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wiggy

Played an Epi Classic IV-Pro T Bird today

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I've always adored the look of the T Bird bass but for various reasons have never got round to actually playing one until today when I had the chance to drop in to Dawsons Music in Basingstoke. They only had the Classic IV-Pro in white (which I think looks awful compared to the Vintage Burst) but I reasoned if I closed my eyes I wouldn't be biased by this.

 

First impressions were pretty good, felt really comfortable both on the strap and sitting down, but there was something which didn't feel quite right. OK the setup was terrible with really light strings and an action so low there was buzz on pretty much every fret but that wasn't it. Amp was a tiny Fender Rumble which tried hard but simply couldn't move the air but again that wasn't it.

 

The it hit me - I remembered that I was playing a bass not a six string and the neck was shallower than my shallow C profile strat and the fretboard felt narrower than my LP. The narrow fretboard I could probably eventually live with as surprisingly it didn't feel cramped but that shallow profile just felt so wrong and uncomfortable - almost like a shredder neck on a bass. Even after a solid 40 mins playing it (the shop was empty so I had all the time I wanted) it never felt right. In addition the paint finish was sticky as hell and really grabby (would have needed a serious sanding.) which made the whole experience unpleasant.

 

Finally I've got to say that it didn't feel alive. When I play my AXL PJ bass (an equally budget priced model) it talks back but the T Bird was dead which was not what I had expected or imagined.

 

The T Bird has always been one of my two dream basses and I now wish I'd never picked this one up because it left me feeling disappointed and somehow cheated and I'm now really wary of trying a Ric 4001 in case that dream is shattered as well.

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Perhaps you picked up a bad one or ran it through a bad setup because I have had a completely different experience with this bass. I've been a bassist for over 25 years. I have actually lost count of how many I have owned, but the list includes Rickenbacker, Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha, and Gibson. I currently own a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass, a Fender Road worn 50s P Bass with Geezer Butler EMGs, and now the Epiphone T Bird Classic. For me, the Epiphone can hang with any bass I've ever owned, and has been getting the most recording time lately out of any of my axes.

 

Sound-wise, It has a unique punch and growl that is tailor made for rock and blues. The neck feels similar to a Jazz bass neck and is very comfortable to get around on. Considering the 50s P bass neck is like playing a baseball bat, this neck is a welcome addition to the family!

 

Currently plugging the T Bird into an Ampeg PF-20T tube head and couldn't be happier in the studio.

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