T-bird!?!?!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bizzybass, Jul 26, 2016.


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  1. bizzybass

    bizzybass Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2014
    As I was jamming on the used Epi T-Bird I just picked up a few days ago for what I think was a fair shake(gave it a full set up today 1st chance I had) I thought to stop and create a thread.

    What's up with the resale on these being so poor!?!? Its one of the best feeling and sounding basses I've played. I havent played anything in the 3 to 5k range. I dont touch what I'm not willing to pay for. I can stay that this thing sounds amazing through my genz streamliner.

    Its not the sound or craftsmanship. The Indonesians obviously have learned how to build a guitar. So whats going on with the t-bird? Is it the styling that's turning people off currently?
     

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  2. BubbaZed

    BubbaZed

    Apr 25, 2014
    Tallahassee, FL
    I wouldn't say it's the styling. You either love it or you don't. People on TB are Fender happy. So anything that doesn't resemble a P or J in shape is met with a raised eyebrow. Heard that the Gibson Tbirds have seriously gone down in quality. Others can chime in.

    After hearing the myths of neckdive and heaviness, I picked up an Epiphone T-Bird in GC about a month ago. I was surprised at how easy the neck played and the tone. I've been gassing for a passive Tbird ever since.

    Your post hasn't helped.
     
  3. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    Style is part of it; but IMO it's mainly perception that's been perpetuated over the years. There is a common misconception that;
    - All Epiphones and Gibsons are - except for the guitars - piles of crap (more or less);
    - All Epiphone/Gibson T-Birds are one trick ponies - and the trick is sounding as muddy as possible;
    - All T-Birds are so neck heavy that they're unplayable - unless you're a masochist; and
    - The headstock will fly off a T-Bird if you even look at it wrong.

    All of this is wrong, of course... well, mostly wrong. T-Birds can be neck heavy (my 2013 Gibson is - a little), but how bad, really depends on you and how you're built. And there are ways to alleviate it, if it bothers you. Mine is not a problem for me; but then, I also play an aluminum-necked Kramer 450B. And, lemme tell ya; a Kramer lumie is the dictionary definition of a neck diving bass. If I let go of it, it will try very hard to peel my shirt off, over my head. The T-Bird doesn't even come close...;)
    As for tone? Mine was a revelation; not muddy at all, and lots of versatility available - with the right strings and control settings. I suppose I could make mine sound muddy; I'd have to work at it, though. I use mine for "vintage" rock; and it works and sounds just fine. And the headstock? Well, yeah, it does stick way, way out there, and it isn't exactly the strongest one ever designed. Just know your surroundings, and be careful with it. T-birds are one of the very few basses I would like to have more than one of; but lefty Gibsons are very scarce, and Epis? Non-existent...:unsure:
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  4. BubbaZed

    BubbaZed

    Apr 25, 2014
    Tallahassee, FL
    The heaviness argument for ANY bass has always made me chuckle. These are basses dammit. They are meant to be heavy. Any wonder why the short, fat guy ends up being the bass player.

    Do you play with a pick? I see one too many Tbirds being demoed with a pick. It's as if the Tbird is the quintessential pick playing bass. Muddiness comes in heavy with fingers. More so than with any other bass.
     
  5. Ghastly

    Ghastly

    Oct 18, 2015
    Mill Valley
    I'd like to know honestly how an Epiphone Thunderbird compares to a MIA Gibson Thunderbird.
     
    GBassNorth likes this.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    I said neck-heavy - as in, "I hafta hold the thing up, so the headstock doesn't head for the floor"; not just heavy. And some basses will do just that, regardless of how heavy the whole bass is. My Kramer, much as it's headstock yearns for the floor, is not my heaviest bass. That honor belongs to my '78 P-Bass; and it's not neck-heavy at all. On the other hand, my lightest bass (a 5.3 lb. Starfire violin bass) is slightly neck-heavy. But, most violin basses are...not much, but it's noticeable.
    Do I play with a pick? Some basses - yes, always. Some basses - no, never. And some basses - yeah, sometimes, when I feel the song calls for it. And my T-bird is in that category. But, mostly, no; no pick for the 'Bird.
    As for how the Epiphone T-Birds compare to a Gibson? I can't honestly say, since there are no lefty Epis for me to try, and I don't want to torment myself, noodling around with something that I can't have... I can say that people in the T-Bird club here have some very good things to say about some of the Epiphone models, and not much bad to say about the rest of them. That's a good question for those folks to answer...:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  7. Warpeg

