Here’s a vintage 1965 Gibson Firebird III electric guitar. This particular example, serial number 289970, is in very excellent 100% all original condition and includes the original hard case, as well as an era appropriate tag! For a brief period in the summer of ’65, the Firebird was produced in a limited transitional combination of the pre-’65 reverse body profile, and the next generation non-reverse headstock orientation. The result is this very rare version that has since become quite desirable. Extremely well preserved with the only notable wear being that from case storage, this is a very fine specimen.
Serial Number: 289970
Pot Codes: 137 6514 (CTS)
Pickup Measurements: 5.93Ω (bridge), 5.93Ω (neck)
Weight: 8 lbs. 5 oz.
Just shy of near mint, this ’65 Firebird III is in extremely excellent all original condition. With absolutely no structural nor originality issues whatsoever, this is about as nice as they come. The finish is beautifully intact, the contours are crisp and clean, and the parts are quite nice. It weighs 8 lbs. and 5 oz., and feels fantastic. The shallow neck shape is consistent throughout, and does not exhibits a slim taper nature. Definitely enhanced by the factory large frets, the overall playability is utterly impressive. Comfortable, enjoyable, and inspirational, it’s certainly one of the best I’ve played. The pickups are perfectly balanced with identical resistance ratings. Of all the guitars I’ve owned, I can’t remember the last time a vintage guitar retained perfectly matched pickups. Regardless of the resistance, the pickups sound excellent.
From the neck down, the transitional ’65 Firebird III is identical in every way to those produced between ’63-’64. It features the exact same: body shape, profile, and construction, (2) Pat. No. mini-humbucker pickup configuration, pickguard, Nickel hardware, wrap-around compensated bridge, Maestro Vibrola tailpiece, gold top hat knobs with gold inserts, and silver shielded cavities.
In fact, even the neck is identical with regard to: the Kluson banjo tuning machines, 1 11/16″ nut width, bound Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and factory large frets, and the classic headstock shape. The only difference, which is actually quite attractive, is that this transitional variety features a regular non-reverse headstock orientation, as opposed to the earlier versions which do not.
Purchased from the original owner’s family, this guitar was supposedly ordered along with a Firebird I. Apparently he took receipt of both guitars at the same time, and filled out a single warranty card for both. That is why the original hangtag has a Firebird I serial number attached, though both are mentioned.