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Epi NR Thunderbird/"Fenderbird" conversion?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by snowblinder, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. A couple of years or so back, I picked up a 90's Epiphone non-reverse Thunderbird bass. The short lived one with the P/J pickup configuration, bolt-on neck, etc. Anyway, it's become my favorite bass since. I love its looks, it plays excellent and the pickups sound great. Super punchy and full. The one thing I don't care for is the neck. Not that it's bad. It's just extremely long, making the low frets hard to comfortably reach, not to mention that reaching the tuners is difficult and them being reverse just bothers me. So I've decided I'd like to convert this thing to a Fenderbird and have a maple Mighty Mite Precision neck installed on the body. Has anyone here taken on a similar project before? Is it as simple as removing the Epi neck, bolting on the MM and setting it up, or will any routing/modding be required?

  2. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hammersmith Music
    You'll have to do some routing on the pocket, as a Fender neck is wider at the heel than a Tbird neck. Additionally, the number of frets is different and you'll have to move the bridge in order to set the saddles at the correct ~34" from the nut. Your pickups will then be in a slightly different area of the string, but not to the point of being a problem.
  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 had a similar idea using an Epi Reverse Thunderbird, rather than rout the pocket I reshaped the sides and heel of a new maple neck - it came out pretty nice!
  4. Me too!
    I just finished my first conversion......P-bass neck into an Epi reverse Thunderbird. It looks and sounds awesome!
    I was initially going to route the body, but decided against it and re-shaped the neck instead. it just seemed easier.
    I'm just waiting for the lacquer to dry on the neck before I take a shot of it and post it here.
  5. A standard Fender style neck will be the correct width for the older Epiphone Thunderbird the OP has. It's a different shape at the end, curved whereas the bass' neck pocket is straight, but the width is correct. I've attempted this very same conversion myself! Never got round to finishing it though and sold the parts on Ebay years ago. Wish I never had, that bass was excellent.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Yep ... twice ... and 5 stringers as well ... You will have to remove a little wood to make a fender style neck fit. The Epi neck has a square heel.

  7. Tbone76


    Aug 24, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Your mods are crazy looking, btw! I always thought you only modded Rics, but wow! I'm sure you don't need any affirmation of your work, but they really look great.
  8. .
    Here's a shot of my new (finished a few days ago) Fenderbird:


    Epiphone Thunderbird body fitted with a P-Bass copy neck.
    I shaved and shortened the neck to fit the Epi body.