unregistered, on january 25, 2013 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 140
Purchased from: Gear4Music "b" stock
Features: Mine is a 2012 Indonesian-built Thunderbird Pro-IV in trans black, with active circuitry. The finish is incredibly good. One of my other basses is a Gibson T-Bird from ther Custom Shop - and the finish on that is inferior to this Epi. It has a solid bad-ass style bridge which sits snugly on the body, whereas my G has a floating 3-point bridge. The machine heads look to me like Gotoh, but as usual no-one seems to know what they actually are. In any case, they seem to hold tuning pretty well. The strings that came with it lasted about half an hour before getting binned for Rotosound 45s.
This bass has the 4-control setup, same as on my Gibson, with the jack socket relocated to the lower edge of the body. I prefer this to the socket being on the face of the body - keeps the lead out of the way, and allows you to hook it through the bottom of the strap to help keep it in place. In short, this bass is right up there with my Gibson. The active circuitry (which seems to be permanently on, unless I just haven't found the switch yet!) reproduces a very similar sound to my "real" T-Bird. // 10
Sound: I play through a Trace 4x10 350W combo with a 2x15 extension cabinet. I do tend to use a touch of compression to smooth my sound out. On full treble, there is a slight hiss from this bass, but I won't be using that extremity anyway. I tend to whack everything up full, then EQ a bit on the amp.
The sound is... Thunderous. Which is what you want and expect from a Thunderbird. I have to change my knickers every time I play it, or at least have a box of Kleenex handy. Being active with a good amount of control over pickup balance, you can access a fair variety of sounds. But, let's face it, that's not why you want a Thunderbird, is it? You really don't want to play like Mark King, do you? You want to be Pete Way, don't you? // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Initial set-up was poor. The neck was raised at the headstock end, requiring about a full turn of the truss rod to correct the resulting fret-buzz. Not a difficult job, but then required a touch of intonation fiddling to get to proper playability. The action is fine. Recommendation would be to get the guitar set up as soon as you purchase it, though.
Once properly set up, this bass is supremely easy to play. The neck is smooth, slim and fast. You can race up and down it like Speedy Gonzales, or sit around the 5th/7th frets all day in comfort. I bought this as "b" stock, because it had a couple of dings on the body - both on the back at the edges, and both easily filled with a couple of coats of clear polyurethane varnish. For that inconvenience, I paid half-price: 140 instead of RRP 279. Can't say fairer than that. Bargain of the century! The quality of the wood is astounding. // 5
Reliability & Durability: Haven't gigged this bass yet, but I have little doubt it's equipped for the job. The neck strap button is relocated to the back of the neck as standard, which is useful. I'll be putting locking strap buttons on for peace of mind. I'd gig this without a backup and have no worries. Except I always have a backup bass, just in case! The finish looks very solid, and I can see just how thick the lacquer is due to the dings mentioned above! Conversely, my Gibson has worn through to the wood where my wrist contacted it, and the finish looks a lot less substantial. // 9
Overall Impression: I play rock and blues music. Pub rock, if you will. I've been playing since I saw UFO in 1980 (hence the Thunderbird obsession). I have several other basses just now - apart from my main Gibson Thunderbird (1990 ebony/gold Custom Shop), a couple of Corts, an Epi Explorer and a Hohner headless Jack Custom spring to mind. I'd initially bought this as a back-up for my Gibson, but I reckon it does just as good a job itself. Of course I'd buy another one if it was lost. Once you have the T-Bird in your blood, nothing else will do! Now I need a white one, a red one and maybe even one of those silly silverburst ones! My girlfriend appears to disagree, though.
Anything I wish it had? It's a bloody marvel already. Only thing I plan to change is the pickguard. Don't like black guards on a black bass - I'll be after a white one to replace that.