The Gibson Thunderbird bass guitar has been holding down the floor at Gibson for much of the last few decades.That is, they’ve been laying a nice floor of sound. As for sales, they’ve always achieved great heights.Gibson Thunderbird Bass Guitar Introduced in 1963, the gibson thunderbird 4 was a successful effort to steal some of the rumble from Fender, a company that had been leading the bass guitar market since they brought out the Precision Bass more than a decade before.The T-Bird bass looks like it’s in a hurry to get somewhere, and that’s no wonder.
It was designed by American car designer Raymond H. Dietrich, who worked for Chrysler and Lincoln, among other brands.He also created the similar-looking Firebird electric guitars.While some say the unusual design — with horns jutting off in two directions and cowering timidly in the other two — represents extreme motion, others say it looks like someone left a square guitar in the car and it melted.
Whatever you think of the design of burny thunderbird bass, it caused Gibson some problems.Originally, the treble horn on the instrument was extended and the bass horn was less prominent, but Fender sued, asserting that the Thunderbird looked too much like their Jazzmaster.In 1966, Gibson flipped the horns, and the so-called non-reverse Thunderbirds were born.
When production ceased on the instrument in 1969, that brought an end to the backwards design.During the non-reverse years, another of the Thunderbird’s primary characteristics disappeared, too.The neck that went all the way through the body for stability was replaced with Gibson’s standard set-neck construction.
The Thunderbird IV, as it should be called, briefly returned in 1976 for a bicentennial edition reissue model, then a regular production model was continued until 1979, when this model disappeared again.Now, the Thunderbird IV is back in Gibson’s bass lineup, along with an upgraded Nikki Sixx Thunderbird Bass and some low-cost, lower quality Epiphone versions.
The current Thunderbird IV shares a lot of features and configurations with the original.Among its features are a 14-degree angled headstock, an adjusting truss rod, the 60s rounded bass neck profile, dot inlays and TB Plus Ceramic Magnet Humbuckers.The neck-through-body construction has returned, too.According to most players, the classic rumble players expect from this Gibson bass is back, too.The Gibson Thunderbird bass guitar is once again doing a good a job holding down the Gibson bass guitar line — and holding down the bass line for players around the world.