Epi T-bird pickup advice

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by IzzySuite, Jun 29, 2016.


  1. IzzySuite

    IzzySuite

    Jun 20, 2016
    Hi everyone. I need some advice. I've never been much of a sound guy, just plug into whatevs & go. Gettin' snobbier in my old age now lol. I have an old Epiphone Thunderbird bass & decided to pull the frets & make it a fretless. Never really played one, wanted to, and this thing was the perfect opportunity to satisfy my need to do something with this bass AND gain something unique in return. (I will be the first to cede that it may be unique only because no one else would ever want one LOL).

    I've got the frets off, filled & sanded. While Im mucking with that, I started tinkering with the guts & thot maybe a change there would be beneficial. To the guys & gals who are in to this kinda stuff, any suggestions for what to replace the pickups with, brand/model etc? Or maybe it'll sound just fine as it is. I do like the growl of the tbird (even the epi).

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. A lot of people seem to really like Thunderbucker 66's. Not cheap at $340 for a pair though.

    ThunderBucker Ranch
     
  3. Leiria

    Leiria

    May 21, 2015
    @Gaolee has a fretless TBird so hes probably the best person to speak to

    Edit: if you want to talk ThunderBuckers Im sure @Dadagoboi will tell you everything you need to know
     
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Anything EMG35-shaped will fit, though there will be a bit of a gap, as the original Epi pickups are slightly larger. But there are lots of choices in the 35 size. Even some in the Classifieds here!
     
  5. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    My fretless 'Bird started life as a Pro IV with active circuitry. I didn't like the preamp very much, and for whatever reason, the pickups didn't work right without it. Probably the dimwit (me) who rewired it. At any rate, I had put Lace Alumatone pickups in a project guitar and liked them very much. They are an odd design and don't work like most pickups. I'm not sure how they work, but they don't seem to have magnets. They change character as you raise and lower them. The closer to the strings you get, the more scooped and modern they sound. Farther away and they get thumpier. They also act a little like piezo pickups in that they have a somewhat acoustic quality to them. It isn't an upright bass acoustic quality though. They are hard to describe and completely unique. They aren't for everyone, but I sure like them, especially on the fretless 'Bird.
     
    Leiria likes this.
  6. Blaargh

    Blaargh

    Apr 4, 2016
    As far as I understand the magnets are in the casing, as it were (the casing being an integral part of the design). There's basically no coils though.

    Those grey strips are the magnets.
     
  7. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Interesting. I can say for sure that they work. My take on the sound in a guitar is that they are somewhere between a single coil and a P-90, with more bass and more treble. They are balanced and transparent. Bass is harder to describe. They are not boomy at all, but have plenty of bass. Like anything related to music, it's pretty tough to describe in words. I can say for sure they don't sound like the usual Thunderbird pickup.
     
  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I'll just leave this here.

    IMG_1125.jpg

    :cool:
     
    mcnayster, Blaargh and Leiria like this.
  9. Leiria

    Leiria

    May 21, 2015
    Sound clips, please?
     
  10. You should definitely try out different strings before gutting things.
     
    Leiria likes this.
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Don't think I have any, but I might record some tomorrow.
     
    Leiria likes this.
  12. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I've got a set of Thunderbuckers in a bass. I also have basses with TB-Plus pickups and an actual Thunderbird-Pro with its active circuit and T-Pro pickups. As a predominantly Fender player, they all sound a little muted/muffled in the top end. I have found that experimenting with strings is FAR more beneficial than experimenting with pickups.

    Not knocking the sound of a Thunderbird at all - I have four - but they don't have the top end like a Fender, and that is an adjustment for me. For me, it really comes down to strings. In general, I like SS over NPS on these basses.
     
  13. IzzySuite

    IzzySuite

    Jun 20, 2016
    Thank you all for the advice! (& thank you all for not bashing the Epi LOL). I like the idea of playing with the strings first. I agree, my main workhorse is a Fender, & nothing I have comes closer to "my" sound than that, especially the T-Bird. Strings are an easy thing to play around with.

    BEAUTIFUL T-Bird in the pic up there!
     
    RedVee and ctmullins like this.
  14. depalm

    depalm

    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    I own a Lull T-Bass 4 and love its pickups. They're a replica of a 1964 set, reverse engineered and sound absolutely beautiful.
     
    IzzySuite likes this.
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 21, 2021

Share This Page