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Epiphone Elitist Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by americanmade, Apr 1, 2006.


  1. americanmade

    americanmade

    Feb 12, 2005
    Hey guys, I just got back from a local music shop where I spent almost an hour playing an epiphone elitist thunderbird. I actually thought it was a Gibson when I picked it up until I looked a little more closely. My point is this: this thing sounded, felt, and looked amazing. However, I can't see myself popping a grand for a Japanese-made (I believe) epiphone. I was hoping you guys could help me out by saying how the elitist compares to the regular epiphone thunderbird. I know the regular has a bolt on neck, but how does this affect the sound and feel? I've never found one of these in a store before today so I've never really had a chance to play one for myself. I've read all sorts of good reviews about the epi thunderbird, but will I be disappointed with it as compared to the elitist series? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Memphis
    I think it's one of those if "ya kan't beat em join em" things ... Gibson has had Nipponese relations for a long time trying to compete with the likes of Tokai ... Gibson had a division called Orville by Gibson in Japan ... the elitist is most likely from that connection rebadged as Epiphone ... highly reguarded instruments I might add ...
     
  3. americanmade

    americanmade

    Feb 12, 2005
    Perhaps I should include that I simply do not have a thousand bucks to spend on a bass at this time and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
     
  4. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Abuser of Thunderbird Shaped Objects. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2002
    Chandler, Arizona
    The Elitist T-Bird has USA pickups in it. The neck part is open to debate. It used to be listed as a neck-thru, but some people that own them seem to think it's a set neck. You can get one of the new USA Studio T-Birds for right around $1000. I think I'd go that route over the Elitist, unless you're after the vintage look. But I guess that part doesn't matter if you don't have $1000 to spend. FWIW, seems like the people that have owned the Elitist's really like them.

    Andy
     
  5. As far as looks go, I'd go for the Epi Elite over the Gibson Studio Bird. The Gibby' Studio's look like crap to me.
     
  6. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    You should be able to find it for less than $1000, not much, but still less.

    As for the bass, I like the Elitist T-Bird BETTER than the Gibson. The one (Elitist) I tried was just great from top to bottom. The two Gibson ones I tried were among the most disapointing basses I ever tried. BOTH hummed, BADLY, and neither balanced well on my lap (the Elitist did). one of the two Gibsons had a severely orange-peeled (dimpled) finnish, I mean it was AWFULL. The store couldn't sell it and sent it back. It was really bellow "Factory-Second" level. Teh ELitist had a great finnish.

    It really stinks, I rember when Gibsons were great and relatively consitent guitars. This was back before they got into Goth guitars and signature models for any one who's played one of their guitars for 5 minutes. They really had one or two versions of each guitar style (Les Paul Standar, Les Paul Custom and such). Honestly, I think they've just spread them selves too thin. Too many models, and no focus or direction.

    As for the neck-though, set-neck thing, who cares? Actually I'm wondering if it's a laminated neck through. In other words it's neck through but the neck is made of more than one peice from front to back. Just a thought.

    ~Paul :)
     
  7. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Abuser of Thunderbird Shaped Objects. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2002
    Chandler, Arizona
    Gibson USA has gotten a bit of a bad rep over finishes & quality control, at least from the bass side of their products. Couldn't say about the guitars cause the last couple of those I tried out were about 15 years old. My T-Bird sounds great with no hum of any kind. I've seen posts at The Dude Pit's Gibson forum of people having this problem. There are however some finish issues on mine that I don't think can be blamed on the previous owner. For the money you spend for a new Gibson, it should be pretty damn flawless IMO. I got mine pretty cheap so the issues aren't issues to me.

    It's been said elsewhere that if you want a Gibson with a perfect finish, buy an Epiphone!

    AS for the neck thru issue, it really only matters when the company advertises it as a neck thru and then sells you something else.
     
  8. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005

    id have to totally agree.


    i mean they must have over 20 les paul models in differant finishes and hardware etc,

    and theres also that bumblebee capaciter that they are selling for £40
     
  9. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    Exactly, in the early to mid 90's when they were on their most recent "Golden Era" (to me any way) there wasn't even 20 electric models available. There were three or four Les Pauls, Two SG's, Firebird and Thunderbird, two 300 series, one 200 series, four Chet Atkins series (two electric-acoustic and two electric) and the Flying V and Explorer for a TOTAL of 16 models.

    It's a shame really, when I was younger Gibsons were the guitar to have, now I just wouldn't buy one (unless I was alowed to go over it with a fine toothed comb, both inside and out). The Elitist on the other hand, well, I trust the folks at the Japanese Epiphone factory to make a great guitar more than I trust the guys at Gibson USA. Which sucks, "made in the USA" used to cary some real wieght across the board, now it really has become hit or miss. Though PLENTY of great quality stuff still comes out of here (the US), Rickenbacker for instance, my new 4003 is for lack of a better word, perfect. The finish is so smooth it's scary.

    ~Paul :)
     

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