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deanbean502

Gibson Thunderbird, what are they like?

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Had a Tokai TB48 for a while, great sounding bass, neck heavy like the Gibbo, but a fraction of the cost.Unfortunately, had a job tuning it while playing!, the G string Machine Head was beyond my reach!!So it
is not a bass for short-arses like me!!

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I have a modern one that I bought from Clarky (hasn't every bass guitar on the planet passed through his hands at one time or another?!). It took a little getting used to, but I find it a sheer pleasure to play. The tone from the humbuckers is great - and can be a lot more varied than usual comments would suggest ('One trick pony' is often mentioned)

It's not too heavy. The neck is thin and fast. I don't know if I've got a particularly good one, but the clarity/tone/sustain is fantastic anywhere on the neck - even at the dusty end.

I don't know if I can say much that amnesia hasn't said already. The 3-point bridge is rather weird and sits quite high off the body, but I've never had a problem with it. I've never suffered from neck dive, as the modern t-birds have the strap button on the neck heel - which can make the bass roll forward slightly, but again it's something you get used to. And yes, it does smell good too.

The best bit - it looks darn good and you don't see many other bass players gigging with them

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I have an Epiphone Pro IV.

Absolutely love it, the only reason why I won't play it in public is because it says Epiphone on the headstock.
And yes, I know, I should be ashamed for being such a snob :)

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Currently own a '76 Bicentennial Thunderbird IV, and owned one of the newer Gibson Thunderbirds a while back.

The '76 is definately a bit more of a handful than the current 'birds, due to the much larger headstock, and the big reverse wind tuners. The newer ones I really don't find the "neck dive" to be an issue at all when using a decent strap, and can't help wondering if it's one of the old chestnuts that keeps rearing its head from the old 60's and 70's models. I have an Ibanez which is far, far worse........

The three point bridge is perfectly up to the job, if the saddles have been correctly cut, I've never had a problem with them. Just have to be careful when doing string changes, as the saddles can drop out, but it's easy to work out where they go back to.

Main caveat when buying a new Gibson Thunderbird is check it over VERY carefully. A good one is a fantastic bass, but build quality issues can be an issue. :)

Love my '76 to bits. Huge tone, plays fantastic, and definately a keeper :)

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[quote name='Muzz' timestamp='1317058353' post='1386167']


You [i]are[/i] strange, it's just there's two of you now... :)
[/quote]

Ahem... Three. (The TBird is a wonderful aroma)

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I've got an Epiphone T-Bird and it's my guilty pleasure. I have it 75% for the look of it but the sound is actually pretty decent ! Great middy tone but needs a pick to get the most out of it (both pickups for me). Value for money is undisputable but I imagine the Gibson version is different enough for experience of the Epi version to be invalid.

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I love my Gibson T Bird.. was going to sell it but I can't bring my self to part with it!! I've had mine 2 years. My other bass is a stingray 5 so I feel I have the best of all sounds with just 2 basses. I mainly play hard rock / metal.

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Im guessing,never having played either the Epiphone or Gibson plugged in,that Epiphone passives have a brighter sound than gibsons ? Do the Epiphone Actives compare sound wise to anything else ?

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[quote name='Bankai' timestamp='1317143253' post='1387327']
I have an Epiphone Pro IV.

Absolutely love it, the only reason why I won't play it in public is because it says Epiphone on the headstock.
And yes, I know, I should be ashamed for being such a snob :)
[/quote]


Ta da - just a shame that you can't do that as the Epiphone logo on the pro is printed right onto the headstock


Edited by Delberthot

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Saw 80's thrash legends "Annihilator" a little while back, and I'm sure he was playing an Epiphone Thunderbird Pro. Sounded pretty good as I recall.

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[quote name='hillbilly deluxe' timestamp='1317807065' post='1394696']
Im guessing,never having played either the Epiphone or Gibson plugged in,that Epiphone passives have a brighter sound than gibsons ? Do the Epiphone Actives compare sound wise to anything else ?
[/quote]
IMO the Epiphone actives sound the same as any other cheap, Korean-made, through-neck, active bass. You're basically paying for the name and the body shape.

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[quote name='hillbilly deluxe' timestamp='1317807065' post='1394696']
Im guessing,never having played either the Epiphone or Gibson plugged in,that Epiphone passives have a brighter sound than gibsons ? Do the Epiphone Actives compare sound wise to anything else ?
[/quote]
MY active T=Bird Pro ( Epi } has a less pronounced midrange. With a pick and some muting at the bridge it can sound like a Hofner. Band mates who want you to play Fender will not like it.

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I totally dig this bass, never a Gibson lover (ALWAYS a fender player) until I picked it up and played it.
Price these days too, could save yourself a good £200 if your a savvy shopper than to prices 2 years ago or so.

Do consider and try before you buy!

All the best

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I've played 2 Gibson Thunder birds and as much as i liked them was not impressed with the quality for the price, and one was a Gibson custom shop!
The finish was patchy, the neck wasn't even, the neck felt like it had been coated in goo and some came off on your hand. Though i heard that one went back to factory and after much eeerrrring and aaahhhhing got back in acceptable condition. The Custom shop was just full off niggles you wouldn't expect from a Custom shop, like loose screws, dodgey pots, frets not being smoothed off, but once that was all seen too it was a great bass

Played an Epiphone one which i really liked, and someones Goth (like Delberthots) Epiphone Tbird with orginal Tbird Pups that sounded good!

Overall the Gibbo and Tbird thing isn't my sound, but the right one through the right (has to be valvey as possible!) rig sounds monster!

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Hmmmmm........Pretty much the same experience I had with a brand new Thunderbird......... :)

Managed to easily find over 20 faults on mine, and Gibson were next to useless........

