Pheonix is the name of my Gibson Firebird V 2016 T. As said in the previous post I bought it for £850 and it has really opened my eyes to a lot of things to do with playing Guitar. Unfortunately I crushed the end of my little finger beneath a concrete block working with the bricky’s which was extremely painful but even more painfully I havent been able to play guitar properly for a couple of weeks. Things like this really open your eyes to what you’re doing in life.
I completed my UCAS application with the exception of the Reference which my former boss Dave the Bar Manager will be filling out when we finally get together. I’ve applied to a couple of University’s but the one I’m gunning for is West London to do Mixing and Mastering. Managed to write my Personal Statement in 15 minutes at about 11 at night whilst I was in bed. My dad said he thought it was incredible, obviously hes biased but I guess I showed myself how eager I am to more forward now. Been sitting still or stepping sidways going from job to job which have nothing to do with Music. The Bar work was fun and I drank a lot for free, which I shouldn’t have done but had they paid me accordingly i’d have played by the rules. Labouring is good money but hard work and not particularly rewarding. Its nice to have weekends to myself though. The biggest issue is how its weather dependant, living in england that’s pretty dire!
I saw a video of Joe Bonamassa talking about tone and it got me experimenting. He says leave the pedals out (we know how much I love pedals!) and just use the toggle between Pups and the Volume and Tone pots to get different tones. He uses a Les Paul and explains how its a plethora of different sounds. A Firebird has the same pickup arrangement and a bit of a different Tone to a Les Paul but hes really opened my eyes. With a track like Since ive been loving you, as a novice I’d have the Volume and Tone up on the bridge and player the first part of the opening, then when it gets louder engage a pedal for an extra push. However, simply using the neck with the volume down slightly will clean up the tone and add a lot more mid range, then switching to the bridge will add the distortion and extra high end.
Using the neck with the Volume up and the Tone all the way down will give you a wolly dull tone (Dull can be negative when used to explain a person’s personality but with a tone can be desirable) similar to that of ‘Out of the Tiles’ Led Zeppelin. taking the Volume down slightly on the bridge to clean it up can give you a twang that matches that of coutry music extremely well. I much prefer this arrangement of pickups found on Les Pauls and Firebirds compared to that of the Stratocasters. You can set the guitar up in 2 ways then just switch. I’m not particularly a fan of 3 pickups on one Guitar but I guess I’ll warm to it eventually.
The Firebird uses Minubuckers and I’m 100% satisfied with the neck, I have been playing with the Volume and Tone Turned down to about 8 fingerpicking a little blues number I’ve made up and it sounds lovely. But even then switching to the bridge for a lead tone seems to almost duck. For me its not kicking enough so I may look at getting a Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio Minubucker with a lot more kick.
The guitar itself its impressive to look at, particularly with its 9-ply Mahognay-Walnut through neck which runs the length of the Guitar and a Rosewood fingerboard, then 2 Mahognay wings for the bass and treble that are reversed. This is quite an interesting design as it came from the Explorer but a Car designer got his hands on one and sanded off the edges resulting in the Firebird. Something else that I found quite interesting is that Gibson, as well as imprinting a Serial Number to their Guitars, place a magnetic tag beneather the Fingerboard that can be read at their Offices to confirm the Authenticity of a Guitar. Thats right, people out there try to fake Gibson guitars to make more money.
Another notable feature on this Guitar is the Very different Tuning Method. The Steinberger Gearless Tuning Keys unscrew on the front of the Head allowing you to pass a string through the pin, then tightening the screw locks the string in place. When you then wind the Keys on the back it pulls the pin down into the Head creating the tension on the string as opposed to winding it round the peg. They stay in tune and tune very finely.
Finally I use D’Addario Regular Light Guage strings ranging from 10 to 46. On my Big Mumma, which I’ll talk about in another post, I use 11 to 49. I dropped a Guage after watching a video of Billy Gibbons doing Guitar Moves (WATCH IT!), he says BB King told him to use lighter strings because the strings he did use made it too much work. He now uses 7’s! I cant imagine using anything that light because I somewhat follow the Jack White way of doing things where you make things more difficult to make yourself better thus settling at 10’s.