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History of Thunderbird pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by uOpt, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
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    I couldn't gather this from the web. Polling forum wisdom.

    The Thunderbird pickup design changed a couple of times. Does anybody have details about when what changes happened:
    • The first construction IIRC was flat-lying coils with a bar magnet inside the coils (which means no polepieces), using Alnico. Just like the Firebird pickups
    • Then there are additional plates of magnetic material (steel?) that reshape the magnetic field
    • That seem to have change to various other humbucker constructions. This photo of a 1992 points to passively magnetic polepieces in the coils and magnet(s) on the bottom
      http://forums.vintageguitarandbass.com/showthread.php?432-Thunderbird-Bass-Pickups
    • Today's pickups are ceramics. When did that start? With the 1987 reissues?

    This is a great post, which I might want to bump later.
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/gibson-thunderbird-old-vs-new-760804/#post10747632

    Unfortunately it isn't clear on which variants of Thunderbird humbuckers had upright coils and which one had face-to-face coils. Anyone knows?

    As a mildly crazy question, how close would the Carvin soapbars (the ceramic humbucker version) come to current production Thunderbird sounds? I would be interested but since Carvin has decided not to make their soapbars compatible with regular Thunderbird style soapbars you'd be stuck with theirs.

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