This insert gives specifications for a brand new model, the Gibson Firebird II. But although it looks like a reverse body Firebird, it is actually worlds apart from any other Firebird, having a totally different construction style, using different woods and totally different circuitry. In many ways this guitar is far closer to the Gibson RD Artist. With it's maple veneer and bound body, specifically the 1981 CMT (curly maple top) variant - if a little less highly appointed.
Aswell as to push close out models (as was the case with the regular Firebird insert), one purpose of the Gibson Specials folder (as defined in the inside cover), was to present limited edition test models, and the Firebird II very much fits that criteria. It was only available from late 1981 into 1982, and was totally unlike (except it terms of shape) any other Firebird that had preceded it.
Like the RD Artist (but also the ES Artist, Les Paul Artist, SG Artist and Sonex Artist), the Firebird II was fitted with the new active Moog circuitry, consisting a bright mode and expansion/compression setting, with the same series VI active pickups. It had the new TP-6 bridge, and unlike the typical all-mahogany through-neck Firebird, this guitar was all-maple with a set neck, just like the RD.
The Firebird II, however, was not as flashy as the RD Artist: hardware was chrome-plated, rather than gold, the fretboard was rosewood with dot inlays, rather than ebony with block inlays, and there were no ornate headstock inlays
The Firebird II was only listed in 1982 price lists, with a $999 price tag. Only Antique Sunburst is listed here, however this was expanded (January, 1982) to include Vintage Cherry Sunburst and Antique Natural.
One other interesting thing to note in the text below is the description of the fingerrest (scratchplate). It is not reflected in the accompanying image, and is perhaps erroneous, but it describes this as being black, with white revealed edge, and a red Firebird logo. Do you own a Firebird II with original black scratchplate? If so please comment.
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