Knowing full well the opinions of many forum members on Epiphone basses (let alone Thunderbirds) I am curious to hear opinions on this particular model (the 4 string, not 5).

My situation is that I am in a band that is gigging more and more frequently and at large and more prestigious venues. My set up as of now is the Acoustic B200h/B115 and a MIM 2005 Fender P-Bass both of which are meeting my needs just fine. The issue is the bass is starting to see a little wear and tear and I've had to make some minor repairs to it over the past few months making me consider getting a second bass as a back up.

I've spoken with a good friend of mine who highly recommended a neck through bass as my next bass. This bass having both that feature and active pickups (opposed to the passive ones in my P) has my curiosity peaked. I played it through "my rig" at Guitar Center and was overall impressed. I look for a deeper, slightly muddier tone and this seemed to offer it fairly well, and that was without the flatwounds I use.

So what it comes down to is to determine the source of a lot of these gripes about Thunderbirds. This model moved the strap button to the back of the body to help prevent neck dive. A lot of people also complain about the rigid tone it provides but I found it a little more versatile than my P-bass. Also considering the money factor of $500 being my spending limit, could I do better?

Thanks for your responses in advance.
Neck-through, essentially, is a fad. Some people will turn up and tell you that that's all nonsense and that their neck-through basses have more sustain because they want to feel that their money hasn't been wasted on an unnecessary feature, but really, there's not a lot of point in it.

Quite a few good luthiers have said that there's no need for neck-through. Take that with a pinch of salt if you will; I'm not going to go digging for sources at the moment. It makes no difference at all. Essentially, with bolt on you have wood touching wood. With neck-through, you have the wood separated by a huge lump of glue. Factor in the fact that with bolt-on it's possible to change your neck, you're not entirely screwed if you manage to snap your headstock off (which, by the way, is scarily easily on most Gibson-designed instruments. Les Pauls especially), and you have an obvious answer as to which is "best". But ultimately, it makes very little difference.

As for whether or not you should get a Thunderbird - well, if you've played the thing yourself, and were impressed, why not? Just remember this; what sounds good by itself will probably sound completely different when used with other people. But, take your own judgement over anonymous people on the internet, especially if you've played the thing yourself.

I'd recommend checking out Spector's Legend series for a bass with active electronics and a deeper sound. I'm not a huge fan of Spector's cheaper stuff personally, but many people seem to be fond of them, and I can't imagine you can do a great deal better under a budget.
Last edited by Ziphoblat at Mar 18, 2011,
Just find a bass that does what you want it to do. Who cares if it's neckthrough, bubinga wood, ultra-light tuners, space age bridges, blah blah. All that matters is how it sounds and how it plays.
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If you like it, get it! Who cares what some random brand snobs on the Internet think?

+10 to the infinite.
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if you like it, get it

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I happen to enjoy every mankiss from shinhoman.
The tone you described sounds like a Peavey Fury.

The American made Peavey Fury is one of the better
P knock offs at a decent price.

The sound is uniform and it is smooth as butter.

At least mine is, and it only cost me $75 at a pawn shop.

It cleaned up nicely,

It is the black one,

A lot of people gripe about the Thunderbird IV, which is Epi's lower end model based on the Gibson original, since Epiphone's lower end models are sort of notorious for having QC issues. The original T bird design is also a little bit of a one trick pony and has some minor design flaws.

The T bird Pro is a far sight better then its lower end brethren, the active EQ gives you some more tonal options at your fingertips, they got rid of that horrible 3-point bridge, and the build quality is much more consistent then on the lower end models. If you really like it, go for it, its not a bad bass. Its just not everyone's cup of tea.
Composite Aficionado

Spector and Markbass
Quote by obeythepenguin
If you like it, get it! Who cares what some random brand snobs on the Internet think?

Well he better not come crying back when he realises he doesn't like it.

Guess its my job to be the hater here...
The Pro series are a massive improvement on the standard ones as you can dial out some (not all) of the mud from the tone. This is it's only improvement though, they still have every other flaw of the godawful thunderbird design. Even with the different bridge there is still neckdive and poor sustain, there is no higher fret access and, while set neck vs bolt on is a worthy debate, paying more for neck through rather than set neck is just stupid really. I have played this bass and I did not like one thing about it.

Something tells me that you are just after nice features like active pickups, don't go for the first thing you see. There are loads of better basses with similar features but without Gibson's pure money-grabbing-laziness.

[/so totally objective reply]
What do you like about its neck through-ness? most people like neck throughs because of the fret acces they usually give, but a Tbirds body kinda negates that. If you're lookg for an active bass I would check out Ibanez or schecter. probably schecter if you like the P bass neck.

all in all get what you want, but make sure you've looked at all your options.
no sir away a papaya war is on
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It sounded like OP had already made up his mind, so who am I to delay the inevitable?

The least we can do is tell him how wrong he is.
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My favorite bass until recently was a plywood box with dodgy electronics, no bottom end, dubious intonation, and pretty severe wear considering it was only two years old when I bought it. I say "until recently" because it's been in and out of the shop a little over a month now, so I haven't seen much of it in a while.

I know what you mean (I once fell in love with an Epi EB3) but I'm thinking beyond personal preference and into serious design flaws.