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We were saddened to learn of the passing of blues legend Johnny Winter. We've spent the last few days getting reacquainted with his amazing live albums, where was able to wring every drop of tone from his Gibson Firebird.

We acquired this guitar at a recent vintage show hoping it would sound as good as our favorite early '90s Firebird, a versatile instrument, much loved around the shop, that we sold in a moment of lapsed judgment.

Upon plugging the new arrival into several of the Aardvark house amps, including a Gibson Skylark and a Fender Tremloux, we were pleased but not surprised by the guitar's dynamic voice, which we would characterize as prototypically Firebird--imagine an equal mixture of Gibson girth and Fender clarity, and you’ll get the idea.

Besides looking cool, with its elegant extended headstock and attractive sunburst finish, this guitar provides a broad tonal range. Due to its large body of sandwiched walnut and mahogany, as well as the stock mini humbuckers, the guitar produces punchy but subtle tonal hues. Paired with an overdrive pedal, it stands its ground on swaggering Texas blues. With a clean or slightly compressed tone, it does justice to swampy Cajun soul. Like our now-departed blonde Firebird, this is a guitar that rewards dedicated sonic experimentation.

Evidence of a moved rear strap button (since moved back), else very good. With original Gibson logo case. $1500