Me and my guitar: Turbowolf's Andy Ghosh

Andy Ghosh of Bristol rockers Turbowolf tells us how he hunted down a very rare ’bird indeed...

Studio 'bird

“The guitars that I use are Gibson Firebird Studios that, I think, were made for about five years in the early 2000s. They’re not really like normal Firebirds, they’re built more like an SG or something because they haven’t got the thru-neck, it’s like a glued-in neck. The body is different too, it’s rounded and also squarer and maybe bit bigger than normals ones. It’s kind of a different guitar to the Firebird that you see most of the time.”

Tonal explorer

Every position is totally usable. The humbuckers are just amazing.

“Our first ever proper tour was a big one supporting Korn around Europe in 2010. I was using an SG up until then but I broke it and Gibson lent me an Explorer. I had my guitar slung low - it felt good having an Explorer like that, I felt like James Hetfield. An SG down low was kind of weird. 

“So I used this Explorer for the whole tour and it was great and I liked how I could get right to the top of the fretboard really easily. Nothing got in the way and it was weighted good but I just thought it was a little bit heavy metal, a little bit spiky… a bit of a cliche. So this was the next best thing. 

“So I went to the Gibson showroom and I hadn’t really thought about the fact that they have mini humbuckers on them… I tried to get the sound out of it but I couldn’t make it roar. This was a few years after they stopped making [Studios] and there weren’t many around.”

Humbuckers

“It’s got full-size humbuckers instead of the mini humbuckers you would usually get [with Firebirds]. The bridge pickup has loads of low-end, an enormous sound on it. The neck pickup has loads of sparkly top-end as well. Every position is totally usable. They’re just amazing. I got them because they looked cool and I thought they would hang well on me but they just turned out to be the best I’ve ever played.”

White whale

I think these white ones are super rare. I haven’t seen a photo of anyone who owns one

“I’d always known there were white ones out there, the only reason I knew is if you put it into Google image search there was one photo of a white one. I didn’t know if it was resprayed or even if it was a thing you could get. I thought, ‘One day I’ll seek out this white Firebird if it exists.’ 

“Then one day some guy emailed me who knew about our band and liked us and said, ‘Hey I see you play these guitars. I’ve got a white one for sale if you want.’ So I just bought it. I think these are super rare. I haven’t seen a photo of anyone who owns one. I just saw the one image on Google.”

Strings

“I use Dunlop strings, 11 to 50 and I use low tunings but I don’t like to use heavy strings as some people would because I like it to flap around a little bit.”

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