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Differences between a epiphone and gibson thunderbird

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by E_maN, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. E_maN


    Apr 30, 2006

    After some years thinking that the thunderbird looks butt ugly, something changed me and i just love the design!

    and so i went to not-so-local musicianstore and tried one out, but it was a epiphone, and i liked how it played and sounded(i think atleast, didn't play it on my rig and couldnt compare it to my current bass).

    i felt it was kind of wierd balanced compared to my current bass (and all basses i think, tried a musicman sterling right after the thunderbird and it felt great with weight) but i think thats something you just will get used to.

    now i've decided to buy either a Gibson or an Epiphone, just wonder at first, what are the differences between the basses?
    are the extra money worth spending on a gibson or do the epiphone modell do just fine?

    the guy in the store said that the differences wasnt that much but i'll just check here to :p

    and i have some other questions to.

    the music i play is a kind of rock/punkrock with a twist of heavier sound, does the bass fit in there? or should i go for a stingray/sterling? (i just love those too).

    any others good and bad things about the thunderbird else?
    hows the substain and such, give me some reviews ppl :)

    thanks in advance :D
  2. The Gibson is American made, neck through, balances better and is about $2000 last I checked. People that have the Gibson's usually say the Epiphone is junk, but maybe that's because they spent $2000.
  3. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    If you play up high get the Sting Ray. A Sting Ray will stand out /cut through the mix where the Tbird tends to blend in.

    Epi birds are bolt on with maple necks different pickups, but close to the same sound.

    As far as sustain goes how long does any body hold a note anymore in this world of overplaying.
  4. steveinohio


    May 27, 2007
    I would say try the Epiphone before going for the Gibson. The construction is different but it is in the same ballpark sound wise. Thunderbirds are a much bigger playing bass. Some people cant get use to it.

    I had the Epiphone and now have a Gibson. The Gibson IMO is not worth over $1000. I like it, but its just not worth that cash. Thunderbirds do sound great for heavy stuff. Like Barkless said the MusicMan will stand out more in the mix. Thunderbirds will blend in and fill it out.
  5. E_maN


    Apr 30, 2006
    ok, so if i'm a student, don't got really much cash i would go for the epiphone one?
    or is there any other bass that gives you more for its cash? i would really like to buy a stingray, but i don't think i can afford it since i'm a student :p

    sound nice since it's stands out from the mix. can't someone who have a TB and a Stingeray record some stuff and let me hear the difference?

    Thanks for the awnsers everybody!
  6. Hi.

    There's been a few threads about the subject, but my take is that two rather similar basses are in totally different price groups.

    Granted, the Gibson is a Gibson and Epi is, well, a brand with a different reputation (I'm not talking about the real Epiphones here, obviously, I dont even know anyone with one).

    The Gibsons I've played, owned and repaired, have never been worth the money people sell 'em for. Nice instruments, that's for sure, but not worth payig the extra for the name. Fender USA falls to that same gategory for me as well.

    QC and CS aside a lemon is a strong possibility with Epis but if You buy an used instrument, there's a good chance that the faults have been corrected by the previous owner. Plus a bass that costs 299 US$ new IIRC, won't break the bank as used.

    I strongly recommend You to try it before buying though, new or second hand, Gibson or Epi, as there can be minor details that the seller forgets to mention.

    I'd go for the Epi, and actually did. The fellow I bought my bass from had the "real deal" up for auction at the same time, but my resources ran out and I had to settle for the bastard. And I'm glad I did.

  7. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Banned

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    i'm not 100% sure here but i think the Epiphone goth model has the same pups as the gibson, it also has a mahogany body. i think it's a solid bass, got one myself.
  8. E_maN


    Apr 30, 2006
    so you mean its like a cheaper gibson? or what? :p
  9. Chandler Bing

    Chandler Bing

    May 16, 2007
    Memphis, TN
    Think Fender/Squier.
  10. E_maN


    Apr 30, 2006
    ok i might get the point :)

    so what i've gotten out from you guys are that the Gibson one arn't worth all the extra money it costs, so it better to buy the epiphone one?

    so it'll do just fine until i get more cash some years from now so i can buy a stingray? :)
  11. Earwigger

    Earwigger I'm a Roland man now.

