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Anybody play a "Thunderbird"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Twitch Kungfu, May 5, 2003.


  1. The Epiphone ThunderBird IV. (I think thats the FULL name.) ;)

    Does anybody play one? And if so, how do you like it? Is it big? Heavy?

    I would like to get one.. once I get the money up.. :rolleyes:
     
  2. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I play a Gibson Thunderbird IV, and you will not get it away from me until you pry it out of my cold, dead hands! When I went looking for my first "good" bass around 1991, I played everything that I could get my hands on (whether I could afford it or not), and nothing really stood out until I picked up a T-Bird. Right from the get-go, I knew it was the bass for me. The feel in your hands is very differnet from any other bass I had tried. The neck is quite thin, and the strings have a very tight feel (partly from its 34.5" scale, partly from the 3-point bridge). I love the tone, which is very solid and low-mid present, and it is darn near impossible to get this bass to sound bad. I have recorded it probably 12 different ways, from directly into the board, to running through huge racks of gear, then mic'ing, then reamping, etc., and it always sounds good. To me, it does not seem heavy, but others who have played it say that it is. It is certainly a lot lighter than my Gibson Explorer bass.

    That said, I have picked up the Epiphone version a couple of times, and trust me, it just isn't the same thing. I don't even think that they are made the same way. As I recall, the one I tried had a BOLT-ON NECK! This is blasphemous, in my opinion. The T-Bird is meant to be a neck-through, gosh darnit!! Personally, I would not bother "settling" for the Epiphone version. Save up and get the real deal. Of course, I am spoiled, though...

    Later, Tom.
     
  3. geezer316

    geezer316

    Jan 26, 2003
    NEW HAVEN ,CT
    i played the epiphone version and it was OK at best,it was fun to play and a nice change of pace from my usual fender type basses,as far as if its a good bass ?then i will have to say its an aquired taste but its definatly well made and wont let you down in the long run:bassist:
     
  4. The ACUTAL Gibson is around 1000 bucks isnt it? Man, that would take FOREVER to save up for. I might HAVE to settle for the Epiphone. I know and am dead set that I want that bass.

    Its not like I dont have good gear now. I sport a ESP Ltd B-205 Five Stringer.

    But I have head the T bird is an awsome bass for that Ska Punk sound.
     
  5. geezer316

    geezer316

    Jan 26, 2003
    NEW HAVEN ,CT
    i've been seeing that reference alot lately and dont understand how a certain bass be better than another for a "certain sound" in my opinion if you got a good bass then you can get pretty much what you need for the most part,if not a good ampw/an EQ will certainly do the trick,i see many people who ask what bass is good for this ?and what bass is good for that? its all a matter of preference,if your favorite bassist uses a p-bass,then get a p-bass if you like his sound(i'm sure thats not all he uses to get that certain sound)no offense to you or your prference of sound it just gets mundane to see the same question every day "what bass is good for punk" thats ridiculous(not you by any means,YOU KNOW WHO U R)
    remember there's no such thing as a stupid question,ONLY stupid people.:D
     
  6. bazzanderson

    bazzanderson

    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Listen to Geezer! He speaketh the truth!
    -Bazz-
     
  7. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Maybe, but.....

    What's with the sound on a flying V? Is it me or is it STRICLY that Randy Rhoades sound? Anyways, some basses are limited like that, and some are pretty versatile. Knowing the sounds that can come out of it is pretty huge....
     
  8. babecker

    babecker

    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    I have an Epiphone TB and it's a decent bass, especially considering you can pick them up used for next to nothing. It has a pretty full sound -- heavy in the lows/low-mids. Good for rock, but not much of a slapping bass IMO.

    My major complaint with the bass is the poor balance -- it's a pretty neck heavy instrument. I had to move the front strap button from it's original spot down to where the neck meets the body. It balances better now, but it's still somewhat uncomfortable. The shape of the neck, combined with the awkward balancing, tends to cramp up my fretting hand. I would recommend you play the bass with a strap before you decide to buy it.

