Gibson Thunderbird (4th issue)
Todays Thunderbird IV
Despite being available throughout the 1980s as a custom order instrument, the Thunderbird IV was finally relaunched in 1987, though heavily modified. It still had the reverse body style, and neck-through construction of the '63 and '76 birds, but similarities end there.
Gone was the chrome hardware; bridge, tuners, and pickups were all black, and the bridge cover and hand rest were completely absent. The pickups were 'TB Plus' ceramic magnet humbuckers, which had a plastic covering.
The neck/body was no longer solid mahogany, but a nine-ply of mahogany and walnut. The wings remained mahogany. Finishes were very different to the car colours of 1960s models; classic white, natural, natural burst, vintage burst, ebony stain and ebony. Not all colours have been available through 1987-date; indeed only vintage sunburst, ebony and classic white are current colours; natural, natural burst and ebony stain were discontinued for 2005
Neck dive was a problem often associated with older Thunderbirds. The heavy headstock, and long neck would pull the neck downwards. This model has a smaller headstock, and much smaller tuning keys compared to the older versions
- Mahogany body wings
- Nine-ply Mahogany and Walnut neck-through-body
- 34 1/2 inch scale (actually three eighths of an inch)
- Two new design TB Plus ceramic magnet humbuckers
- Laminated pickguard, black-chrome hardware