During the 70s and 80s, Elliot Easton's guitar solos were a staple of the airwaves on classic rock hits by the Cars. From early Cars singles like œJust What I Needed and œMy Best Friend' Girl, to 19... Read More
During the 70s and 80s, Elliot Easton's guitar solos were a staple of the airwaves on classic rock hits by the Cars. From early Cars singles like œJust What I Needed and œMy Best Friend' Girl, to 1981' œShake It Up", Elliot' offbeat and frenzied riffs where the engine that drove the bands more energetic side and his influence can be found on plenty of bands from the 80s to today. A longtime fan of Gibson electrics, Elliot has been associated with a Signature SG model, but now the legendary guitarist and Gibson USA have teamed up to create the Elliot Easton œTikibird Firebird which blends some classic features with plenty of player-approved advances.
This stunner features a new, exclusive Gold Mist Poly finish in high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer over the now legendary œreverse body Firebird design of the 1963-™65 era. Adding to its aesthetically pleasing appeal is a hot-stamped Tiki graphic on a traditional multi-ply white plastic pickguard. It' powered by a pair of Gibson' most popular humbucking pickups, '57 Classics, with versatile coil-splitting and phase-reverse wiring for a variety of sonic capabilities. The Elliot Easton "Tikibird" Firebird's Bigsby vibrato tailpiece with Vibramate Spoiler for easy string loading lets you create emotive dips and tremulous wobbles. Its TonePros locking tune-o-matic bridge with nylon saddles ensures your guitar will get back on pitch quickly when you're dabbling with vibrato. Finally, a set of Steinberger gearless tuners provide incredible tuning efficiency.
Body and neck
The Elliot Easton œTikibird Firebird is made in the image of the original œreverse body Firebirds of 1963-™65, with lines that appeared to be the reverse image of other solidbody styles on the market. It features a through-neck solid multi-piece mahogany design with glued-on mahogany body wings. The neck is carved to Elliot' preferred slim, fast Firebird profile, measuring just 0.8 at the 1st fret and 0.85 at the 12th. It is topped with a Grade-A rosewood fingerboard with traditional trapezoid inlays and 22 medium-jumbo frets.
Pickups and electronics
To fatten up the traditional Firebird tone, Easton's œTikibird Firebird has a duo of Gibson' popular ™57 Classic humbucking pickups, beloved for their blend of depth and clarity. A custom network of four slider switches mounted in the pickguard give you versatility, accessing individual coil splitting for both pickups, phase-reverse when used together, and Gibson' Pure True Bypass switching. The latter routes the bridge pickup directly to the output jack when engaged, for a quick preset lead tone with no loading. The coil-split switching offers something new, too: wired in Gibson' œFrequency-Tuned Coil Tap mode, the two pickups are still reverse-wound/reverse-polarity in the center position when tapped, for hum-canceling single-coil tones, and their individual tapped tones are still hum reducing, and more accurate to boot. The remaining controls include the traditional four-knob complement with three-way toggle switch.
Per Easton's request, a genuine Bigsby vibrato is modified with a Vibramate Spoiler string loader to save you from the hassle of restringing this beloved whammy bar. Its TonePros tune-o-matic locks down tight for enhanced resonance and sustain, with nylon saddles to avoid string hitches during Bigsby use. Super-efficient Steinberger gearless tuners give you the smoothest tune-up without spoiling the radical lines of its headstock. The traditional Firebird truss rod cover has a gold Gibson logo hot-stamped on it, while the custom multi-ply white plastic pickguard features a hot-stamped Tiki graphic.
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Comments about Gibson Elliot Easton "Tikibird" Firebird Electric Guitar:
I previously wrote a review, but it somehow never got published. So both reviews are mine. Fit and Finish: The Gold Mist Poly color is either one that you'll love or hate. I'm not sure that there's an inbetween. Because of it's uniqueness, I love it. The finish is what I consider typical of Gibson as of the past few years, It has a ripple effect, as in it's wavy. All of my most recent Gibsons have had this anomoly. My older Gibsons are clean and streamilined, but this one is not. There is also a build up of finish where the wings meet the body. It's noticeable. This is the reason that I can't give this guitar 5 stars... The finish just screams lazy. Don't get me wrong, if you're used to newer Gibsons, then this is fine. I have a few older ones that are finished so much better, as in no rippling or finish build up. The fit of the guitar is wonderfull. The thru neck construction is perfect. The hardware is nice, as well as the unique pick guard. The rosewood fretboard looks great. Mine came with a fade to it, and I love it! All of the above said, the guitar looks awesome! Hardware: I bought this because of the Bigsby. I've always wanted one and when I saw this, with the humbuckers, I knew that I had to have it. The pickup covers are nice, as with any Gibson. All of the knobs are correct and wonderful. The steinberg tuners are new to me, and I'm not sure if I like them or not. While they're very accurate, I'm a "button" kind of guy and like turning a tuning peg. Besides, it looks so different than the banjo style tuners. Just a preference thing. I had my reservations about the nylon saddles in the bridge, but they serve their purpose well, as to allow string movement when using the Bigsby. I would have prefered a roller type bridge, but the nylon saddles do fine. The Bigsby is awesome! It moves fluently and does exactly what it's meant to do. If you're looking for dive bombs then this is not the vibrato for you, as it doesn't do that. The one thing that I don't like are the "slider switches" as Gibson calls them. They are not sliders, but rather switches... and they feel cheap, especially when you push them up or down. I can see them becoming an issue, especially if used frequently. But you would really have to be using them constantly, which I doubt anyone will do. Playability and Sound: I had this guitar shipped to my home. Out of the box, the setup was