1979 GIBSON THUNDERBIRD IV BASS (reverse)
For photos, click on the links below:
1979 was the last year of the Thunderbird reissue run.
The 1979 Gibson Thunderbird IV reverse body bass featured the neck through body design and two pickup configuration. As with all years of Thunderbirds, it is VERY common for owners to add a strapholder onto either the body back (at the neck butt), or on the upper rear bout to balance out the neck weight. However we have seen unmolested factory 1979 Tbirds with the front strapholder on either the upper bout or at the neck butt.
Other 1979 Thunderbird IV characteristics: White Gibson logo with "i" dot disconnected from "G" on black plastic truss rod cover, Kluson no-name riveted clover reverse tuners with small bushings and Phillips head screws, "Made In The U.S.A." stamp underneath tuner plate, headstock divets hidden underneath the tuning machines to accommodate the tuner protrusions, unbound rosewood 20 fret board with pearloid dot fret markers, two chrome pickups each with three phillips head height adjustment screws, chrome pickup cover with (1) plastic shim, white/black/white vinyl pickguard with with red, white and blue nine star bird logo and no "76", body route underneath pickguard, three gold or black speed knobs with numbers, chrome bridge cover with (2) plastic shims, 3 pole bridge, CTS potentiometers, "orange drop" capacitor, input jack on body front, four screw plastic controls access cover on body back, sometimes a date ink stamp in controls cavity, mahogany body and neck, rectangular black tolex Gibson name case with crimson interior.
Gibson records show a total of only 7 Ebony, 6 Natural and 8 Tobacco Sunburst Thunderbird IV's were shipped in 1979. The 6 Natural finish basses are the lowest production number of any year Tbird (except possibly 1963). The rarest of Thunderbirds! Here's additional details of those 1979 "Natty 6" Tbirds.
Serial numbers continued the eight digit headstock dating scheme. Ex: YDDDYPPP- The first and fifth letter indicate year of production. The second, third and fourth letters indicate the day of production within the year. The sixth, seventh and eighth letters indicate the manufacturing plant: 001 to 499 shows production rank at the Kalamazoo factory and 500 to 999 shows production rank at the Nashville factory.