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So I bought an Epiphone Elitist Thunderbird...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by snowblinder, May 31, 2011.

  1. After seeing it on Ebay a couple of times, I couldn't resist, and I pulled the trigger. It was calling out to me. I know buying any piece of gear online, without the opportunity to play it beforehand, is a huge gamble, but...well, I couldn't help myself. It is currently en route to my doorstep, so I don't have any personal photos of it yet, but there are some nice pics of it still up here:

    My soon-to-be-new bass

    Visually, the biggest appeal of this one to me over the Gibsons is the hardware. I've always hated black hardware on any instrument, I just think it looks cheap.

    Anyway....I was wondering if anybody here had any experience with the Elitist series Thunderbirds, and how they generally compare in tone, build quality, etc. to the original Gibsons, other similar Japanese brands (Orville, Greco, etc.), and the more recent Gibsons.

  2. JakeDPR


    May 5, 2011
    Western MA
    She's pretty! I can't wait to hear a review.
  3. arsie


    Jan 19, 2011
    Pretty price tag for an Epiphone, but admittedly, I know absolutely nothing about it. Keen to learn more.

    I had GASed for a Thunderbird, but I think it got recently deflated when I played an Epiphone Blackbird for a while.
  4. nocontrols


    Apr 2, 2011
    Prepare for a volley of Thunderbird critics... they always say the same things (neck-heavy, doesn't "feel right" blah blah) and absolutely none of it should deter you from a bass you love. :) Congrats! In a big way!

    The Elitist series had a bit of a hard time finding an audience because people who want a "step up" from Epiphone usually go for a Gibson-brand and people who want something cheaper than a Gibson go with a standard Epi, so the Elitists are a bit of a funky middle-ground.

    I can say this with absolute certainty: They are impeccable quality and I would love to own one. I think you should be proud to own it and I think you'll really enjoy yourself. I've played a couple and been impressed and I've also known guitarists who were die-hard Gibson guys who said the Elitist series were the only Epi's they'd want to own. Again, congrats. You should be really thrilled right now. :) (yes, Gibson components and pickups and materials and construction... what's not to love? The Japanese build a damn fine instrument)
  5. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    Not a Thunderbird, but my brother has an Elitist Les Paul that is a beautifully made, great sounding and playing guitar.
  6. stiles72


    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    Should be pretty sweet- I've always dug the Japanese Fenders & Ibanezes, and would love to check out a Greco, Orville, or Epi Japan T-bird. Bet it has a great finish and feels smooth as silk.
  7. Sub41


    Jul 13, 2006
    North FL
    I've owned a couple Elite/Elitist series Epi's...both were excellent quality. I can't speak specifically for the Thunderbird, but I'm sure it has the same high quality as those I've played.
  8. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    I'm pretty sure it's the same factory that produced Orvilles (Gibson Japan) so it should be very nice QC and build quality, with set neck construction - A very nice Thunderbird for the $$$. Congratulations, I'll expect some pics and a review in the Thunderbird club thread :)
  9. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    All of the Epiphone 'Elitist' stuff is very high quality.
  10. It showed up today. I haven't gotten to plug it in yet, but I'm greatly looking forward to hearing it through the 800RB/VT/8x10 setup.

    It is definitely taking some getting used to. I have played exclusively Fenders since I started playing bass, except for one brief love affair with an Epiphone Ripper (which was an awesome bass). Yes, it does have serious neck dive. But I don't usually take my left hand off of the neck for any reason anyway, AND....the previous owner installed an extra strap button on the back of the body by the neck. When I attach the strap here, no neck dive. The finish is indeed gorgeous. The bridge has some oxidation on it, and the pickups have a little as well (looks like the previous owner had fairly acidic sweat). It sounds great unplugged. I think I'll have my guy do a setup on it because there is a hint of buzz on some of the frets towards the headstock. This is purely a cosmetics thing, but I'm really into the chrome bird-shaped strap buttons. So cool.

    I don't think I'll be retiring my Precision anytime soon, but I feel like the Thunderbird will be seeing plenty of action onstage.

    ****** cell phone pic #1:

    ****** cell phone pic #2....with the others:
  11. nocontrols


    Apr 2, 2011
    Gorgeous! :) Onstage is where it's MEANT to see action! I hope you love it. And for crying out loud, plug it into something already! :hyper:
  12. Coward Of Reali

    Coward Of Reali

    Oct 13, 2003

    How you liking it so far?
  13. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Never seen a epi like that one. Looks like the std epi tbird except for chrome instead of black hardware. And thru body neck.
  14. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    Sorry for being the one to resurrect a dead thread. Years ago, i was offered one of these basses. 350$ asking price. That's when i was looking for 4 different basses at once, can't recall much, but i know ibanez destroyer and thunderbird were in there. I told the guy no, since (as much as an idiot i was as a kid) i didn't like the chrome hardware. I should've snatched it up. Life goes on and i now have an epiphone goth completely modified. Not saying i'm not happy with it, just i'd loe to change so much but i can only do so little.

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