Thunderbird IV review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.2 (402 votes)
Epiphone: Thunderbird IV
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Price paid: € 229

Purchased from: Feedback Utrecht

Sound — 7
I've played a couple of basses now, but this bass has one of the muddier/heavier sounds. I play rock, metal, funk (especially slap style funk), pop, indie, techno and some country, all through a Line6 Lowdown LD15 with a Zoom B2 for additional effects. The sound fits for most of the styles, but for a brighter sound you should only use the bridge pickup (with tone control full to treble). A really big advantage of this bass is the height of the neck above the body (about 2 cm) providing a lot of space for slapping and especially popping. Different types of strings can make a big difference on the sound, so stringing it with thinner strings will make the sound less muddy if you prefer it that way.

Overall Impression — 8
This bass is perfect for beginning players, you can easily slap all out on it if you want to because of the large space after the 20th fret. It's rock solid and with a bit of playing with the equalizer on your amp you can get most of the sounds you may want from it. The hard-to slide-on-neck can be a plus if you get a new bass, because if you can slide with this neck, you can probably slide on any neck. This is the only bass I own, but I play on other people's basses (ranging from brandless Precision rip-offs to high end Warwick 6-strings) on a regular base. A big burden is this things neck dive, if the top straplock/strapbutton was placed on the right instead of the left side of the neck, this would probably be solved. If this was stolen I'd probably get a 5- or a 6-string because of the added flexibility. I think this bass is perfect for beginners, and slap-style lovers like me.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This bass is durable. I've had it for 15 months now and the only thing I had to replace were the strings. I've also fitted straplocks on it because I felt safer with locks instead of buttons. 23rd of December I'll be having my first gig with this bass, and I don't plan on getting a backup. I've dropped it a few times and it was smashed into the ceiling, where it left a hole in the ceiling instead of the headstock. The finish has a few cracks on the edge when I accidentally hit a wall. The fretwire on the 20th and 19th frets on the E and A string positions have started to wear, but I think that's because of my berserking-frenzy way of slapping I've been using last half year (songs like Nobody Weird Like Me from RHCP and Dirty Drowning Man from Primus)

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The pickups were fine, it had no flaws with the finish. However, the action was a bit too high for me, but it's easy to adjust this with the screws (but you need a really big flathead screwdriver, about 1cm wide). The finish on the headstock is very glossy and hard to slide on, which can be quite annoying.

Features — 7
This Thunderbird has a Vintage sunburst finish, and was made in China. I don't know exactly when it was built, but it'll probably be 2010 or earlier since I bought it brand new in June 2010. It came with black hardware, a fixed bridge (think it's a Tune-O-Matic? it's only a single piece bridge), 3 knobs, 2 TB+ humbucker pickups, a cheap cable and 20 jumbo frets. The body is made out of Alder and the bolt-on neck has a rosewood fretboard with dot inlays. I can't find out what brand the tuning machines are, in the manual it says Grovers but I can't find any brand logo or name on the tuners themselves. The humbuckers have a round cutaway on the edges in which you can perfectly press your thumb on for fingerstyle.

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