Replacement pickups for a Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kleingeld, Dec 1, 2012.


  1. kleingeld

    kleingeld Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hi all. Sorry if this is discussed somewhere else. I searched for this topic but couldn't find it anywhere.

    I'm considering replacing the pups on my '01 Gibson Thunderbird and want advice on what to look into. The stock pups are just to muddy for me. I love the bass itself. It's nice and light, comfortable, and cool. I love the deep bottom, but there isn't enough clarity or definition for me. My usual bass to play live is a Fender American Deluxe Precision. Played side-by-side, the Thunderbird just sounds . . . well . . . muddy.

    I'd like to keep the bass passive, so I'm looking for passive pups that fit in a Tbird that provide better clarity and definition than the stock pups. I've seen the EMG TBHZ pickup. Anyone have experience with those? Any other suggestions?

    Thank you! :bassist:
  2. kleingeld

    kleingeld Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    You know what, let me know about active sets too. I'd consider making the bass active in order to get the right sound. Thanks.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Cheap: Duncan SSB

    Not cheap: SGD Neobuckers in a 35 shell (but there's a wait). ThunderBucker Ranch. Jason Lollar. Nordstrand Big Splits in a 35 shell.

    The EMG 35 isn't a dead-on perfect match for your original cavities - take careful measurements before you throw money at them.

    I'll buy your Gibby pups.
  4. stiles72

    stiles72

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Albany IL
    Thunderbuckers, Mike Lull, Jason Lollar, EMG, Bartolini, lot's of options for TB pickups these days. I installed a Lull in the bridge of my Epi TB and it really brought out some ringing piano tones.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. kleingeld

    kleingeld Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Thanks for the info. Any description of the tonal characteristics of the options would be appreciated. For example, I have Bartolinis on one bass and EMGs on another and they sound completely different. I'm intruiged by the SGDs, but don't know enough about their sound to plunk down $200 for a set. What makes Thunderbuckers different from Mike Lulls, different from Jason Lollar, etc?
  7. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    I have Thunderbucker '66's in a bass and really like them. They have lots of low end and are a little muted on top. As with other humbuckers, they can sound a little hollow/boxy in some situations.

    EMG makes a jazz pickup in a thunderbird shell. Sacrilege, I know, but I am curious...
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Disclosures:
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    They aren't on the website, but I can now make them in metal T-bird covers, in chrome or gold. :D

    [​IMG]

    And yes, there is a bit of a wait.
  9. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida Swamp
    Disclosures:
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Steve (ThunderBucker) winds 63 spec, 66 spec and MAX(ultimate high output) that are exact replacements for vintage. I believe he's the only one doing this. All his work is done in house, including covers. Again, no one else is doing this to my knowledge. I'm his consultant and OEM customer. Initial cloning work was done with 6 of my vintage 60s Thunderbirds pickups. 63 spec are the equivalent of what's in a Reverse 63-65TBird, 66 are 65-68 Non Reverse type. One month money back trial period.
    http://thunderbuckerranch.com
    [​IMG]
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Disclosures:
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Jason Lollar also makes vintage correct T-bird pickups and makes the bobbins and covers in house.

    http://www.lollarguitars.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=270
  11. aquateen

    aquateen

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Location:
    maryland
    those look very nice!
  12. cvogel

    cvogel

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hows the fit for the chrome covers on an Epiphone?
  13. Toptube

    Toptube

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    I ordered some Lollar TB pickups in black chrome on Monday. I didn't realize they are also in Washington, I should be getting them tomorrow!

    Based only on the officially available sound samples from both brands, the Lollar pickups sound more like a Non-Reverse (like, very VERY similar) than the Thunderbuckers.

    One of my two inspirations to play bass is a Non-reverse TB player. She's got two of them :hyper: Its a sound/tone I'm very familiar with.

    There is something special about the low end in the attack. Its buttery and tubby. Warm, but not boomy Seems to get around fret clack, while still staying "open" in the upper frequencies. They still have plenty of bark and clarity, but don't seem to be as crunchy up top as some of the other thunderbirds.

    I will be sure to post up first hand impressions once I've wired them up and tried out a few different strings! FYI, they are not going into any kind of Thunderbird >_>
  14. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Here is a short video clip of me in the studio with my Cataldo Basses NR Thunderbird with a Thunderbucker Max. The tone speaks for itself! I had my choice that day of the Thunderbucker Max equipped Cataldo NR or one of my '60's NRs. The Thunderbuckers really nail the 60's Thunderbird tone. The Cataldo was a wise choice ;) The song is not mixed yet still lots of work to do.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=474153225956006&set=vb.98848571338&type=2&theater[​IMG]
  15. Toptube

    Toptube

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    that bass, amp, and pickups sound really good! What strings are you using?



    * got my black chrome Lollars today. Man they are beautifully made.
  16. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida Swamp
    Disclosures:
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    I built Scott's God of Thunder Siggy NR with a single ThunderBucker MAX pickup. Since I didn't have his preferred Rotosounds in stock and knew he had some sets I sent it with the strings used to set it up...$10 Allparts nickel 45-105s. I liked the way they sounded and wanted to get his opinion. Obviously he likes them!
    [​IMG]
  17. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Would you Believe Allparts round wounds 45-105? They came stock on the Cataldo NR!
  18. Toptube

    Toptube

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Cool! I'm a fan of Webstrings's nickels, so it doesn't sound as crazy to me as you might think!
  19. Harper

    Harper

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001

    SWEET JESUS! I'm generally not one to geek out over "bass porn," but that is a beautiful instrument!
  20. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    Have to agree. That is quite the looker.
  21. webelo

    webelo

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Douglas, MA
    +1 to this.

    I have a set of Thunderbucker '66s in my J. They are amazing.

Share This Page