Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Epiphone Thunderbird Bass Hard Case Review


Anyone that has a Gibson or Epiphone Thunderbird bass knows that you cannot buy one of these instruments and then stick it in a one-size-fits-all case. I tried a few hard and soft cases and none of them came close to fitting so I ended up having to order the factory case for my Epiphone Thunderbird Classic IV. It certainly was a mixed experience.

This is really the only choice, as I cannot figure out how to order one of the beautiful Gibson brand Canadian-made TKL cases, as they only sell them with the basses (and used ones are no bargain on eBay, either). So I shopped around and found that the Epiphone cases are the same prices everywhere, so I ordered one from Amazon to take advantage of their free shipping.

And when it showed up it was pretty much what I thought it would be. The case is made in China, and it is plywood covered with Tolex and lined on the inside with plush gray fuzz. There are three latches with a key-type lock on the center one. Does anybody actually lock their cases? The hinges seem solid enough, and will definitely outlast the Tolex. The bass fits like a glove, and there is no movement at all once it is nestled into its recess. The handle is comfortable, it balance well when carrying it and there is a huge storage are under the neck support. So far, so good.

It is heavier than hell, but then again it is made of wood so that is to be expected. But a legitimate concern is the quality of these cases. The Tolex is not terribly thick, and it appears that there was little effort to get sawdust and crap off the wood before they glued it down. This means that there are weird bumps all over the outside of the case. And worst of all, the screws that hold the center compartment in place missed their mark, so it is not held in by anything.

I debated about whether I should try to fix it myself, but decided that if I did and really screwed it up they would not let me return it. So it went back to Amazon and they shipped a new one out immediately and I had it in hand a few days later. The replacement case was the same, but with the compartment properly screwed into place. Good enough.

As I said, the Epiphone Thunderbird bass hard case is the only game in town, but at least it is not super-expensive. The list price for one of these cases is $148 and the street price is $97.50 – just make sure you buy it from a retailer with a good return policy in case it is not up to snuff.


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