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Gibson basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Scuzzy666, Jan 1, 2001.

  1. I've always liked the look and sound of Gibson basses (especially the Thunderbird IVs) but I've noticed most of the great bassists out there play different brands. Being that Gibson is one of the finer guitar companies, I was just curious if their basses weren't up to par with their guitars or if they are as much as their website cracks them up to be.

    Also, another quick question. When I play slap bass, the E, A, & G strings all slap and pop just fine, but the D seems to be a little different. I have to put a little bit more force behind my slap and/or pop on that string. Any suggestions?
  2. I think the general sound of many Gibsons may have caused them to be generally unpopular. Many of their early models like the EB-0, EB-2, and EB-3 had fairly round but indistict tones, in other words, they were kind of muddy sounding. Most players prefered the more clear sound of Fender. Unfortunately for Gibson, when they did finally produce some very clear, solid sounding basses like the Ripper in 1974, many players impressions of Gibson were pretty engrained, so basses like The Ripper never really caught on due to prejudice. My Ripper is a very clear and punchy instrument and is one of my favourite basses in my collection.

    Gibson has made a few other real gems like the Thunderbird (which is likely less popular than it should be due to its weight), the Les Paul Signature, The RD Artist, The Victory and the modern Les Paul basses. Pretty much all of their instruments have pretty high quality of workmanship like their guitars.
  3. prom-1


    Nov 8, 2000
    I own a Thunderbird IV bass and I love it's sound. The fact that they're not as popular as other basses is one of the reasons I like them. I've never had any problems with the Thunderbird's weight, although it pulls down at the headstock due to the longer than average neck. The longer neck makes it ideal for low tunings.

    The only limitations are that Thunderbirds (at least my model) have passive electronics, so it's not easy to get very good slap-pop sounds out of it. This is also due to the Thundebird's 2 humbucking pickups, which tend to smooth out the sound. I would describe the tone as having tremendous authority without really popping in and out of the mix at you. As far as the quality, the craftsmanship is extremely good on my model, and the hardware is especially nice.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    The Thunderbird is 34 or 34 1/2" scale, which is not much different than a Fender , Ibanez or most other basses, which have a 34" scale.

    Perhaps the reason you find it better for drop tunings is because it has neck through body construction?

    The neck may seem longer, because it joins the body at a higher fret than most basses, but it is no longer of a scale.
  5. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    I would think that the neck dive is more due to that huge headstock with the tuners on the bottom no less!
  6. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    One of the nice things about vintage Gibsons is that they are affordable. I recently bought an all original 1965 EB-O for $800. Size wise it is very guitar like, small SG style body and short scale, thin neck, very easy to play. I agree that it has a tendency to be muddy, but judicious amp adjustments can alleviate much of the muddiness. Jack Bruce made a lot of very nice music with an EB-3.

    [Edited by MJB on 01-02-2001 at 04:59 AM]
  7. rooster


    Jun 10, 2000
    upstate new york
    i owned a 1990 thunderbird in mint condition but the tuners are on the top not the bottom.the neck is very small at the nut supposed to be 1.5 the strings are very taught at the nut.its not an easy bass to slap either.i played mine for about a year.this is not as heavy a guitar as some think my G&L asat weighs much more or at least it seems that way.this could be the way its balanced.anyway the reason i got rid of it was lack of tone (read versatility)and the ability to cut through the mix.IMHO do your self a favor try other basses because these are not cheap.i am in no way running down the thunderbird bass the one i had was beautiful.and if i could have kept it and bought another bass i would have.but if you can only afford one bass try to get one that will do more than one trick.

  8. jazzbass1


    Dec 2, 2000
    I've got a 1993 Les Paul Standard. Once I got it tweaked it became a really nice bass. The weight is prohibitive, it's a heavy bastard. It's also a beautiful bass, but I don't play it that much due to the weight. IMO one of the best basses Gibson ever produced, good for fingerstyle, slapping.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The reason Gibson has done so poorly with basses is they don't design basses, really, they typically take an existing guitar model, pop a longer neck on it, redesign the pickups a bit and call it a bass.

  10. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I had a T-bird for a few yrs it was a big sounding bass and she was a awesome player with great craftsmanship. This was back in the 80's and I got rid of it for cheap money for some stupid reason,
    as Red from That 70's show would say Dumb-Ass.
    I will have another someday!
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've always liked Gibson, but if I'm paying 2K for a guitar, it better be hand made.
  12. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Personally, I think the mid-seventies Les Paul Signature bass is one of the best sounding electric basses ever made. I've got a near mint '74 and wouldn't part with it for love nor money. Seems to me a guy named Cassady dug it, too, hence the Epi Sig. bas.

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