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P-bass with T-bird pickups- Crazy idea?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rip Topaz, Mar 17, 2013.


  1. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I was a big fan of Thunderbird basses until a back injury a few years back forced me to switch to a better balanced bass.

    After trying a million basses, I ended up with P-basses. I've got 3 at the moment, plus a J copy. Here's my thought:

    I've got my main P, a split coil. I've also got an SX Ursa 2, so that covers the J-bass tone. My third in line is a Dillion SCPB, but it just doesn't get as much play anymore because its tone doesn't compare to the other two.

    I'm wondering if I installed the pickups from my old Epi bird, in the same relative spacing as a T-bird, would it give me close to the 'bird sound? I realize there are wood and body shape differences but if the pickups are in the same relative spot as the Epi, would the tone be close to a T-bird?

    Plus, a two humbucker tele bass would be badass.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Yeah, you crazy.
    Seriously, sure, why not? Give it a shot. I can't see a down side, It may not turn out like you would hope, but I can't see it sounding like crap if you already like the T-bird p'ups.
     
  3. Rosebud

    Rosebud

    Jan 3, 2007
  4. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Very similar, indeed. Though I'm gonna go with both pickups.

    Now, should I put the neck pickup in the normal "P" spot and the bridge in the T-bird bridge spot?
     
  5. Rosebud

    Rosebud

    Jan 3, 2007
    check out down the page of that link he has some with 2 T-bird pickups, maybe you can get some ideas from where he put those pickups, I'm really not sure never having played a Thunderbird...
     
  6. Isn't Pino Palladino using a Fender custom shop p-bass with 2 T-bird pups with the Who? I thought I saw a pic of it around here. It must sound massive!
     
  7. temmrich

    temmrich

    Jan 29, 2012
    Dayton, Ohio
    How about a Lakland Decade, it's kind of similar.
     
  8. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    So I'm not crazy, then. Good to know. :)
     
  9. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    D9AA3E15-AB5A-4A7D-8660-7364115B9F1F-789-00000049D81CFDCE_zpsc50a33c9.
     
  10. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    That would be it. Thanks.
     
  11. millahh

    millahh Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Hoboken
    Amazingly, I don't have a picture of it, but I've got a P (assembled from Squier and Fender parts) with a quarter pounder for the P, and an Epi T-bird pickup immediately at the back edge of the pickguard. I can't really say how it compares with the normal T-Bird sound, but it gives a sweet, rounder, darker sound relative to the fairly aggressive QP.

    I know...no pics, no bass. I'll try to correct that tonight.
     
  12. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    I'd hook up the pickups on a piece of wood and put them upside down on top of the strings and move them around to see where you get the tone YOU want. This way you could really experiment with what kinds of tone you'd get, especially if you could come up with some kind of method to move both. You only get one shot. I'd take my time.
     
  13. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Well, the neck humbucker will be going over the original SCPB route, so that one is easy.

    I'd like to be able to get a sort of Jazz-like burpiness to the tone if at all possible, so I think the idea of attaching the pickups to a board and testing them before routing is good advise.

    I'll be sure to add pix to this thread when I get it done.
     
  14. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    So I decided to go ahead with this idea. I'm gonna have to order a special control plate with three holes, and possibly new tuners.

    The final straw was seeing this Lull.
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1363744150.969928.
    Now, I'm using a sub-$500 Chinese knockoff, so it won't be anywhere near Lull quality.

    I'm also planning a metallic blue paint scheme. I've gotten kinda tired of the butterscotch look on this bass, so I'm gonna strip and refinish while I have it apart.
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1363744660.099630.
    So here's the mod list:

    New bridge. Right now it has the original 2 saddle bridge, which I put back on after previously swapping it for a threaded 4 saddle bridge. The 4 saddle bridge will go back on.

    Dual humbucker pickups, replacing the single coil route at the neck position. I've got two options. I have Epiphone T-bird pickups, and I also have a set of Duncan SSB4's.

    New control plate (and new electronics), with V/V/T controls. This will require enlarging the current cavity to fit the new components. It currently has mini pots that really feel cheap. I want to use full size good quality pots to replace.

    New paint!! This is gonna be the hard part. It'll require stripping the plastic crap that's on there now, filling any mess I've made, and then a metallic blue paint job.

    I've gotta order some stuff, and then it's just a matter of finding a few spare hours to get it going.
     
  15. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Update, please!
     
  16. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    The routing is done, had some problems with the finish. After trying in vain to flatten the finish, I ended up with some really gnarly chunks out of the clear.

    So I said screw it and covered the whole body in Citristrip. It's now down to the sealer and awaiting primer. Gonna be Pacific Green Metallic.

    I should have pix soon.
     
  17. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Quick progress shot. Old finish is stripped and pickups routed. Also enlarged the control cavity slightly so full sized pots will fit. Now I just gotta hit the auto store for some Duplicolor primer (or whatever lacquer primer I can find, hopefully white). There's a small spot that's a little rough from scraping that I may not be able to get perfect, but from five feet away you won't be able to see it.

    Here she is right now: ImageUploadedByTalkBass1366748783.096855.
     
  18. PhatRon

    PhatRon I blow bass Supporting Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lake Stevens, Wa.
    another species of fenderbird. You know it's mandatory that you name it when it's finished, don't you?
     
  19. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Of course. :)
     
  20. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    I think you may be surprised at just how much you will like this. I recently finished The Thundercat and could not be happier.:hyper:
     

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