If you love Gibson Thunderbird Nikki Sixx louder than Hell, Epiphone’s Nikki Sixx Blackbird electric bass guitar is the axe for you. A pair of DeepSixx humbuckers give it thunderous output, especially since they are wired direct and have an on/off toggle as the only control. There’s no volume knob—it’s either full on or turned off. Another innovative feature is the Opti-Grab device which lets you solidly anchor your hand while picking at the bridge to get that hard drive. Black finish, black hardware, black pickguard, and iron cross inlays give it the signature Sixx look.
Bolt-on hard maple neck with slim taper profile
Rosewood fretboard with iron cross inlays
DeepSixx humbucking pickups
• Kim Gordon: Sonic Youth co-leader Gordon has gotten some of the nastiest and most uncompromising sounds to ever come from a bass out of her battle scarred 1976 Gibson Thunderbird. Since her divorce from that band’s Thurston Moore and the 2011 announcement of Sonic Youth’s hiatus, Gordon has gone on to play her Thunderbird across the world’s stages in a duo with drummer Ikue Mori and moved to guitar for her new band Body/Head.
• Mike Watt: The prince of punk rock bass, Watt has long been associated with his weathered non-reverse Thunderbird II, which still bears a sticker from his first notable band the Minutemen. With its custom bone nut and Chandler replacement Thunderbird pickups, Watt also wielded this bass during his Firehose years and it was his exclusive instrument for his solo album Contemplating the Engine Room.
• Adam Clayton: The U2 bassist has two vintage Thunderbird II basses in his touring and recording racks. Both are from the ’60s and have single pickups, and the later model, likely built between 1966 and 1969, appears notably — along with the Edge’s with Les Paul Custom — in the official video for “The Fly.”