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Gibson T-bird Studio (4 AND 5!) ???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dgce, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    The Gibson Thunderbird Studio model could be the 1st Gibson bass I'd want to own. I've always dug the looks of the T-bass, but the neck dive, ugly tobacco finish, and price made it less than desirable for me. This Studio model comes in black and cherry, has a slightly trimmed down head and body for better balance, and it just under a grand. But wait there's more! I hear there's a 5 string coming out.

    Has anyone tried out the 4 or 5 T-Bird? I'm very curious.

  2. I haven't played one, but they do look appealing, and the $999.00 price is a little more within reach for many who like T-Birds.

    If you check out the Gibson site, someone obviously made a typo on the 1.5 inch nut width for the Studio 5. A 1.5 inch nut width for the 4 and the 5? :rollno:
    www.gibson.com/Products/GibsonElectric/Gibson Electric Guitars/


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    I had just seen a T Bird on TV the other night in Trans Blue with a Pearliod pick guard.
  4. glohgloh


    Sep 5, 2005
    Like you I would be interested in the comments on anyone who has tried a Thunderbird Studio Bass... mostly the 4-string for me though...
    What have Gibson cut back on to get the better/cheaper price??
  5. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    BUT I can read the spec sheet

    The "real" bird has a 9 ply neck thru build, and the studio uses a set neck. The studio looks to have a more traditional bridge as well. Seems like a nice bass. I had a '76 'Bird. Nice bass. Neck heavy. I'd take a test drive on the studio version, tho I am more of a 5guy lately and something tells me the 5 may not be up to snuff. That is bases on nothing factual, just my opinion based on older Gibson 5s.

  6. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    One of the things so many players liked about the Non Reverse Thunderbirds was the better sound they supposedly got from having a set, rather than thru neck. If there's anything to be said for that, these new studios could make a nice addition to any Thunderbird fan's arsenal.

    As for the five string, I've heard some really good things about the Gibson V that was around in the late 80's/early 90's. They were fairly Fenderish in looks, but as neck thru mahogany basses with Thunderbird pickups, they were really just five string 'birds in different clothing. If the new 'birds sound anything like those Vs do, they might just have a chance in the marketplace. I hope so...
  7. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Nearly everything, the most significant ones having already been mentioned. This has only the most superficial resemblance to a real '63 Thunderbird. The body profile looks about the same, but everything else is different -- and almost certainly cheaper.

    One thing I can say to a certainty, and that is if they didn't go with a multi-laminate neck either the neck profile is very much fatter or else that head is going to snap off the way so many do on their guitars. The only way the head stays on the original skinny necks is through all those hardwood laminations.

    On the positive side, the balance would almost have to be better.

    Having one of the originals, I am constantly amazed at how far the later ones strayed from the '63 design.
  8. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    Though the Studio line is very different in many ways from the original '63 'bird, the bass is following the same tradition as the Studio Firebirds have, which also follows the tradition of the late 60's 'birds, which was to make them affordable enough to actually sell (and continue producing). I prefer the look of the original but I see a place for these new 'birds too. In looks, I'd rather have a five string Studio 'bird than just about any other 5 I've seen. Whether that means I really will depends on how it feel and sounds when I finally get to play one.

    As far as the regular line goes, the construction is as close to the original design as you could get. You might have a point on the headstock thing, but saying the laminates kept the old ones from breaking doesn't say much for laminates in general (seeing how few early Thunderbirds haven't been repaired there)!

    At the end of the day though, the answer to which Thunderbird to own can only be answered by this statement:

    At least one of each, please... :D
  9. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ha! I forgot about those old Gibson Vs. I remember both the 4 and 5 versions that Sam Ash out in Long Island, NY couldn't give away back in the late 80s. Those bases had a Precision-like outline with a hair-metal twist and sure enough, those pickups looked pretty much like T-bird humbuckers. I never made the connection. I tried the old 4 string version years ago and it’s true, those were T-birds in Fender-like clothing. The neck had a bit of heft to them but overall I thought they were great! I may give eBay the occasional scan to see if I luck up on one on the cheap. However, one of the things that make a T-bird so cool (the full-on model and Studio as well) is the look.

    Another thing, the Studio model's building practices keep the price lower than the other T-bird, but I do not think this necessarily makes it "cheaper" in quality or inferior model. Rather, it’s a Bird of a difference color. Sure, a slab bodied Les Paul Jr. is an inexpensive take on a Les Paul but is it a lesser guitar or rather a different take on a theme?

  10. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    Great comparison. I have an LP Doublecut that I like every bit as much as my LP Deluxe. Maybe more (love those P90s)!
  11. I have a 4 string Gibson T-bird Studio bass on order from a local store, should arrive within a week or so (I hope!). I will review it here when I get my mits on it!

    I've always wanted a T-bird, this is my first try at one, buying one sight unseen, hope it is thunderous!! BETTER me more so than an Epiphone T-bird, which is about 1/3 the cost!!
  12. I'll stick with my standard Ebony Tbird IV thank you very much :D .
  13. WOW! That sounds like a cool bass!! I will check out this Studio bass, and if I am converted, I will eventually save up and get a Thunderbird IV!!! Probably WHITE!!!
  14. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Has that bass arrived yet? Review! Review! Review! You promised, bro! ;)
  15. darkside 88

    darkside 88

    Feb 23, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I'd also like said review.
  16. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Abuser of Thunderbird Shaped Objects. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2002
    Chandler, Arizona
    Don't most Thunderbirds have ebony boards? The Studio has a rosewood board according to the Gibson site.
  17. I'm still waiting for my T'Bird Studio bass!!! I tell you, I am not impressed with Gibson so far. I ordered the bass July 6 through a local music store, and still waiting. Last I checked, Musiciansfriend site said they would have them in stock Sep 15, based on what Gibson told them. So, I assume mine should arrive in the next week or so. I will check again next week, but when I get it, you will ALL know my thoughts on it. I am optomistic it will be a great bass (I have to be!!!).
  18. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sorry to hear that, Rob. That's the hitch when dealing with big boys like Gibson and Fender... they're too damn big! At least with a smaller company like a Carvin or Godin you're likely to deal with real people who will actually send out yr stuff when they say they will.

    Well, keep us posted. Good luck!