with a relic treatment, and the appropriate wear and holes to make it look similar to Johnny Winters guitar. I guess its a matter of taste and economics as to whether thats worth $6000 MORE than an off the shelf USA Firebird. I can tell you that had I known all of this before buying this guitar(sight unseen--an online purchase), I WOULD NOT have bought it.


General Comments

Up front, this is NOT any kind of rant about Johnny Winter, or the reason behind producing this guitar. Johnny Winter has been an icon in music, and absolutely deserves a guitar dedicated to him, but NOT this guitar, and NOT by a company as underhanded and un-concerned as Gibson. Im quite certain that if Gibson tried to get this guitar passed Mr. Winter 15 or 20 years ago, he would have flat refused to put his name on this guitar. Its really too bad that Gibson has been unable to hold to the quality that USED to be present in their products, because if they had, this guitar would have been really something special. Unfortunately, it is not.

SO... this IS a rant about how Gibson tries to cut corners on their products, whether that product costs 8 dollars, or 8 thousand dollars. Its all the same to them.

I've been playing for nearly 40 years, and in my lifetime, have owned literally hundreds of guitars, ranging from vintage collectables, to currently available production guitars. Presently I own 23 guitars, including this one.

Quote: "Is there something you wish you had asked before buying this guitar?" Well, yeah, but considering who I would have to ask (Gibson), it would have been an exercise in futility.

Three things I would like to ask, AND HAVE ANSWERED:

How can you do all of this on a guitar that costs THIS much, and have no conscience about it at all?

Do you collectively have THAT little pride in what you sell?

Is it REALLY just about the dollars that line your pockets, and that you'll say virtually ANYTHING in an advertisement to get them?


If there is one thing I appreciate in life, its honesty. This review IS honest. If Gibson had any ethics at all, the HONEST answers to the above 3 questions would be:

Cause we really DONT care about the customer or the product...

No, we do NOT have any pride in our product...

Yes, it IS only about the dollars. If we could sell you toilet bowls, we would, and they would be "GIBSON" toilet bowls, with all that infers...


If it was stolen would I be pissed?? Yeah, only because that meant someone broke into my house. I would get my insurance money back, and WOULD NOT buy another one.

I must say that I really hate saying such a thing, because of who Johnny Winter has been to me as an influence in my playing, but honestly, aside from a worn out finish and a certificate in the case, this guitar has nothing to do with the blues/rock legend, Johnny Winter, nor should it be associated with his name... THIS guitar does not live up to THAT standard.




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