First post - Epiphone TBird Help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tony T, Dec 10, 2013.


  1. Tony T

    Tony T

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Location:
    Barossa Valley South Australia
    Hi all.
    After playing drums for 30 years, I've decided it was time to try and make music......... ;)
    I tried out an Ibanez SR200 which I liked and have now bought an Epiphone Thunderbird secondhand.
    I love the sound, but the G string is much lower than the others.
    Not sure what it's called but the saddle (?) at the bridge for the G string is visibly lower than the others.
    Is this a normal set up for this bass?
    I find it hard to reach the G string quickly without catching the D as well because it's so much lower.
    It doesn't seem to have individual adjustment for each string like the Ibanez had unless I'm really missing something?
    Any words of wisdom very much appreciated. :)
  2. Tony T

    Tony T

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Location:
    Barossa Valley South Australia
    Having just taken a pic, maybe it's not as wrong as it feels?

    [​IMG]

    But I still would like to get G and D closer to the same height.
    Anyone have an idea if this is possible?
  3. delta7fred

    delta7fred

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England, UK
    The action* and the fretboard radius determine the bridge setting.

    You are either going to have to get used to it (recommended) or have a bass built with a flat fretboard (probably expensive).

    * Action - the distance the strings are from the fretboard usually measured at the 12th fret. Too high and it is difficult to fret the notes, too low and the strings buzz on the higher frets. The G usually has a slightly lower action than the E because it can tolerate it without buzzing. Have a look in the stickies or Google how to set the action.
  4. Tony T

    Tony T

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Location:
    Barossa Valley South Australia
    Thanks Fred.
    I guess I was hoping to be able to adjust the action of that string independent of the others, like I could on the Ibanez, to make them all closer to the same height off the fret board.
    Seems that's not possible, so I've kicked up the lower side on the bridge and gone down on the top which has improved things.
    As a complete newbie, it seemed strange that one string would be so much lower than the others.
    No matter. I've got it closer now and will persist for a while and see how I go.
    Is this a sign of a 'cheaper' bass because it's got less adjustment?
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. delta7fred

    delta7fred

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England, UK
    Ah sorry, I am not familiar with the Gibson style bridge adjustments, I own an Epi EB3 but have not needed to adjust it.

    Probably best wait for someone up on Gibson bridges to pop by.
  7. BruceBass3901

    BruceBass3901

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wickham, UK
    Nope, lots of basses in the same price bracket as a second hand Epi T-Bird have more adjustable bridges. This is the nature of the beast that is the Gibson/Epi 3 point bridge. Some people love it and it works great for them, others don't find it adjustable enough.

    There are replacement bridges available (Hipshot make a very high quality 'drop in' replacement) that allow for more adjustments to be made.

    If you are a newbie to bass, you may not want to be chopping and changing your instrument this soon after getting it. It sounds like you have managed to adjust it to get it a little closer to how you want it, so that's good. Just stick at playing it!

    Hope this has helped :)
  8. Tony T

    Tony T

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Location:
    Barossa Valley South Australia
    Thanks fellas.
    Yes, I am more comfortable than before, so I'll take the advice and keep on with it at least until I develop a few more skills. ;)
    Not that I'd know, but it seems to be reasonable quality for a first bass at least and probably worth persisting with.
    Thanks again folks. :)
  9. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Hard to tell from a photo, although it does look wrong.

    The proper way to tell, is by measuring between the strings and the frets with a feeler gauge. The string heights at the 17th fret should be set to match the fingerboard radius.

    Fender spec is a good starting point for most basses. It calls for the same height on both sides, and although some people prefer a setup that "fades" the string height from the bass side to the treble, it should be a smooth curve, with the treble side only about a 32nd of an inch lower than the bass.

    If the saddle height does turn out to be off, take it to a tech. You can't add height to to a cast bridge, so the D and A strings would have to be lowered slightly to even it out by filing the grooves. A decent set of files for this work costs around $100, and a few extra strokes is all it takes to butcher a bridge.
  10. BruceBass3901

    BruceBass3901

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wickham, UK
    For the money, it is quite a nice starter bass. The only 'turn offs' for me are the neck dive problem and the sound.

    The build quality on these is normally pretty good, but the nature of T-Birds is to 'dive' when playing, meaning you have to constantly support the neck which limits fretting hand movement somewhat. This is easily counteracted with a good, grippy strap or by adjusting the position of the strap button.

    The sound was the real deal breaker with my T-Bird. I wasn't that keen on it, but it worked for what I was doing at the time (LA Glam/Sleaze) and looked the part. This is normally not a problem on other basses as they use 'standard' size pickups that are reproduced by many different manufacturers, each offering something a bit different sound wise. Not many companies make drop in replacement pickups in this pickup size. Quite a lot of people swap the Epi pickups for genuine Gibson pickups.

    Check out the T-Bird club thread... Lots of great guys in there who love T-Birds and can answer any questions you may have about modding etc. :)

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/thunderbird-club-pt-7-a-1013311/

    I hope I haven't buried you under information here :D
  11. Tony T

    Tony T

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Location:
    Barossa Valley South Australia
    Nah, the more info the better! :D
    I must admit to having been to my share of Motley Crue concerts over the years, so I guess that's why I liked the look and sound of it. :rolleyes:
    Neck dive doesn't seem to be a problem to me.
    Maybe ignorance really is bliss....... :confused:
  12. aquateen

    aquateen

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Location:
    maryland
    also search for 'adjusting the 3 point bridge'. there are a number of threads and you may find some of them helpful.

Share This Page