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Determining valuation of a 1976 Thunderbird?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chef, Sep 21, 2004.


  1. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I have a 1976 Thunderbird, made in 77 from the serial numbers, I think. While I love it dearly, and have had it for years, it suffers from "terrible neck dive" and I just never use it anymore. I'd like to sell it and turn the cash into something else I'd actually use, and get this 'bird out of the closet to someone who'll use it.
    How can I determine valuation? Not looking to get the highest dollar possible, but don't want to shortchange myself either. I can post some pix tonight. That'll obviously be helpful...
    Thanks, Alan
     
  2. Have you followed the prices on e-Bay? Do you know anybody with a current guitar blue book?
     
  3. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    The Blue book values a 76 T-Bird from between $700.00 on the beat side to $1500.00 for one that's in 98% near mint condition.

    They seem to be selling on Ebay between $1500 - $2500 depending on the bass.

    TD

    :cool:
     
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Lonote, I have been following ebay, don't know anyone with a blue book-and in fact did not know there was such a thing that wasn't for cars;)
    Thornton, I have been following ebay, and while I've seen them sell in the price ranges you mention, I'm not sure ebay really "sets valuation."
     
  5. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    I've sold 2 of mine on Ebay over the past couple of years and gotten $1250.00 for my Ebony one (in late 1999) and $1850.00 for my Tobaccoburst (in the of summer 2002). Both basses were mint and included the OHSC and chrome p/u covers.

    I still have a Tobaccoburst that i'm keeping.

    Mine were 76 made Bi-Centennials unlike most which are actually made in 77.

    TD
    :cool:
     
  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Purchased new April 17, 1978, s/n 72227008. Gibson told me it was '76 parts, made in '77, but who knows...pics coming shortly...
     
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Some pics. More coming...
     
  8. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
  9. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto

    FYI, Gibson used the prefix 99 in the serial number of instrument made in 1975. A Gibson instrument made in 76 will have a serial number that starts with the prefix of 00 then the 6 digit number. A 1977 made bass will have the prefix of 06 then the standard six digits. They only used these prefix digits for these particular 3 years of 75-76-77.

    Then in 1977 Gibson they changed the serial numbering system to a straight up 8 digit number which they stamped on to the back of the headstock.

    Your basses serial number identifies it as having been the 8th bass made on the 222nd day of 1977 in the Kalamazoo plant.
    This would have it being made sometime in August 77.

    Here's how Gibson's serial numbering system works,
    For a serial number EXAMPLE "NabcNxyz"
    NN shows the year (last two digits)
    abc shows the day in the year (out of 365 days)
    xyz shows the rank of the instrument made in the day with 001 to 499 for instruments made in Kalamazoo and 500 to 999 for instruments made in Nashville.

    In case you are interested, Gibson made a total of 1,270 Bi-Centennial Thunderbird basses in 1977. Here's the breakdown;
    Tobaccoburst; 605
    Natural; 237
    Ebony; 301
    White; 127

    Most of the Bi-Centennial Thunderbird basses were made in 1977. Only 543 were actually made in 1976.

    Cheers,

    TD
     
  10. 69Vette

    69Vette

    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    Hey, I'm new here but thought I'd chime in on this one. Bicentennial 'birds have been steadily climbing over the last 18 months or so. I can't tell from your pictures how clean the finish is or whether your pickguard is painted over the bird, but you should clean it up as best as is possible. I know that sounds lame, but it'll help with the price. Clean, original (unbroken/unrepaired) 'birds of that vintage, especially if the serial# sticker is unmolested, have been hitting close to $2000 lately or more with the big dealers. Original colors are more rare, but the natural ones are just as popular. I recently saw one in England go for around $3000. That was a special circumstance, but it still shows they're in demand. Assuming it's in the above described condition, I think $1800 would be a good starting point.

    I don't claim to be an expert, but I'm a huge Thunderbird fan and I do follow them closely. Good luck on the sale!
     
  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I think due to it's manufacture date, it's probably a bicentennial iisue, and the bird deos appear to be painted over. The finish itself is real nice and shiny, and I'd rather let the next owner taek the paint of the bird, as doing so may prove harmful in some way...
     
  12. 69Vette

    69Vette

    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    Just so you know...

    76 and 77 'birds had the same pickguard. White, with a red and blue bird with a '76 in the body. Some 79s have the same guard, and the rest have the same bird, but no "76" in the body. If the bird on yours is solid black, which is how it looks to me, then it's definitely painted over. An NOS or used Bicentennial guard will cost anywhere from $50-125.
     
  13. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Still looking for valuation help, thanks!
     
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Bass NW has one just like yours (same color, even) for $1699 right now.
     
  15. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    That's helpful, thanks.
    Seen it in person and played it?
    Any idea how it compares in terms of condition, ohsc, and original registration and warranty papers which I still have?
     
  16. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    At the other end of the scale, Mike's Music in Ohio have a 76 T-Bird in natural, asking price $2799.00

    I can't see it rushing out the door anytime soon.

    There's also a near mint condition Tobaccoburst 76 in Toronto selling for $2350.00 US. It's been there for a month or so.

    Good luck.

    TD
     
  17. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Also good info Mr D., thanks.
    I'm starting to feel a ballpark out there somewhere...
     
  18. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    bump lookin for more opinions...
     
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    That looks about like mine condition-wise...