Can't decide between Epiphone Thunderbird or MIM precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TUEP, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. TUEP


    Apr 8, 2007
    I am actually torn between these two. I want a passive bass. I've always liked the P Bass for it's simplicity and it's good low-end, but I'm starting to really like the Thunderbirds. And I really like the shape and feel of them. I'm just really torn between the two, it's apples and oranges. Trying to think of the pros and cons to each, having two active PJ basses, I feel like I can get the p bass sound out of each.

    But nothing quite like a passive Fender precision. Where the Thunderbird has a tone I really, really like. It's kind of its own thing. It is boomy but it has its own sound.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  2. BrianToska


    Jan 14, 2013
    Houston, TX
    You already have two active PJs. Do the Thunderbird! I’ve recently learned the greatness of Gibson basses and that’s coming from someone who owns four P basses.

    PS- maybe do the Tbird and throw a passive set of pickups in one of the active PJs? Just a thought.
  3. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    I'll admit a little bias here..............:laugh:
    At $600.00 this is a great Thunderbird, roll off the bridge pick up and it does the P Bass thing no problem.
    White Thunderbirds are the bomb on stage!

  4. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Hmm. Tricky.

    Both classics, both sound great, both worthy of being in almost anyone’s arsenal.

    The Precision is more widely applicable, being essentially the ideal bass for a wide variety of classic styles.

    The Thunderbird seems made for rock, from blues rock to classic rock to heavy metal. Chicago blues could be a good match (it certainly worked for its guitar stablemate, the Firebird) The Thunderbird perhaps seems especially suited to playing with a pick, though of course it can be played with fingers. Color can be important on the Thunderbird, as black suits pretty much any kind of hard rock or metal look, while white, Pelham blue, green or red might suit pop rock, and sunburst kind of fits with anything, but perhaps best evokes the blues rock to hard classic rock end of the spectrum.

    In my opinion, the Thunderbird is the coolest looking bass ever created. However, as its neck is way out there (and I have some problems with the front of my shoulder that I think that would aggravate), it hangs headstock heavy, the case is large and the Gibson version is expensive and has different pickups than the original, I’ve never gotten one. Also, I’m less hard rock than I used to be and not really stage oriented anymore. The Epi Vintage Pro, with its more affordable price than Gibson while being simultaneously more classic than Gibson’s offering, does have me re-interested though.

    The P bass is, in my opinion, the best sounding bass ever. The look is a classic and suits all of the styles I like well enough. ‘Nuff said, right? I mean, it’s the P.

    The necks are really different. I like both necks, in different ways.

    I got a Precision. Heck, I got 2. I still have that Thunderbird itch though. It’s a low level kind of thing, but always there in the background ("Man, a T-bird sure would be cool.. maybe I should finally get that T-bird. Nah, I don’t really need a T-bird. Epi Vintage Pro sure would be nice and the price is right...Jezz, but I’ve been pretty much going short scale when I’m not playing the P, and a Thunderbird would be going in the opposite direction. Man, a T-bird sure would be cool though..." and so on, lol). Who knows? Good luck!
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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  5. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    While I don't see active PJ Basses the same as a passive P Bass, I do think you have a pretty good approximation of a Precision.
    But as has been said, you could easily change one of your PJ's into a great sounding passive P bass.
    Buy a $60 Dimarzio Model P pickup and a couple of $4.00 pots, pull the active tone guts, change out the P pup and don't wire in the J pickup and you've got a great sounding P Bass.
    The new Epiphone Vintage Pro Thunderbirds sound like the old Gibson Thunderbirds, and don't have the crappy three point bridge, so have become a much better deal than they have been for a lot of years.
    After you get your passive P bass conversion done cheaply, pull the trigger on the new T-Bird!!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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  6. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    They are cheap enough...get both!
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  7. TUEP


    Apr 8, 2007
    Active PJ basses, are a Spector Legend which I want to keep that Spector tone. And a 92 Ibanez sr800, and I want to keep it original. I think right now I'm going to lean towards the Epiphone, and then later pick up a Mexican P Bass. I want something that's passive but I want something different to. And those Thunderbirds have their own thing going for them.
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  8. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Some thoughts about T Birds...

    Some struggle with the ergos on T Birds. Might be the right feel for you, might not. I was shocked to find out how comfy they are for me. Got kind of obsessed and wound up with 3 of em in the space of a couple months. Two are Gibson’s and one is a Cataldo

    Both my reverse style Gibson’s suffer no neck dive, are lightweight and sound fantastic. The non reverse body is a little more prone to neck dive, but is easily dealt with.

    3 point bridges are horrible? Not really. Mine set up easy and work great. Sure, it’s a quirky design, but way too much is made of how ‘awful’ they are. They’re fine.

    I used to pigeonhole these basses as being just for hard rock, but I’m sure glad I got over it! Mine go to country gigs, pop gigs...basically all of my gigs lately. Alexander Hacke was the main reason I wanted a T Bird for the thick sound he gets playing experimental music. Kim Gordon and Mike Watt as well.

    Also, a ThunderBucker Ranch ‘63 pickup is one of the best P bass sounds you’re likely to hear.

    Always have had at least one P bass around and probably always will. They’re beautiful and perfect in their own way. Right now, I just find T Birds to be more interesting to me. If you go Epi, the Vintage Pro or the Classic Pro are really nice instruments for the dough.

    Have fun with your search!
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  9. rodv66

    rodv66 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2016
    I have a pbass and love it, but my number one girl is my Thunderbird. Just something about her makes me want to smile
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  10. pudge


    Sep 13, 2008
    Grab that 'BIRD by the neck and don't let go! Cheap P basses are easy to find,as mention above get both!
    and off the one u like least of the 2 after giving them some time.
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  11. bordinco90


    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    I'm a P Bass guy, but in your case and what you described. Get the bird.
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  12. TUEP


    Apr 8, 2007
    Here is the update. I found a goth Epiphone Thunderbird, with Hardshell case from the local pawn shop for $175. So I went ahead and got it. It needs a little TLC, but it plays really nice. Little bit of rust on the heads of the screws and the bridge, but nothing that can't be cleaned up. One screw missing from the bridge pickup, easy fix. No matter though tone is there, action is decent, and it sounds like a Thunderbird. 175 bucks or the hard shell case I don't think you could really beat it. Plus I like to Black finish in the cool Celtic cross on the pickguard. One thing is going to need is some new strings, what do you guys suggest for Thunderbirds? I was wondering how some Roto 66 stainless with sound on it.
  13. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    That’s a very popular string choice for a T Bird :)
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  14. TUEP


    Apr 8, 2007
    That is awesome because that's one of my favorite string choices! :)

    Attached Files:

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  15. As an alternative DR Hi Beams are fairly popular as well.
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  16. TUEP


    Apr 8, 2007
    Play Natsu my SVT 2, non Pro. Through in Eden 4 by 10 cab wizard speakers, it seems to have pretty good boom tone. Not quite as hot as the sr800 or the Spector Legend. But unique in its own way.
  17. Thunderbird82


    Jan 14, 2018
    I have recent bought an Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro. Get the bird is all I can say it’s an amazing bass,
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  18. TUEP


    Apr 8, 2007
    Can't find any rotos in my area. But one shop has some Dean Markley cryogenic strings. I used to really like those back in the day. You think they'd be a good fit for it or should I order the Roto stainless?
  19. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Life is short, buy the bass. Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Which case is that? Did you get it at Sweetwater?
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  20. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird

    Dec 2, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY.
    I love my Epiphone. And a very versatile bass. This is coming from someone who likes Precisions.

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