Hummingbird review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (49 votes)
Gibson: Hummingbird

Price paid: £ 2099

Purchased from: Guitar Village

Sound — 9
The sound is warm and rich. I believe the Hummingbird was made to complement the voice - and it does. My wife (it's her guitar) has a contralto range and this guitar is a great accompaniment. I'm a tenor and it suits my voice also. I think it's because of the rich sound, not sharp in the attack but mellow and full with lots going on. The body is pretty big too so you can get quite a bit of volume and the action is light and forgiving - making it easy to play. It's a guitar for folk, blues and country - best as an accompaniment to voice and for mellow rather than harsh sounds. If I amp it I use an AER Alpha - so I just get the sound of the guitar, nothing added - the piezo is great, works a treat and the sound reproduction is top quality.

Overall Impression — 9
For an acoustic set you'd be hard pressed to find a better accompaniment to the human voice. It just works for whatever you're playing. It doesn't have the attack of some other guitar so isn't suited to some fingerpicking styles. The guys at Gibson did a great job on this guitar and you can see why it's a classic. If it was stolen I'd buy another tomorrow. I've played for over 20 years and the thought of not having a Hummingbird is just not something I'm prepared to put up with. I tried it next to Taylors, Martins and Gibson J200's and Doves, and while some of them had more "bite" the Hummingbird was the most mellow and warm.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Incredibly stable, both the tuning and the sound. We keep it in a stable environment, but even when we move it the guitar just keeps tune and tone. The hard case is light but strong and protects the guitar well in transit. The finish is tough and the scratchplate durable. The finish on the neck and back are scratch resistant and the scratchplate is also hardy enough for tapping without damaging the top wood. It's the sort of guitar that will age well and get better with age. Wouldn't need a backup. It's a top quality acoustic. Cannot fault it at all.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Beautifully made. I may be biased but right now I think the Gibson Acoustics are way ahead of their electrics for build quality, finish and wood selection. This guitar is faultless in set-up, wood, matching, finishing and stability. I cannot find a single bad thing to say. That said, we tried a couple when we bought this, and some others too. There are (as you'd expect) minute differences in the neck and sound. So it is a case of trying a few side by side if you can. The one tricky thing is replacing the battery for the pickup. It's fiddly and you need to take off at least half the strings (well I do) and on an acoustic I prefer to always change one at a time.

Features — 9
Made in the USA in 2012 at their Montana factory, the Hummingbird is a classic guitar. Spruce top, with mahogany neck, back and sides. Rosewood fingerboard, joins the body at the 15th fret. No cutaway, with the Hummingbird motif engraved into the scratchplate. An internal Piezo pickup, a single volume control, placed discretely just inside the sound hole and a 9v battery pack good for 1000 hours is located inside the guitar against the heel of the neck. The guitar came with a shaped hardcase (made in Canada) and the standard Gibson booklet. 22 frets, and a wide slim neck with good clearance at the edges. High quality Grover style tuners, in a natural finish. Also available in Vintage sunburst.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have a 1980 Gibson Hummingbird and four other guitars (including another Gibson). The Bird is easily the best guitar I have although I like the Martin D-16 I have as well. A lot of people talk about how loud the Bird can be. But the time I like it the most is when I'm going soft but still want a full sound. Cannot beat it. Paid $1700 for it used and it is worth every penny to me.
    Can you trust that a Gibson Limited Edition is a limited edition? Gibsin's Keb Mo was suppose to be a run of 300 and is still advertised as such by many retailers, but Gibson decided to continue the run past 300 at the same price but eliminating the signed Keb Mo label. Their attitude after many responses was that they did not care! So can you trust that your investment with Gibson is worth it? Martin's Tweedy has a two year limited run and every guitar is treated with signed labels. Shame on you Gibson.