Hummingbird Pro Vintage Sunburst: A Solid Well-Balanced Dreadnought from Gibson
Sep 21, 2012
Review by Horswispr
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Good playability, intonation and sustain; solid, balanced sound
Cons:I prefer a more conservative look
The Bottom Line: The Hummingbird Pro acoustic-electric guitar is a good quality mahogany dreadnought guitar from Gibson.
The Gibson Pro Hummingbird is a big, bold sunburst dreadnought guitar from Gibson Guitars. It has solid mahogany back and sides, and a solid spruce top. The fingerboard appears to be rosewood, rather than the ebony of most of Martin's guitars at this price point. The sunburst finish of the Hummingbirds I played were nicely done, with attractive dark hues fading to tans and yellows near the middle of the lower bout. The rosette of the Hummingbird is a relatively simple one, with four white inlays encircling the sound hole, first three, then a break, then one more. The pick guard is in the classic Gibson fancy shape. There are striking pearlish parallelogram position markers at frets 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15 and 17. Overall, it's an attractive guitar if you like the typical and somewhat "busy" (to my eyes) Gibson appointments.
Recommend this product?
I believe this is a shorter scale guitar, with a scale length of 24 3/4", rather than the 25.4" of Martin's standard dreadnoughts. Fingerboard width at the nut is 1.725", which is slightly less wide than the 1 3/4" of many OMs and some vintage dreadnoughts, but slightly wider than the 1 11/16" of Martin's standard dreadnoughts (1 11/16 = 1.6875).
I played a couple of samples of the Gibson Hummingbird Vintage Pro recently and enjoyed my time with them. They are neither overly heavy or light and felt well-balanced in my lap. The neck was sort of the opposite of a vintage martin neck. It was fairly skinny front to back, and had a squarish shape, rather than the triangular shape of Martin's vintage series guitars (the D-18V, for example).
Playability of the Hummingbird was good, and chords sounded well-integrated up and down the neck. The sound of the Hummingbird was bold and fairly loud, with a strong midrange and nice, non-jingly trebles. The bass was solid but not as deep as with a Martin D-28 (rosewood) or D-18V (mahogany). But the overall volume of this guitar was fully comparable to that of either Martin dreadnought.
Compared to a comparable Larrivee (the mahogany D-05, for example) the Gibson sounded louder, more midrangy, and a bit coarser. I think I might choose the Gibson if I were about to enter a room full of anonymous bluegrass wahoos, and the Larrivee if I were about to record some delicate fingerpicking tunes. Both are good guitars, and fingerpicking sounded fine on the Gibson as well, but the Larrivee is a bit more subtle and delicate.
A few years back, I was down on Gibson, as their guitars were sounding midrangy to me, but thuddy and dead in the bass strings. Intonation was sometimes a dicey thing, and sustain wasn't that great. I'm not sure if it had to do with the move from Kalamazoo Michigan to Austin Texas to Bozeman Montana, and changes in staff, humidity, and other factors that came therewith. But Gibsons just weren't that good to my ear.
Over the past few years, the situation has improved. I've played several Gibsons that had good volume and projection, a strong bass, and good sustain. This Hummingbird Pro Vintage Sunburst is among them. The list price is about $3300 with electronics, and maybe $300 less without. Guitar Center prices are around $2000 with electronics and maybe $1800 without. It might not be my personal choice for a relatively expensive dreadnought guitar, as I prefer more subtle aesthetic appointments, but I feel comfortable recommending at least a test drive to those who like the Gibson look and sound.
The Gibson Hummingbird Pro Vintage Sunburst comes with a good hardshell case and a lifetime warranty to the original owner.
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