Fenderbirds

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alder, Feb 26, 2014.


  1. alder

    alder

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    The "Fenderbird" is a mash-up of a Gibson Thunderbird body and a Fender neck. You'd expect such a thing to be a mutt, but this mutt comes with a great pedigree - invented by no less than John Entwistle of The Who.

    Of course, Fender and Gibson aren't going to collaborate on this, so if you want one, you pretty much have to build it yourself. This is a fun project that is not terribly difficult or expensive, with all the appropriate bodies and necks floating around on eBay just waiting for a Dr. Frankenstein to sew them together.

    So let's see what people have done. 'Explorer-birds' are ok too, but please only genuine cross-breeds, everyone already knows what a real Thunderbird looks like.
     
  2. alder

    alder

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    I'll start. Here are my two.

    [​IMG]

    On the left is my "Epi-bird" with an Epiphone Pro-4 body and a Mark Hoppus Precision neck. On the right is ... I just call it Fenderbird 2. Oiled cherry wood body, MightyMite Jazz neck, and Musicman hardware? Both have active electronics with master volume, bass & treble boost/cut, and passive bypass. Epi-bird has 3-way switch for the stock humbuckers. FB2 has a 4-way rotary switch for all the possible modes of the pickup: neck-series-parallel-bridge.

    The Epi-Bird's neck is sunk pretty far into the body, because the original instrument is a neck-thru design with no heel. Even using strategically placed bushings instead of a plate, the neck just couldn't be mounted any other way. On the plus side, reach and balance are much better than you'd expect.

    Both hand-made in the garage. They'll be joined by a non-reverse 'Bird someday, I have all the parts, but not the time.
     
  3. billiam5billion

    billiam5billion

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    If Warmoth still made Tbird bodies, I'd have one in a hearbeat.
     
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  4. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen!

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle Washington
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    Mine's made from a standard Epiphone body and a no name lefty neck. I used Seymour Duncan '51 P Bass pickups potted in N.O.S. '76 Gibson covers. It's wired VVTT with a 3 postion switch - set up by Mike Lull.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I'll be posting in the morning :D
     
  7. hover

    hover

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Yeah, there's a few threads on this already.

    All of them awesome.
     
  8. knigel

    knigel Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    Somerville, NJ
    Here are my two!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And number three in progress--El Tookaybird!
     
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  9. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    These may not technically fit as FenderBirds but this is my Warmoth/Carvin Bird (Warmoth body, Carvin Jazz style neck, PJ pickups)

    [​IMG]

    And my Epi NR that I basically consider a FenderBird

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Location:
    North Bend, WA
    +1 I have a Gibson bridge and a Fender clone P neck.
     
  11. awilkie84

    awilkie84

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    God, I want a Fenderbird!!! These Reverse Ts are gorgeous!
     
  12. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    My first was built in '81[​IMG]My since sold Warmoth build[​IMG][​IMG]This is one of my favorites I built, Model G powered NR FB[​IMG][​IMG] Part 2 coming up
     
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  13. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    My Cataldo JAEbird, can't say enough about this bass. Imho Carlo make the best most accurate Fenderbirds. Unavailable at the time of delivery mine has since been equipped with Thunderbucker pickups.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]Here is a deep cutaway Fenderbird I have been working on forever:rolleyes: at the moment it is strung up in the shop awaiting hardware.[​IMG]Finally another shot of my white NR I really love this bass ;)[​IMG]
     
  14. NOT

    NOT Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1393610185.156109.jpg

    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1393610217.771984.jpg

    My two Fenderbirds. One Warmoth, and one Cataldo JAEbird.
     
  15. alder

    alder

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    P9040735.JPG
    Well, I left the two Fenderbirds alone in the woodshop when I went on vacation, and when I got back, this is what I found. I should have known. This is what happens when you leave your guitars unsupervised.

    He's a cute little guy though. Not really little at all - 10 pounds, and he's got a full 34" scale already. No finish yet, the body looks like a piece of poplar that I had from the lumber yard, and the neck says Squier Korea. His mini-humbuckers are wired to the switch and jack, but the rest of his electronics haven't dropped yet. I'm guessing they will be active bass and treble like his parents. I wonder who he will take after in the pickguard and finish.

    The proud parents are understandably protective, and haven't let me play with him much, but he seems like a winner already. I guess I'll just have to go get him his own stand, and make the best of it. The damn Stratocasters have been breeding like crazy too.

    ( Looking at the picture, it appears the bridge and pickups are crooked. That is an artifact of the wide-angle camera lens. I assure you, the baby is completely healthy, and LOUD. )
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
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  16. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
  17. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Location:
    Greenville, South Carolina
    Whoa. That one on the left is SUH-WEEEET! Have you considered just a clear coat on it? Because it looks pretty much perfect now. Just my opinion. Hate to be in your shoes. Decisions….decisions.
     
  18. alder

    alder

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Quick update:

    Sanded to 220, 1 coat Minwax pre-stain, 3 coats 'natural' to clog up the wood, 2 coats 'honey'. In the neck pocket you can see what would have happened if I had gone directly to the color coat. What a difference! Even the end grain came out pretty good, and the only small blotching around the edges will ultimately be hidden. Note the almost white original color of the bare wood inside the pickup route.

    P9130745.JPG

    This is exactly the color I was going for, not the much darker Gibson shade. The wood grain still shows clearly, and the contrast with the white guard and black edges should be very nice. This is the first time I have ever seen a Minwax stain match the color on the can.

    'Natural' stain has become my new favorite stuff. It gives maple that nice slightly amber 'aged' tint, and even gave a nice subtle tint to this poplar. I originally bought a can on a lark, thinking 'What the hell is transparent stain?'. You can see, it worked very well as a pre-treatment for the wood, otherwise this would have been a dark blotchy mess, poplar is renowned for staining badly. Still to come: one more coat of stain when this is good and dry, then black burst and wipe-on poly for a quick finish, no pun intended.

    Also, the upper and lower horns have been subtly re-contoured from the bulbous original tracing to something a bit sleeker. The two in the background are clear-coated only, mahogany and cherry. The cherry has darkened noticeably since I first finished it, and will continue to for years to come, that's what cherry does.

    nrfb.jpg after bursting, before clear-coat ​
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014

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