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Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
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Playability
77
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
70
Score
70
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Playability
70
Sound
84
Build
70
Value
65
Score
75
FIND IT ON:
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I over Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS

Release Year
2024 vs 2021
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs XL Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Bolt-On
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Pickups
H vs HH
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain
Bridge
Fixed vs Tremolo
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm) vs 25.5'' (647.7mm)
Easier bending, shorter fret separation and warmer natural tone
Value Score
70 vs 65
Better price/quality relationship

Reasons to Get
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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
XL Jumbo vs Medium Jumbo
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Pickup Mods
Sustainer vs None
Infinite sustain when activated
Switch Positions
3 vs 0
More tone options
Tone Knobs
2 vs 1
More tone control
Pickups
HH vs H
High output without hum
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Bridge
Tremolo vs Fixed
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm) vs 24.75'' (628.7mm)
Lower action and brighter natural tone

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets vs Reeves Gabrels Signature Bridge
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Limba
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Mahogany vs Roasted Maple
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Ebony
Different Fretboard Wood
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Boneite
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS

Headstock
6
Same Headstock
Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume 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
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

  • Weight Relief
  • 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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

Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS

Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony
Limba wood pattern used for guitar building
Limba

Roasted Maple is just maple without a finish. It's technically cheaper than regular maple, but it doesn't have any extra disadvantages because of this. The color is darker, and it's lighter weight and very stable even when there's a lot of humidity.

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.

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.

Winner: Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS.

Pickup Configuration

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has an H configuration while the Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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 Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS gives you 3 switch options while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I gives you 0. This means that the Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

Only the Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS comes with some kind of pickup modification: Sustainer.

The pickups with Sustainer are able to recreate the 'feedback' you get when you hold your guitar near a speaker without muting the strings. This allows them to produce infinite sustain that you can use for as long as you want to create interest sounds and harmonics.

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

Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS'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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 39
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
Pickups 90
Sustain 100
Versatility 71
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 84

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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS.

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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS

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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's brige is a 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.

On the other hand, the Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS's is a Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS.

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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS comes with Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Boneite Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Sustainer Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in South Korea
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 85
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
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS's Scale Length
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS'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 Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS has the longest scale: 25.5". The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I is only 24.75" long. This is a 0.75'' (19.1mm) 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
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS Neck Profile
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS'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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Frets Size
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Frets Size
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS Frets Size
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS's Frets Size

The Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS has XL 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 Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
Bending & Vibrato Ease 80
Chord Playability 50
Solo Playability 80
Playability 70

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature RG-SUS
Brand: Epiphone Reverend
Year: 2024 2021
Configuration: H HH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: China South Korea
Series: 1963 Firebird I Signature
Colors: Green, Pink, Silver Gold, Yellow
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Korina
Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar Wilkinson WVS50 IIK Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Bolt-On
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Reverend Pin-Lock
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Ebony
Neck Material: Mahogany Roasted Maple
Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Dots
Scale Size: 24.75" 25.5"
Shape: 1963 Firebird Medium C
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 XL Jumbo Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 12" 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Boneite
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets (Humbucker / Passive) Reeves Gabrels Signature Bridge (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Sustainiac (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None Sustainer
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 2