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Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
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Playability
77
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
70
Score
70
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Playability
80
Sound
74
Build
70
Value
60
Score
75
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I over Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary

Release Year
2024 vs 2021
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
1963 Firebird vs V
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Set
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Pickups
H vs HH
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm) vs 24.6'' (624.8mm)
Lower action and brighter natural tone
Value Score
70 vs 60
Better price/quality relationship

Reasons to Get
Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary over Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Country of Manufacturing
United States vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Type of Frets
Jumbo vs Medium Jumbo
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
V vs 1963 Firebird
Great if you like to hang your thumb over the fretboard
Switch Positions
3 vs 0
More tone options
Volume Knobs
2 vs 1
More volume control
Pickups
HH vs H
High output without hum
Scale Length
24.6'' (624.8mm) vs 24.75'' (628.7mm)
Easier bending, shorter fret separation and warmer natural tone

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets vs USA DMT Lights Out
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Mahogany
Different Body Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Ebony
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 3-3
Different Headstock

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary

Neck Wood
Mahogany
Same Neck Wood
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq
Same Nut Material
Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm)
Same string separation at the nut
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm)
Same fretboard comfortability
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut
  • Top Pickup Brand
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Locking Tuners
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • High-Quality Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

SET PRICE ALERT

Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary Prices

    SET PRICE ALERT

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    Which One is Better for Beginners?

    Both meet 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players. If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, you can't go wrong with either of them.

    New Player Friendliness

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
    • Comfortable shape
    • Easy-to-use bridge
    • Tall frets
    • Comfortable neck
    • Comfortable fretboard
    • Narrow nut
    • Short scale
    • Locking tuners

    New Player Friendliness

    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    • Easy-to-use bridge
    • Tall frets
    • Short scale
    • Comfortable neck
    • Comfortable shape
    • Comfortable fretboard
    • Narrow nut
    • Locking tuners

    Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

    Sound Quality Comparison

    The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

    Woods Used in Both

    Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
    Mahogany

    Mahogany is a fairly rare wood nowadays. It's used mostly for bodies due to its relatively lightweight. Gibson popularized it with their Les Paul guitars during their golden years, so this wood has a lot of good reputation behind it. The most expensive type comes from South America and it's still used by Gibson even today. Find out more about Mahogany.

    Woods Used in the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

    Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
    Laurel

    There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies. Find out more about Laurel.

    Woods Used in the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary

    Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
    Ebony

    Ebony is a high-end wood, so it is not cheap. It's only used for fretboards because it's also very heavy. It does an excellent job as a durable material while looking elegant. Find out more about Ebony.

    Winner: Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary.

    Pickup Configuration

    The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has an H configuration while the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary has HH pickups.

    A single H pickup gives you the advantage of having a little longer sustain (all other things being equal) because there will be less magnetic fields from other pickups affecting the strings' vibration. However, they also give you the least versatility because you won't have other pickups at different distances from the bridge to create different tones. A single humbucking pickup is used for noiseless high output, which is used mainly for Hard Rock genres.

    On the other hand, Double Humbucker (HH) is the choice for people who want a fuller, more round sound with tons of mids and lows. Humbuckers also get rid of the hum noise that plague single-coil pickups. They can work out for almost any genre going from Djent to even Jazz.

    Pickups Quality

    Both come with very good pickups from at least one of the specialized brands in the market. With pickups like these, you probably won't need an upgrade anytime soon.

    Both use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

    Winner: Tie.

    Versatility Comparison

    Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

    Switch Options

    The Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary gives you 3 switch options while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I gives you 0. This means that the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

    Neither of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

    The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I doesn't come with pickup switching options.

    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary pickups switch and push knobs diagram
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary's switch options

    When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

    Winner: Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary.

    Final Sound Quality Scores

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
    Pickups 90
    Sustain 75
    Versatility 39
    Tuning Stability 70
    Sound 69
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    Pickups 90
    Sustain 85
    Versatility 51
    Tuning Stability 70
    Sound 74

    Build Quality Comparison

    When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I compares to the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary.

    Country of Origin

    The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I is built in China while the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary is made in United States.

    China has a bad reputation when it comes to building quality. However, times have changed and now respectable brands use China's cheap labor to build good instruments for a lower price. Don't discount a guitar only because it was built in China, but also expect more quality from countries like Korea.

    The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

    Winner: Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary

    Nut Material

    If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

    In this case, both have Ivory Tusq nuts. Ivory used to be considered the best material for guitar nuts due to its beauty, durability, and the rich harmonics and sustain you could get from a guitar with it. However, the way to obtain it is simply unethical. Enter TUSQ ivory nuts, which are made synthetically to imitate ivory. Technically, it's better than ivory because it is consistent piece-to-piece, while natural materials can vary a lot, even if they're made from the same.

    Fret Material

    Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

    Unfortunately, none of them come with stainless steel frets.

    Winner: Tie.

    Bridge

    The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

    Both come with a similar bridge: Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

    Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

    Winner: Tie.

    Tuners

    Both come with regular tuners. The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's are Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary while the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary's are Grover

    Winner: Tie.

