Today, over five decades after the original model, Hummingbird`s name stands for those values and is one of the best selling and most popular acoustic-electric guitars. The Hummingbird of today comes in a wide variety of models. The Humminbird True Vintage, which is built as a tribute to the `60s models, The 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbird, which is a perfect recreation of Gibson`s Montana Division True Vintage model, Hummingbird New Vintage, a model specially constructed for the Wildwood Guitars store, Hummingbird Custom Koa, which is constructed of figured koa back and sides with spruce top, Hummingbird Pro and Hummingbird Pro with a cutaway, which are made especially for the Guitar Center store are the models which complete the line of the Hummingbird Series. Also, there is a budget friendly variant, the Epiphone hummingbird with lower grade tonewoods and features.
The main model of the series, which is the focus of this article has a large, square-shouldered dreadnought shaped guitar without a cutaway. The body of this guitar is really an impressive sight, both in terms of the size and beauty. It measures 16-1/4" wide and with squared shoulders looks really powerful. In terms of the tonewoods used, it starts off with a combination of the AAA grade solid sitka spruce top and solid Honduran mahogany back and sides. This combination is used because of the spruce`s clarity and complexity, and mahogany`s warmth. The finish on this guitar is a thin layer of nitrocellulose lacquer to prevent the tone dampening. This finish is combined with Heritage Cherry Sunburst color option. It is one of the best known Gibson`s finish options made famous by Les Paul and Hummingbird models over the last five decades. Hummingbird has multi-ply creme binding on the top and back. The rosette around the sound hole is made of two concentric rings and the pickguard has a traditional "hummingbird" shape and also features a hummingbird graphic. The bridge on this model is made of Indian rosewood and sports a belly-up shape. It has a one piece fixed TUSQ saddle and six white pins.
The Hummingbird comes with pre-installed electronics which consist of streamlined L.R. Baggs Element Active acoustic pickup system with under-saddle pickup and endpin jack with self-contained preamp. The amplification system does not feature any control panels cut into the side or the top of the guitar. The volume control is placed within a sound hole. This system is one of the most common amplification options for the acoustic guitars on the market. The output jack on this model is also it`s back end strap button. The size of the jack is standard.
Neck and Headstock
Hummingbird`s neck is made of a single piece of quarter-sawn mahogany. The neck wood is carefully selected, as only the lightweight specimens with appropriate grain pattern orientation are utilized. The profile of the neck is vintage styled, it dates back to the 1960s and thin rounded profiles of the time. The Hummingbird is equipped with a compound dovetail joint instead of a single piece joint aiming at the better vibration transfer from the neck to the body cavity. It is connecting the neck to the body at the 14th fret. The norms and standards applied for this guitar are within Gibson`s standard 0.005 inch tolerance. The truss rod built on this model is adjustable and can also be found on many other Gibson`s models. The fingerboard is bound in creme and made of rosewood. It`s edges are contoured, or "rolled" for enhanced playing experience. The fingerboard is equipped with 20 standard fretwire medium jumbo frets made of nickel alloy. The inlays are mother of pearl parallelogram position markers which can also be seen on other expensive Gibsons. String nut is made of a genuine bone and measures a comfortable 1.725" in width. The headstock is traditionally shaped and angled back 17 degrees to increase the string tension and keep them in better tune. This feature also, by the manufacturer`s words, significantly improves the sustain. The headstock features traditional Gibson logo inlay made of mother of pearl. Just above the bell shaped truss rod cover is a mother of pearl crown inlay, which is also referred to as "thistle" due to it`s shape. The headstock also sports six Grover Rotomatic tuning machines in three-a-side arrangement. These die-cast tuners have a standard 14:1 gear ratio. The MSRP is set at $3,784.
The other models in this line also come with square-shouldered dreadnought shaped bodies. All models come with a sitka spruce top and mahogany body and backs. The exceptions are Hummingbird Custom Koa with figured koa back and sides and 50th Anniversary 1960 Custom Hummingbird which offers a choice of mahogany, rosewood and koa. All models feature multi-ply top body binding. All models, except Hummingbird Pro and Hummingbird Pro Cutaway feature multi-ply back binding. These two models feature single ply back binding. Rosette is a double ring on all models. Hummingbird pickguards are present on all models except the Hummingbird Pro models. "Belly up" styled rosewood bridges are standard with Koa Custom`s ebony bridge being an exception. Hummingbird true vintage is available in heritage cherry sunburst. 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbird comes in Heritage Dark Cherry Sunburst and Honey Sunburst options. New Vintage Hummingbird is available in Vintage Gloss, Hide Glue and Exotic Rosewood finishes. Hummingbird Custom Koa comes in Natural. Hummingbird Pro and Hummingbird Pro Cutaway are available in Vintage Sunburst.
At the electronics department only the Hummingbird Pro models have features. The system built into these models is L.R. Baggs element with sound hole mounted volume control.
All necks are made of mahogany and have dovetail joints at the 14th fret. True Vintage Hummingbird, 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbird and New Vintage Hummingbird have rounded profiles, while the Koa Custom model has comfort contour and Hummingbird pro and Hummingbird Pro Cutaway have 1960s rounded thin line contour. Fingerboards are mostly made of rosewood, but Koa Custom has ebony fingerboard. 20 frets are standard with the exceptions of 21 frets featured with 50th anniversary 1960 Hummingbird and hummingbird Pro models. all nuts are made of bone with the width of 1.725". The exceptions are Hummingbird Pro models with 1.6875" nut width. True Vintage Hummingbird features three-a-side golden vintage Keystone tuners. 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbird has golden Keystone tuners in three-a-side arrangement. New vintage is equipped with gold plated Gotoh Keystones and Hummingbird Pro with Grover nickel plated Rotomatics. Koa Custom has gold plated Grovers.
Epiphone also has a square shoulder dreadnought model named Hummingbird. It is the budget variant of the original Gibson`s model of the same name. This model is aimed at the lower portions of the market. It starts off with a combination of a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Glossy finish and creme binding are featured along with "hummingbird" pickguard and double ring rosette. The neck is made of mahogany and features Slim Taper contour and a dovetail joint. Rosewood fingerboard is equipped with 20 frets and mother of pearl parallelograms. Other features include: 1.6875" wide nut, 25-1/2" long scale, chrome hardware and Premium tuners. This model is available in: Ebony, Natural and Heritage cherry Sunburst. Epiphone Hummingbird
costs around $300.
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