    Aug 23, 2005
    Cleveland, Ohio
    The Goth version does NOT have Gibson pickups. The only similarities between the two basses are the similarly-designed bridge, the pickup spacing, and that they're both Mahogany.
  12. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    you get yourself an epi bird and you may not wind up even caring about the stingray anymore. It won't be nearly as bright as a stingray, but if you want a little help cutting through, roll your neck pickup volume back to about 6 or 7, and run your bridge pickup and tone controls on 10. I have NO trouble with that sound cutting through.
    I used to have a stingray, thought it was what I wanted for years, then once I had it, it was actually a let down. It was REALLY nice, but to me it was really just another bass. If someone was going to give me a stingray , or an epi bird, and I wasnt allowed to sell either, I'd choose the bird, if I was allowed to sell them, I'd take the ray, sell it, get me a couple epi birds, and pocket the rest.
    if you can handle the weight of the thunderbird, and it fits the style of music you want to play, you cant go wrong with it
  13. XtreO


    Jan 2, 2008
    I tried a Epiphone Thunderbird when I went to get my bass back from repair. I have a Cort GB-series with active pickups for about 2000NOK less (about 340USD). When I tried them up agains eachother, I found I my Cort had (caught me by suprise, as I had till then wanted the Epi thunderbird) a more aggressive and deep sound.
    Too the Thunderbirds tend to lean on your fretting hand meaning you have to support it when playing. So I'd acctually suggest getting a bass with active pickups, I at least prefer the sound to nonactive when playing my sort of music (check sig).
  14. flakeh

    flakeh Banned

    Apr 21, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Epiphone - Bolt on neck, Cheaper not as good pickups, Different wood, maybe lighter (?) Only costs about 350-400$, input jack is on the face.

    Gibson - Set neck OR neck through, awesome pickups, Mahogany body wings/neck, a heavy mofo, Costs about 1800-2000$ new, maybe 1100 used, The input jack is on the side.

    BOth have neck dive, not really bad once yah get used to it. In terms of quality, The Gibson IMO is better then the Epiphone, but not by much. The Epi's are still solid players.
  15. E_maN


    Apr 30, 2006
    well do you guys think it would fit in a punkrock with a hint of heaver tones? we use drop D just as you guys know.

    is there anyone who ownes both a stingray and a thunderbird that can record some stuff and let me hear the difference? would be nice :)
  16. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    About 7 lbs?
  17. I have tried Epis and compared the Epi to the Gibson online...

    From what I hear the Epi is heavier... Both have strap placement issues... And unconfirmed but the Epi has a nicer finish.

    Go with the Epi, it's pretty much the same thing minus the brand.
  18. E_maN


    Apr 30, 2006
    the guy at the store told me that the gibson was heavier but oh well :p thanks alot guys now i know more bout it :)
  19. captainrowd


    Mar 17, 2008
    I've been playing rock bass for a little over 5 years now. I've played all the big names and a few obscure ones. I never liked Ernies much. . . I own the Gibson Thunderbird IV, though, so I can probably answer every single question you might have cause i gig with it weekly.

    email me and i can help you out if you're still deciding. I'm a student too, so i know how hard the choice can be.
  20. jmac85


    Mar 22, 2008
    Duluth, MN
    I own the Epiphone Thunderbird. I really wanted the USA or 80's Japanese P-Bass, (as my dad has one and it sounds amazing) but as I'm a student and father, I chose for the Epi. I was VERY pleased when it came. You can cover any type of music you want with it. And I've been able to get any tone out of it I wanted. Now granted alot of that has to do with my Hartke head and that being a very versatile amp. But I no longer have the intense desire for the P-Bass. When I graduate and get a real job, maybe, but until then the Bird works for me! Hope this helps.

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