    Warpeg

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    Well, it depends on which Epi model. There are both bolt-on and neck-thru (or set neck, I can't remember) versions of the Epi. I had the chance to play the bolt-on Epi (the cheap-o $200 used type) and a new Gibson IV at the same time. The two were apples and oranges. The Gibson was much lighter, had a more comfortable neck, had better tonal clarity, and the sunburst finish looked a bit nicer. The Epi felt like I was holding a concrete block with a baseball bat bolted to it; it sounded lifeless and muffled.
     
  8. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I almost never play with a pick, and find that playing a Thunderbird with a pick isn't as comfortable for me as playing finger style. Muddiness has never been an issue. Maybe it's the rest of the signal chain, maybe it's my specific fingers or technique, or maybe it's just the bass guitar. I have never got mud out of a Thunderbird. Rip your lungs out aggression that makes a Ric sound like a sweet little old lady, perhaps, but no mud. Plus, it can be dialed back if the song calls for it.

    As noted, there's a big difference between bolt-on Epis and Gibsons. I don't think there's anywhere near the difference between a higher end (but still cheap) Epi and a Gibson. I'm shallow, so mine are Gibsons with a couple exceptions, but I don't think you can go wrong with the Epiphone Classic line.

    I'm just fine with other people hating them. They are polarizing like Rics in that way. Those of us who get along with them and figure them out really love them. Everyone else is irrelevant. That's not an opinion, just a scientific fact, proven by physics and higher math.
     
  9. Couldn't have stated it better!
     
  10. Scott C.

    Scott C.

    Nov 24, 2014
    Washington, USA
    Despite hearing negative things about these, I'd love to have one. Always thought they looked pretty sweet, along with the EB series.
     
  11. Freez

    Freez

    Nov 8, 2008
    Detroitish
    That's a neck-through; likely a Classic Pro. If you scored that for $200, you got one hell of a deal my friend!!! :thumbsup:
     
    pudgychef, RedVee and hillerup like this.
  12. Panther

    Panther

    Dec 9, 2004
    Nova Scotia
    One man's trash....you know how it goes..
     
  13. I had an Epiphone T-bird for a while, mine was one of the cheaper $299 ones but it was/is a nice bass.
     
    RedVee likes this.
  14. I used to have one a few years back. Mine had pretty terrible fret buzz that refused to go away, I wasn't a fan of the gloss on the neck (too thick), and the tone was a bit too dark for my liking. Sold it to someone who seemed like he'd appreciate it more.
     
  15. 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
    You got a very good deal on that bass, they should sell for more.
     
    GBassNorth, RedVee, BeeTL and 2 others like this.
  16. Mike A

    Mike A

    Oct 3, 2002
    Kentucky
    You got a heck of a deal on that Epi Classic. Someone priced it as a bolt-on.

    The guys ahead of me pretty much covered it, but I held off even picking up and even trying a Thunderbird for YEARS, due to all the poo-pooing they get around here... and I'll bet that several of those haven't even actually tried them. If they had, they might have a different opinion, especially about the "mud," weight and playability. Oh well. I love 'em.
     
  17. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    $200, and playable... who gives a rip what anyone thinks about resale? Enjoy that D-E-A-L. :thumbsup:
     
  18. edencab

    edencab

    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    you are giving me GAS pains!...whenever I play one at the local big box store, for me, it sounds better than all the Fenders various levels , Squiers, Ibbys, Yammys etc etc
     
    GBassNorth likes this.
  19. This +1

    The neck thru Epi uses the Gibson Tbird pickups and neck profile. A completely different beast from the Epiphone Tbird bolton.
     
    pudgychef and BlueAliceOasis like this.
  20. friendlybass

    friendlybass

    Jul 19, 2012
    Colorado
    I had one of the uber cheap bolt on ones for a little. Got it at a steal of 179 and messed with it a little. The pickups had a fat fat sound which I loved and it was super comfy sitting down but standing up the reach for the neck was a lot for me. I'd love to own a Gibson one cause that sound is just awesome but I ended up giving the bass to a friend who was trying to learn and he loves it more than I ever could
     
    MCF, RedVee and hillerup like this.
  21. 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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