Would you recommend the Epiphone Thunderbird IV?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HGS9669, Jul 31, 2009.


  1. Yes

    143 vote(s)
  2. No

    120 vote(s)
  1. HGS9669


    Jul 31, 2009
    I play guitar and want to learn bass. I mostly play pop, punk, and alternative rock. Right now I'm thinking of getting the Epiphone TB because I really like the look of it. No way for me to test it since the guitar center closest to me doesn't have it. To anyone who has experience with it, do you recommend it?
  2. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA

    The balance is off, the tone is standard Epiphone tone (way boomy, but pretty muddy), front input rather than the Epi Pro or Gibson side-mounted jack input. If you want a T-bird, go with a Pro IV, non-natural oil finish, or one of the prophecy/goth/blackbird series. They're several steps above the standard Epi T-Bird.

    However, I would personally not recommend starting with an Epi just because of how terrible the balance and weight distribution is, especially after having been a guitar player. unless you were playing a two-ton les paul, the off weightedness of an Epi will do a number on your neck and shoulders.

    I recomend trying a cheap Schecter. You can get a nice new or used stiletto, omen, fender-style or hellraiser for roughly the same price as an Epiphone anything, without any of the problems you get with Epi, and with twice the flexibility of tone.

    And they can be found on CL or at GC pretty easily.
  3. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    And yes I am a Schecter homer... but I don't get paid for it. Wish I did.
  4. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi

    Epi thunderbird is horribly neck-diving, the sound isn't particularily versatile, and the ones I tried had microphonic pickups as well. Sucks. Stay away, that's my advice.
    For beginners I always recommend a properly designed bass. Like the Yamaha RBX or BB series. They look traditional, and this is because the traditional design works very well. It isn't easy to learn playing bass if you start with an instrument that's rather unplayable.
  5. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    Ibanez SR or one of the Squier vintage reissue basses is the way I'd go. The Schecter stuff is pretty decent too.

    Just go play different basses and get the one that feels/sounds best to you.
  6. $Lindz$


    Oct 27, 2008
    I have an Epiphone and a Gibson Thunderbird. It goes without saying, the original design (Gibson) has a lot less "problems" that people associate with T Birds. The Epiphone on the other hand, does. It has worse neck dive, its a bit more uncomfortable to play and wear (Gibson has a scalloped rear), the pick ups aren't the same, the tone is close but not the same, and it feels a little bit heavier.

    But its not terrible, at all. Its definitely playable, and though its not as versatile in tone, it does have a nice deep, powerful (albeit muddy) tone that is similar to the Gibson's. Its a pretty good bass for the money.

    However.... if you aren't able to play it first (to see if the shape is comfortable enough for you, etc) then starting with some sort of P-Bass would probably be a pretty safe bet.

    Having said that, I would still recommend the Epi. It has faults, but its not terrible at all. Can you call that GC, or even another one and see if they have it in stock and go play it. Its the sound and tone of Thunderbirds that makes them so good (to me) and the Epiphone gets pretty close to that.
  7. TomA1234


    Jul 27, 2009
    Fareham, England
    I suggest you start off with a fairly cheap bass so if you don't like bass then its not too big a loss. Try and go for a second hand one so you can get a pretty good bass at a reasonable price. I have never played a thunderbird model guitars can't tell you if its any good or not. I think a good starter bass would be a second hand cort curbow. I have played one and they are very comfortable, lightweight, easy to move around the fertboard and I think they look attractive. I hope you enjoy the popularity of being a bass player (everyone wants you to join their band!):bassist:
  8. I started on a Epi Thunderbird and don't regret it all all. Although I am looking at getting a new bass really soon, a precision.

    I love to play metal, hard rock and old school punk but I'm starting to get into "poppier" music and newer punk which has a slightly different sound than what I'm used to playing, which is the reason why I think my bass should change accordingly.

    Even though the Thunderbird still sounds cool playing in pop and punk I think a precision sounds just that little bit better.

    So to the point. If you are fussy about tonal variety and aesthetics then maybe the Thunderbird isn't for you because of it's design flaws. If not then go for it! People always comment on how it looks and it sounds pretty heavy.

    If you have any specific questions about the bass just PM me or ask here, I'll try and check back
  9. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    I ended up rebuilding an Epi Thunderbird despite reading how bad the balance was, etc on them. I relocated the strap button during the refinish and it doesn't really neck dive, even with the "seat belt" cheap straps. I think it sounds good, though I don't have a real Gibson to A/B it with. I'm selling it though, I think it's mostly the lack of a forearm contour on the front that makes it uncomfortable for me to play. It's fine when sitting but when I'm standing with it reasonably low slung I don't like it as much. It is a nice playing bass though, great action, not very heavy, etc. I'd probably keep it if I didn't have so many basses already. I might still try some recording with it since the sound is a lot different than my others.
  10. HGS9669


    Jul 31, 2009

    I don't have no experience at all with bass. One of my friends is a bass player. His bass is an Ibanez. I've played it little. I know how to finger it and stuff but there's a lot I don't know and I want a bass of my own.
  11. MIght as well try it. Thunderbird lovers LOVE them, and those that don't get them jsut don't. You gotta take the plunge and see what works for you. You cant accurately judge a bass in 20 minutes of playing at a store.
  12. Demonturtle


    Mar 24, 2008
    well I guess I'm one of those t bird lovers, I knew it was going to have one hell of a neck dive when I bought it, so it's no use to complain afterwards. It's probably my most used bass, I like the muddy sound of it, and it just looks killer
  13. DRafalske


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hebron, KY
    Well put. They're sort of an acquired taste. I love mine.

  14. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I haven't played one and I own two epi bass one I love and still have and one I hated and don't, So I'd go and play one first.
  15. This bass is the king of neckdive. I have a bad back and the Epi T-Bird just kills me...I could never recommend it.
  16. MIN


    Jul 17, 2009
    San Francisco, USA
    Buy a used bass that you can try first.
  17. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    You have to move the strap buttons to fix this. Button (A) goes on the top or back of the lower bout. Button (B) goes on the front of the body, near where the neck button used to be. Attach strap to B and wrap around the waist, around your back and over your left shoulder. Attach to A. Adjust and play. Should look like any of these:
  18. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    Just some advice from an old guy: Don't buy based on LOOKS alone. The Tbird is up there with the Rics, Explorers, V's, etc, as very unique guitars. I bought an Ibanez Destroyer for the same reasons and I never play it. Just too quirky and not very ergonomic if you will. Sound is okay. I sat down at GC with those Tbirds about ten times, and they just always felt and sounded wrong for me. They look amazing. I thought the Destroyer was a hell of a lot meaner looking than the 'Bird. I had the same probs with Epiphone Rippers. I love the look and feel of them, but their tones are mud. Everyone says 'get a Gibson'. I still haven't, but thought I would try and throw some tales your way. Good luck. Guitarists always want the angular bodied basses.
  19. ironrat


    Sep 24, 2008
    Buy an SX. Great bang for the buck! (I suggest one with a PJ configuration)
  20. bfc


    Feb 15, 2008
    Fenton, MO
    Not a bad sound, but is prone to neck dive and will not sit well on your lap. My brother has it and loves it, though. I will say that the sound is pretty round and boomy like a p bass.