Epiphone Thunderbird Classic Bass Review – A timeless classic of the four-string realm

AudioRumble rating 97/100

  • One of the best rock bass sounds on the market.

  • Great price.

  • Iconic looks.

  • Durable and reliable, made to last.

  • Rock music and related genres only.

  • No gig bag included.

If you want a bass that helped define rock music as we know it, a staple product of one of the most iconic guitar manufacturers in the world, or just a lean and mean rock ‘n’ roll tool, do consider the beautiful Epiphone Thunderbird.


The first thing that grabs everyone’s attention with this instrument would of course be the legendary looks. The shape of the body was crafted way back in the ’60s and still remains untouched to this very day. It is a staple rock design associated with some of the genre’s all-time greats.
Available in sunburst and plain white color finishes, the bass is also made distinguishable thanks to the unique chunky headstock and white pick-guard.

As far as build quality goes, we’re talking about Gibson and their high standard, and we can wholeheartedly say that the manufacturers have managed to maintain their spotless reputation with this one. The bass has a feel of a genuine rock instrument, especially when it comes to that chunky, yet quite playable neck. The fret job is very solid, and we detected very little fret noise here.

In a nutshell, we are looking at a bass that stood the test of time in every aspect, that screams and roars with a unique charm, and even packs a fair price.


The first awesome thing we noticed is that the instrument comes with a top-notch mahogany body – a strong, resonant and powerful wood worthy of a legendary piece like this. Additionally, the bass has a rock-solid seven-piece mahogany and walnut neck with through-body construction, and a classic rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets and white dot inlays.

When it comes to electronics, this is a passive bass, although a very powerful passive bass. The two Gibson TB Plus humbuckers are very much gain-driven and always secure that a dose of roaring and purring is present in the sonic output.

As far as controls go, the bass packs three standard knobs – two tone controls for determining the presence of each of the pickups in the sonic mix, along with an obligatory master volume knob for controlling the overall tonal output.

Additional notable features include a distinctive white pick-guard, a set of die-cast tuners lined up on the headstock’s upper side, and black hardware. Note that a gig bag is not included in the price.


As noted, the sound is strictly rock oriented. We are looking at loud pickups and resonant tonewood, resulting in a gain-driven sound many rock players yearn for. Regardless of the tonal settings, it is pretty much impossible not to get at least a slight roar from this dude. Always a bit grainy and fuzz driven, this is a bass with an attitude.

The tonal adjustments available at player’s disposal can allow you to really cover every corner of the rock realm, going from mellow tones to pretty much the Lemmy tone. There is always a certain sense of smoothness present in the mix, and the instrument will never really feel robust or unable to express any emotion.

Speaking of which, we are looking at a passive bass after all, which means that the instrument is quite expressive and reflects even the most minute changes in your playing style. However, since it sports some quite loud pickups, the loss of audio power compared to active pickups isn’t as prominent as with the majority of other passive basses.

In addition to that, the instrument is quite easy to play; it’s sly, slick and subtle, and it will make all your rock ‘n’ roll dreams come true.

Our Final Verdict

Epiphone Thunderbird Classic Bass Review – A timeless classic of the four-string realm I started as a rock- and metal-oriented player, and this was the type of tone I dreamed of back in the day. In many ways, it's still a tone that I adore, and if you want a killer rock tone at a budget friendly price, just go for it.

AudioRumble rating 97/100

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