Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Review & Prices

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Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Review
  • From Gibson Custom's 2022 Artist series
  • Johnny Winter Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Layered Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Indian Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Firebird Alnico V (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Firebird Alnico V (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Chrome Plated Aluminum Stop Bar bridge
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Medium C Neck-Through neck
  • 22 Vintage frets
  • Deluxe Banjo Tuners tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Gibson Custom's 2022 Artist series
  • Johnny Winter Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Layered Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Indian Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Firebird Alnico V (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Firebird Alnico V (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Chrome Plated Aluminum Stop Bar bridge
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Medium C Neck-Through neck
  • 22 Vintage frets
  • Deluxe Banjo Tuners tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Verdict: is The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V a Good Guitar?

Made in a country with top quality control, which means you should get a high-quality instrument made with good materials and excellent attention to detail. It's a guitar with decent playability. It has good pickups but might be lacking in terms of versatility. It favors playing solos more than chords. You can find other models with valuable features (locking tuners, stainless steel frets, etc) for a lower price. Overall, a good guitar for the price, especially if you like Hard Rock or similar genres.

Final Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 78
Sound 72
Build quality 72
Value for money 59
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • Tremolo
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Prices

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Is the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $3600, which means that the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V costs around 92% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all guitars in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in United States.

Explore All Gibson Custom Guitars >

Is The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Easy to Play?

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. 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 to get used to.

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Wide nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Scale Length Comparison
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Neck Profile
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More guitars for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V has a fingerboard radius of 12". Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Nut Width
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Nut Width

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V has a nut width of 42.9mm (1.688''). This size is also known as 1 11/16'' and it's the most common size found in electric guitars. 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.

More guitars with the same nut width:

Frets

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

Finally, these are nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you'll need to replace the frets after a few years.

More guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Fret Size Comparison
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's frets are Vintage size. This is one of the shortest fret sizes you can find. Most modern guitar players prefer taller frets because it's easier to bend and press down the strings. However, some people love the feeling of a small fret that lets them feel the fretboard while playing. We recommend newbies choose a taller size for an easier experience.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 80
Playability 78

Does the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, we'll take a look at the hardware used—mainly the pickups—to determine what kind of tone you can expect.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gibson Custom. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More guitars with the same pickups

22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Firebird Alnico V Bridge Pickup
Firebird Alnico V Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Firebird Alnico V Bridge Pickup
Firebird Alnico V Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Firebird Alnico V Bridge Pickup
Firebird Alnico V Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Firebird Alnico V Bridge Pickup
Firebird Alnico V Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Firebird Alnico V Bridge Pickup
Firebird Alnico V Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, guitarists tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V's switch options

What music genre is the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 72

How well is the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Built?

Where is the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Made?

Knowing where the guitar is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive guitars are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

More guitars made in United States

Quality of Wood Used in the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V

As an electric guitar, type of wood won't affect the tone and sustain much. Instead, the hardware will be much more important. However, wood is still important for the look and feel of the guitar in general.

These are the types of wood used in the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V:

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

The body and neck are made of Mahogany. This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Finally, the fretboard material is Rosewood. Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Bridge

The bridge is a Chrome Plated Aluminum Stop Bar. The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More guitars with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V has a Corian nut. It's a synthetic nut made to be similar to Bone. It's easier to work with for the luthier when compared to Bone, but it's not as hard and doesn't have the same lubricating properties. Still, it's a good material for guitar nuts.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Neck-Through neck joint. Many people believe a neck-through build delivers the best sustain because some of the vibrations from the neck aren't lost like with other neck joints. However, no one has been able to prove this. What we know is that a neck-through build is usually the most comfortable when playing the upper frets because there's nothing on your way at the neck-body joint.

More guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 60
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 72

Most Popular Comparisons With The Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V

Gibson Custom Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V Specs

General
Brand: Gibson Custom
Year: 2022
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Artist
Colors: White
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Layered Mahogany
Bridge: Chrome Plated Aluminum Stop Bar
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through
Tuners: Deluxe Banjo Tuners
Fretboard: Indian Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Aged Celluloid Trapezoids
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Medium C
Frets: 22 Vintage
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Corian
Nut Width: 42.9mm (1.688'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: Firebird Alnico V (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Firebird Alnico V (Humbucker / Passive)