epi thunderbird pickup options?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by keigan, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. I recently bought an Epiphone TBird as my first bass. I bought it because in my price range, it had the most aggressive sound. Since I don't know how to play anything yet I can't say that I am partial to any particular style or genre. I do, however, lean towards modern rock - anything from ska/reggae to Gov't Mule to I Mother Earth (their bass player is underappreciated IMO!) to metal. I guess what I am looking for in a pickup is clarity and aggressive tone to compliment and snarl and growl through a lush posthardcore/thrash guitar sound when I jam with friends.

    As for my setup, I've got a Line6 Lowdown Studio 110 (75w 1x10") amp and I picked up a Fender Platinum Premium bass cable to replace the short freebie cord the shop threw in. I live in an apartment, so when I'm playing with headphones on I use Grado SR60s.

    I'm pretty satisfied with what I've got - at my level it's far beyond what I thought I needed, but I tried to pick up what I *know* will last for years and won't grow out of too quick. I'll look for the same quality in pickups and other electronics mods. My ideal situation is to create a fearsome beast from the bass I've got before going out and spending thousands on my next baby. I have no complaints about the quality of the stock pups or the sound they produce...I don't know any better, after all. I am, however, convinced i can improve the bird and am compelled to seek out the most perfect, crisp, growling, sexy tone I can...and so I will be tweaking everything, forever, whether it's "necessary" or not.

    One part of the rig that I am curious about upgrading though is electronics - the pickups in particular. Since the bass is cheap in price, I assume there are more substantial pieces available. I've been browsing manufacturer websites, and it doesn't look like many of the big-name manufacturers carry a perfect fit for this particular bass...am I right?

    I found this thread (from more than a year ago) which proves there is some interest in the matter, so I'm curious about whether or not anyone has swapped pups on their own thunderbird or perhaps has heard of someone else doing so. I also saw a picture of a Nikki Sixx T-bird with EMGs, and a few people on other forums have said that EMG has a model that will fit . I however haven't found an exact size/shape match. They don't seem to carry a 3-screw model either (not that that matters, I assume it wouldn't be too tough for the shop to drill a new hole...I just don't really want to alter the body much more than that).

    Also, Bartolini has a model called the T4 "Old Thunderbird shape" which may fit - I'll look into them as well, I've read that Bartolinis sound quite satisfying.

    Anyone with any info about replacement pups, electronics, etc. for the T-bird, please don't hesitate to educate me. I'm brand new, so every bit of information you can give is useful!

    Thanx in advance! :hyper:


    Stock Thunderbird IV pickup dimensions: 3.8*"Lx1.5"W
  2. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    There are a couple threads in the bass section like the Tbird club and others, that they go off on a tangent and talk about different pickups for the birds..that is correct though, the EMG size is smaller, and other manufacturers make drop ins as well so there is no gap, and you don't need a trim ring to make up the difference..

    heres a pic of my EPIbird, and my DFBB, with the EMG "standard size" ( those are not EMG though ) ...I'm sure others will post with links to the various places that sell replacements.

  3. :oops: t-bird club?! where do i sign up!? (...he asked rhetorically before finding out on his own...)
  4. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    oh hell theres the epiphone and thunderbird large threads, and soooooo many other ones.. heres the tbirdclub:


    here's the epiphone tbird club ( one of the older ones ):


    here's one called EMG's in a tbird:


    when you search the main forums, use thunderbird and tbird and t-bird...etc, cause so many of them are spelled differently. I have them saved cause as you can see I own a few birds :)
  5. thanks! i've posted to join the clubs. unfortunately, though, the "emgs in a tbird" thread doesn't give much conclusive information about the subject. there are a few suggested pickups which i will look into, though, that i hadn't already seen elsewhere. i guess i'll do my best to make this the definitive t-bird pickup thread and post all my findings and throw a link in my sig once i've dug deep enough to help. meanwhile, anyone with any info, please feel free to contribute!!!
  6. **just dug this one up, apparently i started a thread about this matter a while back and was given this response by user Kyral210(the op from the inconclusive thread from the post above, link#3). i messaged him to see if he'd post more info here. in response to the strings part of his, i've only had it for a few months and as such haven't opted to swap the strings yet, but the shop threw in a set of ernie ball power slinkys (not to mention a pro setup) for free when i picked up my bass/case/amp. i can hardly wait to try them. i'll definitely look into the rest of your recommendations...thanks!!!
  7. 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 23, 2021

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