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12 (Twelve) String Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by L. L. Elwood, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    I have decided to venture forth into 12 string bass land. Not being in love with any of the manufacturer offerings out there (mostly due to body shape and over all design... and price), I've decided to "make" my own. After quite a bit of thought and consideration I've decided to use the Epiphone Pro V bass as the "bones" for this project. It's wide, 7 ply neck through construction will hopefully handle the added tension of the additional 8 strings.. If so, It's going to be one hell of a cool 12 string bass... I recently acquired a 2009 vintage sunburst Pro V that is really quite beautiful.. It's a bit darker than most of the VS finishes out there for this model.

    "Before" Pics coming soon...
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  2. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    TolerancEJ likes this.
  3. Shedua511


    Apr 6, 2013
    Oslo, Norway
    Agent for Scandinavian countries: Stick Enterprises Inc.
    I don't mean to be a ball breaker, but that is just not going to work.
    For starters there's not enough place for 7 (seven!) additional tuners on he headstock.
    Thunderbirds have a notoriously weak neck, the tension will be too much.

    Beautiful bass, keep it as it is and rock it!
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It could be possible.

    Might have to use steinberger tuners on the head to fit them all, or mount a few on the body.

    If not, it's just one less Epi Thunderbird in the world. No big deal.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  5. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    Sorry it will not work.
  6. You *might* be able to cram 10 tuners onto the headstock, but 12? I doubt it.
    If you want to do 5 octave course, you could do it, but the string spacing would be tight. Like, tight.
  7. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Not only will it not work, but you're taking a bass that already has a major neckdive issue and making it MUCH worse.
    edpal likes this.
  8. Good luck to you man.
    DocGeorge likes this.
  9. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
  10. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    Ha! This looks like it's going to be some fun...
    darthplagis and Larry V like this.
  11. HockeyDawg


    Oct 12, 2012
    Cool! Can't wait to see the end result.
  12. Shedua511


    Apr 6, 2013
    Oslo, Norway
    Agent for Scandinavian countries: Stick Enterprises Inc.
    Trust me: it won't.
    There are challenges and then there are impossibilities: making that bass a 12 string is impossible.
    I don't really have to look at your house to tell you that it is impossible to accommodate a grown elephant... this project is just as crazy ;)
    You might be able to make an 8-string out if it, I can see fitting three guitar tuners on the headstock, but 12 is just physically impossible.
  13. The only way to know for sure is to remove the tuners and make a photocopy of the headstock, then use that to try and fit all 8 guitar tuners in a layout that makes sense.
    All strings need a clear path to the nut without crossing, no crazy angles that cause binding, all tuners in order so it doesn't require a map to tune.

    Pretty sure you'll have to fill-in the present tuner holes and start fresh and then refinish, even AFTER you realize that an 8 is a far better idea with a greater chance of success on this particular instrument.

    You'll still need to cram a bunch of lead in the control cavity or on the end of the strap to maintain balance.

    Good luck.
  14. Apolicious


    Jan 16, 2014
    Guys, come on. Such negative nancies. Let the dude try it out, and see what happens. There could be a clever solution none of us have thought of yet.

    (Although, to any mods out there, wouldn't this be best posted in the luthier's corner?)
    darthplagis, Larry V and Splods like this.
  15. Shedua511


    Apr 6, 2013
    Oslo, Norway
    Agent for Scandinavian countries: Stick Enterprises Inc.
    It's not negativity, it's realism and experience. My goal ultimately is to save the OP from making a mistake, and an expensive one at that.
    After all, isn't that why we post on a forum? Free advice ;)
  16. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    Everyone's a critic.
  17. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Not criticism, sage advice. Better yet, free sage advice.
    DannyBob likes this.
  18. HypersoulRocks

    HypersoulRocks Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    If it works, give one each to Nikki Sixx and Jeff Ament, and you'll be the man!
  19. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    this was my immediate thought too! you will not enjoy playing a 12 on this kind of bass. as someone who has played a number of 12's, i wouldnt think of picking up a 12 with that body style even if it was a production line model.
  20. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    The Epi's use a scarf joint and are much stronger than the Gibsons.