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1998 Orville Thunderbird IV Bass Sunburst, Gibson-made, Japan Terada


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Up for sale, a 1998 Orville Thunderbird IV bass in perfect working order, complete with the original form-fit gigbag. Produced as a result of a partnership between Gibson USA and their Japanese distributor Yamano Gakki, the Orville instruments are genuine Gibson products which were made exclusively for the Japanese domestic market, deriving their name from Gibson's founder, Orville Gibson.

Tonewoods include a mahogany body and neck capped with a rosewood fingerboard, yielding a broad, warm natural acoustic tone. Both humbuckers meter at a robust 9.7k ohms, offering thick bass register growl and articulate treble grind with plenty of punch. This T-Bird weighs 9lbs 4oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 45-105 roundwound strings, comfortable action, and spot-on intonation.

The mahogany neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve with lightly rolled fretboard edges and nicely rounded shoulders, measuring .835” deep at the 1st fret and 1.005” at the 12th. The slab rosewood fretboard has a 12” radius with flawless medium jumbo fretwire, ostensibly lightly leveled and crowned in the instrument's lifetime. The bass plays cleanly up the 34” scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1 1/2” in width, upgraded to a hand-carved piece of bone. The headstock face matches the classic Gibson shape with a carved, three-dimensional appearance and matching truss rod cover with gold "Orville" silkscreen. The clover-button tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with a light dusting of patina on the nickel-plated buttons, and the inked J8-prefix serial number dates the instrument to 1998 and is reflective of Terada factory manufacture.

There is a very small partial split along the bass-side edge of the headstock joint, professionally addressed, smooth to the touch, and very stable at full string tension.

All of the electronics work as intended, with the humbuckers wired to the stock harness with untouched solder joints. The pickups have dedicated Volume knobs and a Master Tone, with a trio of modern reflector cap knobs. The one-ply white pickguard retains its clean Thunderbird graphic. Hardware includes the nickel-plated pickup covers, pickup surrounds, and three-point bridge; all of which display a light dusting of patina.

The rich two-tone Sunburst gloss exhibits a few finish chips adjacent to the rear strap button and input jack, light wear central to the waist on the back that falls short of full-on “buckle rash,” and a number of faint scratches and small marks on the body as a whole. The smooth gloss finish on the neck has a handful of shallow dings along the profile length, particularly concentrated behind frets 7-8, none of which affect playability.

The original “Orville by Gibson”-branded faux leather form-fit gigbag is included