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Abused Thunderbird IV from 1964 - worth anything?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Inte Basist Men, Jan 29, 2018.


  1. Inte Basist Men

    Inte Basist Men

    Jan 29, 2018
    Hi!

    My neighbour said he had a bass that has been in storage for a decade or two and he wants me to find out if its worth anything. The bass is a Thunderbird, and if the serial number is correct and if the bridge is original then its likely a 64'.

    But... someone has:
    1. Drilled a massive hole in it to make room for a neck humbucker
    2. Installed active Alembic pickups and electronics
    3. Drilled extra holes for the knobs that control the active electronics

    So what do you guys think, is it from 1964?
    Is it worth anything in this condition?
     
    ghostinthemach and Axstar like this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!!!!!

    I got nutn on the value. But I actually kinda dig it!
     
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Looks like the real deal to me.

    You are supposed to be a Supporting Member for price checks, but I'll say my instinct is that this is worth more parted out than assembled.

    The Alembic stuff gets a pretty penny and it seems to me anyone who would want this bass would restore it to spec, rendering the electronics unnecessary
     
  4. Inte Basist Men

    Inte Basist Men

    Jan 29, 2018
    Oh, ok. I wasnt aware of that there was a rule for price checks, my bad!
     
  5. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    It's only a couple bucks, get your friend to reimburse you.

    When I hear vintage TBird, I think of these two guys. @godofthunder59 and @JIO

    They can tell you if it's as represented.
     
    SirMjac28 and Gaolee like this.
  6. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Hello, I have been commenting on fb. It is restorable. It will cost at least 2k-3k to put it right and then it might be worth 3-4k maximum. In it's present state 1-2k, maybe 3k on a very good day. Basically the value of the parts.
     
    hillerup, SirMjac28, RedVee and 2 others like this.
  7. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I'm usually not the one to condemn those who mod their basses, but there is a right and wrong way to do anything.
     
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah you probably wouldn't do that today. But in 1980 that T-bird was just a used bass and nothing special. If it was done back then you would have been about as emotional and someone doing it to an Ibanez today. :D
     
  9. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Yeah, definitely restorable with holes filled and a veneer on top. I'd love to hear that damn thing though before a resto! Something tells me it cooks.
     
    wagdog, ghostinthemach, ICM and 6 others like this.
  10. PaulReside

    PaulReside

    Mar 14, 2016
    Scottsdale Az
    Tell him I'll buy the pickups and pre if they work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  11. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Yes,
    Yes, especially if the neck is unbroken. I don't think a proper restoration wouldn't be that difficult depending on what the back looks like.

    For parts? $350 if the neck is broken. That's what I paid for this broken Neck Embassy a few years ago with all original parts, which are the same as a TBird.

    SzxcGHV.jpg

    But I didn't post it all over social media before I bought it, if you get my drift.
     
    hillerup, pudgychef, veebass and 6 others like this.
  12. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Most likely not, as I have a few basses now. Truth be told I also modded my '64 T-bird II in the late 80's, by adding a bridge pu. It was my only bass then (bought in '78) and I wanted more variety from it sonically. I found that Seymour Duncan made a pu called the "Hawkbucker" aimed at T-birds. I talked with the man himself on the phone and he mailed me a hand drawn diagram of how to wire it. (ah the days before the internet) I routed the cavity at the exact location where one would be on a IV, and added a pot/knob at the exact location in the control cavity. This is what I meant by doing a mod correctly. I personally could care less what anyone thinks of my decision to mod it, have never regretted doing so and continue to play it to this day. It's not that I was unaware of it having a certain 'worth' as a vintage bass then, it's that it was my bass and I wanted it to be the way I wanted it - simple as that.

    My band "The Sean Conneries" at Winters Tavern here in Pacifica last September.
    The Sean Conneries @ Winters Tavern 9:24:17.JPG
    The pg is ebony w/abalone inlay that I did around 1980. Still have the original. It also has Scott's Badbird bridge, a brass nut (the orig from the factory was miss-cut) and a custom ebony/brass knob in the middle position. And yes, T-birds are everything people say about them - unparreled rock machines.
    fullsizeoutput_c6d.jpeg
     
  13. On this site there appears to be many rules. For Pete's sake make sure you post on the right thread!
     
  14. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    FWIW, those Alembic pickups are much newer than 1980. The gold embossed ones (I believe) came out in the 90's. Happy if not eager to be corrected.
     
    FC Bass and Dadagoboi like this.
  15. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    I like mine the way they came from the factory, although I did change the p/g on my first '77 to black...in '77.

    QAiEAsQ.jpg
     
  16. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Redding CA
    I'd take it off his hands for $100.:D
    Actually I'll bet it sounds pretty awesome. It'll sound like an Alembic and look like a Gibson.:thumbsup:
     
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  17. AztecViking

    AztecViking Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    EndlessSummerVille, CA
    How does it sound? How does it play? Sorry if that was mentioned and I somehow missed it. :)
     
  18. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
    I don’t know, it would probably be worth more if they added a few more knobs...
     
    hillerup, dukeorock and Larry V like this.
  19. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    :rolleyes:
     
    hillerup and Larry V like this.
  20. I love it! Maybe the only 64 thunderbird I can afford ;)
     

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