Tym T-Byrd: back from the dead.

The mighty T-Byrd rises from the ashes like a phoenix… or some sort of… er… fyrbyrd!

Most of you are aware of my beautiful custom made Tym T-Byrd bass, which I’ve previously explained in depth in one of the first guitarnerd stories. (Check it out here.) What you mightn’t know is that it’s been out of action for nearly 2 years. Back in 2007, my band Sixfthick was busily touring Europe, zig-zagging between towns and unleashing our special kind of Aussie skronk onto the poor unsuspecting Europeans. Halfway through our tour we were playing a tiny club in Madrid, Spain.

When I say club, I mean a rehearsal studio with a bar that was filled with delicious icy cold Heinekens. Fueled by said Heinekens and spurred on by the crazy Spaniards, I spun around a little too quickly mid-song and smacked the T-Byrd’s headstock into my drummer’s cymbal stand. I hear a loud ‘crack’ and looked down quickly to see the damage. Seeing that my headstock wasn’t snapped off, just chipped, I continued playing and finished the set. You can see the damage on the shot below…

After the show I noticed that the red paint on the back of the T-Byrd’s neck was finely cracked behind the nut. It just looked like paint stress, and I thought maybe the neck had bent a little and the paint had freaked out slightly. The tuning stayed fine for the rest of the tour and the bass made it safely home. Over the next year, the paint cracks grew worse the more I played the bass. I took the bass with me to Europe in 2008 on our next tour, and again… the paint cracks grew a little worse but it stayed in tune great. I knew something had to be going on under that red paint.

As soon as I got back from tour, I brought the T-Byrd to Tym’s to have a look at when he got some time. I wasn’t in a hurry as I’d just gotten a beautiful Ibanez Black Eagle, which became my main bass in 2009. By the time Tim had a look at the T-Byrd, the headstock was basically separating from the fretboard. When I saw this, I was a bit distraught as I’ve NEVER broken a guitar before and this bass was very special to me, as Tim & I had developed it from scratch. It was a one off… my one off. Tim offered to build a new neck, but I said ‘nah…’ as I’d worn in the neck over the years and it fit like a glove.

Tim got to work and inserted some splints, glued it up, painted it and handed her back to me in time for some Melbourne shows I had coming up. It was a great feeling to have her strapped around my neck after over a year.

It’s weird… I’d forgotten how goddamn COOL this bass is. It really suits my playing style, and the modern/retro design is very special to me. Although she’s a custom one off, I don’t take it easy on her… it’s impossible to in a band like Sixfthick. The amount of chips, scratches and cracks attest to that.

You can see here where the strings have been slammed so hard they’ve dug into the scratch plate. I have no idea how this happened, but I’m guessing it was fun and totally called for.

This is a bit of paint missing from the T-Byrds lower offset bout. I have a feeling this happened in Caen, France. I was playing in a tiny club with no stage and the only spot for me to stand was in front of the drum kit, on the floor. Mid-set, an over enthusiastic French punk tripped and slammed me backwards into the drum-kit. It’s ok, my spine took most of the impact.

Tim did a great job on the repair. I’d read stories in the past where musicians have said that their guitars sounded better after a neck repair. I always thought that was crap… but now I’m not so sure. She sounds GREAT. Heaps of sustain, big ringing notes. Maybe that extra wood, glue and paint has magical wizard-like properties.

The custom aluminium hardware on the headstock is also working a treat. The nut & string tree have never let me down, and I also think they look hell cool, all shiny & silver like that. The only problem I’ve ever had was after I cracked the headstock in Spain, at our next show in France I noticed the phillips-head screw holding the D string tuner had disappeared and the tuning gear fell off as soon as I tried tuning it, so I borrowed the support band’s P-Bass that night. The next day I searched all over Lorient, which is a tiny fishing town for a screw that would fit my bass. Finally I found a guitar repairer who charged me 10 Euro for one screw!!! That’s nearly 20 dollars Australian! I was furious but the bastard knew he had me by the balls, as he was the only one in town with that type of screw and I had a gig that night. Prick.

Anyway… she’s now back to being my #1 bass, and is now geared up for many more years of use & abuse. First gig back in action, an old rocker comes up to me and says “Man… what the hell is that thing?! Is that a Maton?!”. That was music to my ears. I never get that reaction to my other basses. Thanks Tym Guitars for building her and bringing her back from the dead.

Here’s Sixfthick (and the T-Byrd) in action in France. Enjoy