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Thunderbird reveiw


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Bass: Epiphone Thunderbird.

Year: 2005 (I think)


I paid $200 for this bass, including an Epiphone hard case for it. The case is unique, because the bass is about a mile long. The seller didn't like it because it weighed too much and he preferred a Danelectro. He also liked having the bass around his knees, and from the looks of the Thunderbird, he also liked pouring beer on his instruments in random patterns. The 'Bird didn't seem to mind a bit, since the polyurethane finish is good and thick. I think you could drop this bass into the ocean, tow it behind an oil tanker to Japan, then pull it out and it would be fine. Maybe a little rusted, but there's very little I can imagine getting through the finish. Underneath, the wood is mahogany or a mahogany veneer. It looks great. The neck is one piece of mahogany with a rosewood fretboard. When I got the bass, the neck was badly bowed. It took a bit of work to straighten it out, but once that was done, it plays well, stays in tune, and takes a beating.


It has it's own sound, somewhere between my EB-2 and P-Bass. It doesn't have the woody, percussive sound of a hollow Gibson, but it doesn't growl like a Precision. It sounds very much like a sold body bass, which it is, and it has a very round, thunderous sound. I don't find a huge difference between the neck and bridge pickups, so I just use both.


The neck shape is very good. It is nearly as wide as the aircraft carrier P-Bass, but somehow feels narrower. It is a long scale bass, so people who don't want a long reach while playing in F should probably look elsewhere. I find the neck reasonably comfortable, although the shiny polyurethane gets somewhat sticky if you get a bit sweaty while playing.


Overall, it's a good bass for the price, and a great bass for the price if you get one used. There's a reason you see Thunderbirds in metal bands - it can sound like Armageddon. It has it's own unique sound, and if that sound is what you are looking for, it's the way to go. You can do a bit of slapping and popping on it, and it sounds reasonably good, but it's great strength is a heavy bottom end, whether you play with a pick or with your fingers.


I have found myself playing the EB-2 and P far more than the Thunderbird lately, and my son has taken it over. I suspect it will last for decades and his children may end up playing it 20 or 30 years from now, if he has children.

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