Tacoma Thunderchief Owners Unite!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dexplosion, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Everyone post and discuss your Tacoma Thunderchief.

    I just picked one up, and love it.
    The neck is one of the best I've ever played, acoustic or electric.
    The sound is nice and deep, just a great sounding bass.

    So yeah, post pics, tell us what you use yours for, what strings are on it, etc.

    Mine's got the stock strings on it now, though I'd like to put some flats on it.
    Any suggestions?

    Here's a pic from the Craigslist ad...
  2. How can I tell when this bass was made?

    I'm thinking about trying some Fender 45-100 flats on it.
    Anyone try those?
  3. MD39


    Oct 1, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    look inside the sound hole. You should see a sticker with a serial number on it. This indicates details about the instrument's build date. Go to the tacoma website, they have a section on figuring out when your particular instrument was built and it tells you what each of the letters/numbers represent.
  4. Cool. :)

    My bass was born March 18, 2002.
    It was the second bass they made that day.
  5. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Here is mine:


    I just realized looking at this picture how big this bass is. I'm 6'2" 200 lbs., and it makes me look small.

    I used to play it on a weekly acoustic gig. I mostly now use it for parties. I've tried a number of different strings on it. I like TI flats and La Bella tapewound the best. Right now I have regular nickle GHS Boomers on it because they are louder acoustically. If I was plugging in I would put tapewound back on.
  6. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I've got Chromes on mine. They are nice and thumpy.
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA

    Love it. Favorite strings: D'Addario Phosphor Bronze.
  8. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    Or has Fender still got them in limbo? Great basses.


  9. I ordered one about five years ago, all mahogany fretless. It was a beautiful instrument. It arrived generally unplayable and I had to have a pro set up just to get it adjusted properly, required neck shimming and removal of saddle material. After struggling with it for a few years I ended up selling it. Didn't have the playability and the acoustic sound was lacking in a real playing environment.

    OTOH a friend of mine has a pre-Fender fretless five string that is one of the most incredible basses I've ever played in all regards. Play before you pay with these.
  10. mikeRocks


    Feb 5, 2007
    Played a used one the other. Have to say the best one I have played yet. The loudest and best tone. Have not played any highend ones but have played all the usual suspects, dean, ibanez etc.

    My dilema is the volume. I rented a double bass and have been working with it. What a bear.

    I know this has been discussed a bunch of times but what experinces and you owners having playing with unamped acoustic guitars? It seemd to me, at laest in the store that it would work at least in living room jam.

    I wish the store would let me rent it for a couple of weeks but they won't.
  11. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Here's mine. Fretless 4-string made on February 5, 2001. I use black nylon tapewound strings made by Status Graphite. This photo shows the plug-in feedback buster.

    Also, here are recordings of this bass mic'd with a Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-10T combo. It was a low-volume coffee shop gig accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Even though this is one of the loudest acoustic bass guitars, it must be amp'd in a gig situation to be heard well. Sounds very close to an upright with the right EQ!

    On the 'chief's Fishman Prefix preamp, I set bass slightly boosted, brilliance and treble totally cut, and the contour cut @ 10kHz, notch knob to 500Hz. With the black nylon tapewounds, this gave it the sound of a gut-strung upright. I did not use the feedback buster.

    Slow country / speghetti western type song

    Uptempo surf type song



  12. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Did Lawrence Pimental make that 'Buster?
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    There is not enough volume to play with a couple of dreadnaughts. Period... and that's OK as it sounds glorious with the stock electronics out and a K&K passive system installed. That and a feedback buster in place. and a small rig. and LaBella tapes ...

    You can't get to stupid loud with it but that really isn't the point with one of these instruments... playability and tone - that would be the point.

    * Note that mine had the 2 band electronics - which were awful and that I run a Fishman Platinum plus on the floor ... I previously owned a 'chief with the Fishman and those electronics were much, much better than the that were stock in my current bass.
  14. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Most acoustic guitar players play way too hard. If your guitar players have a light touch the Thunderchief can keep up. Once they start getting "enthusiastic", you'll be drowned out. Sounds fine with a little practice amp with loud acoustic players.
  16. I just tried some TI flats from my "collection".
    Wow! They sound great!
    If it weren't for the low tension, they'd be great.
    I'm going to order some Fender flats soon.
  17. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    When I asked, "Did Lawrence Pimental make that 'Buster?"

    Cool. He made mine, too. I also commissioned him to make me a fretted neck for mine so I can swap it out with the fretless* neck that came on it. It looks EXACTLY like a Tacoma neck except it has no name on the headstock. The guy does great work!

    *From listening to recordings I made on a camping trip I came to realize that after about 4 beers I'd better have some frets!
  18. I am a Tacoma Wing Series fanatic. That's my fretless Thunderchief, over on the left.

    I've tried the OEM Elixirs and the LaBelle tapewounds from Carvin. The Elixirs are louder and twangier, but I prefer the upright sound and feel of the tapewounds.

  19. What the heck kind of wood is on that Thunderchief? Almost looks like cedar. The tops are normally spruce. On the sticker inside, does the model no. say anything other than CB10C?
  20. No, Tacomas have been out of production since 2006. Fender keeps the Tacoma web site running with an automated revision date refresher to make it looks like the site is still active, but it is not.

    The last I heard (a while ago) is that if Fender ever resumes Tacoma production, they will be made in Asia. Olympia is already an Asian Tacoma clone, so I don't see how Fender has much to gain by such a move.