So, as I've rolled into my new band and am super psyched to get going, I've also changed my rig fairly substantially. I've decided that there is virtually no need for me to have a 1200 watt head and 2x12 or 4x10 speaker cabs. However, I have fallen madly deeply crazy in love with my Genz Benz equipment. Lucky me, Fender has bought them out and everyone is dumping their gear at sick low prices. So, I am going away from my old seperate head, seperate cab set up and have gone to a Genz Contour combo amp with a 15" speaker in it - found it for a ridiculous low price with free shipping from Brooklyn. To color my tone a little, I have kept my single 12" Mesa cabinet and it fits nicely on top of that. With just the combo it's still 300 watts - with the additional cab it goes up to 500 watts. 300 should be more than enough, but it looks cooler stacked. Seen here: upload by peterdannenfelser, on Flickr So, with the cash I was going to get from selling my 1200 watt head and the 2x12 monstorous Mesa cabinet on Talkbass.com, I kept my eyes open. I walked into local music store - who usually disapoints me dramatically with bass selection. They cater in the bass zone to beginners, so lots of Squiers, cheap Ibanezes, etc. I love the guys who work there though and I always stop in for strings, or to just look around. The store manager is sort of my de facto bass tech. He can set up my basses exactly the way I want them. He's done minor repairs, etc. There's a salesy guy there who is a nice enough guy and always chews my ear off when I am there. I walked in three weeks ago and salesy guy says, "we got something you might want to take a look at." Not what I need to hear, right? On the wall was a walnut burst Gibson Thunderbird bass from 1998. I was never really into Thunderbirds, but what the heck, I'd give it a try. They had a price tag of $1,199 on it - which I immediately was not interested in. I took it off the wall and noticed it has been generously loved. Whoever owned it before clearly played it alot. There were scuffs, buckle rash, scrapes, etc on it. From a distance hard to see, but close up I saw them. Not in $1.2K condition to be sure - honestly I didn't know what a good price would be. I plugged it in, and was taken by the tone. It was thunderous compared to a Jazz, but a little more cutting than a beefy Precision bass. If he was fishing, Salesy Guy got a tug on the line. He said, "well? what do you think?" I said, "I like it, but that price is way outta control." He said, "Pete, you are the only guy who buys our bass stuff, so I can take something off the price for you. I can probably go to $999." I put it back and said, "nah. Thanks though. Cool bass. Good luck with it!" And left. But the Thunderbird was still in my head. I went home and did some research and the first picture that popped up was this: http://www.flyguitars.com/graphics/johnEntwistleGP-NOV75.jpg I am a huge Entwistle fan. My Dad named me after Pete Townshend (there's a story there). I have a wide array of tones in my arsenal - which is only 3 basses now: The classic American Standard Precision bass, the punchy active and passive 2013 American Delux Jazz bass and a monster Tony Franklin Fretless with P and J pickups. What I didn't have was Gibson. Of course, since I learned to play on a Gibson (alebeit not a Thunderbird), that seemed glaring. What's more, I have a Jazz bass as played by bass idol #1: Geddy Lee, but oddly enough, I had no Ox in my stable (get it? see what I did there? Ox? In the stable?). The reality is though, I've always found Gibsons a little uncomfortable to play - or I at least thought they would be. The following weekend I went back in with my daughter. Salesy Guy said, "It's still here." Dammit... I played it and found it wasn't terribly uncomfortable. In fact, it was kinda nice. Very thin body, rear bout not in the way like I used to think it might be and a very thin neck. Not P-Bass like at all, but still sorta familar. Salesy guy comes over to me: "What do you think?" I said, "I do like it, but it's still way over priced." He said, sheepishly, "$900?" Then, fortunately, my 4 1/2 year old girl had a melt down and we had to leave. The Thunderbird was still on my brain. I visited the new Guitar Center near me that week. They had an Epiphone Thunderbird for $500 new, it felt decent, but the "made in Indonesia" sticker was unswallowable. I went on Talkbass.com and bounced questions off the experts there, what are the watchouts? What's a good price? What's the difference between the Epi and the Gibby? I was becoming a Thunderbird expert. This past weekend, my toddler son and I went into the store yet again, and, not surprisingly, the bass was still on the wall. I played it once again. Salesy Guy pulls me over to the counter: "Pete, what is a fair price in your mind?" After doing my research, I found that $800 was a pretty reasonable for a 16 year old, overly loved, American made Gibson Thunderbird bass. So, I said "$750." He said, "Ugh. Best I can do is probably $800." I said, "Your killing me, let me think about it." I left - once again. Tuesday I sold my 1200 watt head, yesterday I traded and got cash for my cabinet - grand total: $800. I called them up yesterday and said, "If you can set it up and throw some brand new Rotosounds on it free of charge, I'll pick it up tonight." They did, and I got it: Thunderbird by peterdannenfelser, on Flickr Thunderbird by peterdannenfelser, on Flickr Thunderbird by peterdannenfelser, on Flickr With the Rotosounds thrown in for free, I figure I got it for about $770. So, she'll make her debut tonight. I am starting a new band with a whole new bass set up. I'll be using new amplification and leading with a new (used) very different bass. My steady, old reliable 08 American Standard P-bass will be there too but now I have two basses that have seen a lot of gigs and are top notch/quality, and have enough bumps, scrapes, bruises and mojo that I can play them without fear in the dive bars and still look "hip" at any fancy places we may play. This picture of the Ox with his son didn't hurt my decision either: http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/images/bass/jae_64tbird-home.jpg There is something cool about the Thunderbird. It puts you in a different headspace. You can either wear it very high, like Entwistle (http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/images/equipment/bass/jae_tbird.jpg) or, very low, like Niki Sixx (http://images.starpulse.com/pictures/2008/04/16/previews/Nikki Sixx-MMA-000104.jpg). I've opted for low. It's more comfortable and it just has a little attitude to it. Like your carrying around a piece of artilery. Hope you enjoyed the story.