Thunderbirds Are Go!

New gear day may be the best way to spend a Tuesday that I can think of. This particular Tuesday I picked up a guitar I’ve been lusting after for quite a while. Now, if I’m being completely honest, the guitar I really wanted was a 1976 Gibson Bicentennial Thunderbird, BUT, those vintage rarities are decidedly out of my budget. I love the look and sound of the vintage Gibsons and by all counts, the Epiphone 60’s Tbird accomplishes a more than acceptable reproduction in both columns. I have yet to plug it into the Orange Terror Bass head, but if what I’m hearing just through headphones is any indication, I suspect it’s going to sound pretty amazing.

(Update: I did, and it does.)

The Thunderbird is actually my second Epiphone guitar. A little over a year ago I started looking for a hollowbody bass. I blame Norman and his warehouse full of gorgeous vintage guitars I absolutely can not afford. After spending an alarming amount of time watching their Guitar of the Day episodes (It was 2020. I had time on my hands), I became pretty infatuated with the Gibson EB2, which was somewhat more reasonable in price but still quite a bit of a stretch. I did some digging and discovered the Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass. The JCB is derived from the Epiphone Rivoli, which was a direct copy of the EB2. I read and watched every possible review and once convinced, found one in the limited edition Silver Sunburst. The JCB quickly moved to the primary spot and it was the guitar that I used to write and record our first record.

2012 Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass

As much as I love new gear (and you know I do), I as much love the motivation that comes with playing through it. After outfitting the TBird with a set of Labella flats, I spent most of my free time that day plugged into my ME50 pedal board, playing through the band setlist and some of my other favorite tunes, and learning new ones. It’s amazing to me how a new instrument can feed the creative process and provide the motivation to write new riffs and learn new songs.

2021 Epiphone Thunderbird

There is endless debate over which is better, Epiphone v. Gibson. Having never played a Gibson I can’t really weigh in there. Everyone has an opinion so I’ll leave that for more experienced musicians to decide. Eventually, I’ll find the funds to acquire a nice example of some vintage guitars. My list is short, but expensive. Until then I’m happy to have these two impressive guitars to add to my kit.

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