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Epiphone 1963 Firebird V
Solar GC1.6FAB
VS
Playability
75
Sound
72
Build
67
Value
66
Score
71
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Playability
78
Sound
82
Build
69
Value
76
Score
76
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Solar GC1.6FAB

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V over Solar GC1.6FAB

Release Year
2024 vs 2020
From a more recent year
Number of Frets
22 vs 24
Warmer neck pickup
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs XL Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Graphite
Resistant, good tuning stability and rich tone
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Set
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Tone Knobs
2 vs 1
More tone control
Bridge
Tremolo vs Evertune
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 13.78'' (350mm)
Easier to play chords without muting strings

Reasons to Get
Solar GC1.6FAB over Epiphone 1963 Firebird V

Country of Manufacturing
Indonesia vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Decorative Top
Flame 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
Pickup Mods
Parallel Split vs None
Connects pickups in parallel to brighten tone
Number of Frets
24 vs 22
Allows to reach higher notes
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Luminescent Sidedots
Yes vs None
Assists you when playing in dark environments
Bridge
Evertune vs Tremolo
Fixed bridge that will keep the guitar in tune forever
Fretboard Radius
13.78'' (350mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend
Value Score
76 vs 66
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Solar GC1.6FAB

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet vs Duncan Solar/Bridge
Different Bridge Pickup
Neck Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet vs Duncan Solar
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Mahogany
Different Body Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Ebony
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs R6
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Graphite
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Solar GC1.6FAB

Neck Wood
Mahogany
Same Neck Wood
Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
3
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
2
Same volume control
Pickups
HH
High output without hum
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm)
Same string separation at the nut
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Profile Type
C
Comfortable neck that works for most people

Common Strengths

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

Common Weaknesses

  • Weight Relief
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

SET PRICE ALERT

Solar GC1.6FAB 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 V
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Solar GC1.6FAB
  • Comfortable shape
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Easy-to-use bridge

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 V

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 Solar GC1.6FAB

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: Solar GC1.6FAB.

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 Solar GC1.6FAB comes with some kind of pickup modification: Parallel Split.

The Parallel Split feature allows it to split and connect some of the pickups in parallel. When wired in parallel, the result is a very bright tone. This is the wire technique used in most Stratocaster guitars, and it's what gives them their signature transparent and clear sound. This is because the pickups' inputs and outputs are wired together, which reduces the signal's travel distance to the output jack.

They both share the following switching options:

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V and Solar GC1.6FAB pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V and Solar GC1.6FAB'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: Solar GC1.6FAB.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V
Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 63
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 72
Solar GC1.6FAB
Pickups 85
Sustain 75
Versatility 66
Tuning Stability 100
Sound 82

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 Solar GC1.6FAB.

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 Solar GC1.6FAB 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: Solar GC1.6FAB

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 Solar GC1.6FAB comes with a Graphite nut. It's a self-lubricating material that will allow the strings to slide over the nut without a lot of friction. It's a good type of nut if you want to have better tuning stability than with plastic, although it's not as resistant as Bone or Tusq.

Winner: Epiphone 1963 Firebird V.

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 Solar GC1.6FAB 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: Solar GC1.6FAB.

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 Solar GC1.6FAB's is a Evertune. It will keep your guitar in tune and intonated until the next string swap. If you really like extremely subtle vibratos, this might not be the bridge for you because you won't be able to perform them as well. However, the fact that you won't need to tune your guitar is a huge advantage that many people will gladly pay the extra price for.

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: Solar GC1.6FAB.

Tuners

The Solar GC1.6FAB 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: Solar GC1.6FAB.

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 Solar GC1.6FAB 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 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
Solar GC1.6FAB
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Parallel Split Pickups
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Luminescent Inlay
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • 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
Solar GC1.6FAB
Quality of materials 63
Features 70
Quality Control 75
Build Quality 69

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
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 V and Solar GC1.6FAB'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 V Neck Profile
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's neck profile
Solar GC1.6FAB Neck Profile
Solar GC1.6FAB'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 V and the Solar GC1.6FAB 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 V Fingerboard Radius
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's Fingerboard radius
Solar GC1.6FAB Fingerboard Radius
Solar GC1.6FAB'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 Solar GC1.6FAB'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 Solar GC1.6FAB.

Still, both tend to favor soloing over chords, so if you're looking for a guitar for playing rhythm, you might want something else with a radius closer to a Stratocaster's 9.5''.

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 V:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Solar GC1.6FAB:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V Frets Size
Epiphone 1963 Firebird V's Frets Size
Solar GC1.6FAB Frets Size
Solar GC1.6FAB's Frets Size

The Solar GC1.6FAB 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
Solar GC1.6FAB
Bending & Vibrato Ease 90
Chord Playability 55
Solo Playability 90
Playability 78

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird V vs Solar GC1.6FAB
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird V Solar GC1.6FAB
Brand: Epiphone Solar
Year: 2024 2020
Configuration: HH HH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: China Indonesia
Series: 1963 Firebird V Type G
Colors: Blue, Red Sunburst Burst
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Mahogany
Bridge: Maestro Vibrola Evertune F-Type
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Set
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Solar 18:1 Locking Type
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Ebony
Neck Material: Mahogany Mahogany
Decoration: Mother of Pearl Trapezoid Solar Logo on 12th Fret
Scale Size: 24.75" 24.75"
Shape: 1963 Firebird Solar C Shape
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 24 XL Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 12" 13.78"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Graphite
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet (Humbucker / Passive) Duncan Solar/Bridge (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnet (Humbucker / Passive) Duncan Solar (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 3 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None Parallel Split
Volume Controls: 2 2
Tone Controls: 2 1