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Epiphone 1963 Firebird V
Schecter John Browne Tao-8
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Playability
75
Sound
72
Build
67
Value
66
Score
71
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Playability
75
Sound
79
Build
78
Value
72
Score
77
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Schecter John Browne Tao-8

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V over Schecter John Browne Tao-8

Release Year
2024 vs 2023
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs XL Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
1963 Firebird vs Ultra Thin U
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Bolt-On
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Strings
6 vs 8
Narrower neck and fewer strings to change
Volume Knobs
2 vs 1
More volume control
Tone Knobs
2 vs 0
More tone control
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm) vs 2.126'' (54mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Bridge
Tremolo vs Fixed
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm) vs 27'' (685.8mm)
Easier bending, shorter fret separation and warmer natural tone
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 20'' (508mm)
Easier to play chords without muting strings

Reasons to Get
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 over Epiphone 1963 Firebird V

Country of Manufacturing
South Korea vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Decorative Top
Flamed maple veneer vs None
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Fret Material
Stainless Steel vs Nickel Silver
Best fret material that will last forever
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
Neck Profile
Ultra Thin U vs 1963 Firebird
Comfortable neck with more grip
Pickup Mods
Coil Split vs None
Splits humbuckers into single coil pickups
Strings
8 vs 6
Allows you to play lower notes
Number of Frets
24 vs 22
Allows to reach higher notes
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
2.126'' (54mm) vs 1.693'' (43mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Luminescent Sidedots
Yes vs None
Assists you when playing in dark environments
Bridge
Fixed vs Tremolo
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Scale Length
27'' (685.8mm) vs 24.75'' (628.7mm)
Lower action and brighter natural tone
Fretboard Radius
20'' (508mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend
Value Score
72 vs 66
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Schecter John Browne Tao-8

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet vs Schecter USA Colossus
Different Bridge Pickup
Neck Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet vs Schecter USA Chaosbreaker
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Ash
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Mahogany vs Wenge
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Ebony
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 4-4
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Black Tusq XL
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Schecter John Browne Tao-8

Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
3
Same pickups versatility
Pickups
HH
High output without hum
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed

Common Strengths

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

Common Weaknesses

  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • 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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8 meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird V 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 V
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Schecter John Browne Tao-8
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • 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 V

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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8

Wenge wood pattern used for guitar building
Wenge
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony
Ash wood pattern used for guitar building
Ash

Wenge is a stiff wood that comes with straight and tight grains. Its color is dark brown and the tonality emphasizes the low and mid-ends (warm) frequencies, similar to Rosewood.

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.

Ash is a type of wood that Fender used almost exclusively in the 50s, and it's still used by many brands. It's a dense wood with a light color that works well for a transparent, natural finish because of its beautiful patterns. In terms of sound, it's known for emphasizing the mid and high frequencies, but with strong low end. Find out more about Ash.

Winner: Schecter John Browne Tao-8.

Pickup Configuration

Both pickup configurations are HH. 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.

However, the Epiphone 1963 Firebird V 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: Epiphone 1963 Firebird V.

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

Both are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

Only the Schecter John Browne Tao-8 comes with some kind of pickup modification: Coil Split.

Coil Split lets you disconnect one of the pickup coils. When used with humbuckers, it turns them into single-coil with lower output and cleaner tone.

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's switch options
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Schecter John Browne Tao-8'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: Schecter John Browne Tao-8.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V
Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 63
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 72
Schecter John Browne Tao-8
Pickups 85
Sustain 85
Versatility 67
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 79

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 V compares to the Schecter John Browne Tao-8.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Epiphone 1963 Firebird V is built in China while the Schecter John Browne Tao-8 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: Schecter John Browne Tao-8

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 V 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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8 comes with a Black Tusq XL nut. TUSQ nuts are usually the highest quality you can get. Black TUSQs are made from a special slippery material that helps the strings get back to its original position (one of the keys to tune 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.

In this comparison, the Schecter John Browne Tao-8 is the only one that has stainless steel frets. These frets will basically last for the entire life of the guitar. They will never need polishing nor replacement. And not only that, but some people also notice that bending and vibratos are much easier to perform when they upgrade to stainless steel.

Winner: Schecter John Browne Tao-8.

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 V's brige 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.

On the other hand, the Schecter John Browne Tao-8's 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.

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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8 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: Schecter John Browne Tao-8.

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 V 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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8 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 V.

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

Strengths & Weaknesses
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • 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
Strengths & Weaknesses
Schecter John Browne Tao-8
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Black Tusq XL Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Coil Split Pickups
  • Luminescent Inlay
  • Made in South Korea
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V
Quality of materials 66
Features 65
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 67
Schecter John Browne Tao-8
Quality of materials 83
Features 70
Quality Control 80
Build Quality 78

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 V Nut Width
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V Nut Width
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 Nut Width
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Schecter John Browne Tao-8 has the wider nut with 54mm (2.126'') vs 43mm (1.693''). This is a 11mm (0.433'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Schecter John Browne Tao-8, 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 V's Scale Length
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's Scale Length
Schecter John Browne Tao-8's Scale Length
Schecter John Browne Tao-8'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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8 has the longest scale: 27". The Epiphone 1963 Firebird V is only 24.75" long. This is a 2.25'' (57.2mm) 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 V Neck Profile
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's neck profile
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 Neck Profile
Schecter John Browne Tao-8'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 V 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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8, on the other hand, has a U neck. This is also referred to as ''baseball neck'' because of its shape. It's usually thick, which is why some people with big hands like it. However, they can also be thin, similar to a C shape, but with more shoulders for a better grip.

Fretboard Radius

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V Fingerboard Radius
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's Fingerboard radius
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 Fingerboard Radius
Schecter John Browne Tao-8'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 Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the Schecter John Browne Tao-8'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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8.

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 Schecter John Browne Tao-8 favors large hands more than the Epiphone 1963 Firebird V.

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Schecter John Browne Tao-8:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V Frets Size
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's Frets Size
Schecter John Browne Tao-8 Frets Size
Schecter John Browne Tao-8's Frets Size

The Schecter John Browne Tao-8 has XL Jumbo frets, which should be taller than the Epiphone 1963 Firebird V'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 V
Bending & Vibrato Ease 80
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 80
Playability 75
Schecter John Browne Tao-8
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 80
Playability 75

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Schecter John Browne Tao-8
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird V Schecter John Browne Tao-8
Brand: Epiphone Schecter
Year: 2024 2023
Configuration: HH HH
Strings: 6 8
Made in: China South Korea
Series: 1963 Firebird V Reaper Elite
Colors: Blue, Red Purple Satin
Left-Handed Version: No Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Swamp Ash
Bridge: Maestro Vibrola Hipshot Fixed Bridge
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Bolt-On
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Hipshot Grip-Lock
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Ebony
Neck Material: Mahogany Wenge/Paduak 5-Ply
Decoration: Mother of Pearl Trapezoid
Scale Size: 24.75" 27"
Shape: 1963 Firebird Ultra Thin U
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 24 XL Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 12" 20"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Black Tusq XL
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 54mm (2.126'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet (Humbucker / Passive) Schecter USA Colossus (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet (Humbucker / Passive) Schecter USA Chaosbreaker (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 3 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None Coil Split
Volume Controls: 2 1
Tone Controls: 2 0