Fenderbird?

Leo got it right.

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Fenderbird?

Postby eldiablo » Sun May 25, 2008 6:42 am

Recently saw an old video of Leon Wilkeson playing what looked to be a Thunderbird bodied bass with a Fender neck.I also saw this same type of bass on BABP.What was the story with these basses? I never see any of these for sale anywhere. Being new to the Fender family,I am still learning about the product.
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby Rhian Batson » Sun May 25, 2008 6:49 am

Fender has never brought a Fenderbird into production. With that being said, numerous people have made them on their own (I believe one or two BABP's have one or have had one in the past) and they look great! I myself have never owned one but they do intrigue me. I have been told that they sound something similar to a Darkstarred Precision bass - yanno a bucker with a hot midrange.

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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby harleyyy » Sun May 25, 2008 6:53 am

Here's Davey's...

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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby eldiablo » Sun May 25, 2008 11:37 am

That black Fenderbird looks exactly like what Leon was playing in the Old Grey Whistle Test show that Skynyrd did.What was the story behind this morphing of brands? I know Leon played Thunderbirds and Jazzes early in his career along with an early P-bass,but this one intrigued me.Is there low budget possibilities using the Epi Thunderbird and maybe a Squier or MIM Jazz?
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby steveonbass » Sun May 25, 2008 11:57 am

John Entwistle gave Leon that Fender-Bird.
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby DaveyG67 » Sun May 25, 2008 12:31 pm

Code: Select all
That black Fenderbird looks exactly like what Leon was playing in the Old Grey Whistle Test show that Skynyrd did.What was the story behind this morphing of brands? I know Leon played Thunderbirds and Jazzes early in his career along with an early P-bass,but this one intrigued me.Is there low budget possibilities using the Epi Thunderbird and maybe a Squier or MIM Jazz?


Yeah Steve's right Entwistle gave that one to Leon, which was a "Reverse" body shape. The one pictured above is a "Non-Reverse" body... I had Michael Dolan build that from parts I purchased, and he made the body from scratch using my '67 T-Bird as a template.

Here's the other one he made me a few years ago:
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This is a replica of the Entwistle's first Fenderbird circa 1973. Entwistle came up with the concept due to not caring for the original Gibson T-bird neck shape, so IIRC he purchased Gibson pickups & hardware and Fender maple P-bass necks and had his luthier (Peter Cook) build the Fenderbirds for him.

You can go the budget route and use Epi bodies/ hardware and Fender or aftermarket necks, but I'd recommend spending the extra cash and go for a better sound & playing instrument if you can... the hardest part would be finding chrome T-bird pickups, but there are solutions to having replicas made.
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby eldiablo » Mon May 26, 2008 5:28 am

Thanks for all the feedback,this site is definitely the information highway.Beautiful "Fenderbirds" by the way,something about project basses intrigues me(Tractor,Frankenbass,etc)
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby Golem » Thu May 29, 2008 9:18 am

`
There one at BassNW for $1200. It's been drifting down from $1500 for coupla months, so it's prolly about bottomed out now.

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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby JimB » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:04 pm

I've been eyeing that Fenderbird at Bass NW I have a black block '72 Jazz neck that would look awesome on that body.

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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby harleyyy » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:07 pm

JimB wrote:I've been eyeing that Fenderbird at Bass NW I have a black block '72 Jazz neck that would look awesome on that body.

Jim B



Be aware of the huge shim at the butt of the neck that was discussed here sometime back.
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby Funkster » Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:32 am

Yep that's what turned me off from it a while back,, I really dig that Black one with the Geddy neck,, Sweet!!
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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby BigDaveOnBass » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:51 am

Has anyone seen a Fender necked Explorer bass before? Here's Dave Schools from Widespread Panic playing one in the studio.

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Re: Fenderbird?

Postby horowizard » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:11 pm

Thunderbird necks are very thin at the nut and the headstocks fracture and break off. My guess is Entwistle's T-Bird probably broke, so he was looking for a more heavy-duty axe. The Jazz Bass also has a thin nut, but can take more abuse. If you break a Fender neck, you just bolt on another.
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