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Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Sterling St. Vincent
VS
Playability
77
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
70
Score
70
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Playability
70
Sound
70
Build
62
Value
72
Score
67
FIND IT ON:
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Sterling St. Vincent

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I over Sterling St. Vincent

Release Year
2024 vs 2018
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs Narrow Tall
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Pickups Brand
Gibson vs None
Pickups from a renown brand
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Bolt-On
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Pickups
H vs HHH
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm) vs 1.65'' (41.9mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
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
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 9.5'' (241.3mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend

Reasons to Get
Sterling St. Vincent over Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Country of Manufacturing
Indonesia vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Type of Frets
Narrow Tall vs Medium Jumbo
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Switch Positions
5 vs 0
More tone options
Pickups
HHH vs H
High output without hum and tons of tone versatility
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
1.65'' (41.9mm) vs 1.693'' (43mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
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
Fretboard Radius
9.5'' (241.3mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
Easier to play chords without muting strings
Value Score
72 vs 70
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Sterling St. Vincent

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets vs Sterling Humbucker
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Mahogany
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Mahogany vs Maple
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Rosewood
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 4-2
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Compensated
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Sterling St. Vincent

Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
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
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • 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
SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

The Sterling St. Vincent meets 6 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

Sterling St. Vincent
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • 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 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 Sterling St. Vincent

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America. Find out more about Maple.

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: Sterling St. Vincent.

Pickup Configuration

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has an H configuration while the Sterling St. Vincent has HHH 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, A triple Humbucker (HHH) can be intimidating at first, but it's one of the combinations that offer the most tone versatility. You'll be able to have from a lot of output for Hard Rock genres, to warm and clean sounds that are more common in Jazz.

Pickups Quality

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has pickups from a more specialized brand than the Sterling St. Vincent. Its pickups should simply give you a better, fuller sound, although it all depends on what type of music you're going to play. We recommend these pickups for Hard Rock and similar genres.

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: Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

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 Sterling St. Vincent gives you 5 switch options while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I gives you 0. This means that the Sterling St. Vincent 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.

Sterling St. Vincent pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Sterling St. Vincent'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: Sterling St. Vincent.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 39
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69
Sterling St. Vincent
Pickups 60
Sustain 75
Versatility 70
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 70

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 Sterling St. Vincent.

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 Sterling St. Vincent is made in Indonesia.

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.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

Winner: Sterling St. Vincent

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 Sterling St. Vincent comes with a Compensated nut. Each hole where the string sits at the nut is cut at a different distance from the bridge, which compensates for the different amount of tension that each string is subject to. This fixes most intonation issues across the fretboard, so it gives great tuning stability.

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 Sterling St. Vincent'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 Sterling St. Vincent 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: Sterling St. Vincent.

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 Sterling St. Vincent 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
Sterling St. Vincent
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • 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
Sterling St. Vincent
Quality of materials 51
Features 65
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 62

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
Sterling St. Vincent Nut Width
Sterling St. Vincent Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has the wider nut with 43mm (1.693'') vs 41.9mm (1.65''). This is a 1.1mm (0.043'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I, 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's Scale Length
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Scale Length
Sterling St. Vincent's Scale Length
Sterling St. Vincent'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 Sterling St. Vincent 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
Sterling St. Vincent Neck Profile
Sterling St. Vincent'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 Sterling St. Vincent 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
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Fingerboard radius
Sterling St. Vincent Fingerboard Radius
Sterling St. Vincent's Fingerboard 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.

In this case, the Sterling St. Vincent's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's. This extra arc will make playing chords easier in this model. You won't be as likely to mute the strings, especially if you have big hands. However, playing single notes and bending will be easier on the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

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
Sterling St. Vincent:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Frets Size
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Frets Size
Sterling St. Vincent Frets Size
Sterling St. Vincent's Frets Size

The Sterling St. Vincent has Narrow Tall 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
Sterling St. Vincent
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 70

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Sterling St. Vincent
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Sterling St. Vincent
Brand: Epiphone Sterling
Year: 2024 2018
Configuration: H HHH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: China Indonesia
Series: 1963 Firebird I Artist
Colors: Green, Pink, Silver Black, Blue
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Mahogany
Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar Vintage Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Bolt-On
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Locking
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany Hard Maple
Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Custom St. Vincent Inlays
Scale Size: 24.75" 25.5"
Shape: 1963 Firebird St. Vincent
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Narrow Tall Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 12" 9.5"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Compensated
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 41.9mm (1.65'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets (Humbucker / Passive) Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 5 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 1