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Guitar of the week #79 - Gibson Firebird Zero

Gibson Firebird Zero

Well. This is different.

The first thing I'll say about this guitar is that the price is right, especially for USA-built guitar that has a nitro finish on it. I can tell right up front that the Zero is priced very aggressively to gain interest; it certainly got my attention.

What we have here is a poplar body Firebird shape, a glued-in neck with a SlimTaper shape (like an SG) that has 22 frets, simple 3-way pickup switching, USA-made "double slugs" pickups, mini-button tuners, and my favorite part, an adjustable wraparound bridge.

I've owned a Les Paul with a wraparound bridge before, but the one I had was the non-adjustable kind where the intonation points were permanent. I really like the idea of a wraparound bridge but really don't like the non-adjustable style. Without question, the adjustable wraparound bridge is my favorite feature of the Zero because being able to fine tune your intonation is definitely a good thing.

My second favorite part of the guitar is that all the strings have a straight path to the tuning posts. This means very little "kinking" in the nut when the strings get old and promotes greater tuning stability.

My third favorite part of this guitar is its simplicity. This is a back-to-basics rock machine. Two pickups, no vibrato, no coil tap/split, two knobs completely out of the way of the pickup area. All good...

...and it also means that for modders, swapping out the pickups is actually really easy since the wiring is so simple.

There are two negatives I can see with the Zero design.

First is the output jack. It's on the front and right on the corner of the pick guard. You just know some people are going to knock that when a cable is plugged in and crack that right off.

Second, this guitar is just begging for strap locks because of its shape. Fortunately, strap locks are cheap so it's not a big deal to buy some separately.

Does this body shape have a neck dive problem? I don't believe so. True, the top horn is nowhere near the 12th fret, but the body is a good chunk of wood that sticks out far away from the horn, meaning it should balance out evenly when wearing the guitar standing.

My visual nitpicks

I have two.

The all-black pickup treatment is a little dull. It would have been nice to see zebra humbuckers or some chrome covers.

I do wish the fret markers were anything other than dots. Blocks such as on the Gibson SG Special T or trapezoids that are seen on any Les Paul Standard would have worked amazing here.

HOWEVER... this leads to my next point:

The Zero is priced amazing for what it is

This is a totally accessible, totally awesome Gibson USA rock machine. You just can't deny how good the price is. Any complaint I have about this guitar is canceled right out because of its aggressive pricing.

Do I predict these will sell out quick? Yes. I've no doubt of this whatsoever. Designed right, outfitted right, priced right, USA-made. It really doesn't get better than this.

161012

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