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I have no desire for a thunderbird...ever

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hyperlitem, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    So last night i figured id check out the punk band rufio at the gaelic club here in sydney. Id heard good things about the venue and ive been a rufio fan for many years now. Last time i saw them they were very sharp and fast and their bassist was a joy to watch and listen to. Hes an extremely talented and fast bassist. Now im not sure if its just that ive gotten better since ive seen him last but he didnt do anything remotly impressive except that their stage show is still great. He was playing moderate lines but just running back and forth all over the place it was great. Ok so now get to the good stuff, i see him pull out a gibson thunderbird of all things. Im thinkin all ive heard is these are really muddy basses, hows he gonna pull this off for punk? Well he didnt. He had one of the grossest muddiest bass tones ever. I think if he would of dropped some EMG's in there or sumthing it would of been fine but god it was horrible. He was playing through an SVT-4 into one of hte pro series ampeg 8x10s. It wasnt the amp cuz the first 2 bands used the same bass amp and sounded amazing, thats why i was so excited for his bass playing. Anyone else see this problem. I had really liked the way the bass played but had never played it plugged in. Live and learn i guess.
  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    My '76 T-bird isn't muddy at all. It could have been the guys amp, or the soundman, or an effects processor he was using that the others weren't using causing the problem. Don't discount a T-bird just because of one bass players sound. Go play one and see for yourself before you decide they don't sound good.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Even for us$ 199 ?
  4. Was he using a plectrum? New strings? Flat wounds? How as he EQ'ing the amp? Any pedals? Does he normaly have a muddy bass tone?
  5. flea-bass


    Jan 30, 2004
    those basses are really really ugly imo
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    most production basses are either hit or miss... like ive played some MIA jazzes that were horrible and then some MIMs that were insanely great.

    isnt there a guys here at TB that owns like 27 Tbirds or something like that? And what years did they make the Metal covered pickups? i saw a bicentenial one not too long ago that played awesome and i just loved those pickups!
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    The clip I just posted in my last post was done with a '76 Bicentennial Tbird. Awesome sounding bass.
  9. It was probably a bad mix, or maybe the room had bad acoustics.
    I caught a Ben Harper show in a room with good acoustics but the mix left Juan Nelson's bass sounding like boom, boom, boom.
    Simon whatsisname with the Cure has used a Thunderbird with a pick and rounds for years, and his tone is anything but muddy.
  10. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    It's his amp...I don't like ampegs.

    If it wasn't his amp maybe his tone knob was he way down.
  11. I like the look of the T-Bird; that's what usually gets to me first though, being a girl :p

    Showdown: when you say directly into the board, what do you mean by that? Through a DI into your computer? I'm a newbie to recording - I did a music tech course (just sat the exam) but I'm not sure how you did this. And I have a pretty untrained ear still, but it didn't have a lot of attack - it sounded pretty bassy. Mind you, I play a Fender MIM Jazz with flatwounds, and they tend to make a clacky sound 'cos I like a bit more treble in my sound than perhaps I should. I dunno. :D It's a nice song too, for all the 15 seconds I've heard :D

    And another thing about the T-Birds is that they tend to have a lot of strap trouble (so I've heard), but not having every played one I'm not sure about that.
  12. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    about the strap trouble...The T-bird has horrible neck dive due to no having an upper horn. This is the case with alot of Gibsons.
  13. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003

    I had a 76 T-bird once upon a time and muddy it was not. It was and still is, IMO, one of the best sounding rock basses out there.

    I just could not get used to the neck dive, despite:

    a) relocating strap buttons.
    b) adding fishing weights to control cavity

    I did some recording with it and it sounded heavenly.

    NECK DIVE.....NAY!!
  14. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    wasnt his amp, wasnt the room, wasnt the mix. Im a recording major and i got a look at the board the guys were pretty tip top. It very well could of been his strings, and he wasnt running any effects. The 2 bassists before him played the exact same rig, one with a stingray and one with a pbass and they both sounded INCREDIBLE. He might of just had his tone knobs down or sumthing, he also didnt really know his rig i dont think cuz the whole show he was driving his amp into clipping. I guess IMO tbirds arent really for punk. They seem like theyd be amazing for pretty much any kind of rock except punk just from my experience with them, which isnt great but ok. I think i just need to get my hands on a few more of them, but in the end i just dont think they are a bass suited for punk really. I know alot of you are gonna say oh its punk it doesnt matter, but the music these guys play is pretty techincally hard. extremely fast complicated parts. Check it out the bands called rufio and theyre signed to nitro records.
  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I've got a friend with a Thunderbird (although I think it's an Epiphone copy rather than a genuine Gibson). You can alleviate the neck dive issue by moving the strap buttons (I can't remember exactly how but I think the 'recipe' is out there on the Internet somewhere).

    At a recent get together with some bassing friends, we did some blind testing, including a line up of basses, featuring the Thunderbird as well as some more modern, active basses. It definitely sounded more 'tubby' but it's a tone that would fit some contexts really well. Different strokes for different folks, the right tools for the job and all that...

  16. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    It was recorded in a recording studio through a DI directly into the mixer. The engineer did all the EQing on it, I had no say in that or the mix. It is bassy, but that is because it is country music and that is the sound for country. The bass has plenty of treble, he just cut the treble with EQ. Even bassy it isn't muddy, the notes are all distinct and clear.
  17. Ah, ok. I understand now. Thankyou for clarifying.

    As I heard it was country, I naturally compared it to Dixie Chicks - 'cos it's about the only country I listen to - and from what I remember they have the bass with high EQ's.

    I guess if I heard it live I would understand what you were saying in your other post. :smug:
  18. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I think Mike Watt might disagree with you.
  19. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I thought Rufio was signed to the Militia Group
  20. I have a 76 Thunderbird that is the very definition of rock tone. Not muddy at all.

    I built a Fenderbird based on exactly Mike Watt's bass, and it too is a fantastic sounding bass. No mud at all, and it too has a Mahogany body.

    I am building another Mike-Watt non reverse thunderbird as we speak, and I think they are the best sounding punk rock metal whatever basses there are. No active electronics, just pure grinding tone.

    I like having alot of tones, but this is one I particularly favor.

    Most likely, regardless of what is going on at the board from these "top notch guys", whatever the bassist is giving them is all they can work with. The bassist prolly should have re-eq'd the amp...did the other bass players that night the used the same rig use dual humbucker basses? If they didn't, I bet dollar to donuts they had to boost lows and mids to thump their tones.

    Maybe, as was said, this bassist's T-bird was a dog. The stock Gibby pups are kinda dark on the new incarnations, but far from being a total mudfest.

    But to dismiss a design that has stood the test of 40 years without much if any design changes, because of one incident, without even trying one yourself, is kind hasty to me.