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Gibson Thunderbird Studio 5-String Bass

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Product 517544
Product Price $0.00
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It was a wild-looking bass in '63 and still is today. This version combines the reverse body and headstock styling of the original with Gibson's prov...Click To Read More About This Product

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The alternative bass since 1963!

It was a wild-looking bass in '63 and still is today. This version combines the reverse body and headstock styling of the original with Gibson's proven set-neck construction. Made in the U.S. of mahogany and equipped with grover tuners, 2 TB plus ceramic humbuckers. A classic thumper with a strong alternative vibe. Includes Gibson hardshell case.

  • Made in America
  • Mahogany body with reversed Thunderbird design
  • Mahogany neck with rounded profile
  • Rosewood fretboard with pearloid dots
  • 34" scale length
  • 20 frets
  • Corian nut
  • Chrome hardware
  • Brass bridge
  • Grover tuners
  • 2 TB Plus ceramic humbuckers
  • Controls: 2 volume, 1 tone

A cool bass for a great price. Order yours today.


Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



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  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 8 customers

Displaying reviews 1-8

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Gibson Studio 5 Thunderbird

By BigMufeta

from Spokane, WA

See all my reviews


  • Great Thunderbird Looks
  • Solid Bass Gibson Sound


  • Instrument Balance Issues
  • Live Use Challenging
  • Tone Is Muddy

Best Uses

  • Hard rock metal

I got this bass as a gift, as I had seen Glenn 6 from Anvil tear up the show with his aggressive playing on this bass....looked cool and wanted to add one to my collection because it is much different than the Music Man Stingrays, Fender P basses, Laklands, Ricks, and other rigs in my collection. It wasn't easy to find one and took a couple months to find one in excellent condition that was in US, but eventually did. While it looks extremely good, the long neck vs. balance of bass when playing make it a workout when playing shows. The sound IMO is good, but lacks voice when compared to most of my other basses and it has tendency to buzz when not playing. It needs some work to dial in correctly, but when done...does have cool sound and thump for some types of music. Unfortunately, with the other basses I have putting out really good tone and easier to play longer gigs...I just don't play this bass very much after it's first "live" outing. I will keep around as it is a great looking bass and seems to be relatively rare to find, but will reserve playing it with any regularity due to its playing balance and buzz.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • Yes

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)




from Fargo ND

I bought this bass only because Murderface from Dethklok plays one. When I got this home I plugged it in to my peavey rig and shook pictures off the walls. I see now why Murderface uses these beautiful basses. I will never use anything else.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


wrong place at the wrong time?

By themrtoon

from sacramento, ca

Quote the clich a day late and a dollar short. Out of the box and still in the case and I feel good about it. The case looks awesome, well built and tuff, please note the case is made in Canada. I open the case and at first glance the bass looks awesome nestled in a nice fluffy snow-white interior. I tune up the strings, diddle around a bit and hear a rattling noise. Oh, the bridge pick up is falling out of the body, odd but not unsolvable. A short screwdriver search in the old? toolbox, one pickup reinstalled and I'm back up and running. At this point I also notice that the clear coat finish around the neck at the top of the body is fuzzy like a bad masking tape paint job. Subtle, but noticeable. I play a bit more and find that there is a lot of buzzing out of the frets. I peer down the neck, hmmm; the neck is warped a bit. No problem, I can fix that too. I remove the cover plate on head to access the truss rod adjustment. Ooops, looks like some one missed when the plate was installed. An extra screw hole had been drilled under the cover plate, three-hole cover plate with four holes in the head. Whatever, the plate keeps it covered. Now I have the neck dialed in, better adjust the action and check the intonation at the bridge too. I got my tuner and it looks like I?ll need one of those hard to find microscopic allen wrenches. It must be included and hiding in the case somewhere, nope. Well, I?ve got one in the toolbox. As could be expected, I found the intonation was far from where it needed to be. The bridge on this bass is tricky to adjust; it?s not like a typical Phillips head screw and spring type. Adjustments took a considerable amount of time. All adjustments require the tiny, not included, allen wrench. Unfortunately the B string could not be adjusted far enough back to set proper intonation. I had maxed it out all the way set back in the bridge and it still wasn?t right. All other strings and action adjusted fine. A smaller gage set of strings and a second run of adjustments would most likely fix the problem on the B string. Long story not short at all, I spent a decent amount of time playing the member of Gibson?s quality control team instead of the musician falling in love with his new and relatively high-end bass. To top that off, the final checklist included in the case of individual items to be checked before shipment from the factory had not been individually checked. Rather, it had all been crossed off with two single swoops of a pen across all items. I gave the bass about four hours of couch-play time along with along with another four hours of time through my amp rig at practice with the band. I just couldn?t get the sound I wanted and the bridge pickup made my amp buzz. It had to go back. The only good that I found in this bass is that its radical design and minimalist take on the original thunderbird looks awesome which is what led me to the purchase, and the mahogany body and neck produce incredible sustain that you can even feel throughout the whole instrument.



