Saturday, January 28, 2012

1965 Gibson Hummingbird

The Hummingbird was introduced by Gibson 1960, and was like no other acoustic guitar ever seen previously. The guitar featured a beautifully engraved floral scene with its namesake hummingbird among the flowers. This was also Gibson's first "square shouldered" dreadnought; previous Gibson acoustic designs featured the round shoulder design as seen on this J-50.

With a combination of a short scale on a large guitar, the Hummingbird has a bassy (yet clear), tight and focused sound that makes for an excellent singers' accompaniment guitar. As seen on many Gibsons, the soundhole is also slightly smaller than on a Martin style acoustic which yields even MORE bass response. The mahogany back and sides produce very good clarity and treble cut, making for a guitar that has a less pronounced midrange; perfect for the human voice (and all its midrange) to sit in the pocket.

Hummingbirds were finished in the vibrant cherry sunburst finish as seen most famously on 1958-1960 Gibson Les Paul Standards. This guitar's finish has faded to a gorgeous muted shade that is less like a sunburst and more like a sunset. This guitar, a California resident for its' entire life, probably saw massive sun exposure at folk festivals and love-ins.

Hummingbirds have many fans, and they are seen by many as being the perfect "acoustic rock" guitar; I would agree, as they are the acoustic of choice for Keith and Mick of The Rolling Stones, and are heard all over their records from c1966 onwards.

images courtesy of the author; c2012 Derek See.

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