Joe Bonamassa’s Instagram followers got a treat last week as the blues guitarist showed off some early models of his new Epiphone Firebird I guitars. Modeled after his 1963 Gibson Firerbird I (nicknamed “Treasure”), these Epiphone Firebirds feature the same single-pickup design, dot inlays and wraparound tailpiece as the original.
Now orderable, the Epiphone Joe Bonamassa “Treasure” Firebird I is a limited-run release offered in sunburst and gold.
Beloved for the unique tone of their mini-humbuckers, Firebirds are also standouts for being Gibson’s first neck-through guitar design, which lends them ample sustain, as the neck and body are able to resonate more efficiently together. Gibson’s president at the time, Ted McCarty, recruited car designer Ray Dietrich to design a new model for Gibson, and the Firebird was the result. Gibson debuted three Firebird models in 1963: the Firebird I, featuring a single mini-humbucker and stop-tail bridge, the Firebird V with two mini-humbuckers and a lyre vibrola tailpiece, and the top-of-the-line Firebird VII with three mini-humbuckers and a lyre vibrola. Later models in the Firebird range include the “non-reverse” Firebird and more modern incarnations, like the 2016 Firebird V Traditional and High Performance.
The player most associated with the Firebird is Johnny Winter, known for wielding a Firebird V. Could Joe Bonamassa become the face of the Firebird I? The guitar will join the ranks of Bonamassa’s other signature gear, like the popular Epiphone Les Paul and limited-edition Gibson Les Paul.