Gibson/Epiphone Thunderbird IV

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Drei, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. Drei


    May 11, 2004
    I've recently been looking into the Thunderbird IV basses. I played an Epiphone version at GC and liked it, but i'm looking for something a little nicer.

    I was just wondering if anyone had any insights (likes/dislikes) about the Gibson Thunderbird IV. I also found the Epiphone "Elitist" Thunderbird on Musicians Friend, and it looks very appealing. If anyone has anything to say about the pros/cons or comparison of these instruments I would appreciate it.

    (I know that eventually I will just need to play them to see if I like them, but I thought I could use some advice from the TB community first.)
  2. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    I got a gibson thunderbird, and i thik its THE rock bass... it has a great sound, killer attack when played with a pick, veri nice tone fingerstyle bridge pickup; a very comfortable neck/string spacing...
    only thing its a pain to play after the 15th fret
  3. canary


    Jun 1, 2004
    amazing rock bass, really roars at you. Problem is that it cant produce anything else other than rock
  4. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    i don't really agree, because you can have great tone also for soul/funk/blues in my opinion
    but still you have to deal with the last five or six frets
  5. I've got a 79 TBIV. It's a bit different from the newer ones, the nut width is 1 1/2" rather than the wider ones, the neck is also remarkably Jazz bass shaped. It does play really well, and I don't have too much of an issue with neck dive (mine only has the strap pin behind the neck).

    The cons are because the body is so thin and flat, it will lay weird across your body if you have it slung low and you move your legs, specifically your right leg. The other thing is the tone. I don't agree that it's bad for anything but rock, but it's different. I would say the ultimate example of good Thunderbird sound is the beginning to the Kids In The Hall theme.
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I recorded a country song with my '76 Tbird and it sounds great. The engineer looked at me funny at first, but when I plugged it in he was really impressed.
  7. canary


    Jun 1, 2004
    sorry, my mistake, ignor it
  8. Hann


    Apr 20, 2008
    Birmingham, UK
    hmmm i got my Epihone TBIV 3 weeks ago and i really like it but im only 13 so i dont know much about tones and all that malarky but my friends and i(gotta have proper grammar :p) really like it and it looks well cool to be honest the gibson isnt much better than the Epiphone

    btw i also play an Ibanez AGB 200 and a really old bass collection (1989 or something) with upgraded EMG Active Pickups
  9. MoSlevin


    Aug 11, 2007
    I've had a Gibson 'bird since last summer - and it is fantastic *all around*. As far as versatility goes, it's as good as whoever's playing it.

    I would go for the epi elitist version if I were in your position - the quality control is far better than the current Gibsons, you'll get far better value for money, and you'll save a bunch of cash. The downside? It doesn't say Gibson on the headstock, and you'll have to explain that it isn't just a "normal" epi version.
  10. Awesome 4 year old thread I posted in 4 years ago!!!



    Apr 4, 2008
    Mill Valley, CA
    I played the Goth Epiphone Thunderbird, and it had a really nice growl in my opinion. Only reason I didn't keep it was that I had a 6-string with actives that gave me more sounds and felt better in my hands to play.

    Unfortunately, the big companies make stuff for the took forever for Gibson/Fender to even start making 5-strings and then they charge much more than a company like Rondo for about the same quality because things like 5+ strings or fretless are special...

    Blah. Gibsons do the growl well, but so do a lot of other manufacturers...who give you as much or more for less.
  12. MotorTed


    Apr 16, 2006
    CT, USA
    I thought the Epiphone Blackbird was a great deal at a price lower than a MIM Fender Jazz. It sounded fuller and clearer than the Goth or my regular T-bird. The blackbird is a little heavier.

    I wonder how much improvement in the sound of the Blackbird vs. the Goth can be attributed to the Deepsixx pickups or lack of controls between the pickup and the output jack?
  13. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I also have a older 1998 EPI-TBIRD, and some people here are saying it is only good for this OR that, well I use it for this AND that, and it works for me on both counts,
    for picking, it is great --- for fingering, fair to midland. As far as the neckdive, I play it upside down, so thats not a factor, as the strap button is still on the wing. ( never had to move it )

    It does have very good tone, good sustain, 12th fret intonation is correct, and for what I paid used, I couldn't say no.
  14. Hey there,

    I currently use a Squier standard P-bass, but i'm thinking of buying the thunderbird. Is it really an improvement, or am I better of with the Squier?

  15. McSpunckle


    Feb 15, 2008
    I think the Epi Tbird feels better than most Squires.

    The sounds aren't really that comparable, though. I really like both in that department. The Tbird is a bit "bigger" sounding.

    I changed my volume pots to 2meg and modded the tone knob to no-load, so it's basically as if it's wired right to the jack. It did clear the sound up a bit.

    Zombie threads FTW!
  16. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    I'm a linguistics major, and I can tell you that it's perfectly OK to say "me and my friends", and if your English teacher tells you otherwise, call them a filthy prescriptivist. :)
  17. Thanks for the reply.

    Ok, because I can buy a new Epi t-bird for €250 at a guitar centre , considering that 250 isn't much for a t-bird here in holland. Do you think i should sell the squire and buy the t-bird? My main interest in music is rock/metal etc. but I like RHCP aswell, so which of those two is best for all kinds of music, and which one plays faster?
  18. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If you mean high speed heavy metal, honestly for some kinds of music, or way I'm playing (fingers/pick), the EPI actually "sounds" better than my Jackson. it was the best 150 dollar used purchase I ever made.

    Now playability is a complete user preference so some will like em, some wont. for metal the jackson is my main player.

    like many forum members who have videos on youtube, just search for tbird/t-bird/thunderbird/epi/, etc. and you'll see plenty of them, and what they sound like.

    oh god, i didnt scroll up and see I posted kinda the same thing (msg13)
  19. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
    It's hard to say how much of an effect the DeepSixx's have on the tone, but I think the Blackbird is a better bass overall. I've owned a '76 'bird since 1979 and have always been on the lookout for a sub that I could take out without worrying. The Blackbird seems to (finally!) fit that bill. The neck on the BB is as thin at the nut as my '76 - a major issue, because all the newer Gibsons and Epis were too fat. The BB also has a mahogany body, unlike the regular Epi, which I believe is alder. The only drawbacks are the goofy inlays and pickguard logo, crappy switch and the Opti Grab. I may buy one and take most of that stuff and put it away.
  20. WayneS


    Apr 9, 2007
    Proper grammer requires proper punctuation! ;)