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Gibson Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DDAvenger, Dec 30, 2002.

  1. DDAvenger


    Mar 1, 2002
    Deerfield, IL
    Hi, I've been surfing ebay and google for fun looking at basses. A couple that always catch my eye are the Gibsons, both the flying v, the thunderbird, and the explorer. After finally saving up some money I can finally afford something good, and I was wondering if anyone out there has played or own any of these basses and could tell me their thoughts, experiences. Thanks.
  2. thunderbird- neck dive
    explorer- heavy
  3. rockbassist1087

    rockbassist1087 Guest

    Nov 29, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    I don't like Gibson basses at all. For the money that they are priced at, you can get a much better bass. If you get a good price on a used one, maybe its worth it. But, I don't think that the tone one these basses is anything great either.
  4. I played a Thunderbird in the store a couple of times and I didn't really like the feel. It has a funny raised middle part of the body - didn't mesh with my fingerstyle. Just remember to test-drive your dream bass before buying!
  5. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I have also played the gibson thunderbird bass several times at several different stores... I personally dislike the body design.. and they didn't have any tone that I found pleasing.... The tone and feel of the bass for the price really discouraged me from just about any gibson gear out there. for the price you can get some great gear new, even used.. just my 2 cents
  6. DDAvenger


    Mar 1, 2002
    Deerfield, IL
    I see the Gibson's don't seem to be popular, any suggestions and basses that look like any of the forementioned three (the flying v, thunderbird, explorer) that are recommended. Pesonally, I love Entwistle and a bass I usually always see in his hands is the explorer. Also, if any of you have tried the hofner beatle bass, either the reissues or originals I'd appreciate feedback on those too. Thanks for your help
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    patch - Enstwistle's playing is the ultimate in rock bass to me.

    I've never seen a Gibson Explorer in his hands. Perhaps what you saw is one of the Alembics he had made with the Explorer-design body, named the "The Exploiter." Some had the flying V headstock and one I saw had the T-bird design headstock. Here's an forerunner of the Exploiters with a Gibson-design body with a Precis neck thrown on it.


    Cool as they look, I didn't like the either of the Tbirds I tried, (orignals from the 60's). The bodies were paper thin, some of the hardware was loose, (I tried them in the early 70's), and they just didn't say "play me" at all.

    The only Gibsons I thought were fairly decent were the Ripper and the Grabber. I had an EB3 and got rid of it within a year (mud tone axe, IMO).
  8. entwhistle DID play explorers- not gibsons, though. he had custom alembic basses with the explorer body style. he also had fenderbirds- thunderbirds with p-bass necks.
  9. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    It is a matter of taste. I've been playing a Thunderbird since 1976, and I think it is a great bass. It has THE rock tone, and a comfortable neck. There is the neck dive thing, but it isn't as bad as some suggest. There are ways to minimize it - the right strap for instance.

    Don't listen to guys who have played one "a couple of times" in a store, where it probably wasn't even set up right. Go find one and play it yourself, and decide for yourself. Only YOU can decide if it is right for you. Ever since the bad Gibsons of the '60s (EB-0, EB-3, etc.) it has been fashionable to hate Gibson basses. It is so prevalent that many of the people who say "Gibsons suck" have never even played one - they just repeat the "conventional wisdom".

    Every one of us has an opinion, but only you can decide what is right for you. Remember what they say about opinions...
  10. I have a 71 EB2L and i love it..But, then again I'm a sucker for those things..I think as always, tone is subjective and I get alot of pleasure out of the great vintage,soulful tones this bass provides me.For everyone?? no! but it works for me as does the t bird..
  11. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    OK, with all the comment about Gibson basses, I thought I would through my two cents in. Personally, I have a fondness for Gibson basses. I will be the first to admit that you have to have a really good rig to get a good contempory sound out of some of them, especially an EBO, EB1, EB2, or EB3, but it can be done. Just listen to Allan Woody of Gov't Mule or the Allman Bros. When I saw him with Mule he used a single pickup Epi Rivoli (reissue) almost all night and sounded great.

    The Thunderbird has a classic sound all its own, with the exception of the Gibson IV or V from the late 80's. Both of these are more traditional shaped basses (sort of like a P) with the same guts that a Thunderbird has. Furthermore, due to the more conventional shape, they balance MUCH better.

