'Should I buy a Chinese TB48 T-bird bass?', he asks...

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davejm
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'Should I buy a Chinese TB48 T-bird bass?', he asks...

Post by davejm » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:03 am

Couldn't think of a better way to put it - I'm wondering if anyone owns one and has direct experience of the model. I can't seem to quell my yearnings for a T-bird bass, but a Gibson is beyond my budget and the preferable of the two Epis - the slimmer necked, fixed neck Pro is undesirably active.
I imagine the Tokai also has the tediously obligatory T-bird neck dive, but it being fixed-necked and passive seems a good, reasonably priced option, but for the reportedly chunky neck.... now that I'm old only slim necks will do... lol.
Any knowledge, anyone? Cheers.
Not so much a fan of power chords as ambiguously semi-discordant, heavily finger vibrato'd lead gtr screechings at the far end of the neck: more Williamson than Gurley, though.

davejm
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Post by davejm » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:07 am

I bought one, anyway. :lol:
Not so much a fan of power chords as ambiguously semi-discordant, heavily finger vibrato'd lead gtr screechings at the far end of the neck: more Williamson than Gurley, though.

Angus
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Post by Angus » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:31 am

I own a 1990 Gibson, and more recent Epiphone Blackbird, Epi Pro-IV active and Epi Classic Pro models as well.

I just took possession of a Tokai, which I imagine is probably Chinese because the serial number starts with "CH". :-?

The neck is definitely chunkier by a fair margin than any of the Gibson/Epis I have. Noticeably so. It also doesn't have a cutaway on the back of the body like the Gibsons do. And the jack socket is on the front - I prefer mine on the side of the body, but I needed a Tokai to complete my line-up!

The Tokai shares neck-dive with the others - you'll read lots of stories about relocating the strap button to the heel of the neck. This helps, but anyone that says it balances the bass is a liar. You still need to keep an eye on it or the headstock'll whack the floor.

If you can't stretch to a Gibson, I'd recommend either the Blackbird or the Classic Pro, both of which have lovely slim necks.

The Blackbird is a Nikki Sixx signature model with no sound variation (on/off toggle is all you get). Being as I just turn everything up and control sound with my amp, that suits me fine. They can be had on eBay for well under ?200 when they come up. The Sixx scratchplate is a direct swap for the standard Epiphone one (note that the Gibson one is a different shape and size, as is one or other of the Pro-IV or Classic Pro, can't recall which now!). The fretboard has iron cross inlays.

The Classic Pro is a whisker away from the Gibson. Build quality is remarkable and it comes in at mid ?300s. Can't fault mine. In order to rest my Gibson for a while, that and the Blackbird are my main gigging basses now. The Blackbird is a lot lighter.

davejm
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK

Post by davejm » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:24 pm

Howdy!
Thanks for that very useful info, sir. I was surprised how chunky the Tokai neck turned out to be myself after trying the Epi standard bolt-on Tbird and the Pro.
I've been eying up the newer Epi Classic model (slimmer, fixed neck) but I'll have a look at this Blackbird you recommend. Cheers.
Not so much a fan of power chords as ambiguously semi-discordant, heavily finger vibrato'd lead gtr screechings at the far end of the neck: more Williamson than Gurley, though.

Angus
Plucker
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:07 am
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Post by Angus » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:40 am

Aye, the Classic is very nice - and worth every penny. I got a white one. It's a 9-ply through neck, too, rather than glued like the Tokai. Mine needed setting up from new, apparently some are spot-on straight out of the box though.

Blackbirds come up fairly regularly on eBay. If you can live without the ability of fiddling with output tone it's a grand piece of kit. Search for "Blackbird" rather than "Thunderbird" ... think they tend to get missed because of the item title sometimes. The Blackie is bolt-on, and has the output socket on the side rather than the front of the body. I like it there, keeps jack plugs out of the way.

At the level of pub gigs, I personally think that controlling tone via my amp is quite sufficient. Not that I do any much fiddling once it's soundchecked (that's what your first couple of songs in the set are for, isn't it?). :wink: :P

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