This is a custom commission for one of my favorite customers, who asked for a mutation of the classic Gibson Firebird, giving me free rein to do as I please with the details, which partly accounts for his favored status.
The body is composed of a salvaged poplar center block, with wings made from spalted sycamore, capped with salvaged elm barnwood. I kept the curves of the original Firebird body shape, but mixed them up, placing both long points on the top, and scaling them all appropriately. This not only gives better upper fret access, but places the front strap button further toward the center of the guitar for better balance. The original Gibson design was by Ray Dietrich, who was an automobile designer by trade, and evidently not a guitarist.
The neck is red maple, with a persimmon fretboard and tortoise celluloid binding.
The central feature here is a hood emblem from an early ’60′s Studebaker Hawk, a tip of the hat to the automotive roots of the design, from the same era as the Firebird. The art deco styling of this piece was partly the inspiration for the brass, aluminum and copper pickguard/grille and center overlay.
The pickups are my own homespun versions of the Firebird mini-humbuckers, with alnico 5 bar magnets in the coils, and aluminum housings I designed, and had fabricated by eMachineShop