Gibson introduced the Firebird in its initial shape in 1963 with help from top automotive designer Ray Dietrich. Gibson boss Ted McCarty persuaded Dietrich out of retirement to design a guitar not limited by the usual traditions of guitar construction. The result, influenced unsurprisingly by 1950s car design the Firebird would also lean on a rounded, reversed version of the '50s designed Gibson Explorer. The autumn of 1963 would see the Firebird released with four models; the I, III,V and VII mirroring the Les Paul and SG line, which used the terms "Junior", "Special", "Standard" and "Custom”. The original reverse shape lasted until mid-1965 when Gibson flipped the shape after slow initial sales and complaints from Fender. This new non-reverse shape lasted in the catalog until 1969.
The guitar has had the original Kluson Banjo Tuners replaced with a set of the excellent, lightweight Steinberger tuners that not only maintain the tuner-less appearance of the iconic Firebird Headstock but help balance the Firebird on a strap. The original frets have been played and there is some light wear but the frets have plenty of height and play well. The original Firebird Mini-humbuckers sound fantastic with plenty of punch and push giving the incredible biting, sustaining tone that only a Reverse Firebird can provide.