“It needs a tune – but we’ll do that free of charge!”: Meet the Gibson Firebird that Jimmy Page lost in a drinking game with John Bonham

Jimmy Page's Non-Reverse Gibson Firebird III
(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

When it comes to the vintage market, few rules are set in stone. Consider the curious case of the Gibson Firebird. Launched in 1963 to a general shrug of shoulders, not even high-profile exponents like Brian Jones and Blind Faith-era Eric Clapton could boost the model’s sales beyond a desultory trickle.

But as Mike Long of UK vintage specialist ATB Guitars explains, that same outlier status now makes the Firebird an excellent lower-priced entry point for first-time collectors. But when true one-offs come to market – like this stunning non-reverse III circa 1968, with its irresistible Led Zeppelin connection – all bets are off as to what they can command as collectible instruments.

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.

With contributions from