First offered in1963, the early Firebirds (produced up until 65) earned the nickname reverse' because the protruding bottom horn made them look as if the body had been put on upside down. Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper sings the praises of a sometimes overlooked Gibson masterpiece.
By the late 1950sÂ and early '60s those upstart Californians at Fender had made such inroads into the electric guitar market that even the mighty Gibson had begun to worry. Stratocasters and Telecasters were everywhere and Gibson's offerings were starting to look dated and expensive compared with the brightly coloured, easy to handle, affordable products of Leo Fender's team at Fullerton. Â
Gibson wasn't about to take the challenge lying down, of course, so their legendary President Ted McCarty set about creating a new generation of Gibsons that would be, well, somehow a little more Fender-like, yet still recognisably Gibsons. His first attempts, the Moderne, Explorer and Flying V didn't quite manage to do the trick, so McCarty thought again.
His masterstroke was to call in the doyenne of US car design, Ray Dietrich, who applied golden-age spaceship tail-fin styling to an Explorer, resulting in the Firebird - a guitar like no other before. And few since.
First offered in1963, the early Firebirds (produced up until 65) earned the nickname reverse' because the protruding bottom horn made them look as if the body had been put on upside down. But that was far from the extent of the FireÂ