Sound — 8
I play a mixture of oldies, blues, light rock, and country, mostly, on Acoustic guitar and my 'Bird is adequate for all those types of things. I both fingerpick and use a flatpick, depending on my interpretation of a given song. This guitar sounds really great flatpicked, but leaves a little to be desired with unamplified fingerpicking. It really isn't as loud as I'd like when I play it in that style, unless I use a thumbpick and banjo fingerpicks. It sounds sweet as ever, but the volume just isn't as good as I'd like with the "bare meat" fingerpicking that comes so naturally to me. Grab a flatpick, though, and the sound is sweet and singing - even better than the old Epi 'bird I had years ago!
Overall Impression — 9
My 'bird is a great match for the country and light rock stuff I do and it does pretty well on the blues things, too. I do use my Fender Statocaster on some songs and my Takamine acoustic/electric is better suited to some things than the 'bird is, mainly because of its superior pickup system (I'm writing a separate review on my Takamine). I have been playing, off and on, since the mid 1970's and the Hummingbird is definitely one of the best Acoustic guitars I've owned.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've never played mine live, as I'm not in a band, or performing solo at this time (but, ya never know, y'know?). I see no reason why it would't hold up to road use, though. It is a strong, well-constructed guitar and it's an eye-catcher as well. Gibson acoustics don't seem to be very popular with performers, but that's only another reason why it would probably attract some attention if I ever played it onstage. I wouldn't be a bit afraid to use it in a gig as my sole Acoustic guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
My 'bird was set up great at the factory, but having the Fishman pickup unit installed made a difference in the action height, of course. But the guitar tech at my dealer cut a new bridge saddle for it and did some tweaking on the neck adjustment and the action since then is about as low as you can get on an acoustic, without encountering string buzzing. I absolutely LOVE the way it plays! Easy to finger and pretty easy to bend the strings for the "bluesy" stuff I do. The neck and fingerboard fit me like a glove. Gibson's workmanship and finish are as excellent as one might expect from a company with their reputation. I have yet to find a single flaw anywhere in this guitar, except for a few inevitable belt buckle scratches that I put on it myself.
Features — 10
My Hummingbird is a 1998 model and I bought it brand new that same year. U.S. Made, in Bozeman, MT I had previously owned an original Michigan-made Epiphone Hummingbird back in the 70's which I played half to death before it was stolen out of my car. I had the money, and was offered a great discount on it (at that time), so I jumped on it. Still own it today. It features the standard 20 frets, with a solid spruce top and mahogany neck and sides, also solid. No plywood in this baby! Dreadnought body style, with square shoulders. Grover Rotomatic tuners, just like the 60's models had. It has a pretty cherry sunburst finish, with the distinctive Hummingbird etching on the pickguard which signifies its name. Full white binding on the body and neck, rosewood fingerboard with real mother of pearl inlays. It came with a Gibson hardshell case in which it sleeps when I'm playing one of my other guitars. For the price, it had BETTER come with a case! In '98 the Hummingbird model (there was only one back then) didn't come with the factory pickup/preamp system that they do today. I had a Fishman unit installed in mine by the dealer and except for a couple of battery replacements over the years have had no problem with it. It sounds great amplified, although with no tone or volume controls on the guitar you have to do some "playing around" with the amp controls.