Mudbucker Replacing Epiphone T-Bird Neck Pickup, Any Tips?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Morosini, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Morosini


    Nov 2, 2018
    My first serious mod project will be on my epiphone thunderbird bass. I already replaced the knobs and bridge with a hipshot 3 point, and I also plan on turning it into a "fenderbird", but there are a gazillion videos on how to do that. I haven't been able to find someone though who has put a mud bucker in the neck of a t-bird, or just in a t-bird in general. I have all the soldering equipment as my dad has done mods before, but I'm just here for any tips. Mudbucker size is just like any normal Epiphone/Gibson mud bucker.
  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    One word: don't. Do your research on Google. There are several T-bird sized replacement pickups from various manufacturers that will get you the tone you want in the stock positions. If you rout for a pickup too close to the neck and are not careful, you will compromise the structural integrity of the body.
  3. Morosini


    Nov 2, 2018
    got links to any pickups?
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
  5. Morosini


    Nov 2, 2018
    I wouldn’t be placing the mud bucker right next to the next, I would just put it where the stock neck pickup is, probably won’t do any sanding either. So I don’t see how it could mess up the structure.
  6. Morosini


    Nov 2, 2018

  7. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    this is all the more reason to not rout out a different shape, which the mudbucker may not cover the original rout, and especially with the Barts, you can get a deep tone but still retain definition.
  8. Morosini


    Nov 2, 2018
    thanks for advice! I’ll do some research, see if the MB can route correctly, if not I’ll go for something else.
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Hopefully it’s obvious that wood removal will be required, as the pickup shapes are different.

    What may be a little less obvious is the possibility of the mudbucker not completely covering the hole left from the original pickup. This is purely cosmetic.

    What’s apparently not obvious at all is how it will sound, both on its own and when combined with the other pickup. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why somebody would want to put the woofiest pickup known to man in the woofiest spot on an instrument. Well, not quite the woofiest; that would be jammed right up against the neck....

    Then again, I am a huge lover of top-end zing, and pickups with lots of upper-frequency clarity. I love pickups right up against the neck, as long as they are bright, clear pickups.

    Anyway, if you really want to do this, it won’t pose any real structural issue. The amount of wood removal will be small, and the Thunderbird “neck” pickup isn’t very close to the end of the neck.
  10. Morosini


    Nov 2, 2018
    thanks for advice. Tbh, I like zingy basses too, as I wouldn’t get Dunlop superbrights every time I get new strings. However, mudbuckers aren’t all muffle sounding, especially if the bass is long scale as the punch is not that of the typical mudbucker and short scale combo you see on EB basses.
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Oddly, I don’t find Dunlop Super Brights to be very bright. I have no idea why they named them that. I’m a DR HiBeam guy.

    Mine sure was. I couldn’t pull it out fast enough. It was mounted in a 34” scale (“long scale”) bass, right around the middle, approximately where a P bass pickup would be, and not too far from where your Thunderbird “neck” pickup is, and it still sounded like complete ass. It was an Artec version, not a true Gibson, because the Artec is $ and not $$$$$, and the Artec is a reasonably faithful copy.

    I very quickly replaced it with a Novak EB-BS.

    Which brings up a good point: exactly which “mudbucker” do you plan on using?
    dkelley likes this.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I think the reason why you don’t see anyone doing it is because it doesn’t make sense from a tone perspective to do that mod.
    Beej, MCF and dkelley like this.
  13. Your installing a mudbucker?...
    On purpose?....... o_O
    Squittolo, squarepeg, Beej and 3 others like this.
  14. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    Something I think the OP may be missing is that a mudbucker is a different size configuration than the stock T-bird pickups. This will require woodwork. If the stock pickups are not pleasing, I can HIGHLY recommend the Mike Lull t-bird pickups. Pricey, yes. But when you consider what woodwork will cost you and the risk that comes with it, I would consider the Lull pickups as a really good deal. :)
    40Hz and MCF like this.
  15. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    This plan sounds like heresy! ;) What is wrong with the stock neck pickup?

    Disclaimer: I love the tone of Thunderbird pickups. I just cannot deal with the ergonomics of the bass body.
  16. Copperhead

    Copperhead Still creakin' around. Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2018
    Something that bears mentioning is most mudbucker style pickups are narrow scale pole piece spacing.
  17. LoL - funny responses. I too hate mudbuckers. But, if you want that deep dead sort of tone, it must be closer to the neck, also, based on everything I've ever read about them when folks have moved them further from the neck.

    They really seem to be best when setup in tandem with a brighter bridge or middle pickup. at least that is my opinion since I really really do not like that tone on it's own, a real mudbucker on a gibson in the real neck position - it's just not my thing. But it can be ok with the bridge pickup, for sure.
    Beej likes this.
  18. thetragichero


    Jan 4, 2019
    1591403244513.jpg I've started working on a thunderbird build that will feature a jazz bridge pickup (and dummy coil) along with a mudbucker in the p position or wherever it fits, with a series/parallel switch. single volume and tone with a blend. mudbucker is supposed to play well with fuzz
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  19. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    One option that would be in the spirit of the mudbucker is using Nordstrand Zen Blades (or Q-Tuners). They’re sidewinders, like mudbucker, but more modern and refined. I think they’d also fit the Thunderbird cavities better. In fact, I believe some Thunderbird pickups were sidewinders, I think during Bill Lawrence’s time at Gibson.

    If you want a deep tone, just use a really large value capacitor, like .1uF...
  20. Iristone


    Jul 8, 2017
    I'll go against the grain and really like the top end from a non-choked mudbucker (I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but think the bright position of an EB-2). But I won't sacrifice a perfectly good Thunderbird pickup for it.
    Also the Artec is a pretty bad mudbucker. Very sloppy build quality, the magnets will fall out - which is actually a good thing, since you can flip them into the right direction, instead of what they were randomly slapped on. :facepalm:
    kodiakblair likes this.