Custom Thunderbird Bass

Custom Thunderbird Bass

Welcome to Mike Lull Custom Guitars! We are a custom bass and guitar manufacturer and guitar repair shop located just outside of Seattle in Bellevue, Washington. Mike Lull has been building and repairing guitars and basses for over 35 years and hand-builds every instrument that bears his name to this day.

What is our main goal here at Mike Lull Custom Thunderbird Bass ? To build you your dream bass or guitar that you quite simply LOVE to play!We are highly respected luthiers, having built and repaired instruments for many well-known artists, including our above-mentioned signature artists. Despite the high quality of our work, our shop is not intimidating and we welcome guitar players of all stripes to stop by the shop for a free instrument assessment.While the instruments we build are solid body electrics, we are also an outstanding acoustic guitar repair shop, able to repair, upgrade and restore guitars of all kinds and vintages. See our repairs page for more details.

The Gibson Thunderbird was launched in 1963 as a response to the long-scale solid-bodied Fender basses that were doing so well at the time (Fender Jazz and Precision). This was a high end instrument, and retailed at slightly more than Fenders offerings. In Gibsons July 1963 pricelist the Thunderbird II was $260 and the IV was $335, compared to $229.50 for a Fender Precision and $279.50 for the Jazz.

Aswell as being Gibsons first long scale bass, it had their first fully-adjustable bass bridge, and was the first Gibson bass to utilize neck-through construction. This idea had first been used on an electric bass six years earlier by Rickenbacker (the 4000 bass), and consisted of one central piece of wood spanning the entire lenth of the instrument, and ‘wings’ glued to the sides to make the body. This contrasted the seperate neck and body approach of most guitar makers who normally glued (Gibson) or bolted (Fender) the neck to the body.

The central wood was raised slightly and accomodated tuners, pickups, bridge and the tailpiece. Having the entire length of the strings vibrating on one peice of wood increases sustain, and has added strength for long necks. It is a technique still widely used today on higher end guitars and basses; most notably Rickenbacker and B.C. Rich (and many more besides). The mahogany wings were glued on using a V-shaped notch and groove arangement. This construction method is unchanged in todays Thunderbird IVs (though slightly different woods are now used).