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Fire Steel Bird

Fire Steel Bird

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3 pickups, all splitables:

- The neck is a Trinity, the top coil is a strat type, the other a tele type, workin’ in team you’ve got a humbucker, it’s all controlled by a Mustang 3-way switch: up = coil strat mid = humbucker down = coil telecaster

- The middle pickup is a The Origin (PAF like) with 2 slightly different coils, driven by the 2nd Mustang switch

- The bridge pickup is a Heatcrusher with a standard humbucker coil and another "P90 colored" coil. It is led by the 3rd Mustang switch

The guitar has 3 piezo in parallel (one on the bridge and two between the pickups (hence the aluminum plate that supports the 3 pickups). The piezo is driven by the 4th Mustang switch up = piezo mid = piezo + pickups down = pickups

The master volume (near the Vibrola’s handle) has a push-pull for phase/out phase, then a Tone for the pickups and a piezo Tone. The selector is a 5 way strat type switch with a classic combination, positions 2 and 4 are in phase with the push-pull down.

First impressions

It’s a fantastic instrument! Getting started is exceptional: perfectly balanced (which is not the case for "classic" Firebirds), and Xavier Petit’s neck is a treat.

Loic Le Pape is not just an undisputed expert in finishing and graphic arts, but also a true and great luthier, because his guitar sounds in a very original way with a great finesse and an incredible result. I found it has particularly dynamics superior to wood in the "high". More generally, the particular personality of this metal guitar will require an adaptation phase of my touch and my playin: the first notes were rather disconcerting, my playin’ seemed so confuse, so this guitar is demanding. I had not felt it since my 1st luthier’s guitar, and it is in my opinion the best homage that a guitar could make to his guitar player!

Neck pickup, SP Custom Trinity: the coils do not sound exactly "strat and tele" because the axe is not ash or alder and the neck is made of mahogany! The difference between the 2 coils is tiny of course, but it’s real. I had planned another Trinity in middle position. Loic has mounted it and did not "feel" the result so I followed his intuition and I thank him for that: the "The Origin", pure PAF is a "must have" for this kind of guitar... It would have been very consistent to put it in the bridge position, but I wanted to split the guitar into two parts: the bridge dedicated to "heavy and mean" and the middle and round at the "pretty and gentele sounds". When I say "heavy and mean", I think of palm muting, requiring a high-gain pu... Bongo offered me a "punk attitude" bonus by installing a split that sounds as close as possible to a P90 (high, straight, clear and fairly compressed).

The mix of piezo and pickups is very very interesting: less mids, and adds more thrills in extreme high .. It sounds like an "out of phase" effect but ten times better and with more treble!

After some time of use

A little update because I just played it at high volume, during rehearsal and at homet... until then I gave my opinion on the sound at low volume.

1) this is the most balanced and "better weight distributed" guitar that I own. Yet it is heavier than most, I completely forget about my shoulders, and it gives complete freedom to the left hand on the neck. I have not had any backache after rehearsal, which had never happened (except when I play on a strat which weighs nothing)! So bravo for the ergonomics.

2) it has a particular tone, focused on low and medium with mild treble: where I hurt my ears by pushing the wah-wah thoroughly on my SG, here it’s pleasant.

3) the dynamics is really special. Ultimately, I think that’s the main specificity of this guitar. It’s hard to describe, but it provides different playin’ sensations... particularly on rythm parts with overdrive or distortion: when attacking I’ve got the impression that the guitar compresses and adds lots of harmonics, but sound stays round, instead of "limit and snap" like wood guitars. So it remains alive and the sound fattens.

In conclusion: a huge rock n ’roll machine that requires skills in the subtlety as in violence.