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NBD! ...a Fenderbird

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MrBasseyPants, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. MrBasseyPants


    Jan 27, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    I just finished my First attempt at a Fenderbird despite having some of the parts for over a year and a half.


    Here are the parts I used:

    * Epiphone Thunderbird body purchased from a TBer with routed neck pocket and standard Gibson Thunderbird pickup routes
    * Fender MIM Classic 50s P bass neck
    * Hipshot Supertone bridge
    * Fralin Bassbucker vintage wound pickups
    * Custom pickup rings to cover the huge routes made by Dave @ Frets on the Net
    * P bass knobs
    * stock Epiphone electronics

    So far, it sounds pretty good! I am still struggling a bit with string height, but that should be fixed with patience. I did shim the neck a bit and that helped a lot!

    It has a nice mellow sound, but I'd like to swap out the pots and capacitor to get an even more vintage tone. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Also, the bass is laying on top of the case containing my next bass project...my bootsy space bass.

  2. super GAS! :O

  3. Randall


    Aug 6, 2009
    Tell us more about those pickups. I have not seen them before.:)
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Dude: sweet!
    I never liked the T-Bird necks. Too skinny. I have several of those back in the 70's "when they were kewl."

    Yeah, I'm old;)

    I love that MIM 50's P bass neck: it's chunkerific!

    What a great project!

    When shimming the neck up to get lower string height, cut paper or business cards or whater to the full size of the neck pocket! Failing to do some can cause fingerboard issues down the road.
  5. MrBasseyPants


    Jan 27, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    They are distributed by RS Guitar works (http://store.rsguitarworks.net/RSFRABASSBUC.html).

    I wanted something with a good vintage sound that wouldn't break the bank (although these aren't cheap). I also wanted to stay away from vintage components since the spirit of this bass was to be an homage to a vintage instrument.....on a budget :)

    Despite playing bass for over 20 years, I am new to Entwistle's influence (sad I know)....and I really dig the concept of the Fenderbird....I can definitely see some uses for it now!

  6. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
  7. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    Terrific! As I recall, there was a very old issue of Guitar Player with an Entwistle interview where he talked at some length about his Fenderbird(s). I dug the interview, and I've always loved this particular bass configuration.You've done a beautiful job with your bass.
  8. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    I would kill to have one of these. Seriously.
  9. marklaforest


    Feb 5, 2010
    Nice man, good work.
  10. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    What's that beauty weigh?
  11. Stunning. Might have to make one of these in the near future.
  12. ubado


    Mar 7, 2007

    JK. ;) :D
  13. it's beautiful!
  14. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Great looking bass. Nice job.
  15. I want!
  16. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    Ill put my shiv away.
  17. MrBasseyPants


    Jan 27, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    You guys are too kind!

    I am by no means a "finish carpenter." I like to assemble things, but when it gets to the minute details....I usually end up fudging things. :)

    I don't think the pickup installation is 100% perfect, but for shoe-horning in a set of vintage-style humbucker pickups into a modern epi with routes for Modern Gibson pickups....I think it turned out OK.

    When I first started the project, I bought a Mighty Mite neck and some hipshot tuners because I was appalled at how much a Fender P bass maple neck cost....but after not being happy with the results, I just went ahead and got what I wanted. Since the body was pre-routed for a Fender neck, this made the project much easier!

    I was hoping to try this on the cheap, but as I found out....that was a bit difficult....especially if you want vintage sounding pickups. :)

    Since I have posted this, I keep walking by it and realizing how cool it looks! It really is exactly how I wanted it (even with its few imperfections). So now I must explore more about John Entwistle...and see if I can really convince my band to play "The Real Me." (which I just discovered maybe 2 or 3 years ago). I don't know if I can pull it off. I am considering naming the bass "the Ox" though. :). ....maybe I should replace the Thunderbird line art with an Ox line art.

    I will see how much it weighs this evening.


    .....ugh I just realized that with a Jaco relic, this thunderbird, and a space bass.....I seem like a bass stalker....I'm not....I swear....I just like interesting instruments....my wife thinks I am nuts though....
  18. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    I managed to track some of John's words on this subject:

    From November 1975, Guitar Player interview:

    " Once I realized the Thunderbird was the bass I was going to be playing for a few years, I panicked because they stopped making them. I went to Manny’s [156 West 48th St., New York, NY 10036], and told them to buy up the whole stock, so consequently I got ten two-pickup Thunderbirds. Some of them had harmonic, microphonic pickups, so I couldn’t use them, and with the rest, I just couldn’t get the action as low as I wanted. So I used the pickups and hardware and bought some blonde Fender Precision necks and had some old style Thunderbird bodies built for the Fender necks to fit, and I’ve been using them on stage more than the Thunderbirds. I use them for recording as well. Blonde Precision necks are my favorites; those and Rickenbackers. Thunderbird necks tend to be too thin down at the bottom. I get my fingers all tangled up when I go to the first fret."
  19. MrBasseyPants


    Jan 27, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Busy week.....forgot to get a weight, but I scored this beauty this week.

    Brand new, but had a broken neck....I think Fenderbird #2 may be in the works.

  20. A silver burst one!

    Take some progress pics on this one please!:)

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