By Clint Stiles-6WkKG

from Albany IL

See all my reviews

This bass is a great adaptation of the classic Thunderbird in a 5 string configuration. The one I bought is Ebony, and I also own a sunburst Gibson Thunderbird IV and a Gibson Blackbird / Nikki Sixx, among several other basses. The slick black nitro finish and lack of fretboard markers makes this a truly classy looking bass for on stage.Don't let the "Studio" name fool you. This is not a "low rent" model. In Les Pauls, there is considerable difference in quality between a studio and a standard - not so with the T-bird. The main difference is the set neck, vs. the neck through found on the TbirdIV. The build of the Studio's body is more reminiscent of the mid '60's "non reverse" Thunderbirds with their set necks. This bass is (for itts size) fairly light weight, and the neck is as slim and smooth as my Ibanez SR-885 five string. The finish was flawless (surprising for Gibson) and has that familiar nitrocellulose smell! Keep in mind, all hand finished guitars have some characteristics, unlike cookie cutter Korean guitars, so some slight variations in the finish should be expected.For folks who have never played a Thunderbird IV with it's raised middle section, dropped "wings", and slightly angled body, the Studio will seem perfectly normal - as it is a full slab body. The acoustic tone of the Studio is very similar to the IV, and you will probably not notice any difference much in a live setting, provided you use the same strings you are used to. I prefer a deep, dark, some say muddy tone, and I emphasize the neck pickup - and this baby thumps! Playing through an Ampeg SVT with dual 15"s is thunderous!The tuners, pickups, and electronics are the same as the Thunderbird IV (except for a five string), but the bridge is different - being more of a modern bridge which screws flat against the body rather than the vintage Gibson 3 point bridge.As with any bass right out of the box - mine did require some general set up, which should be expected. I don't expect the Gibson tech to have my feel for the instrument so setting it up myself to my specs is a given. Immediately, I took out the springs under the bridge pickup, and screwed it directly to the wood. This helps for ressonance purposes, and also "leveled out" the pickup - as the wires that ran under it caused it to be slightly angled. Also - the low B string "rang" like a piano and rattled a bit - in contrast to the other 4 strings. I took the strings off, and tightened the bridge screws and also noticed the small brass saddle on the B didnt fit as tightly as the others. I shoved a tiny amount of foam along side it in its bridge channel, and wallah--- problem solved. Now it "thumps". I did call Gibson to let them know about this and they are sending me a replacement saddle that should fit tightly tommorrow. My past experience with Gibson is that they will do whatever it takes to make right any issues.Another note about the bridge. In another review - someone mentioned there is not enough room to intonate the low B string. I can assure you, there is more than enough travel space for the low B saddle - aproximately a full 1" 1/2" front and back. If you know how to correctly set up your bass you will have no troubles.Finally - kudos to Gibson for two improvements. First, they moved the strap buttons from the traditional Thunderbird placement to locations which will allow for the bass to balance more vertically - and eliminating neck dive. Secondly, they eliminated that useless lock on the case - replacing it instead with a third clasp. No more breaking off the lock when you cant remember you set the combo to 666!


Great Bass

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

I bought this bass back in Feburary. The pictures make it look like crap, but wait till you get it in person. It looks amazing. The sound is very deep. Truely a great bass for the money.


Awesome guitar! (perhaps not for beginners)

By Chris-iRk_L

from Wichita, KS

See all my reviews

I chose this bass for several reasons...I wanted Gibson quality, I wanted solid tone, I wanted something rare. This bass is my new baby. It came w/very heavy strings that I immediately replaced. Since I got it the reviews at my shows have been amazing, people love the way it looks, and they REALLY love the way it sounds - as for the finish, everything is perfectly smooth, the set-neck is so well done that the entire guitar appears to be one piece of wood. If you want a guitar that sounds perfect and is a real head-turner at the same time, you can't complain about this one!


Excellent 5 string Gibson Bass

By Thunder Wiegert

from Lincoln

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

I have always played Thunderbird basses since 1969 and have gone through plenty of them. I was wondering when Gibson was planning to make a 5 string one and now it's here, I have been playing Epiphone T-Bird 5 string basses for the last 5 years & now own a Gibson Studio 5. The sound is great and the overall bass is excellent. The color of mine is cherry. I had to get use to the studio 5 bass since the epiphone T-bird bass neck was not as wide & strings were closer to each other, the studio 5 bass has a wider neck so strings are a bit far from each other but once you get use to it you can get some really great sounds from it. Great bass IMO.


The Best Bass You Haven't Bought Yet

By hommytoffman

from Iowa

See all my reviews

I got this guitar about a year ago as a graduation/birthday present. Since then, I've wanted to play it every day. This was a huge upgrade from my Ibanez GSR-205 and made a huge difference in my sound. Very deep sound without getting muddy, handles the low b very well. The action is incredible, I've never had an easier time doing hammer ons on my low b. The only things I'd warn about are that the tone control on the guitar is a little limited and that this guitar is much longer than the average bass making it hard to find third party cases for it. The case it comes in is goregous, but easy to scratch and damage, so if you want a different case it will probably have to be custom. I paid more than the price here for this guitar and am loving every cent of it.

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