If you have any vintage gibson guitars that are posted on this site ,you are always welcome to post a review,comment or detailed features ,im sure other guitar players who visit us would love to know ... Domenic

Important Note : Due to the overwhelming amount of comments on this blog i cannot answer all the questions although id love to . You can still post questions hopefully some of our viewers can help you out ... Thank You

Gibson Thunderbird Bass

Gibson Thunderbird Bass Guitar ( 1963 - present )

nikki sixx playing a thunderbird bassAfter the first EB basses gibson manufactured another more important bass which were cousins with the firebird I - III - V and VII guitars and were introduced at the same time in 1963 .

The firebird and the thunderbird always shared the same body shape. In 1963 gibson introduced 2 thunderbird models , these gibson bass guitars were called the :

Gibson Thunderbird II Bass
( 1963 to 1969 )

These basses in 1963 had reverse solidbody shapes ( long horn at the bottom of the body ) , they had 1 metal pickup with no visible poles , and were mostly made in sunburst finishes , some other custom colors were also available .

In 1965 gibson redesigned the thunderbird II with a non reverse solidbody , custom colors available , and were discontinued in 1969, reintroduced in 1983 with a reverse body until 1984 . ( less than 100 were made in 83 )

Vintage Price Value For 2007 :
1963 - 1965 > $7500 to $9000 ( reverse body )
1964 - 1965 > $5000 to $6000 ( non reverse body )
1966 - 1969 > $2800 to $3800 ( non reverse )

guitar price guide1963 - 1965 > Avg Upward Trend Of 14% A Year Since 2000

Gibson Thunderbird IV ( 1963 - 1969 )

Same basic specs like the thunderbird II but with 2 pickups , most in sunburst finishes , some custom colors were available . In 1965 body changed to a non reverse body until they were discontinued in 1969, reintroduced in 1986 to present as a reissue .

The reissue was introduced with a reverse body , 2 humbucking pickups , tune o matic bridges and were made in tabacco sunburst ( various colors followed through the 90s till present )

Vintage Price Value For 2007 :
1963 - 1965 > $7 500 to $11 500 ( reverse body )
1964 - 1965 > $5 000 to $6 500 ( non reverse body )
1966 - 1969 > $3 000 to $4 500 ( non reverse )
1986 - 1999 > $1 200 to $1 500 ( Reissue )

guitar price guide1932 - 1955 > Avg Upward Trend Of 12% A Year Since 2000
1986 - 1999 > 6% ( Reissue )

Important : Custom colors such as metallic blue, cardinal red or green are worth significantly more on both thunderbird II and thunderbird IV basses .

Today these bass guitars are endorsed by several artists including nikki sixx ( see pic ) from motley crue and simon from the cure, you can also read more about vintage thunderbird bass guitars & history here ( great review ) .

If your looking for gibson thunderbird basses for sale , check on ebay once and awhile , there's some great bargains from now and then .


  1. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Strange there's no mention of the fantastic limited edition '76 Bicentennial Thunderbird with the "76" in the thunderbird logo's tail. Now regarded as a classic in its own right.

  2. Anonymous5:36 PM

    I am trying to find the value of the 1976 bicentennial thunderbird. Any thoughts on how to go about that? Thanks.

  3. I want to get a thunderbird body and put some of my own pick ups in it. Does anyone know where I could search for bodies??

    email me. thebeartalk@yahoo.com


  4. I have a 83 sunburst thunderbird, and the neck is cracked! anyone wanna buy? I had a local guitar shop and guitar center look at it and they said it can be easily fixed.

  5. Anonymous3:06 PM

    i'm looking for a thunderbird
    also if reissue but max till 1999
    write me to duttoandrea@hotmail.com
    if hav got any infos

    thank you very much

  6. Anybody ever hear of intonation problems on the 1964 T-birds, and if so, would moving the bridge position be a possible fix? Would moving the bridge and resulting repairwork detract from value? Curt Benson ltquickltd@gmail.com

  7. Anonymous11:52 PM

    Like the anonymous post above, I too would like to get the value of my 1976 natural T-Bird Bicentennial reissue edition. Any tips or "guess-timates"? I've heard from 1,200 - 1,500. Turn it up! mrrocknrolhk@hotmail.com on 7/22/2010

  8. Anonymous9:43 PM

    I have a TB IV reverse from '64. Belonged to my dad who died in '71. It then sat from '71 - '98 in my aunt's closet unplayed or used. I let a buddy of mine use it on a album for a couple songs in 1999 and has been in my closet ever since. It is in wonderful shape considering its age and the paint is spider-webbed now but still on it. The intonation was off a little bit and you could tell in 1999 but sound was nice through an Ampeg v4b, which I still have also. The last time I had it appraised some years back was $11k as the condition was pretty remarkable, not mint but vg-vf. IMHO, I would not move the bridge but live with it as is. If it is unplayable, well for what they are worth you are better off grabbing something else for everyday use and keep it glass case. I will probably give mine to my daughter some years from now and never sell anyway unless I fall on really hard times.

  9. A T-Bird Bicentennial will run you $2k and up in excel condition and between $1,400 & $1,700 in VG. Should be able to find on eBay once in awhile.

  10. Anonymous12:52 PM

    The last Sunburst '64 Thunderbird IV I saw, sold for just over $20K! Please don't move the bridge, because that will definitely affect the value. These are highly sought after basses, especially the 2-pickup reverse model. They only made around 300 of those (most of which are broken). Very rare basses.

  11. Anonymous6:44 PM

    I've got an ebony '77 bicentennial edition T-Bird (RH) with the original case. I'm confused by the term "SECOND" stamped into the back of the headstock above the tuners. What does this mean? If it's a factory "second", is it still included in the numbers for totals produced? what make's it a "second"?

  12. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Hi, I'm in the UK and have a '76 bicentennial in white with it's original case. It has been valued at around £2500 as, I believe, only around 90 were made '76 to '77. It still plays and sounds incredible although I keep it locked up at home and now use my trusty, also '76, natural Precision of which there are hundreds around. Long Live the T'bird.

  13. Anonymous12:38 PM

    T-Birds are awesome. I have about 14 from the 60's. 6 reverse and 8 non-reverse. No other bass sounds like them.The next best basses are fender jazz basses from 1960 to 1966. If I could I would own all of the sixties model thunderbirds. Yum yum.

  14. TO ALL "Anonymous"...

    How's about all of you so called "collectors" of Gibson T-Birds, quit being Pigs, Gear Whores, etc...There are others, such as myself, who find great satisfaction in owning 2-3 DIFFERENT basses for different sounds/styles...I am searching for a late 60's or '76 T-Bird...Too many collectors only make it tough on the rest of us..."Doc" Mackey