Gibson’s 50s and 60s Studio Tribute series is a kind of odd one. They’re not exact recreations of actual models, but rather they tap into the spirit of instruments from that era, with lower-cost satin finishes and less ornamentation. But the 50s and 60s Tributes I’ve played have been great guitars, especially the 60s Studio Tribute Les Paul I reviewed a while ago. Now Gibson is releasing the 70s Studio Tribute line containing three models: a Les Paul, an SG and a Firebird. These models aren’t based on actual 70s guitars (no Norlin-era pancake construction, thankfully!) but they’re cool axes in their own right, and each features newly designed Dual Blade Alnico Mini Humbuckers.
Wow, I just unearthed a photo of my old Epiphone Firebird, which I got in 2002. That was a great guitar but I quite stupidly traded it for something else in 2004. To this day I don’t understand why I did that. Hurrumph. It was a killler guitar, with Seymour Duncan mini humbuckers that sounded amazing. It was missing the switch tip when I bought it and I never did get around to replacing it. It sounded amazing – real Govt Mule tone – and the only problem I really had with it was that it was a very different playing experience to the Ibanez RGs I was used to. I occasionally used to kind of grate my index finger on the strings when I was picking. But instead of adjusting my picking style when playing that guitar, I gave up. Like a jerk.
Epiphone doesn’t appear to currently make a Firebird like this (though they do make a Firebird Studio that looks pretty cool). The closest thing to it is the actual Gibson Firebird V 2010, which looks very similar to my old Epiphone but with nicer inlays and cooler tuners.
On Thursday night Mrs I Heart Guitar and I went to the Roxy Music gig at Rod Laver Arena here in Melbourne. We don’t get to go to many concerts together – I’m a metalhead and she likes far classier music than involves far less shouting, skulls and demons – but occasionally our tastes overlap. Like Zappa, Steely Dan and David Bowie. The Roxy Music gig was great, with a balance of the rowdier, glammier moments that we live for, and the more poppy, radio-friendly early 80s fare that it seemed the rest of the audience was waiting for with folded arms. My buddy Joe Matera was also at the gig – he recently interviewed Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera for Guitar & Bass Magazine – and he was kind enough to let me accompany him backstage to say hi to Phil afterwards. Thanks Joe!
By the way, Manzanera used some great guitars during the gig, including his red Gibson Firebird, a 3-pickup Les Paul, and a Fender David Gilmour Stratocaster.
Here’s the setlist.
India (Tape, for walk on)
The Main Thing
If There Is Something
More Than This
Like A Hurricane
In Every Dream home A Heartache
To Turn You On
Same Old Scene
My Only Love
Love Is The Drug
Editions Of You
Do The Strand
Let’s Stick Together
For Your Pleasure
If you’ve never really checked out Roxy Music before, might I suggest this, which I hold up there with Bowie doing ‘Oh You Pretty Things’ as one of the greatest things ever to happen in the early 70s.