1963 Firebird VII review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (85 votes)
Epiphone: 1963 Firebird VII

Price paid: $ 689.91

Purchased from: Thomann.de

Sound — 9
I play bluesy, classic and alt. rock style music through a Crate Powerblock. It is absolutely brilliant, sound wise, there are a lot of combinations you can get from the three pickups and it's really quite quiet. The pickups may be little but they deliver a nice loud sound, that can be bright or warm depending on your volume combinations. With the right effects this guitar would be able to do anything and will do.

Overall Impression — 8
This guitar matches my style when I want to go a bit heavier (notice I said "a bit" not death metal or whatever), think Muse or Incubus. I've been playing for nearly 4 years and own an Epiphone Casino and my Crate PB150 aswell as several budget effects. This guitar is brilliant, however I would advise playing one before thinking of buying one, the fact that it's so neck heavey gave me some slight back pains after the first few days, just because I was used to lightness of my Casino. I love the maestro tremelo, it's kind of like a bigsby without the massive arm, and overall the guitar sounds great. I chose this guitar over a Gretsch Jet (the cheap one), and a Les Paul Custom, I've always loved the marmite (as in you love it or hate it), kind of reverse jag shape of the gutiar and it has the. I just wish it wasn't so neck heavey, it's a bit of a strain until you've had it for a few weeks.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will withstand Live playing, but of course whenever I've used it I've had a backup, because you never know. The hardware will last I think, I've only had it a couple of months, but of course gold hardware will need a bit of TLC every so often. The finish will last, I've knocked it quite often and no chips yet.

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
This is probably the only area that let it down. There is an incescant buzzing on the bottom e string, which can only be ammended by raising the action to classical guitar high. When you're playing through an amp with a lot of distortion however, this can add quite a nice sound (imagine the rundown in hysteria with a lot of extra noise), but at least you can still hear the notes that are being played, I suppose this could be a lack of filing on the fretwire. The pickup selector is a little loose as well. However the finish is brilliant throughout, no flaws, even though it's an Epiphone. So a 6 cos of the buzzing.

Features — 9
It's the classic firebird shape, with the raised centre, which is quite cool, mahogony neck + mahogony body = one heavey guitar. One thing I noticed with the bolt on neck is that as you go along the pickups get further away from the strings as if the neck goes off at an angle, rather than being straight. It has 3 mini Alnico humbuckers, mini Grover tuners and a maestro tremelo arm, all gold. There is one master tone and 3 volume controls, one for each pickup, and a really nice Vintage sunburst solid finish.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BobMarleysGhost wrote: As I said before, it's a great looking guitar, but as I looked around for one, I heard that they are notoriously difficult to play. Is this true, or is it just some guy who hates the look of it trying to put me off?
    Depends on what feels best.
    I've had my Epi FB 7 for a few months now. Usually I play a 79 LP Custom. LOVE this Firebird! Got some gearless tuners on her and felt like it was still missing something??? Three somethings.....I ordered up 3 P-90s and some dogeared covers for em. Oh Baby!!! Now THIS is a slide machine! And rocks like HECK too!!!
    Although i do have my action quite high.. when i bought mine it had alota fret buzz but its sorted now
    People say these guitars are hard to play. They are full of shit. Ive got one and theyz nufin wrong with the action.
    I know someone who had this guitar for awhile, he said it had an annoying buzz to it, and he had to send it back. I personally like the shape, and i think it would be much better if it had a floyd rose tremolo instead of the vibrato.
    Just a question, can you play stuff like RATM, STP, thrash metal, and maybe even hair metal on this guitar?
    why are people argueing about the looks? WHO CARES WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE?! most important thing is the sound.
    Prince Albert
    I don't care who likes or doesn't like the guitar, I'm just sayin I think its an ugly shape. Gimme a Les Paul or Strat any day.
    Personally, I love the shape of the Firebird VII, (hence why I got the Gibson version of the VII, cherry red with the gold hardware) and to be quite honest, it is the BEST sounding guitar I've played, although not the easiest. (The Ibanez JEM555 plays like a dream in comparison) All I need now is a decent amp to go with it.
    I would LOVE To have it. But only because it plays great and sounds great. I hate the look of the thing, Too much going on with it
    i would absolutely LOVE to have this guitar. i have the 1958 epiphone korina explorer and this one is gonna be my next.
    E V H 5150
    I think the Thunderbird guitars would not make a great stage guitar. Maybe for a studio, yes, because you just want the sound. But not for a show or something. In that case, you would want something sexy, like a Strat or 'Pual, or somehting that looks and sounds great.
    This is a good sounding guitar. But in terms of looks its like marmite You either love it or hate it And i personally hate it
    itz UGLY!!! u wouldnt catch me with that!!! 22 fretz suk get 24 way betta epis and gibs r a thing of the past the new companies r comin and theyre way betta like ESP, Ibanez, Jackson and Schector