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Thunderbird???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassguy187, Feb 26, 2001.


  1. bassguy187

    bassguy187

    Jun 27, 2000
    Nazo, PA
    hey guys,
    i was just wondering,
    how do Gibson T-birds sound and perform?
    i've seen some that are very expensive,
    i never really picked one up though.
    please help me out.
    thanx
     
  2. rooster

    rooster

    Jun 10, 2000
    upstate new york
    hey bassguy:
    i owned a 1990 thunderbird just beautiful bought it new.sounded great through my amp at home.but live it was less than adequate nice neck good balance but the tone was terrible.it gets lost in the mix very easy unless you play it with a pick.i tell you this from experience.i bought a stingray its an anniversary model not that this matters.but it blows the thunderbird away way away.then i bought a G&L asat bass and this blows them both away.sorry for the rambling but IMHO dont go for the t-bird get something more versitile.

    and remember as always rock till ya drop !!!!!
     
  3. well once again another thread on talkbass that proves you have to try it yourself.

    i have a 1999 thunderbird, and as rooster said it is a beautiful bass. my views are different from roosters. i don't play with a pick, it is another one of the one tone basses. sounds like a thunderbird.
    i thought it cut thru drums and 2 guitar players perfectly. again IMO i probally play diferent that rooster, and different than you. if you can't play one don't buy one. don't buy one on the web because it looks good. but just to kiss rooster arse for a sec. if you saw his stingray you probally would be looking for a stingray. :)
     
  4. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I've owned two Thunderbirds (a 1966 T-bird II and a 1976 T-bird IV), and have had, for the last 20 years, a 1963 Epiphone Embassy, which is the equivalent of the early Thunderbirds. They may not be as versatile as some other basses, but they don't need to be. IMO, they are the BEST sounding bass around. That said, they are also neck-heavy and have very fragile headstocks. These are basses are the kind you either love or hate - I'm one of those who love them. To my ears, they have a very "true" bass sound. But, as gruffpuppy said, you need to try one for yourself.
     
  5. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
  6. bassguy187

    bassguy187

    Jun 27, 2000
    Nazo, PA
    yeah i already own a stingray,
    and i play with a pick,
    and i've heard that thunderbirds do get
    really really good tone,
    so i think i'm gonna go try one out.
     
  7. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    Doug,

    Both Gary and I were referring to the '79 or earlier T-Birds with the chrome pickups. I personally don't care for the newer black plastic pickups used on the newer T-Birds. They just don't have the same growl that the older style pickups have. The newer ones do have the smaller tuning keys which does help the balance out a bit but I still prefer the look of the older reverse nickel tuners.

    Depending on where you go to try one out I'd also recommend you try out one of the new Gibson SG-Z basses:

    http://www.gibson.com/products/gibson/Bass/SG-Zbass.html

    These long scale basses have more tonal control than the modern T-Bird's with two series/parallel coil tap switches.

    Bass Northwest has a used on for sale at a great price right now:

    http://bassnw.com/Used Basses/gibson_sgz_hc.htm
     
  8. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    <P></BIG>OH, MAMA!!!! How much are those babies, Steve?</BIG></P>
     
  9. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    I'm not sure what the "Retail" is on them Gary (@ $1,699 I think) but Bass Northwest sells them new for around $1,100 I think. These are sleepers in my opinion and I'd buy one of these over a modern T-Bird.
     
  10. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Cool.....now about that AEB-1.......:(
     
  11. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
  12. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    <P>
    <BIG>DUDE - I KNOW.....
    </BIG></P>

    wahhhhhhhh........sniff...snuk...sniff...
     
  13. Jazzbassman23

    Jazzbassman23

    Apr 20, 2000
    Maryland
    Dude, does the current Epiphone T-Bird capture any of the vibe of the Gibson? Or would you just be throwing away $375
     
  14. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Current Epiphones are not the same. I can't speak for the electronics, but the Epi is a bolt-on, while the Gibson is a neck-through. The Epi version of the Thunderbird II isn't even the same pick-ups - it's a body shape that has a P-J combo thrown on.
     
  15. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    I had an Epi Bird for a while last year. It was one with the two soapbars and not the non-reverse Epi Bird with the P/J pups in it.

    It wasn't that bad really but it wasn't close to the real deal. It was as neck heavy as a real one though.

    The tone was night and day something else but not bad for the money really. It cut very well in a little jam band I was messing around with. I cranked it through my Ampeg B-100R against two guitar players and a slammin drummer and it cut right through but the B-100R was maxed and started to breakup quite a bit.

    I'd say that if you only had $300-$400 to spend and wanted the "look" of a T-Bird they aren't bad. I'd say that you'd get more bang for your buck in that price range buying a MIM Fender Jazz though.

    I partially fixed the neck heaviness on the Epi by moving the strap buttons as shown in this gallery.

    http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=637760&a=7275056

    I also had to play it with a pick to get it to cut through. I was thinking of hot rodding one of the Epi-Birds with a custom J-Retro preamp but then I thought it was a bit overkill to pop in a $250 preamp into a $300 bass. I've done it to MIM Fender's quite a bit and found that it made all the difference in the world and I'm sure that it would help on an Epi-Bird too but it would have to be custom made since the body cavities are not very deep (just over 1" in depth as compared to 1.25" on the Fender)
     
  16. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    I'm a TBird fan myself but I disagree with Steve on the new ones. Personally, I prefer the new pickups over the older ones. The plastic covers on the p/u's don't bother me in the least. In fact, I'm keeping a 2000 Bird and getting rid of a totally amazing near mint '79 for that very reason! The new ones have a more balanced tone to my ear and sit better in the mix, at least for trio work (which is where I earn most of my dough). I play mostly fingerstyle except with TBirds (and an old EB2 and Epi Viola) by the way, where I break out the pick. Seems to give the notes more "center" or focus. If you like the way a TBird sounds, there's nothing else quite like it. And yeah, they're WAY cool looking!
     
  17. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    Hey Boogie!

    Viva la Differenace bro! Did you contact me last week about your '79?? Someone did.
     
  18. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    One of my clones may have! ;-)
     
  19. Laker

    Laker

    Mar 23, 2000
    I owned a '64 T-bird twice (the same one) and I'm happy I don't own it anymore. I found it a very unbalanced, headstock heavy bass that would really interfere with ease of playing as you had to hold the damn headstock up. I found the sound to be rather muddy and not too well defined. Comparing it to a Fender Jazz of the same vintage, I would have to say the Fender was a much better axe.
     
  20. Dude, that is sea-foam green, and the year I was born.........I'll trade you for my fiance'...she's kind of cute......