    Also, speaking of Gibson basses, I will through out a comment about the Gibson made Tobias basses. I have heard and read that the Gibson made Tobias basses, especially after they changed the preamp in the mid-90's, don't compare to the ones made by Michael Tobias himself...but with that said, I think they are still some of the best basses out there. The late 90's Basic and Classic that I have play and sound incredible. The Killer B is basicly the same bass (same electronics) with a bolt on neck...and therefore almost closer to current MTD's. The Growler, with is totally designed by Gibson, has extremely inovative electronics, and sounds great.

    So while Gibson basses aren't always in the limelight, so to speak, they can be pretty good.

  12. If you're in the states, there's always Rippers and Grabbers on sale. BUy one for me..? ;)

    I have heard mostly good about Rippers & Grabbers here, except that they are heavy (all maple!) so maybe you might wanna check those out... :)
  13. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    And if you can try a monster called the RD-artist you might find it doesn't suck. I had one for a while in the '80's and it wasn't a pretty bass at all, but it played great, sounded great, didn't have a major neck-dive problem. It was just not as pretty as the bass I wanted to have but couldn't afford. So I ended up thinking of it as the bass I could afford but didn't want to have. Now I wish I had kept it.

    For better Explorer type basses than you can get from Gibson, try Hamer. They are heavy, but comfortable. And they sound good.

    I don't know why Gibson has had such a long run of icky bass designs. My theory is they just don't really care much about theur basses. The Victory( I think it was called) was a dog. The EB- series are mostly dogs, unless you are going for the deep-mud sound that they do make well. The Rippers and Grabbers were actually okay for the time they were made, just heavy. The Thunderbird doesn't stink but the necks are too thin, like a J-bass on crack. My RD was like a 'bird with a thicker neck. I wondered if it was an attempt at making an Entwistle Fenderbird without the Fender headstock.

    If you really want a Gibson bass, look at the RD, the Ripper, the Grabber and its variant the G-3, and if you have to the Explorer.

    If you want a Gibson-type bass, look at the Hamer Explorer style.

    If you want a well-designed new bass and for Gibson to get the money, look at the Tobiases.
  14. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Ref: Gibson basses, per previous post:
    I never had much affinity for the Gibson Bass Guitar line personally, whether EB series, Rippers, Thunderbird, or Les Paul models-considering their guitars are at the top of the line, strange that they never took it there with the "Fender" bass...
    However- I've had a'69 P-Bass for years, and up until a month ago played mostly a MM Sterling for the last 4 years.
    I saw, played & traded for a Gibson Nashville-made Tobias renegade 4-string bolt-on.
    This bass is a dream-Light, tight, good wood,Bartolini pups & pre, and an assymetrical maple 3-piece quartersawn neck that is KILL.
    Irregardless of "brand name" acquisition of Tobias by Gibson and the prestiege/mystique of the MTD
    IMO MTD, like Lakland, Warwick, MM (OLP),Fender,
    Spector, G-K (Backline),& others, have done what they needed to do to make $$ by adding lower-end
    offshore lines to bolster their market-share.
    What Gibson has done to the present Tobias line takes this to the max!!
    Back to the thread (Sorry):
    My Nashville-made/Gibson/Tobias Renegade is a quality instrument that holds its own in build and sound against ANYTHING on the market at any price, and I've played a whole lotta axes. So-
    I guess to conclude, IF Gibson wanted to, they sure as hell know how to build a world-class bass guitar.
    Happy New Year.
  15. "Just remember to test-drive your dream bass before buying!" - Ummm, didn't I qualify my opinion with that statement?

    Anyways, my response meant to remind patchlantern to actually try the bass if he is planning on buying off the internet. Manufacturer descriptions/specs are just marketing fluff...:rolleyes:
  16. If you love the Entwistle sound why not get his signature Status Graphite bass? Either the Buzzard 1 if you want to go the whole hog, or the Buzzard 2 if on a slightly more realistic budget.
    Just a suggestion, give it a look.
  17. DDAvenger


    Mar 1, 2002
    Deerfield, IL
    Hey thanks for the help, I had heard of the "exploiter" too, maybe that's what I've been seeing, still would appreciate more feed back on the Gibson basses but am also wondering on the hofners, both original and reissue, thanks for the help.
  18. There was a big thread on Hofner basses. Check the Newbie Links thread which is locked at the beginning of this forum!!!

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    I would go semi hollow or just get an Epiphone Jack Casady bass. This was the original Les Paul Bass