great... almost perfect for me. The first thing that I noticed was the neck. It has a slightly slimmer profile than any of my other firebirds. I instantly gravitated to it and found the feel just perfect for my hands, which are small. If you like the chunkier necks of Gibsons then you will not like this. Because it's a Firebird, you have to get used to the guitar sitting slightly left of where a normal guitar sits. This may be quite an adjustment for players who are used to Les Paul and Strat style guitars. If you close your eyes and play, you'll most likely be a fret or two closer to the bridge than you would with another guitar. Just a Firebird thing and the way it's made. The medium jumbo frets are okay, but I prefer jumbo frets. Yes, I noticed that right away. The action is great and comparable to my '77 Les Paul, which is a killer playing guitar. As for the sound; I have never been a fan of mini humbuckers, and aside from the Bigsby, that's what sold me on this guitar. The '57 classics sound good, but I would have prefered more drive from a pickup. But, they sound better than mini humbuckers! The bridge position sounds good and fairly full. It still retains a bit of that Firebird sound, even with the humbucker. The bridge pickup is the same. Compared to the above mentioned Les Paul, this guitar sounds thin. Compared to my Firebird 7, it sounds much more full. However, this guitar doesn't have the weight behind it that a Les Paul has, hence, the thinner sound. All that said, it still sounds great. I played it through a Gibson Goldtone amplifier. The slider switches left me wondering why? I figured that the back two were coil tapping. When engaged, the guitar sounded like a typical Firebird. I didn't hear a Strat type tone to it. The pahse switch or bypass, whichever term you use, only confused me. When engaged, the tone got muddy, as in turning down the tone pot. I tried every variation of these switches only to leave them all in the up position. If you're a tone junkie, I'm not sure these will satisfy your palate. I would prefer to do this from the amp and let the guitar sing full out. I suppose that they have purpose, but I didn't feel it. Again, I bought this because I love the Firebird styling and the Bigsby. Compared to my other Firebirds (5, 7, and older studio with humbuckers), it definitely plays and sounds better. The finish on my others is much cleaner than this one... (hint to Gibson). I love the guitar, despite it's flaws. I will be using it as a recording instrument and not a live piece (too nice to ruin).
Comments about Gibson Elliot Easton "Tikibird" Firebird Electric Guitar:
I bought this guitar because I have always wanted a Gibson with a Bigsby vibrato. The guitar came very well set up right out of the box. I was surprised at how well it was set up. I have purchased numerous Gibsons over the years and this one played the best out of the box. Upon inspection, I was a tad disappointed in the finish. It seems to be a common thing among Gibson guitars as of late that there are ripples/waves in the finish. That said, the ripples in the finish were not that bad. There was a lacquer buildup were the wings join the body, which was a bit disappointing. Other than that, the fit and finish is well done. The Gold Mist Poly finish is definitely unique, to say the least. You will either like it or not. It's more of a gold/tarnished copper mix. It has a greenish hue to it. The picture on the Gibson website is a fairly accurate representation of the color. Personally, I like it! The binding is aged to give the guitar a smoother look with the finish and rosewood fret board. Nicely done! Playability out of the box was outstanding. I immediately gravitated to the neck, as it felt comfortable in my hand, which is fairly small. The neck has a typical Firebird feel and the guitar balances nicely. Weight wise, it's like any other Firebird. The rosewood fret board is incredible, although a tad lighter in color than I would have expected. The Bigsby is smooth and the nylon saddles seem to add smoothness to the vibrato. Action was awesome, especially for me! The medium jumbo frets were an adjustment, as I'm used to jumbo frets as on my '77 Les Paul. I plugged this in and was amazed at the full sound the guitar has, as compared to Firebirds with mini humbuckers. That said, the sound was not as full as my Les Paul, but then again, it weighs a lot less and doesn't have that same resonance as a heavier guitar. Intonation was fairly good and will need minor tweaks. The action was perfect all the way up the fret board. String bending was a breeze and the guitar played like a dream, but I've always enjoyed playing Firebirds. The vibrato didn't throw it far out of whack, and that's with the new strings on the guitar. Tuning was easy with the Steinberger gearless tuners. They may be locking, but I haven't gotten that far yet. It held tune fairly well, all things considered with a new guitar. The only complaint that I have with the guitar, aside from the minor finish issues, is that the electronic "slider switches" don't actually slide, as I was under the impression that they were continual motion. Not the case at all. They are switches that are either up (click) or down (click). I felt them to be cheaper than I would have liked. The other issue with them is that there is no instruction manual to tell you what they do. Yes, I read the literature from the web site, but in real use, it's hard to tell what's what! A picture included in some literature as to which switch does what would have been nice. The rear two appear to be coil taps. The front two, anybody's guess! Expect a slight "clicking" noise when switching the sliders, minimal as it may be, it's there. Overall, I like the guitar. I will use it for recording, as I like the Bigsby. And visually, it's stunning! The sliders are useless for my applications, as I like the full humbucker sound. If I want single coils, I'll grab my Strat. It definitely isn't my Les Paul, but every Firebird that I've owned has never compared. That said, this is an incredible playing guitar and I don't regret the purchase one bit. It's my fourth Firebird and by far the best. It's $350 more than a regular Firebird, and in my opinion, a better guitar. If you're a Firebird fan, this is the one to get!
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