History of the Epiphone T-Bird 5 String?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EdO., Jan 21, 2016.

  1. Hello All. New to the forum but I've got 25+ years performing experience. Recently picked up a 2009 Epi T-Bird Pvo V 5 string, always wanted a T-Bird but needed a 5 string, figured I'd kill two birds with one purchase... When I discovered that these were even available (been out of playing for the past 10 years or so) started digging around for one only to discover they were no longer in production so had to go for a used model (kinda hard to find). Yeah I've read all the reviews and was aware of the issues before getting one, not an issue.

    My questions is - does anyone know when they first started building the Epi T-Bird 5 string, how many years they were in production, when production ended etc? Just curious as to their history. Appreciate any info.

    Cheers, EdO.
    DevinWard369 likes this.
  2. I was interested in them also for awhile. Someone will soon chime in with more accurate info but as far as I know, they only made them for a couple of years.

    There was an actual GIBSON five string T-Bird in the classifieds here not too long ago IIRC.

    Welcome to TB!
  3. I put an info request in on Gibson's web site yesterday, hopefully will get some info out of them eventually.

    One more question - anyone know where I can get a copy of the owners manual for a T-Bird Pro V 5 string? Appreciate any help/info.
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I don't know the answers to your questions, but I'm very curious to find out what those answers are. I thought long and hard about buying one of the Epi 5ers, but ended up with a 4 string version instead. If I ever do end up with a 5 string bass, it will probably be an Epi Thunderbird pro V like you have.
  5. They're kind of hard to come by, I looked and looked and finally found this one on Ebay. Quick funny story - the bass was up on bid, had a day and a half left when I found it. In the last minute of bidding there were 3 bids within the last minute. I was the high bidder by $0.02. I'm sure the other two bidders were pissed to lose by 2 cents, I certainly would have been. This one looks like it's hardly been played and has just sat unused for a long time. Strings have corrosion on them but everything else looks near mint. Didn't get a steal on it but I'm happy with the price I gave for it.
  6. @Gaolee I posted the same question in the Thunderbird Owners Club thread, here is the response I got in case you didn't see it. There you go.

    "As mentioned by Larry, Gibson's studio thunderbirds were offered in 4 & 5 string versions somewhere in 200-4/5-2007. Epiphone brought the 5 string when they released the Active Pro thunderbird reverse in 2009 & the 5 string has been discontinued since 2013. But Epiphone offered a 5 string & 4 string version of the non-reverse from 1995-1998. So i guess Epiphone offered the 5 string bird before gibson."
    Gaolee likes this.
  7. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I see them pop up for sale every once in a while. They seem to be Stamped "USED" or "SECOND" a lot, but the one I have (Stamped Both!) is Primo!
    DevinWard369 likes this.
  8. Mine isn't stamped at all, seems like it's been just sitting unplayed for some time. Not a problem with that now. Been kinda watching, they don't seem to pop up much. Mine is primo condition too.
  9. CharlyG

    CharlyG ~ he not busy being born Is busy dying.

    Jun 11, 2005
    West Hills, Ca.
    I had one of those 5 strings. The issue was the pickup was placed just a tad too high on the body. I think they pulled them off the market. Now you only see the IV Pros new in that design. I had Eric from Eric's Guitar shop move the pups down about 1/8 of an inch, and bingo! the low B was finally booming. If you played it with your fingers, you would pull the string out of the "way" of the pup. After the mod it smoked. Yea there was a gap at the top of the pups but it was hardly noticeable. Eric had this little magic strip that showed where the poles magnetism was and that is how we knew it was just a routing mistake. I am surprised they didn't figure that out by themselves, and they could have kept them on the market. I have long since sold that bass, but wanted to mention the one in my avatar.

    It is a '94 Korean Epiphone Non Reverse Thunderbird 5 string with P/Js. It is stock except the pups went micro-phonic so I put in a set of Barts. I don't play it much any more due to arthritis. Besides the Longhorn, I also now have a Traveler TB-4P, a real cool little 32" scale bass that packs a king size wallop. I am currently running an Ampeg SCR-DI into a Fender Rumble 200 V3(1x15) combo. I also have a 1x12 Neo as an extension and I'm seemingly in 8x10 territory all of a sudden. The Rumble weighs under 40 lbs, the 1x12 weighs maybe 25, and then 10 kbs for the 4P and the SCR. Both the Rumble and the DI have ample ins and outs for all my needs.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  10. Interesting information CharlyG, thanks for posting. Mine being a 2009 model (earlier in the production run I'd assume) might be something to look into. I wonder if this "little magic strip that showed where the poles magnetism was" is something most good repair/mod guys would have around or at least know about? My guess is the limited production runs for both the Gibson and the Epi versions was more due to how well they sold versus anything else but that's just supposition on my part.
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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