Firefly FFDCD Guitar Review & Video Demo

Firefly guitars have been creating a lot of buzz in the guitar community as of late. So much so that getting your hands on one was actually difficult for a period, as they would sell out within a couple days on Amazon to enthusiasts and scalpers alike.

Just where did all this buzz come from? 

Firefly guitars have come in a couple models, from 335 style guitars, telecaster style guitars, to the double cut/double pickup model I am reviewing here. The Firefly FFDCD that I am reviewing today is modeled after the Gibson Les Paul Special, which is a highly sought-after model fetching on the used market for thousands. However, the Firefly gives you a similar experience… For just $135.

The guitar is so cheap that it’s almost worth throwing the money at it just to try it out. This is the exact scenario my previous boss had found himself in. Once he found out I was leaving my 9-5 to be a writer and working musician, he was kind enough to lend this guitar to me for an unboxing and review.

Is the Firefly FFDCD worth all the hype? Let’s find out in this hands-on review!

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Material: Mahogany, Setneck
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: FF90
  • Bridge: Stoptail/Tunamatic Combo
  • Finish: Transparent Red

“A cheap guitar with loads of potential”

– Davis Wilton Bader

Sound/Pickups

Clean

Signal Flow: Firefly FFDCD -> Line 6 Helix {US Double Nrm (Fender Twin Reverb model), Ownhammer 112 DVRB Impulse Response with 121 mic, ’63 Spring Reverb}

The stock FF90 pickups are surprisingly good. I wasn’t expecting a convincing P90 pickup sound to come from a guitar in this price range. On the neck pickup, the low end is hefty and the high end is pleasant and smooth.

The bridge pickup sits between a single coil and a humbucker, in true P90 fashion. I was able to crank my amp model up and the bridge pickup had enough heat to it to get a good growly response.

Dirty

Signal Flow: Firefly FFDCD -> Line 6 Helix {Brit 2204 (Marshall JCM-800 model), Ownhammer 412 RECTO V70B 121-00 Impulse Response}

This is where the Firefly FFDCD really wants to live. I picked out a classic plexi-style amp, set the drive to 4 on the bridge pickup, and was in classic rock heaven. It was able to give me enough gain to have a rocking rhythm sound and with the click of a boost pedal I was in lead territory.

My favorite setting on a three-way pickup selector and two humbuckers is to set the neck pickup volume between 3-5, and the bridge at 10. With this set up I was able to have a clean tone and a lead tone ready to go at the tip of my fingers. To really hear this technique in practice, check out Jimmy Page performing “Ramble On” in the documentary It Might Get Loud. This guitar can be very dynamic if you play it right.

Overall: I’ve definitely heard better. They may be worth replacing if you have the extra cash laying around, but if not they will work just fine. The neck pickup is significantly louder than the bridge pickup and the middle position is borderline unusable, unfortunately. Most of these issues can be solved with a professional setup.

Firefly FFDCD Video Review (With Sound Clips)

For more information and sound clips of the Firefly FFDCD reviewed in this article, check out my video review!

Neck/Fingerboard/Frets

The neck has the same finish as the rest of the guitar and is of a setneck design, so it feels very sturdy. It has a medium C-shape to it that is neither a baseball bat nor a toothpick. You can really feel like you have something to hold onto without the neck ever getting in the way. I found it quite comfortable to play.

The Fretboard is the aspect of the guitar that is the most wanting. The piece of rosewood that was picked out for this guitar was not very pretty, as there are marks on the 4th and 5th fret that appear to either be manufacturing or natural defects. There even appears to be scuff marks up around fret 17. The fret markers appear to be made of pearloid, but there is nothing special or eye-catching about them. This defeats the purpose of using that material in my opinion.

The most disappointing aspect of the guitar by far is the fretwork. There are clear signs of unprofessional fret filing across the entirety of the neck, to the point that there are dents along the fretboard edges. Thankfully the frets themselves feel good, so this won’t affect the playability of the instrument too much.

Firefly FFDCD Showing Signs of Fret Filing on the Neck
Signs of Fret Filing on the Neck of the Firefly FFDCD

The guitar is definitely in need of a proper set-up. I can hear buzzing across every string all the way up to the 7th fret. The 3rd string was especially buzzy, making it borderline unplayable in clean settings. This is certainly fixable, but since I am reviewing this guitar based on its playability “right out of the box”, I’m considering it to be a flaw. Beginners who do not know how to do a proper set up will need to be prepared to spend some extra money paying a professional to work on it.

Hardware/Extras

The tuners are pretty decent. They have a smooth action and can hold tune for short periods of time. They certainly don’t hold up to temperature fluctuations well, so frequent tuning will still be required on this guitar.

Based on my research of previous Firefly models, the introduction of the Stoptail/Tunamatic Combo bridge is a considerable upgrade. It will definitely be appreciated when giving the guitar a professional setup. It also feels comfortable to rest your strumming hand on for palm muting.

The pickup selector works as it should and won’t move around on you. It is quiet as you switch from one pickup to the next. The volume/tone controls are a bit stiff and are hard to grab a hold of since there isn’t any kind of gripping on them. I would find them difficult to use if I were sweating at a gig. They taper nicely though and are good for “set and forget” scenarios.

The guitar arrives in a cardboard box with fitted Styrofoam. It arrived in-tact, but the guitar will need a gig bag or hard case if you plan on taking it out at any point. Keep this in mind, as this is one of the ways the guitar is able to be sold at such a low price point.

Looks

I can understand why this guitar is so appealing at first glance online. The transparent red finish of this guitar is quite pretty and is well applied overall. A close look at the neck/body connection shows some stress to the finish, but this is a minor cosmetic issue that should be expected of a guitar at this price range.

The headstock is of an appealing shape and the Firefly logo pops. There are certainly some cosmetic issues, like the fretboard marks mentioned above, but nobody would be able to notice this looking up at you on stage.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Good looking instrument

✔️ Pickups are responsive

✔️ Neck feels great

✔️ Tuners work smoothly

❌ Fretwork is very poor

❌ Requires setup to be playable

❌ Neck pickup louder than bridge

❌ Volume/Tone controls are stiff

Final Thoughts on the Firefly FFDCD Solid Body Guitar

If you are hoping to order the Firefly FFDCD for around $135 and receive an expertly crafted guitar that you can play without any issues right out of the box, I’m sad to report that you will be disappointed. As the guitar comes from the manufacturer, I think there are as many Cons as Pros to the instrument.

That being said, there are reasons a player should buy this instrument. If you are familiar and comfortable with setting up a guitar, then the setup issues will be of no concern to you after putting the work into it. In fact, I would argue that the body of the guitar is quite good and that the Firefly FFDCD would be a great instrument to experiment in modifying with.

I am not an expert at setting up a guitar, so I would need to bring it in to a professional to make it truly fun to play. None the less, with a good amp and pedals I was able to make the guitar sound great, especially with distorted tones.

I will say that overall you get more than what you pay for with this guitar, but it isn’t a beginner friendly electric guitar. It will sound good if you want it to. If you have the gumption to tackle its design flaws, the Firefly FFDCD can be a very rewarding purchase.

Firefly FFDCD Solid Body Electric Guitar Gold color.
33 Reviews
Firefly FFDCD Solid Body Electric Guitar Gold color.
  • Mahogany Body and Neck
  • Set-In Construction
  • FF90 Pickups
Further Reading:

Last update on 2020-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Davis Bader

Davis Wilton Bader is a professional guitarist/writer based out of St. Louis, MO. He plays in the bands Lumet and The Outskirts.

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