I already own a Ric but after spending a couple of days with the T-Bird I am convinced I made the right decision giving up my MM Stingray Classic 5 for the Gibson. The MM had a punchy bright tone but it just wasn't my sound. I love the weight of the tone the T-Bird has, and now that I set her up to my liking, I can bash on it and it sounds great. I am a T-Bird believer now.
I only play my Thunderbird for practice sitting down. As a beginner it was my first bass and i loved the look of it. The problems started when i put a strap on it and tried to play standing up, the bass is heavy and suffers badly from neck dive, which as a beginner really slowed my progress.
I won't part with it though as it looks so cool!