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Rikkers

2018 Gibson Thunderbird

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One of my biggest wish was to owe a Gibson Thunderbird. When I read that Gibson was going to release runs of lefties throughout almost the whole range I decided to order one. Had to wait for four months and finally I got a mail of Thomann that the bass was on my way. I decided to share my impressions to you all.

First impression:

When I took the bass out of the case it fell light weighted. With the included strap I tried the balance of the bass. There's said a lot that these basses are neck heavy. But this is exaggerated. I have experience with Rics and these suffered much more of this phenomenon. Frets are leveled well. Finish is okay. It's a little wavy around where the body meets the neck. The bridge (Babicz) is massive and easily adjustable.

Playability:

This bass plays easily. The neck profile is comparable to a 60's Jazz Bass. Because the front strap button is placed at the heel of the neck the bass has the tendency to tilt forward. Not good for people who want to see the front of the fretboard while playing. For me it's fine.

Sound:

If you're into the organic sound of a P or a Ric you'll love this sound. While the sound is a little boomy, this is easily balanced out by tweaking the volume pots. The Babicz bridge adds lots of sustain.

Finish:

Like I said before the finish is okay. A little wavy on the body around the end of the fretboard. That's all.

Conclusion:

I love this bass. It's very attractive, very playable and has balls. While the finish isn't pristine, this bass is a keeper.

Pictures pending.................

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Edited by Rikkers
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1 hour ago, Rikkers said:

There's said a lot that these basses are neck heavy. But this is exaggerated. I have experience with Rics and these suffered much more of this phenomenon.

The strap button was moved by Gibson on my 2013 Thunderbird and it balances perfectly. Not quite sure why it took them so many years to work that one out but needless to say the problem is no more on my bass.

Enjoy your bass. I love mine :) 

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They are great instruments, aren't they? I'm always surprised by how light mine is compared to other basses. Good to know it now comes bundled with a decent bridge!

Does the 2018 model have coil tap switches? I've been aware of Gibson putting them on some of their more recent models, and I've often thought they'd have been a (potentially) useful addition to my 2011 'bird.

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4 hours ago, Mickeyboro said:

Good review, but please edit to remove 'plays like butter'... :dash1:

Sorry. Dutch expression. :biggrin:

  • Haha 1

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3 hours ago, EliasMooseblaster said:

They are great instruments, aren't they? I'm always surprised by how light mine is compared to other basses. Good to know it now comes bundled with a decent bridge!

Does the 2018 model have coil tap switches? I've been aware of Gibson putting them on some of their more recent models, and I've often thought they'd have been a (potentially) useful addition to my 2011 'bird.

It's easily the best bass I've ever owned.

I expected a coil tap switch but it's not in mine.

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I bought my 1999 Gibson T Bird some six years and it still my main gigging bass. I am fortunate as I also a Fender US Jazz and US P Bass, plus others, and whilst tonally at home Fenders may sound maybe a bit fuller with more top end when I compare using it with my band the T Bird noticeably cuts through the mix far better on the G String plus it is lighter, faster narrower neck and much better sounding when I use a plectrum for some numbers. OK so it does tip forward a little, but I have got used to that (just put your right leg forward to correct), and the dusty top end is a bit harder to reach, however the neck dive is a myth and no worse than my Fenders. I just wish Gibson were a bit entrepreneurial and bring them out in the colours like Fender do, not that I could afford a new one at 2018 prices.

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On 20/10/2018 at 20:13, Shylock said:

OK so it does tip forward a little, but I have got used to that (just put your right leg forward to correct), and the dusty top end is a bit harder to reach, however the neck dive is a myth and no worse than my Fenders.

Exactly...it's simply designed to encourage you to pose like a rockstar!

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