Latest arrival – the ‘Comedy Firebird’

A 2008 Tokai FB40, a copy of a Gibson Firebird 1, but with several differences.

The body is almost the right shape, but the lower horn is wider and the whole body is thicker.  It has a set neck and the body is actually five laths of wood, beautifully joined on the diagonal.

The body is a ’63-65 -style reverse style and the headstock is also reversed, but is the later ’65-69 style with no contouring and regular right angle tuners, not the straight through banjo tuners of the earlier models. The neck and headstock angles are like early ‘birds, but the scale length is Fender (25 1/2″).

The pickup is very hot but also quite microphonic, and the surround is oversized black plastic rather than a chromed plate.  Control knobs are ‘speed’ style as opposed to ‘reflectors’, and it needs a strap button on its heel for better balance. The bridge anchors needed a little attention but are securely seated now.

And it plays and sounds absolutely great – a great standby guitar for jams and gigs. Quick and dirty video of it in action here.


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