Disappointing News re Kluson tuners

Firebird guitars have been around since the late 1950’s. There are two distinct and unique characteristics about Firebird guitars: they have banjo tuners, and they have three-part bodies. That’s a Firebird!

To be honest I have never yet made a left handed Firebird with banjo tuners. They’ve always been made with regular or locking tuners. Banjo tuners don’t have a good reputation. However, you can’t call a Firebird a “Firebird” if it doesn’t have a three-part body in my opinion (yes, I am having a go at your “Firebird Studio 70’s Tribute”, Mr. Gibson! A Firebird is not a slab-body guitar like a Stratocaster or a Telecaster!)

I have been looking into banjo tuners for a Firebird build. As you know, TonePros, who owns Kluson, have recently “relaunched” the Kluson range of guitar parts and one of their new products are banjo tuners for Firebird guitars.

Kluson banjo tuners

Woo hoo! This is pretty great, right? Actually … no. Kluson don’t make left handed banjo tuners. Oh, come on guys! Really? This is not good news for us lefties, and for a custom left handed guitar builder like myself it means I cannot offer this feature on custom left handed Firebirds should someone want this.

And what about other brands? Steinberger make the banjo tuners on Gibson Firebirds. Steinberger is owned by Gibson. Gibson does not sell Steinberger tuners to anyone. If you had a Gibson Firebird and needed to replace a tuner they will not sell one to you. Gibson have told me this directly. How’s that for “customer service?” This is for any type of Gibson Firebird, left handed or right handed!

I’ve had more than half a dozen people enquiring about left handed Firebirds just in the last month. More than usual for this kind of guitar. I am sad to say that I cannot build a lefty Firebird with banjo tuners. Blame Kluson (TonePros) and Steinberger (Gibson.) Sucks… but not surprising.

©2017 Gaskell Guitars Australia

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