    Overall, for the $200 i paid, I was pretty pleased with it. It was my regular bass for over a year and i'll still pull it out from time to time. I dig on its tone, but have some issues with its playability.

    Hope that helps. :D
     
  9. Well, I listen to Ska-Punk alot. NOT punk, NOT pop-punk (which is JUST WRONG). But Ska punk, and EVERY SINGLE band that I like, has the TB as the bass for their live shows. I like their live bass sound better then the Fender (I think) on the CD's.

    Where did you get a TB for $200!?!
     
  10. babecker

    babecker

    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    I picked my TB up on Ebay.
     
  11. MattFreemanRock

    MattFreemanRock

    Nov 30, 2002
    Well i know all basses could pretty much be played for any kind of music if you do it right, but i think punk/ska, especially ska, needs a deep, dense, warm tone. so i guess the TB would be good for that.
     
  12. TB's are fantastic dub toolz....deep and massive. rather pricey here up north unfortunetly. I was surprised at how much I dug the tone.
     
  13. Gah! Now I REALLY want one.
     
  14. KAC

    KAC

    Oct 9, 2002
    I use to own a Gibson thunderbird. Great neck, great tone. But unless you move the strap pin, be prepared to support the neck slightly with your left hand while you're playing. The body style also seemed to put the center off somewhat, it seemed that first fret was way the hell out there. Not to mention the tuning keys (maybe I should have invested in longer arms).

    Somone resolved all these issues for me by stealing it.
     
  15. Malcom

    Malcom

    Oct 21, 2002
    The Midwest
    I know I'm a bit off topic, but go listen to the Buzzcock's "Singles Going Steady," The Undertone's "Best of" CD, and something by the Jam.


    Then tell be pop-punk is "JUST WRONG"

    I know you're thinking of the modern "punk" bands like Good Charlotte and whatnot, which my friends and I refer to as "Mall punk." But you oughtn't condemn a whole genre, especially one that has produced some great bands.
     
  16. Hmmm Mall Punk.. I like that.

    But yes, I was refering to.. MTV punk. :) Such as Good Charolotte, Simple Plan, blah blah.
     
  17. Rock&Roll

    Rock&Roll

    Jul 21, 2002
    USA
    Errrg. The V was used by blues guys long before randy. I'm not dogging randy, I'm just stating a fact. I mean, Hendrix did his share of blues. He used a V. And it did not sound like Randy rhodes.
     
  18. strangely, Macy Gray's current bassist uses a Thunderbird (playing fingerstyle, which is unusual as the T-Bird is usually known as a rock-with-pick bass)

    -also Enrique Eglesias' bassist!
     
  19. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Yeah, I have a great 1963 Thunderbird II. It's original and I love it. The only problem is that - like many other vintage basses - it's hard to get the G intonated with smaller modern strings.
     
  20. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The MTR wrote:

    "strangely, Macy Gray's current bassist uses a Thunderbird (playing fingerstyle, which is unusual as the T-Bird is usually known as a rock-with-pick bass)"

    While I certainly have seen a number of players using picks on their T-birds, I never thought of it (or any other bass for that matter) as being predominantly a pick versus fingerstyle instrument. The Ox himself is a good example of a prominent fingerstyle Thunderbird (and Fenderbird, etc.) player. I am a fingerstyle player myself (coming from an upright bass background), and I love the feel of my T-bird for fingerstyle. Slapping, is another matter...

    So, let's not paint our Thunderbirds into a pick-playing corner. Sure, Nikki hasn't figured out how to play with his fingers :D , but the rest of the world should be able to keep their options open here.

    Bongolation wrote:

    "Yeah, I have a great 1963 Thunderbird II. It's original and I love it. The only problem is that - like many other vintage basses - it's hard to get the G intonated with smaller modern strings."

    FWIW, while my Thunderbird IV is a newer vintage (1991), I have never had intonation problems. True, I have not used the super light guages, but I have tried quite a variety of strings, and the G (and other) string(s) seem to intonate fairly nicely.

    Later, Tom.