"Activate" a Gibson Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Figas, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Figas


    Sep 8, 2008
    Greetings!! Is it possible to mod my Gibson Thunderbird Studio 5 to active BUT keeping the original pickups?

    Its not that the beast needs more output or something like that. Just that I have a korean Tobias since years, and I'm kinda having a hard time to get used to passive circuitry..

    Putting it more practical, I think I really need to have separate bass/treble knobs, so that I can boost/cut whichever I'd like without compromising the other. I believe the Tbird pups have the ability to do that, but the toke knob only gives You either bass or treble..

  2. magik_obscura


    May 30, 2008
    an audere preamp uses passive pickups, they have quite a lot of options to pick from too.

    i just 'activated' my sg reissue and i'm really liking it, keeps the tone i liked but gives more options in shaping it
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Sure, there are lots and lots of preamps out there that can bee added on, and the vast majority of them work just fine with passive pickups like those in your T-bird. Have a look in the "Bass Preamps" section of a retailer like bestbassgear.com to get a sampling.

  4. Figas


    Sep 8, 2008
    Thank You for Your replies! After checking bestbassgear, I'm not being able to decide between the Audere Classic4B and the Bartolini 3.3 A/P, mainly because Audere offers more tone control (treble, bass AND 2 mids) and Bartolini offers active/passive control.

    I tend to go for the Bartolini one, since I'd like to have the active/passive option, and i don't really feel the need to have midrange control.
    My biggest issue is, as I've said before, I'd like to preserve the original pups and respective tone. Just want to get a bit more out of them, and I don't know if the bartolini preamp will ruin their sound.

    Another thing: thunderbirds originaly have one tone control knob. If I install the bartolini, and run the bass in passive, how will I be able to control the tone? Do the bass/treble knobs work the same way as in active mode?

    Thanks again, in advance!!
  5. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    use a concentric pot for bass and treble control. If Bartolini doesn't have them available you can get them from EMG. If you want tone control while in passive mode, you'll need to drill a hole for another pot.