Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Review & Prices

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Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Review
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  • From Epiphone's 2024 Artist series
  • Rex Brown Signature
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 12.598" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany top
  • Mahogany back
  • Mahogany sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Indian Laurel fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: ProBucker 760 Bass, Nickel Cover Plating (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: ProBucker 760 Bass, Nickel Cover Plating (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • Babicz FCH 3-Point with Epiphone String Spacing bridge
  • Bass C Neck-Through neck
  • 20 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Gold Die Cast with Mini Clover Buttons tuners
  • Weight between 8.375lbs (3.8kgs) and 9.125lbs (4.1kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 78
Sound 71
Build quality 64
Value for money 71
Overall Score 71
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird
  • Expensive Wood
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Active Preamp
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $1300, which means that the Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird is within the average price asked for this kind of bass. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Not all instruments are created equally, and there are many important things they won't tell you about the one you're buying. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this bass say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird meets 4 out of our 6 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good bass to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this bass—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird weighs between 8.375lbs (3.8kgs) and 9.125lbs (4.1kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the instruments they sell.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's 34" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Scale Length Comparison
Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a long scale bass, and it's the most popular choice for several reasons. Even though it might be more difficult to play than short scale basses due to their increased string tension, their punchier low-end results in a clear and defined bass tone that can cut through in a mix, making them well-suited for genres like rock, metal, and funk.

Neck Profile

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Neck Profile
Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

However, Epiphone tends to be inconsistent with the shape and thickness of their necks. So two instruments, even if they're the same model, might have necks that feel different. It's been like this for a long time, and other brands don't have this problem.

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird has a 12.598" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's fretboard radius compared to others

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird has the same radius across the board.

Nut Width

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Nut Width
Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Nut Width

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird has a nut width of 41mm (1.614''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string bass. A narrow nut width can make it easier for players with smaller hands or shorter fingers to navigate the fretboard comfortably. However, the limited string spacing may pose challenges for slap bass techniques. Additionally, players with larger hands might find a narrow nut width uncomfortable and potentially lead to more accidental muting of neighboring strings.

Frets

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird has 20 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

Fret Size

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird Fret Size Comparison
Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 80
Playability 78

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Laurel Fretboard: There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies.

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

Preamp

The preamp is an electronic circuit that serves as an intermediary between the bass's pickups and the amplifier. Its primary function is to boost and shape the bass's raw signal before it reaches the amplifier. This allows for greater control over the bass's tone, volume, and other sound characteristics. Preamps often include tone controls, equalization settings, and sometimes even onboard effects, enabling bassists to tailor their sound to their preferences and the musical context.

This bass has a Passive preamp. A bass with a passive preamp lacks an onboard electronic circuit for tone shaping and signal boosting. Instead, it relies solely on passive pickups and basic tone controls, typically consisting of volume and tone knobs. Passive preamps don't require an external power source like batteries, making them low-maintenance and dependable. While they offer a simpler and more straightforward tonal character, passive basses are appreciated for their warm and vintage sound, often favored in genres like classic rock, blues, and funk. They are an excellent choice for musicians who value the simplicity and timeless appeal of their instrument's tone without the need for active electronic components.

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

Versatility

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body bass with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any bass for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 60
Sustain 70
Versatility 72
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 71

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Babicz FCH 3-Point with Epiphone String Spacing: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your bass. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird has a Brass nut. This material was more common in the 70s and 80s, but it was slowly replaced by Bone as the better material. This type of nut gives the guitar a brighter tone and more sustain for the open strings. However, it's one of the softest metals, so it will wear down eventually and doesn't have the slippery nature of Bone, which helps with tuning stability.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the bass meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This bass has a Neck-Through neck joint. Many people believe a neck-through build delivers the best sustain because some of the vibrations from the neck aren't lost like with other neck joints. However, no one has been able to prove this. What we know is that a neck-through build is usually the most comfortable when playing the upper frets because there's nothing on your way at the neck-body joint.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 46
Features 80
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 64

All Specs

Epiphone Rex Brown Thunderbird
General
Brand: Epiphone
Year: 2024
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Artist
Colors: Black
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Babicz FCH 3-Point with Epiphone String Spacing
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through
Tuners: Gold Die Cast with Mini Clover Buttons
Fretboard: Indian Laurel
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Dot
Scale Size: 34"
Shape: Bass C
Frets: 20 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12.598"
Nut: Brass
Nut Width: 41mm (1.614'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: ProBucker 760 Bass, Nickel Cover Plating (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: ProBucker 760 Bass, Nickel Cover Plating (Humbucker / Passive)

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