As the companion to the Gibson Thunderbird Players guitar, the Thunderbird bass saw some changes with its body design during its initial production run. Originally, the Thunderbird’s body was “reversed” with its lower horn sticking out further than its top horn. In 1965, the body was switched to a “non-reversed” configuration. The Thunderbird II had a single humbucker pickup and a 34-inch scale length.
The Thunderbirds distinct headstock stays true to Gibsons industry-changing way of thinking. Like every Gibson headstock, the angled Thunderbird headstock is carved out of the same piece of mahogany as the neck. The angle is carefully set to 14 degreesinstead of the traditional 17 degreesto accommodate the headstocks radical contour and to keep pressure on the strings. The headstocks form ensures straight string pull, which, when combined with the increased string pressure, means there is no loss of string vibration between the corian nut and the tuners, equaling better sustain. Black chrome-plated Grover bass tuners provide the necessary clearance between tuner buttons, allowing for comfortable access and uncomplicated tuning.
No basse gibson thunderbird ‘s neck profiles are more distinguishable than the neck profiles on the Gibson models of today. The 60s rounded bass neck profile on the Thunderbird IV is based on the more modern, slim-tapered necks most commonly associated with the Les Paul and SG models of the early 1960s. The neck is machined in Gibsons rough mill using wood shapers to make the initial cuts. But once the fingerboard gets glued on, the restincluding the final sandingis done by hand. That means there are no two necks with the exact same dimensions. So while it still has the basic characteristics of its respective profile, each neck will be slightly different, with a distinct but traditional feel.
The gibson thunderbird walnut is beautiful. It’s strong, the handle is placed so that it is well balanced, and it has a lock on it. The inside secures the instrument nicely and it also has a utility compartment which stores the bottle of polish and the neck rod adjustment tool that comes with the guitar. I wasn’t real excited about the inside of my case being the color pink, but what the heck, it’s still a Gibson! Ease of Use: The thunderbird’s tonal quality is far superior to the P-bass that I used to play before I bought this bass. I personally find this bass very comfortable and easy to play, but I’m a tall, long armed person. It fits me well. Quality: You have to pick one up for yourself to appreciate it’s craftsmanship. I have no complaints about anything on my bass. I’ve read that the head can crack if it’s dropped, but like anything that I value, I don’t go throwing it around. I feel that it is a sturdy, well made bass. Mine is a beautiful sunburst finish that shines like a new car. I have no problem taking it on the road because of the sturdy case it comes in, and it’s steady on my guitar stand during breaks. If I had to pick a worst aspect of quality, I’d say that the balance is a little neck heavy, but not to a point where it affects playing.