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SOLD 1979 Gibson Thunderbird Bass

Discussion in 'For Sale: Bass Guitars' started by Furious_Man77, Oct 2, 2017.


  1. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Price:
    3000.00
    Strings:
    4
    Location:
    Indiana
    For Sale - a 1979 Gibson Thunderbird Bass with the original hard case. I am the second owner of this bass and have had it nearly 20 years of it's life. I bought it from a fellow who picked it up new and claimed he casually played it at church over the years he had it. I sincerely believe it is all original as far as the hardware, pick up covers, etc. The only caveat for full disclosure is that when I bought it, I slightly rerouted the stock wiring from series to parallel. Why Gibson did what they did is a mystery, but this is a known mod and completely beneficial to the performance of the bass. The stock wiring/caps are all there and nothing was added, it truly is just a few solder point changes and could be restored if desired.

    I played this bass live for a solid 10 years, but over the time from then to now, it has just seen rehearsals and recording projects. There are bumps and bruises, so while not a museum quality '10' it is in very great condition with no cracks or repairs, and it plays straight and true. The neck is magnificent (I have had other 76s/79s that were roller coasters), the frets are solid and untouched. The bass is currently set up with a medium set of balanced tension Kalium strings. The edges of the case are rough in spots as expected, and the pocket strap is gone - it was gone when I got it. The latches all work and click correctly, but I don't have the key for the locks.

    Back to the bass, the pickguard doesn't have any cracks or splinters at the screws. The tuners turn well and hold fine. The volume and tone pots work in typical Gibson fashion. The finish doesn't show much the way of any 'checkering', I keep all my gear in a relatively stable climate year round. Overall, this bass has the right amount of aging and patina. My time as a bass player is ending, which is why this bass is for sale. I would prefer a local sale (and I can meet up at a reasonable distance). I am extremely leery (re: scared to death) of shipping this bass, as the risk of breakage is pretty high due to the nature of the bass itself and the old style case. Any consideration of shipping would have to be thoroughly discussed beforehand. Taking cash first or Paypal with a verified address. Thanks for looking!

    TB2.jpg
    TB1.jpg TB3.jpg TB4.jpg TB5.jpg TB6.jpg TB7.jpg TB8.jpg TB9.jpg TB10.jpg
     
    Rocker47, tat2clod, Atshen and 9 others like this.
  2. Treebeard

    Treebeard

    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    Duuuude
     
  3. I might need this
     
  4. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Magic 8 ball says 'Yes'.
     
    Mastermold likes this.
  5. Rob L

    Rob L Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    Chilly ND
    Very nice!
     
  6. wolfkeller

    wolfkeller Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    detroit
    What exactly did you do to change the wiring and how is it benefitial? Never heard of doing this.
     
  7. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    It's been a looong time since I looked at this stuff.... Parallel is the more usual way a 2 pickup bass would be wired, i.e., as an example, a bass with two 8K ohm pickups would read 4K with both pickups full on in parallel. In series they'd be 16K ohms, twice the resistance of each pickup, very hot and full of mid-range. The 76 through 79 Thunderbirds came from the factory wired in series, which is unusual. For two fat humbuckers, way over the top as you will actually have one giant magnetic field with no contrast. Parallel wiring is brighter, cleaner, a more even response and the controls will actually do something to blend the sound of the pickups. The neck pickups on these usually have a 3 conductor wire and the bridge pickups have a regular Gibson braided wire. With the stock (series) wiring one of the neck pickup's 3 wires goes to one of its volume control's lugs and the other wire goes to a different lug on the same pot (then the ground is, ah, grounded).

    Couldn't find the proper diagram quickly, but these are the visuals of the actual differences:

    Stock '76 Thunderbird wiring (pickups in series)
    http://www.flyguitars.com/graphics/76-T-Bird-control-cavity.jpg

    Modified '76 Thunderbird wiring (pickups in parallel)
    http://www.flyguitars.com/graphics/76-T-Bird-control-cavity2.jpg
     
  8. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Magic 8 ball says I need it very badly. Magic bank account says magic 8 ball is a liar. Oh, well. It's beautiful. It's next owner is going to be a happy bass player.
     
  9. heatheroo1

    heatheroo1

    Dec 14, 2009
    Ephrata, PA
    I have a '77 with the stock series wiring. I always wondered what it would sound like if I rewired to a normal parallel setup. Can you describe the difference tonally?
     
  10. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Well, I'm hoping to sell a bass here, but since we are already off topic and I have no offers....

    For me, I loved everything about the bass when I bought, but something was off compared to the handful of reissue TB's I had at the time (all mid 90s). It had an absurd amount of input volume into my Mesa tube heads, and more 200hz - 500hz midrange than you could ever want. Did some research, I already knew the pickups/electronics had to be different from the 70s to new plastic/ceramic pickups, found the information about the Sidewinders and the series/parallel debacle. I wielded the soldering iron, and 30 minutes later I was done. Plugged it back in to the same amp with the same settings. First noticeable was the input gain knob went up beyond '1', the mids no longer needed to be cut, the low bass was smooth and present, and the high end was more crisp. The volume knobs seemed to operate properly as volume (input gain) pots, and not weird EQ pots. Essentially the change of wiring made the bass operate in the same fashion as my reissues, while retaining the vibe and nuances of something 20+ years old. Live sound certainly got better as a whole since the dominance at 200hz was just unpleasant in a band mix.

    Now, if the sound of a stock 70s TB is your thing, don't screw with it. If you have another two pickup bass, especially with 2 humbuckers, the difference should be apparent. I also purchased other 70s TB's, none of them played well enough to keep for long, so I had a chance to directly compare the difference to be sure I wasn't the victim of a 'placebo effect'. I never modded another one, as I didn't keep them, but I would have changed any others the same as this one for sale, at it's just 'right' the way it is now.
     
    Mastermold likes this.
  11. heatheroo1

    heatheroo1

    Dec 14, 2009
    Ephrata, PA
    Thanks for the insight. I am the original owner of my '77 so, suffice to say, I am enamored with the present tone. I just always wondered what the thought process was behind Gibson wiring it that way. Like you say, the volume knobs are pretty much useless: they both have to be fully on for any kind of useful sound. The occasional time when I let another bass player play my T-bird, it is amusing to watch them twiddle with the knobs with a look of confusion on their face. Good luck on the sale. If I lived closer and had the $ lying around, I'd be tempted.
     
    Furious_Man77 likes this.
  12. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    If nothing happens through the weekend, I will open it up to shipping. I will do what I can for packaging and insurance, but the risk is real.
     
  13. True. Lots of bubble wrap around the headstock for sure. And double boxing too. Fed Ex and UPS have damaged the last two basses I've had shipped.
     
    Furious_Man77 likes this.
  14. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Ok, I suppose I will consider shipping now. Send me a PM with your interest and we'll see what we can do!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  15. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Lower price bump.
     
  16. Soundworks

    Soundworks Supporting Member

    May 12, 2012
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    one suggestion on shipping: pick up a brand new epiphone TB case. they are form fit to the body and it eliminates any chance of the peg head crashing into the case even if dropped. i sold a 76 natural recently because i found a black one and so i can confirm it fits.
     
    Furious_Man77 likes this.
  17. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Cool. I'm surprised that it fit the larger headstock, length wise.
     
  18. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Price reduced, taking offers with shipping.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  19. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
    Indiana
    Offer accepted. SOLD
     

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