1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Is it worth buying a Epiphone Thunderbird?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LowNote4003, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. I've been eyeing up a Thunderbird for a few years now and I was wondering if it's worth buying one.

    Are there any pros and cons with this bass and if you own one what do you like about it?
  2. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    From everything I've read elsewhere.....

    Run as fast you can....in the opposite direction.
  3. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    Don't know what that guy is talking about. Ergonomics are different. They balance differently and just sit a little differently on a strap than a Fender. Some like them, some don't.

    I like both of my Epi birds just fine.
  4. BIGEJ2

    BIGEJ2 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    The Classic Pro model is very good. Standard bolt-on is okay. No reason to run from them.
  5. JennySuzuki


    Dec 18, 2013
    The last time I went to a guitar center, I noodled around with one. I'd read a review saying that the pro model was one of the ten best guitars under 300 pounds sterling, and I was curious. I ended up not liking the ergonomics of it. In my opinion, it was too neck heavy.

    On the other hand, I did like the Epiphone EB-3, though a luthier friend of mine talked me into getting a Gretsch Junior Jet II in the end, instead.

    Bottom line, pick one up, noodle with it a bit. If you like it, great; if you don't, also great.
  6. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    Well, I was given a brand new Epi T'bird IV for Christmas a few years back because I was caught jonesing for one in a catalog.
    I have tried to love it...hell, I've even tried to like it.
    I might dislike everything about it this bass, except the sentiment that brought it to me.

    I do like one thing about it: the tone when I blend 50% neck and 100% bridge pickup is pretty nasty.

    I just have trouble with the way this bass fits me. I always feel like I'm reaching for something 10 feet away from me - I'm sure that others love the way it fits & feels to them. The body is light, and the headstock is substantial - all adding up to a wrestling match that I don't need to be in.

    I've read that the Pro series has a few upgrades (like Gibson TB Plus pickups) and they have 7-piece neck-through construction. I've never touched one, but there are plenty of folks who love 'em. Best of luck.
  7. wolfmancharlie


    Nov 28, 2009
    Just be careful with the necks on the China models . I have taken 2 back and sold one at a big loss because of bad necks
  8. thunderbird66


    Sep 30, 2012
    west Texas
    I have 3 of them. Great bass's.
    I have up-graded pickups to active emg's in two of them. I have gigged extensively with them. Never one problem. Can't really go wrong for the money and you can always change pickups if you don't like the tone. Thunderbirds are a different animal though as far "comfort" is concerned and may take a little getting used to but great bass's in my opinion
  9. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    I have had the newer Classic Pro for a couple months now. Great bass. Ergonomics do take some getting used to, but they have a very specific sound (IMO) thats great for rock.

    Plus they look bad ass.
  10. Geni758


    Nov 15, 2013
    South Jersey
    If I were going to get one I would go for the Pro model which is a neck through construction. It has received very good reviews. Plus the price is right, especially if you can pick it up used.
  11. twc1313


    Oct 28, 2013
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    IMHO the only thing cool about the TBird is the vibe and look. I had a Classic Pro model (neck through, GIbson P'ups) and played it for about two days and sent it back.

    At that price range there are much better, more versatile, better sounding, and better feeling basses.
  12. seansv


    Jun 19, 2011
    Philadelphia PA
    I got my thunderbird IV for 225 shipped, with a hardcase. It was to bang around at rock shows but I ended up LOVING the tone. It could really play a bit better but the standard pickups/electronics are no joke in my opinion. As someone said earlier, that bridge tone with a little neck is sooo good. The overall sound is on the dark side, even with the tones full up, which is what I like. I have been tempted to get a t-bird pro IV, and convert it to passive, maybe even with these cheapo pickups. :ninja: :ninja:
  13. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    A good buddy of mine has one. He loves it. I can't stand to play it. As others have said, it feels weird and neck heavy to me, and I find it hard to play.
  14. wolfmancharlie


    Nov 28, 2009
    I miss not having my Thunderbird. I'm either going to get one of the pro fours or an older thunderbird and try again. A lot of people talk about neck dive but that is an easy correction. The Epi has it's own voice and one that I like and is also a hot looking bass.
  15. The new Classic Pro is a great bass, and mine has no neck dive. The neck is thin and fast, but it does have a bit longer reach than say a Precision. I guess its like a Rickenbacker. You either love it or hate it. Try before you buy.
  16. envika


    Nov 27, 2007
    Bronx, NY
    My Goth (~2006 model) is awesome! Snarly, diabolical goodness, and gets lots of comments on the looks (obviously, all-flat-black will turn heads). The Gibson tone is its own thing--not a P, not a J, not a Rick, not one of those fancy modern active tones either--but it's nice and adaptable.

    The neck dive is a real concern. Get a gooooood strap, and relocating the strap button can be handy too, though I haven't tried it. Heavy overall too. I've had bassist friends who have loved my T-bird, and others who refuse to touch it. YMMV? Definitely actually go to a store to try it out.
  17. Hello LowNote4003. I bought an Epi T-Bird Pro IV. Beautiful bass for rock. Feels great and complements my 4003 clones well. Active electronics are nice as is the thru neck. Great quality and sound for the money. :)
  18. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I bought an Epi Thunderbird Pro IV more or less on a whim, for two reasons. First, I wanted a cheapish back up bass for my Rick and I needed a bass that I could string up with slightly heavier strings, because we play several songs tuned to Eb in the first half of our second set.

    I bought the Tbird because I wanted a big contrast with my Rick.

    I've been very, very impressed with it. The build quality is excellent for the price, neck through construction, nicely finished frets, solid bridge that is easy to set up and a nice neck profile.

    The strap button is on the back of the neck heel as standard, but I couldn't live with the way that the face of the bass tilted forwards towards the floor with the button placed there, so I got a pair of Schaller strap locks and put the forward one on the upper shoulder, the neck dive that is inevitable with the Tbird design is there, put not unmanageable and I find that the pressure of my forearm on the rear bout is enough to counteract that.

    Pickups are perfectly adequate, but not amazing, and the pre-amp is quite hissy if you boost the treble too much...better to cut the bass and turn the volume up.

    Only you can tell whether a Tbird is for you but if it is putting up with the quirks of the design are easily overcome.
  19. I've recently purchased an Epi Thunderbird Classic IV Pro and it's a great bass for rock and blues. I've done 2 gigs with it so far, and no complaints from me, and only compliments from my guitarist and drummer. Guitarist likes the look and drummer loves the sound... me, I like 'em both! A good quality leather strap takes care of any neck dive...
  20. penguineman


    Feb 11, 2012
    I've got 4 and love them I'm actually looking for a couple more and am looking at making my self a fenderbird outta one also to try out. the neck dive is kinda a concern for a lot of people but what very little bit I have with mine is very managable. if you do get one get yourself a good wide leather or nylon strap 3.5 or 4 inches wide I did that and if there is any neck dive it's very easy to control with the wide strap and some adjustments. they are great playing bass's and as mentioned have a sound of there own. the only thing I suggest is watch the headstock that is there weakest point. as far as comfort I think they are just fine and I'm a bigger person short and have a overhang in front and it doesn't bother me. I do wish they had a belly relief like fender and some of the other bass's but thats ok. your gonna have to judge for your self and see if one is for you and don't just give it a day or 2 and get rid of it it's going to take a little bit to get used to it but I think once you do you'll love it. also if you do get one and decide thats the Bass for you I recomend putting some other strings on it other than the factory ones. just my 2cents worth on the jubject.