Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

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Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by The Chad on Tue May 17, 2011 9:28 am

I'm going to see a Pearl White Thunder IIa this week sometime, it was in our local Craigslist a couple months ago. I contacted the guy again yesterday to see if he'd sold it yet, and he still has it. I'll play it, and if I like it, it'll be an early (and very nice) birthday gift. Very Happy

I'd read some posts here and there that complain about the Thunder's sound (dealing with the active and passive modes). Anyone who owns one or has personally played one... what do you think about thier sound? I'm a player, not just collector, so I'd be using the guitar on stage often. Whereas I get down and distorted in my band, I really need something that can do warm and sweet for cleans as well, and I'm a neck pickup kind of guy.

What are your experiences, what should I be looking out for? I read the active circuit is different from how they are nowadays, but I don't know anything more than that. Any info apprectiated!

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by Westbone on Tue May 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Presume you mean version II, with a set neck?

You will not be disappointed.
I'm not a big fan of a load of switches but very decent sounds can be had in both modes, pass/act.
MMK 53 pups, coil tap, phase, You'll love it. Quite rare as well.
I've 1 active version and 2 passive all midnight blue.
GET IT man.
Is this the model you mean? The pearl white goes a nice ivory colour over time.





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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by The Chad on Tue May 17, 2011 2:49 pm

Dig that color Westbone, and that's it! Cool That blue is too cool. This white one doesn't have the birdie logo (which I love and wish it had), it's the dumb old style script. The seller thought it was thru-neck, I explained the masterful set neck that Westone did. I think I stole a photo of it from Craigslist...



Yep, there it is. It's tough to take a test drive of a guitar, because you can't really play with it enough to get a real good feel and you're too excited to be majorly objective! To look at it, it reminds of a good warm tone instrument. But maybe the style is decieving? So how do you like the tone? I've never heard the MMK53's before, but I love the 45's. I have some bright sounding guitars, I want a little deeper warm tone now. Like a Prestige. Laughing I'll keep dreaming about that, but how does the active circuit work in this thing, anyway? I read that the pickups are the same as the non-active Thunders, is that true?

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by Westbone on Tue May 17, 2011 3:05 pm

http://archive.westoneguitars.net/cats/82/05.html

Brilliant pups, There's just about every tone you like from these guitars. Nice scale to.
I dont think you'll be dissapointed. Smile
That's an early one with the script logo.
How much? cheap/reasonable/exspensive?

Oh yeah, check the swiftlock tailpiece for hairline cracks, on the top, on the A+B strings

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by Iceman on Tue May 17, 2011 3:10 pm

Go Chad Go!! bounce

Looks pretty sweet to me. Hope it plays well and works out in your favor.

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by The Chad on Tue May 17, 2011 3:24 pm

Thanks a lot for the info and opinion, first hand advice is certainly worth it's weight in gold. Love this forum, we're all so open and honest about things.

I was too dim to realize the HF530's were the same as 53's. Laughing I'll look for the hairline cracks on the Swiftlock. Even if it is cracked, I can just hire Iceman to machine me a new one!!!

The seller doesn't know what to charge, he said to "make an offer". Heck, I don't even know what he should charge. I Googled around and saw that they go from $150 up to $300 mint (here in the States anyway). I'll check it out in the next couple of days and see the condition. And if all the electronics work. The guitar is only about 15 minutes away from me, which is great. What do ya'll think I should offer him for price on this Thunder IIa? Remember to post really low numbers, just in case the seller is reading this... lol!

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by Westbone on Tue May 17, 2011 3:41 pm

The difference between MMk 53's and MMK 75's are the magnets. Alnico 5(53's), alnico 2(75's) Bit more attack than the 2's.
If I remember rightly the phase switch only works with both pups on together, so don't think it's broke.
Depending on condition, i,ve paid 150, with original case , 75. with original case and 92 without a case. The active was 75. Went to buy a bass(Westone) and came away with this as well. Both for 150. Result.
Take a couple of good batteries with you, to test the active's.

They're a real nice guitar and quite rare, that's why you don't hear much about them. To produce these now would be a good few bucks.
Good luck. Twisted Evil


Last edited by Westbone on Tue May 17, 2011 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by The Chad on Tue May 17, 2011 3:44 pm

Ah, batteries! Would have forgotten that, good call!!! And good to know on the phase switch.

Well I feel a lot more armed and prepared now, thanks again. Cool

I'll let you know the outcome!

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by Steve777 on Tue May 17, 2011 4:48 pm

I've got the pearl white version but the later one as per Westbone's. Fantastic guitar, nice chunky neck with plenty of sustain. The range of tones is wide so be prepared to experiment. I agree about the Swiftlok although I've never had one break.

As for Pearl white, yes it is pearl, but white? Unless it's been hidden under wraps for 30 years, it will have mellowed into a vintage yellow/ cream / light custard colour. Think of 40 year old edge binding and you'll be close. The rosewood fretboard shows up nicely against this.

Enjoy !

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by The Chad on Fri May 20, 2011 10:51 am

Well I haven't seen her yet but will go this Sunday afternoon. Cool I'll take pics up close of anything that I think may not be original so you Thunder owners can give your 2 cents.

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by The Chad on Mon May 23, 2011 2:51 pm

Update and review. So I saw it last Sunday, and wow, nice guitars are the Thunder IIa's!!! Cool Very impressed with them, they're sweet sounding and well built instruments.

Surprised me how meaty and heavy it was, and it felt really nice. I liked it's feel better than my FX, actually. Neck is not very chunky, on the thinner side which is nice. Sounded great, you all were right as usual, didn't disappoint. Very Happy Large array of tones at your disposal. Phase wasn't as effective as my Dynasty's is. The Dynasty phase will quack with an amazing thin funk sound that I love to use on my gospel songs at church, but the Thunder's phase was not nearly as noticable and therefore probably not very useful. The active option is a little different too, didn't care for it a whole lot but I probably would if I were to take time to play with it. Sure makes it a LOT more thunderously loud and driven as its name implies. Through a good amp (the seller seems to really know his stuff about amps, and he had some sweet ones), it had an outstanding and very appealing warm vintage sound. Now that I've experienced one, I am very impressed with the Thunder IIa. And I want one very much.

Sadly, I didn't buy it. He wants $300 for it, and my Wife won't let me got that high right now (especially after buying the Atak 2 Laughing ). It may be priced too high for the condition, as well. Overall it's in good condition, but it's very yellowed and a bit banged up. Some immediately noticable big scratches in it, and a bunch of smaller scratches scattered throughout, definately not near mint or close to it. It's a guitar you wouldn't be afraid to play out with. Overall it's original and in good playable condition. It looks like an old yellowed guitar that was barely played by the previous owner, but roughly and carelessly handled when it was played. Suspect Maybe not kept in the case much? Which is sad. Stupid people. Take care of your stuff people, keep it nice! Mad

The seller is a great guy, real knowledgable and personable, he'd recently bought the Thunder but prefers single coils so he's selling it. I'd like to buy this from him buy that's too much right now. Maybe in the future if he still has it?

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

Post by Steve777 on Mon May 23, 2011 6:31 pm

Chad, all the ones I have seen are yellowish including the mint one I have. I guess you either like it or loathe it. It would be interesting to know whether they were white or yellowish originally.

Perhaps Tom can help us out there!

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Re: Pearl White Thunder IIa, your thoughts...

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