Gibson Thunderbird II

1963 Gibson promotional sheet

The Gibson promo sheet for the 1963 Thunderbird II bass listed some specifications, and gave a price (accurate for the period July-August 1963) of $260 for a sunburst bass, and $275 in one of Gibson's custom Duco finishes. This was Gibson's first long scale bass, and their first real answer to the Fender Precision. At the same time (July 1963) The Precision had a list price of $229.50 / $240.97 for Sunburst / Custom finish. Considering the extra craftsmenship involved in producing a neck-through bass it is perhaps a little surprising that this price difference is as low as it is. Another surprise is the poor sales for this bass. The short scale, single pickup Gibson EB0 was listed at $210 - broadly similar in price, but outsold the Thunderbird II significantly in every year the two basses were offered.

Even though this sheet was produced in 1963, and the Thunderbird II was listed in price lists as early as July of that year, Thunderbird shipping statistics suggest only two basses were shipped from the Kalamazoo plant that year.

Custom finishes available for the Thunderbird II were as follows: Cardinal Red, Heather poly, Inverness Green poly, Ember Red, Polaris White, Pelham Blue poly, Frost Blue, Kerry Green, Silver Mist poly and Gold Mist poly.


Gibson Thunderbird II specifications

The 1963 Thunderbird II specs were as follows: Honduras mahogany body, through neck, unbound Brazillian rosewood fretboard with pearloid dot inlays. Nickel plated hardware, single humbucker with volume and tone control. Sunburst nitrocellulose finish. 34 1/2" scale. 20 frets. BR750N bridge and TP750N tailpiece. Kluson MH-546 elephant ear tuning keys. 'Gibson' celluloid truss rod cover. Like the Firebird III, V and VII, the Thunderbird models came with a leather neck strap.

Other Firebird / Thunderbird promo sheets in this series

Similar sheets were also produced for the other guitars and basses in the Firebird / Thunderbird series

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