Sometimes deals just fall on your lap and you have to snag it, even if you don’t always want it. Worse yet, when the seller adds in an unlisted item to a deal you’ve already agreed to purchase, it becomes even more difficult to avoid when the price is unavoidable.
First we’ll start with an Epiphone Firebird VII for the sake of this post. Granted, it’s a guitar I’ve always wanted to own, but Gibson’s prices for a new one are absolutely ludacris. This particular guitar was being sold by a gentleman in town where I live, but hadn’t been listed for sale anywhere yet. As I was preparing to buy another guitar he posted for cheap, he asked if I’d be interested in a Firebird too. Well, yeah. Of course. I’ll at least take a look, right?
So I inevitably picked up this 2003 Epiphone Firebird VII for a low low price in addition to the first guitar I agreed to buy. There’s no chips in the finish let alone repairs from a break. It’s super clean. It came in a hard case, though it’s debatable if this case is meant for it. However, it at least fits and that’s what matters for the moment.
I personally struggle with liking gold hardware on import, budget minded guitars. For me, it patinas too quickly and gives an ugly appearance as the remaining gold doesn’t look great with the raw metal beneath. This guitar is no exception. The gold has significantly faded and I’m trying to figure out if I want to mod this guitar or not. And if I mod it, how far down that rabbit hole do I want to go? Do I want to keep it all gold and just replaced what’s needed, or swap everything over to nickel hardware and go triple Filtertron like Doug Kauer does from time to time on his Banshee line?
But, for now, it just needs a good setup and possibly some neck work. The pickups are good and I’m really into how the middle pickup blends in with the knob that’d normally be bridge volume. If the toggle is all the way down in position 1 (bridge), rolling up the blender pot to 10 activates the middle pickup and introduces a Strat-like, position-2 clucking quality. With the blender pot rolled up, the three way toggle (starting at position 1/bridge) represents: Bridge/Middle, Bridge/Middle/Neck, Middle/Neck. At 0 (zero), the middle pickup is completely disengaged, leaving the toggle to me simply: Bridge, Bridge/Neck, Neck.
I’ve personally found that I like the blender pot set to 6. It just gives these mini humbuckers a little extra brightness and snap which reminds me of single coils a bit. So I’ve been leaving the blender pot alone, resting at 6 and have been loving the tones coming out. Having the option to roll the blender up to 10 or down to 0 is nice too. But a sweet resting place is defintely 6 for me.
I’m not sure if I’ll keep her yet or not. I love it and it feels like a Firebird. Even if it’s just an Epiphone, it is still a fun addition to any guitar collection. It’s not often I see these come up used. And if one does, never as cheap as I paid for one. So this was a pretty big no-brainer to pick up at the price offered. Especially considering I could make a quick buck on Reverb as they sell used for 3-4x the amount I paid.