“It can sound funky, but, as a full-on rock bass – whacked with the heaviest pick you can find – is when it’s in its element”: Epiphone Thunderbird ’64 review

It’s often said that they don’t make ‘em like they used to. Well, Epiphone are on a mission to prove that old chestnut wrong

Epiphone Thunderbird '64
(Image: © Gibson Brands Inc)

Guitar World Verdict

As well as having huge pose potential, the Epiphone Thunderbird '64 is a real pleasure to play. It’s difficult to overstate just how much fun it is strapping on a bass like this and just letting rip.


  • +

    Great looks and build.

  • +

    Impressive setup and playability.

  • +

    A more affordable Thunderbird.


  • -

    It feels pretty monstrous to wear.

  • -

    We were unable to prevent the headstock from trying to kiss the floor.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Bass players from all genres have been known to deploy a Thunderbird, most obviously because of its mids-heavy tone, but also because it looks so cool.

The Gibson Thunderbird was originally introduced back in 1963 and for many years competed favourably against the products emanating from the Fender stable. The reverse body made it a hit with rock players the world over, John Entwistle being one notable user, and to this day it remains a favourite with bassists who enjoy the look, retro styling and thick tone of the original models, which are now highly prized collectors items sporting expensive price tags.

  • Price: $849 / £849  (inc gigbag)
  • Made in: China
  • Body: 9-ply mahogany/walnut, neck-through 
  • Neck: 9-ply mahogany/walnut, 34” scale
  • Nut: Graph Tech
  • Fingerboard: Indian laurel, 20 frets
  • Pickups: 2x ProBucker 760 Bass Humbucker
  • Controls: 2x Master Volume, Master Tone
  • Hardware: Open-gear tuners, Vintage 'Historic Tune-O-Matic' bridge
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs / 3.9 kg
  • Available finishes: Ember Red, Silver Mist, Inverness Green.
  • Contact: Epiphone

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.