1980 SG Firebrand headstock color

drown

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Looking at an SG Firebrand from a seller claiming it's a 1980 model. I'm not an expert but most I've seen the headstock was a natural finish. This one has a black finish. Branded logo seems rather unclean and finish on headstock has some issues. Wondering whether it's possible this is a fake? Or that previous owner painted it black? Some other issues with the guitar including not original pickups. Thoughts? Serial numbers appear to check out to a 1980 era Gibson SG. I've seen non-ebony Firebrands from 1982 with black headstock like this....

Switch is in correct location for a firebrand. But all the other I've seen had tulip shaped tuners, whereas this one has kidneys....

Headstock 1.JPG Headstock 3.JPG Headstock2.JPG
 

Col Mustard

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Those are/were excellent. I want one too. They got the name Firebrand by having the headstock look like the Gibson logo had been branded in... no decal, no MOP inlay.
No beveling on the cutaways. But a lovely instrument, making me drool ever since.
SG-1979.jpg
The OP's pictures show an SG whose headstock has been broken and repaired.
...it looks like a home made job, which included painting the headstock with house paint or something.

Someone installed heavy Grover Rotomatics on this SG. The stock tuners were seventies style
Schaller gears, which very likely would balance properly. If it's headstock heavy, there are many better choices for tuners which would solve that problem.

Here's some close up action:
https://60cyclehumcast.com/2016/03/30/gibson-firebrand-sg-demo-and-review/
 

TDA1966

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In typical hazy Gibson fashion,The Firebrand series history becomes murky in a way because they either started out as The SG and the SG Deluxe and switched to mahogany from the scrumptious eastern black walnut and the branded logo became either a decal or inlay . I don't have any links now, maybe one of you do.

Some places say they started out being called The SG (Walnut) and The SG Deluxe (Mahogany) before being named Firebrands.. Although I would personally think the eastern black walnut as being a more deluxe, although domestic, timber.

They were were made with both the harmonica and nashville bridges. I guess the harmonica in 1979 even though the nashville had been around a while.
 
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Col Mustard

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I think the first of them was The SG (Standard) or simply The SG, which came out in '78 and
lasted until '81. It was accompanied by The Paul, made in a similar way. Walnut body, satin
finish, ebony fretboard, burnt in logo, Velvet Brick bridge p'up, regular hum bucker neck p'up.
I'd love to have one of those.

The SG Deluxe came out in like 1980 and lasted till '85. The Deluxe had a regular mahogany body and rosewood fretboard instead of Walnut and Ebony. Similar p'ups and finish I believe.

Regular SG Standards cost just over $600 then, so the $500 SG seemed like a bargain.
 

flognoth

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This post is a bit long, apologies for that.

Here's what I know about the Firebrand's history.

In 1979, it started off life in as "The SG".
• Larger Walnut body
• Ever so slight bevels
• Uncovered pickups (late t-tops and the bridge was Zebra)
• Chrome hardware
• Nashville Bridge (some early models had a Harmonica)
• Black pickup rings
• Angelwing Pickguard
• Black Speed Knobs
• No Poker Chip
• Side jack
• Ebony board with dot inlays
• Volute
• Walnut paddle headstock
• Schaller machine heads with the offset screw
• Gold Gibson logo
• "The SG" printed on the truss cover
• Chainsaw Case (standard - a non chainsaw was an upgrade option)

In 1980 the name was changed to "Firebrand SG". I believe most of the Firebrands were made in '80 with some made in '81. The specs of the Firebrand SG are identical to "The SG" with the following exceptions
• Nashville Bridge (all of them)
• "Branded Gibson" logo
• "SG Firebrand" printed on the truss cover

In 1982-1983, the name was changed to either "Firebrand SG Standard" or "Firebrand Deluxe".

The Standard was left over stock of the original Firebrand SG. To my knowledge there was only one small difference
• Grover machine heads with the non-offset screw (many were Gibson branded)
• "Firebrand "The SG" -STD." printed on the truss cover

The 1982 Firebrand Deluxe had almost the same specs as the Firebrand SG Standard with these following exceptions, one very important:
• Mahogany body (replacing the Walnut)
• "Firebrand "The SG" Deluxe" printed on the truss cover

The 1983 Firebrand Deluxe had the exact same specs as the 1982 model with this exception
• Black paddle headstock
• Gold Gibson logo

If I've gotten anything wrong, please someone, set me straight.

Here's a photo of the bevels on my Firebrand

firebrandbevels.jpg
 
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drown

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Thanks flognoth. Very useful information.

I'm in love with the walnut/ebony combo and on the hunt. I don't think the particular guitar I found is the one. There's definitely something up with that headstock.
 

Col Mustard

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There was the ES335-S Firebrand too. I like those, not as much as the SG, but they were cool and scarce!
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1980-Gibso...545532?hash=item21320ba83c:g:QmIAAOSw8-xZ3U3g

I've never seen or heard of that before... (but I don't know everything).

I just looked these up, and found that it's actually genuine, and rare as you say.
I guess the ES-335-S means the S stands for solid. Any way, it looks like a very cool
guitar with Tim Shaw pickups. Very cool, thanks for posting.

And yes, there are other SG Firebrand guitars for sale out there, so you don't have to
feel like anything valuable got away from you here... an SG with a broken headstock might
play just fine, but if the Gibson identifying marks have been obscured by home made
"repair work" then the identity will always be doubtful. And the cash value drops accordingly.

Better to get an unbroken one that is no more and no less than it seems.
 

TDA1966

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drown

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And yes, there are other SG Firebrand guitars for sale out there, so you don't have to
feel like anything valuable got away from you here... an SG with a broken headstock might
play just fine, but if the Gibson identifying marks have been obscured by home made
"repair work" then the identity will always be doubtful. And the cash value drops accordingly.

Better to get an unbroken one that is no more and no less than it seems.

Totally agree. As much as I think the firebrand is cool and very attractive, the thing I'm most interested in is the walnut body and ebony neck. I'll keep looking until I can check something out in person.
 

cerebral gasket

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Combination of walnut body, ebony board, harmonica bridge would be awesome. The decal vs firebrand logo would not be a deal breaker at all for me.

I like the funkiness about these with the placement of the selector switch and side jack as well.
 
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TDA1966

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I had an all eastern black walnut body and neck Carvin and it makes a great solidbody. Highly under utilized timber. Wish I still had it.
 

rotorhead

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Combination of walnut body, ebony board, harmonica bridge would be awesome. The decal vs firebrand logo would not be a deal breaker at all for me.

I like the funkiness about these with the placement of the selector switch and side jack as well.

I think for this one guitar, I'm all about the Firebrand version vs the "The SG" earlier version, which had the walnut/ ebony features. Both are cool but I'm looking strictly for the Firebrand features.
 

drown

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The best part is that they have this listed on reverb also with a picture showing a price tag on the case 100$ cheaper than their listed price.
 


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