Edited by retroman

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[quote name='retroman' timestamp='1319364545' post='1413007']
Hmmmmm........Pretty much the same experience I had with a brand new Thunderbird......... :)

Managed to easily find over 20 faults on mine, and Gibson were next to useless........
[/quote]

Yeah, it seems a far too common tale with Gibson!

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Was properly gutted......Love Gibson's, own three, and wouldn't part with my '76 Bird for the world. Would consider another new Thunderbird, as it did play and sound fantastic, but lesson learned, fingers burnt, wait until I see one in a shop that has actually been built with some care, and attention to detail.

Know what you mean about the soft finish....had to leave mine hanging for around a month for the finish to harden. It was so soft, if you pressed it with your finger, it would leave an imprint. Finish wore through first time I played it with a strap.....

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[quote name='AttitudeCastle' timestamp='1319357070' post='1412907']I've played 2 Gibson Thunder birds and as much as i liked them was not impressed with the quality for the price, and one was a Gibson custom shop[/quote]

Nothing like a good old TROLL when you need one ;P

Where's this custom shop one at? I'm interested, if it exists.

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[quote name='bigsmokebass' timestamp='1319470885' post='1414504']
Nothing like a good old TROLL when you need one ;P

Where's this custom shop one at? I'm interested, if it exists.
[/quote]

Hmm, i'm a "TROLL" am I? For giving my experiences, when I also have 1064 (at time of writing posts and that's 1253 including "off topic" and i'm pretty sure i've never been a "TROLL" their either) to my name and i'm sure many members will tell you I don't "TROLL". Including a Moderator or two.

Not to mention another user (sorry to drag you into this retroman) has has similar experiences.

Last i heard of the bass it had been returned to the owner a week before he moved from Aberdeen but that was a few years back so it could be anywhere. Sorry i don't know the exact where abouts of an instrument i played once for half an hour a few years back which belonged to a friends Uncle but if i'd know this exact thread would have come up at this exact point i'd have insured to take the serial number and keep in touch. Seems i dropped the ball, my bad.

Edit: Spelling, content, language

Edited by AttitudeCastle

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[quote name='AttitudeCastle' timestamp='1319472771' post='1414561']


Not to mention another user (sorry to drag you into this retroman) has has similar experiences.


[/quote]


Not a problem :)

I still maintain that if you can find a good one, you've got a great bass. I would hate to think of someone else going through the same upset as I did, so my main advice is make sure you try, and check it over carefully before handing over any sheckles.

Funny enough, out of the basses I own, it was the '76 Bicentennial that I used for a recent recording session in the studio. Had the Alembic along as back up, and that got used for an overdub of about eight bars, where I wanted some low A action. Got a rough mix of the recordings from the engineer, and the '76 sounds amazing. Really glad I used it :)

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[quote name='AttitudeCastle' timestamp='1319357070' post='1412907']
I've played 2 Gibson Thunder birds and as much as i liked them was not impressed with the quality for the price, and one was a Gibson custom shop!
The finish was patchy, the neck wasn't even, the neck felt like it had been coated in goo and some came off on your hand. Though i heard that one went back to factory and after much eeerrrring and aaahhhhing got back in acceptable condition. The Custom shop was just full off niggles you wouldn't expect from a Custom shop, like loose screws, dodgey pots, frets not being smoothed off, but once that was all seen too it was a great bass

Played an Epiphone one which i really liked, and someones Goth (like Delberthots) Epiphone Tbird with orginal Tbird Pups that sounded good!

Overall the Gibbo and Tbird thing isn't my sound, but the right one through the right (has to be valvey as possible!) rig sounds monster!
[/quote]

The other side of the coin.. I bought an '11 model brand new some months ago, and I love it. The finish is excellent, the build quality spot on. Yes, the bridge is a bit historical, so fitted mine with a hipshot supertone which made her fuller and richer. Had a pro set-up and she now has a pretty fast action. A very beautiful machine.

Two crits, tho.. The barrel jack input is a poor design compared to the spring clip type input, and they have skimped on the build quality for the hard case.

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I love my epi blackbird which if you read 99% of any comments and reviews of it it seems to be the satan of all basses lol I had a bash on a couple of new gibson ones the other day and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor they were just completley gorgeous, I would love to get one but I dont think I could justify forking out that much money for a bass that only really feels a little bit better than the one I already have.

Top tip for any one that does buy a tbird shaped bass: Get a case with it, they are sooooo hard to track down with out having to pay crazy money for a custom case!

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[quote name='billyapple' timestamp='1319489788' post='1414919']

The other side of the coin.. I bought an '11 model brand new some months ago, and I love it. The finish is excellent, the build quality spot on. Yes, the bridge is a bit historical, so fitted mine with a hipshot supertone which made her fuller and richer. Had a pro set-up and she now has a pretty fast action. A very beautiful machine.

Two crits, tho.. The barrel jack input is a poor design compared to the spring clip type input, and they have skimped on the build quality for the hard case.
[/quote]

Not having a go at you or anyone with this post but it's a good point for me to point out that i never dissed Gibson or the Thunderbird, in fact i complimented the sound! I just stated my experience but i did not say that the basses were bad, that i disliked them or that Gibson made bad instruments, though i did have some experience to share which i felt relevent.

And glad you're happy with yours! I'm not a big enough T'bird fan to go for a Gibson one but i've toyed with the idea of an Epiphone one, and you're not helping :lol:I don't really have an extra £200-£500 to spend and i have a list of 30 things in that price range to throw money at haha!

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Also the Nikki Sixx models look and sound Incredible! I've played an Epiphone one un-plugged and heard a Gibson one through a dual Marshall Guitar Amp/Bass Amp rig which sounded the dogs whatsits!

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