Firebird Mini-Humbuckers


I've always been curious as to what was the need for this special pick-up for the Firebird, and how they lent themselves to it's tone? Did it have anything to do with the Firebird's neck-thru body design. Allen Collins replaced the bridge mini with a P-90 on all of his FB's.

I notice that Gibson has changed the design of the new FB's to a set-neck and Les Paul humbuckers. It seems like a good idea to do both of these things to me.

The FB has always been an intrigueing instrument to me. It will be interesting to see how the new design will affect the tone. Maybe more of an SG sound?

Ok couple of things -

1.  Gibson mini hums are not all the same.  The mini hums used on archtops are very mild, while the Firebird had some real hot tamale pickups.  There is at least one internet article that describes three (3) flavors of mini hums over the years:  Archtop, Firebird, and the "special design" mini hums (sometimes with black plastic cover) that were used on SG's and some LP's in the 70's.  Each has its own flavor, and construction. 

2.  Firebird originals were all neck through, except the bottom end model, which was set-neck.  Same applies today - only the studio is a set neck, the better ones are neck through. They were available, depending on the year, in version I, III, and V (and VII too I think).  The pickup combinations were mini hums on the III and higher.  The " Firebird I " used a lesser pickup like the melody maker one, or a p90.  Some were probably with mini hums too.  Gibson would basically crank out what they could.  Reissue Firebirds have full size HB's on the studio model, while the reissue III and V and VII are mini hums. 

Firebird neck through guitars with mini hums are scorching hot , fairly bright almost Fendery toned, but hot hot and offer a decent upper neck access (but not as good as an SG or V... ).
Here's some info, some right, some wrong, but a lot of cool 'Bird pics.
Will Warmoth still do the Firebird necks? I might have to get around to building one; Rio Grande's come out with a hot mini-bucker that would work in that...
After a looooong absence, they put these up a while back...

Don't kid yourself jack.....youl'e never be done, your projects overlap.

it's a goofey looking guitar, I might do one too
I've owned several vintage Firebirds and the mini-hums were very sharp, thin and piercing in the bridge position, always had to roll off the tone control.  They sounded great in the neck position though.  The neck access is fantastic and a joy to play except they tend to be neck heavy which can be annoying....
Didn't Neil Young stick one of these in his beloved LP? That guy gets the meanest tone I've heard on record.
Neil Young's firebird pup is, first of all, severely microphonic ( ie "broken") - apparently you can talk into it and it acts like a microphone.
There's a great site somewheres (found it, here: with interviews with Neil's guitar tech, who obviously thinks Neil is insane.
Neil is more particular about his amp, though, apparently it's a frankenstein one-of-a-kind with a little Fender champ or something at heart. I'd suspect you'd need to work on the amp side of things a lot if you wanna replicate Neil tone.
Cheers for that Farny, interesting read that site.

Personally I would never try to replicate another guys tone. Build a sweet Warmoth or buy a pro quality guitar with great PUs and a decent valve amp and go for your own sound I say. It never ceases to amaze me how different guitar/amp combos sound. My LP through my friends Fender Deville sounds like a completly different guitar than through my Peavey but both sound  superb in their own way. I;d probably go insane trying to nail NYs tone!