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