Hummingbird review by Gibson

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (50 votes)
Gibson: Hummingbird

Purchased from: Inherited

Features — 10
1986 Gibson Hummingbird. I inherited this guitar from my father and it is a true beauty. The Gibson Hummingbird stands alone in it's unique feel and sound. It didn't come with any bells and whistles originally and was acoustic only. My only complaint is that it didn't have a pick up originally so I had to install one. Drilling a hole in this guitar made me quite nervous but I had it done at an excellent shop. The mother of pearl inlays on the fretboard are just gorgeous, as is the the Hummingbird design on the pick guard. My Hummingbird has a custom brown sunburst as opposed to the standard red sunburst. I far prefer the darker look myself.

Sound — 10
I play in a progressive indie alt-country/folk band. This guitar is absolutely perfect for the sounds we create. In the studio this acoustic is an absolute beast. It has such a dark rich sound that stands in great contrast to your Taylors and Martins. I am not a fan of a punchy ultra-bright acoustic sound and this guitar is anything but that. I usually play this through a direct box live, I wouldn't include that sound in this review though because the pick up is not original. I play hard and fast, using a lot of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends. The frets have really held up in spite of me beating it to death for years. The sound quality is astounding. Everyone who hears this guitar has to comment on how beautiful the tone is.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on the Hummingbird was originally a little high for my tastes, particularly on the upper frets. I had this adjusted to my preference and it works like a charm. The tuning pegs are fantastic and have stood the test of time. After about 15 years of heavy use the bridge did need some work, it was starting to slightly separate from the body. Also after about 20 years of heavy use the peg holes were getting pretty loose. It came as acoustic only originally. Because I play live so much and this is the only acoustic I will play I did have a hole drilled in where the strap peg was and had a nice pick up installed. The only thing that could have made this better originally would have been a pick up.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have played this guitar live relentlessly in a variety of settings and it has held up so well. For being almost 30 years old, the guitar is still in amazing shape and the tone is better than ever. I never use a back up guitar as this one has consistently been reliable. The finish has worn of in one spot from my right forearm due to sweat on stage. If you want to protect the finish, makes sure you are wiping it down or wearing long sleeves without buttons. Overall though this guitar has stood the test of time. I would recommend it to anyone who plays acoustic regularly live or in the studio.

Overall Impression — 10
I will never play another acoustic guitar. I am so completely in love with my Hummingbird. I have been playing this guitar for 20 years and it is still my baby. If you can afford a vintage Hummingbird, do it. The comments on the tone and appearance alone are enough to constantly remind you that you have something special. Everyone who notices my guitar comments on how beautiful it looks and how awesome it sounds. The few people I have let play it never want to put it down. It has become such a part of my sound that it is difficult for me to force myself to switch to other instruments. I do all of my writing, first and foremost, on my Hummingbird. It's never let me down.

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