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Thunderbird, Blackbird,Spector rex.......

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by diobassist, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. diobassist


    Jan 2, 2005
    Hi all! I like the look of all the "bird" basses. I dont actually know any other than thses three on the topic.. :meh:
    Could you guys put some pictures of all the "birds" and some oppinion possibly...
    thanks alot.
  2. Rowka


    Dec 9, 2002
    Jacksonville, FL
  3. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Buzzard may be a "bird style" if you stretch the boundaries a little.

    Anyways, I've owned a Blackbird, and a couple-few Buzzards, and the Rex is the basis for my sooper-secret forthcoming one-off Spector (shhh!), so you can tell I love that overall style.

    In my experience, the Blackbird has that great thumpy TBird sound and a really fast pencil-neck, but I couldn't stop the 60Hz hum if my life depended on it.

    The Buzzard Bolt-Ons from Warwick are incredible, especially fretless with an ebony board - the growl is just MEAN I tell ya. I'm just so very tempted, however, to sell the fretless (again! *gasp*) to help fund a Buzzard LTD 8-string. *drooool*

    And Rexes sound about like any other Spector - they have a little less body mass tho, so you may have to crank the Bass knob a little bit. Spectors overall IME are kind of bright, but can retain fullness using the preamps.

    With all birdly styles you're going to have neck dive to contend with, so I'm looking into having a little extender made, kind of like the Dingus on a Rick Turner, or the strap arm on the Bolin NS basses, to go on my Rex mod and maybe Buzzard. But it's not THAT bad, and even less on Buzzards - the Buzzard weighs so very much, that the body wing balances the neck out pretty well, actually.
  4. danman


    May 18, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    B.C. Rich mockingbird?

  5. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Somebody say BUZZARD!!!!!!!!!!!???????

  6. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    Here are a few:


    Most of these are Gibsons, but a few are Greco, Ibanez, and Epiphone (US and Japan).
  7. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA

    Orville by Gibson

    Epi Elitist

    The new Goth Epi


    Greco (Thunderbird II)

    Greco Catalogue
  8. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA

    Two Jacksons


    Two BC Rich 'birds

    Benavente, for you boutique guys. :D

    And an ESP Lefty!
  9. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    One of a very few Gibson custom shop 'birds from '91 or so.

    John Birch Thunderbird copy.

    The best dang Fenderbird copy I've ever seen!

    John Entwistle's Explorer 'bird.

    A custom copy (with 'bird pickups) of the two circa '58 Explorer basses.

    And last, but not least, a non-reverse '68 IV!

    There are others out there, but these represent most of the known Thunderbirds and Thunderbird copies. Due mostly to Nikki Sixx, every major builder had a Thunderbird based model in the late 80's to early 90's (I'm missing Hamer and Spector pics). A lot of them seem to have only been made for endorsees, but they do pop up on eBay now and then (which is where I found a lot of these pictures), so if you want a Thunderbird, Gibson or not, you'll find one eventually.

    Except for the Ibanez, the Korean Epis, and the Fenderbirds, all of these are either thru or set neck. If you want the Thunderbird sound (not just the looks), don't buy one made from maple or alder. Mahogany is a big part of what makes them sound so great.
  10. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I heard the Greco T-Bird's are pretty underrated.
  11. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    I have two. A II and a IV. They both sound pretty good and definitely have that t-bird vibe. There is one thing that any prospective buyer should be aware of though: The neck profile on a Greco is more like a C neck Precision (1.75" at the nut), and the neck joins the body one fret later than the Gibson's does. That might not seem like much but it's a long feeling neck to begin with, so you'll probably feel the difference. (Unless you're 6' 5" :p )

    The Orvilles (and Epi Japan, 'birds which are the same thing) feel exactly the same as the American made Gibsons.

    Any of these brands are worth the $5-700 you'll have to pay for them these days. The older Gibsons have been going up in price, so these make a good bargain if you prefer the older style 'birds.
  12. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    BTW Razor, I'm jonesing for a Buzzard REAL BAD!
  13. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Hehehe......then I'll make sure to send you some pic's very soon my friend...very soon. Just remember the word/term "CUSTOM". :D :hyper: :D
  14. Justice


    May 24, 2002
    Houston TX.
  15. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I've played a Gibson Thunderbird a couple times. Horrible, horrible bass in my opinion. Extremely neck-heavy, and the strings are way too far off the body to be anything resembling comfortable to play.
  16. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    No neck dive at all if you use the right strap and, if needed, move the strap buttons/straplocks.

    Uncomfortable? Maybe for some. A properly setup 'bird feels better, sounds bigger, and looks cooler than any other classic bass design out there. MHO, of course...
  17. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    Sounds like somebody played some poorly maintained T-birds.

    Like 69Vette said, a properly set up Thunderbird is a dream to play. My T-bird is a 2001 & I love it. One of the fastest necks with a HUGE sound - played it last night for the majority of the set as a matter of fact.
  18. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    I remember reading a thread about T-bird pickups, and apparently the Greco pickups are the closest to the original T-bird pickups. I've seen some really nice looking Greco copies of Rickenbackers too.
  19. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    Hey Justice, that custom F 'bird looks great!

    Here are a few more 'other' brand 'birds:


    Black & White Grecos with black hardware (still metal pickup covers and rings though).

    Sort of non reverse upside down Greco.




    BTW, the Greco pickups are pretty close. Lookswise, they nail it. The sound is close but a little dark The tone sounds more clear and transparent on my Gibsons. I'd love to get some 60's 'bird pickups custom made and put 'em in the Greco covers just to see if it would sound like the real thing.
  20. The Epi Goth is pretty sweet, despite being a little put off at first by the style/marketing. I could see using my P for recording and playing a 'Bird onstage--lighter and faster, but still a great sound.
    It has a really agressive sound.

    ...still, I'll probably end up with a Ric.