    Neck Joint

    Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

    The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a Neck-Through neck joint. This neck is a lot more resistant and lets builders give the neck joint a more comfortable shape for soloing at the upper frets. The disadvantage is that they're more expensive and that if you damage your neck, you can't simply replace it like with bolt-on necks.

    On the other hand, the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary comes with Set neck joint. This neck is tightly glued to the body. They give you the least versatility because you can't swap them for a neck that fits your hand better if you want to, unlike bolt-on necks. Some people think this gives more resonance and sustain, but there's no real difference if the bolt-on joint is well built.

    Winner: Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

    Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

    Strengths & Weaknesses
    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
    • Expensive Wood
    • Ivory Tusq Nut
    • Top Brand Pickups
    • Neck-Through Build
    • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
    • No Locking Tuners
    • Made in China
    • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
    • No Weight Relief
    • No Luminescent Inlay
    • No Tremolo
    • No Compound Radius Fretboard
    • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
    • No Strap Lock
    Strengths & Weaknesses
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    • Made in United States
    • Expensive Wood
    • Ivory Tusq Nut
    • Top Brand Pickups
    • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
    • No Locking Tuners
    • No Neck-Through Build
    • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
    • No Weight Relief
    • No Luminescent Inlay
    • No Tremolo
    • No Compound Radius Fretboard
    • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
    • No Strap Lock

    Final Build Quality Scores

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
    Quality of materials 66
    Features 60
    Quality Control 65
    Build Quality 64
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    Quality of materials 61
    Features 50
    Quality Control 100
    Build Quality 70

    Playability Comparison

    Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

    Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

    Nut Width

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Nut Width
    Both Guitars Have The Same Nut Width

    The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, both have a nut width of 43mm (1.693'').

    This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

    Scale Length

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Scale Length
    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Scale Length
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary's Scale Length
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary's Scale Length

    The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

    The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has the longest scale: 24.75". The Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary is only 24.6" long. This is a 0.15'' (3.8mm) scale length difference.

    This longer scale means that the strings need more tension to get in tune. This is good if you want to avoid fret buzz, which can happen when the strings are too loose and touch the frets while vibrating. This is especially important when playing in lower tunings. This will also let you reduce the gap between fretboard and strings (low action) to make them easier to press down. However, this higher tension will also make it harder to perform bends and vibratos as the strings will feel stiffer.

    This also means that the frets have a longer separation between each other, so this will make it harder for people with smaller hands when playing some chord positions.

    Another characteristic of a longer scale is that it makes the guitar sound 'snappier' or brighter. This is due to the extra separation between harmonics and overtones produced by the tension. This influences tone more than any other factor (except the pickups).

    Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

    Neck Profile

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Neck Profile
    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's neck profile
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary Neck Profile
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary's neck profile

    No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

    In this case, both have different neck shapes:

    The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a C type of neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

    The Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary, on the other hand, has a V neck. This neck shape was more common during Fender's early years. Some people like it because they use their thumb over the edge of the fretboard to press the lower strings. It's rather thicker than most modern necks, so it's not usually used for playing fast solos.

    Fretboard Radius

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Fingerboard Radius
    Both Guitars Have The Same Fretboard Radius

    Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

    Both the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary have the same fretboard radius of 12". This is the radius used in most Gibson guitars. It gives you a good balance for playing chords without muting, but also good comfortability for playing single notes and bending.

    Hand Size Comfortability

    Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

    And after taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that the Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary favors large hands more than the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I:
    Big Hands
    Small Hands
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary:
    Big Hands
    Small Hands

    Fret Size

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Frets Size
    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Frets Size
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary Frets Size
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary's Frets Size

    The Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary has Jumbo frets, which should be taller than the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Medium Jumbo frets.

    Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

    Final Playability Scores

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
    Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
    Chord Playability 65
    Solo Playability 80
    Playability 77
    Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    Bending & Vibrato Ease 100
    Chord Playability 70
    Solo Playability 70
    Playability 80

    Specs Side-by-Side

    Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    General Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Dean USA Michael Schenker 50th Anniversary
    Brand: Epiphone Dean
    Year: 2024 2021
    Configuration: H HH
    Strings: 6 6
    Made in: China United States
    Series: 1963 Firebird I Artist
    Colors: Green, Pink, Silver Custom
    Left-Handed Version: No No
    Body
    Type: Solid Body Solid Body
    Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Mahogany
    Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar Tune-O-Matic (With V Plate)
    Neck
    Neck Joint: Neck-Through Set
    Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Grover
    Fretboard: Indian Laurel Ebony
    Neck Material: Mahogany Mahogany
    Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Pearl Block
    Scale Size: 24.75" 24.6"
    Shape: 1963 Firebird V
    Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Jumbo Nickel Silver
    Fretboard Radius: 12" 12"
    Nut: Ivory Tusq Ivory Tusq
    Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 43mm (1.693'')
    Electronics
    Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets (Humbucker / Passive) USA DMT Lights Out (Humbucker / Passive)
    Middle Pickup:
    Neck Pickup: USA DMT Lights Out (Humbucker / Passive)
    Switch: 0 Way 3 Way
    Knobs: Bell Bell
    Pickup Mods: None None
    Volume Controls: 1 2
    Tone Controls: 1 1