Swap
Swap
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Reverend Airwave 12-String
VS
Playability
77
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
70
Score
70
FIND IT ON:
Reverb logoSweetwater logo
Playability
80
Sound
77
Build
70
Value
71
Score
76
FIND IT ON:
Reverb logo
Add to Compare
Discuss or ask a question
Add to Compare
Discuss or ask a question
Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Airwave 12-String

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I over Reverend Airwave 12-String

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 Joint
Neck-Through vs Set
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Strings
6 vs 12
Narrower neck and fewer strings to change
Body Type
Solid Body vs Semi-Hollow
Feedback free
Pickups
H vs P90P90
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm) vs 1.75'' (44.5mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes

Reasons to Get
Reverend Airwave 12-String over Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Country of Manufacturing
South Korea 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
Strings
12 vs 6
Allows you to play lower notes
Body Type
Semi-Hollow vs Solid Body
Lighter and allows more gain than a hollowbody
Switch Positions
3 vs 0
More tone options
Tone Knobs
2 vs 1
More tone control
Pickups
P90P90 vs H
Vintage tone with decent versatility
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
1.75'' (44.5mm) vs 1.693'' (43mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Value Score
71 vs 70
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Airwave 12-String

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets vs 9A5 Bridge
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Limba
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Mahogany vs Limba
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Rosewood
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 6-6
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Boneite
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Airwave 12-String

Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm)
Same fretboard comfortability
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Profile Type
C
Comfortable neck that works for most people

Common Strengths

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

Common Weaknesses

  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • 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

Reverend Airwave 12-String Prices

SET PRICE ALERT

These are affiliate links. We may earn a fee if you purchase after clicking. These prices are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links. As an Amazon Associate site we earn from qualifying purchases.

Which One is Better for Beginners?

The Reverend Airwave 12-String meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I meets only 4. 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.

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

Reverend Airwave 12-String
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

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 the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany
Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel

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.

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 Reverend Airwave 12-String

Limba wood pattern used for guitar building
Limba
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood

Limba is a relatively rare wood that shows exotic tight dark grain stripes. It comes in white or black. As a tonewood, it is comparable to Mahogany but with richer mids. Find out more about Limba.

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones. Find out more about Rosewood.

Winner: Reverend Airwave 12-String.

Pickup Configuration

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has an H configuration while the Reverend Airwave 12-String has P90P90 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, P90P90 gives you two P90s for a crunchy vintage tone. The tone sits somewhere in the middle between typical single-coils and humbuckers. They also produce less hum than single-coils, but they don't cancel it completely like humbuckers.

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.

However, the Reverend Airwave 12-String has a slight sound quality advantage when taking into account other factors like the type of pickups, magnet, position, etc.

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: Reverend Airwave 12-String.

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 Reverend Airwave 12-String gives you 3 switch options while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I gives you 0. This means that the Reverend Airwave 12-String 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.

Reverend Airwave 12-String pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Reverend Airwave 12-String'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: Reverend Airwave 12-String.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 39
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69
Reverend Airwave 12-String
Pickups 100
Sustain 75
Versatility 51
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 77

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 Reverend Airwave 12-String.

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 Reverend Airwave 12-String is made in South Korea.

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.

South Korea was for many years the number one choice for mass-producing semi-premium guitars. They can build excellent guitars for a cheap price. Now, it's less common to find Korean guitars because Indonesia has proved capable of building guitars just as well, but likely for cheaper.

Winner: Reverend Airwave 12-String

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.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a Ivory Tusq nut. 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.

On the other hand, the Reverend Airwave 12-String comes with a Boneite nut. This is an artificial material made to imitate the favored type of nut: bone. This allows it to sound and feel pretty much like bone, but without the inconsistency of natural materials.

Winner: Tie.

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

The Reverend Airwave 12-String has the best tuners of the two because they are locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune it without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Winner: Reverend Airwave 12-String.

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 Reverend Airwave 12-String 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
Reverend Airwave 12-String
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Boneite Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in South Korea
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • 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
Reverend Airwave 12-String
Quality of materials 66
Features 65
Quality Control 80
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
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Nut Width
Reverend Airwave 12-String Nut Width
Reverend Airwave 12-String Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Reverend Airwave 12-String has the wider nut with 44.5mm (1.75'') vs 43mm (1.693''). This is a 1.5mm (0.057'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Reverend Airwave 12-String, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and Reverend Airwave 12-String's Scale Length
Both have the same 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.

In this case, both have a scale length of 24.75".

This is the scale length that Gibson uses for most of its Les Paul guitars. It's a smaller scale than the typical Stratocaster's 25.5''. Short scale lengths like this make it easier to bend the strings, which is pretty important if you have a fixed bridge. They also have a shorter fret separation, which makes it easier to change position fast at the fretboard.

On the other hand, a shorter scale like this one will make fret buzz more likely, which can affect you if you want to use thicker string gauges.

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
Reverend Airwave 12-String Neck Profile
Reverend Airwave 12-String'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.

Both the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and the Reverend Airwave 12-String have a C-shaped 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.

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 Reverend Airwave 12-String 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.

After taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that both in this comparison favor small hands .

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Reverend Airwave 12-String:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Frets Size
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Frets Size
Reverend Airwave 12-String Frets Size
Reverend Airwave 12-String's Frets Size

The Reverend Airwave 12-String 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
Reverend Airwave 12-String
Bending & Vibrato Ease 95
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 80
Playability 80

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Airwave 12-String
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Reverend Airwave 12-String
Brand: Epiphone Reverend
Year: 2024 2021
Configuration: H P90P90
Strings: 6 12
Made in: China South Korea
Series: 1963 Firebird I Set-Neck
Colors: Green, Pink, Silver Black, Blue, Green, Pink
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Semi-Hollow
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Korina, Solid Spruce Top
Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar GOTOH Independent Intonation Bridge
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Set
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Reverend Pin-Lock
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany Five-Piece Korina/Walnut
Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Pearloid Blocks
Scale Size: 24.75" 24.75"
Shape: 1963 Firebird Medium Oval
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Jumbo Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 12" 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Boneite
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 44.5mm (1.75'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets (Humbucker / Passive) 9A5 Bridge (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: 9A5 Neck (Single Coil / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 2