1979 Gibson Bicentennial Thunderbird, Sunburst
Released in tandem alongside the sister Firebird model in 1976, Gibson 'Bicentennial' instruments were produced to mark America's Two Hundred Years of Independence. The '76 Bicentennial Thunderbird was based upon the original Ray Dietrich 'reverse' Thunderbird design produced from 1963 to 1965 and shares similarities to its construction and design. The Bicentennial instruments were a moderate success for Gibson with shipping ledgers showing that 1820 Bicentennial Thunderbirds and Firebirds were shipped in 1976, increasing to 2524 instruments in 1977 with a total of 4702 of both instruments over the entire four-year run. Offered in four finish options; Tobacco Sunburst, Ebony, Natural and White. After the Bicentennial, the Thunderbird and Firebird were continued as regular production models until 1979 albeit in much smaller production numbers with the Thunderbird in particular having only 21 instruments shipped in '79.
This 1979 Thunderbird is one of only 8 examples shipped that year and is in excellent condition. The Bass has had no breaks or repairs and is remarkably clean for a 41-year-old instrument. The finish is still clear with none of the haze sometimes seen on Gibson instruments from this era and with no marks or dings to the body. The headstock has a few minor marks to the edge but nothing of any consequence. The electronics are original with two Gibson Thunderbird pickups and three CTS pots dating to late 1976. The original hardware is excellent with no pitting to the plating. The bass comes with its original Gibson case, also in excellent condition.