Holiday Gear Guide: Gibson 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbird

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Gibson 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbird
LIST PRICE: $5,007

Gibson’s Hummingbird acoustic guitar doesn’t seem to get the props it should, given the historic recordings that it’s been used on over the past half-century. Like the first three Led Zeppelin albums, the Stones’ Exile On Main Street, and the first Tony Williams Lifetime album, where John McLaughlin put a pickup on one and introduced the Woodstock generation to 32nd notes. And while the Hummingbird has been a rock mainstay in Britain, it’s also been used for more traditional American music by the likes of the late Gram Parsons, his protégée Emmylou Harris, and Sheryl Crow.

To celebrate the Hummingbird’s creation in 1960, Gibson has issued a limited number of Gibson 50th Anniversary 1960 Hummingbirds. Like the first Hummingbirds, this anniversary model is made with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides that give good sustain and decay that would serve a player well in the studio as well as live. The action is set low enough to enable fast lead playing as well as quick chord-grabbing all the way to where the body attaches at the 14th fret, and the tone is good and ringy for open strummed chords and sweet for fingerpicking. Intonation is perfect.

Tone is very well-balanced, with good highs and a low E string that produces just the right amount of bite. It sounds good for slide playing, too, though raising the action for this is advised. This is a great-playing and great-sounding guitar that’s going to attract the attention of players as well as collectors.


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