Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Peavey T-40, hot or not?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dgce, Mar 15, 2005.


  1. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I need a little friendly advice. I have my eye on an old Peavey T-40 online on the cheap. Unfortunately, I’ve never actually tried one of these basses before and none of the nearby shops have one for me to get a clue on. Now here's what I know, it’s old and in terms of weight, it’s a backbreaker. I'm cool with this. My concern is the tone. Despite those big ole humbuckers and all those highfaluting knobs and switches, I have this sinking feeling it might be on the muddy side; likely good for old school rock but not alive enough to slap and pop on. Why do I draw this conclusion? I had owned the T-40’s sister, a six string guitar, the T-60 ages ago. Decent little workhorse of a guitar, but in terms of tone, MUD! So I popped in some Carvin humbuckers I had laying around and had it set up with 10s and wow, big different in tone and overall versatility. But that was a guitar, here we’re talking bass!

    So 1st question is this bass tonally muddy and ill-suited for slapping?

    2nd if so, then would, say, a set of those DiMarzio bass humbuckers I think they still sell fit in this bass as a replacement pickups and will it help this tonal predicament?

    Thanks for any feedback!

    r
     
  2. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have had several over the years. First one I bought was in 1982. Great cheap basses. I am a big fan of the Neck Tilt adjuster. Helps get excellent action without a fret job. I have used mine with several different amps. The tone is pretty good for the bass. I have also used the Fretless one and the T-20FL (My guilty pleasure). These are rockin' little basses. Heavey though!
     
  3. Robman

    Robman

    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
    I had one several years ago as well. I regret getting rid of it.
    I could get just about any tone imaginable with it. But, this was back before I was interested in slap, so not much for me to comment on there. All in all, T-40's are as solid as they come and will make a great workhorse.

    +1 on the heavy.
     
  4. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    It is what it is... It's given Peavey the reputation it has now. However, I have a fond place in my heart for the T40 since it was my first bass. If it's cheap enough, it's worth having, but there are alot of good alternatives these days that are about the same price
     
  5. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Good point. There are some items coming out of Korea (namely G&L Tributes and Schecters) that aren't half bad and have plenty of bang for the buck. Old Ibanez ATKs and used MIM Fender Jazzes come to mind as well. However I'll confess, I feel drawn to these funky old Peaveys more for its vintage/goofball aesthetic. On the other hand, I'm not willing to sacrifice functionally for the sake of "geek-chick" and saving a buck. This is why I'm asking about the tonal range. Hey, I’m not expecting Alembic here! I mean for $200 to $275 a pop; why quibble, right? However if mud is about all you can get out of these puppies, then I reckon I should look elsewhere.

    r
     
  6. May not be hot, but sure is heavy. Something like 12 or 15 lbs? Gross tonnage and the large neck make the T-40 unattractive to me, but man these things are total tone chamelions. (I liked the T-60 guitar for the same reason, so that tells you my bias.)
     
  7. My first bass ever was a T-40. That thing was heavy. After a couple of hours of playing, my shoulder would be swollen from the weight. The tone was pretty OK, but not great for slapping. It's a good sturdy bass though.
     
  8. Muddy, no, if you use the right (read: bright) strings. The various DR string sets seem good (I prefer the Lowrider's on mine). I've heard some that are complete mud with dead/thumpy strings. Keep in mind you won't get that "dimed" P-Bass sound, but you can get a bright MusicMan sound of it once you learn the tone controls (this is the only bass I've played with a learning curve for the tone knobs ;) ). As for slapping, mine is much too hot to slap without compression, but it sounds pretty good with a limiter/compressor to keep it under control. Hit-you-in-the-chest kinda sound.

    Also, I've heard that the natural-finished ones are generally better than the painted ones (allegedly the painted ones have sloppier workmanship on the body and lower quality wood which is, of course, covered up by the paint). I have to say the only person I've really heard slap a T-40 besides myself was an instructor of mine with a natural-finish on his bass, and it did seem to have a tighter slap tone than my black one, but was otherwise comparable in tone.
     
  9. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Wow, good to know. Thanks Pajama_Bottoms.

    r
     
  10. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX

    The early ones were REALLY heavy... you're probably right. Around 12-15lbs. If memory serves me, in like the 2nd year of production the bodies were slightly redesigned to make them thinner and more managable. During the first year, the only finishes that were available was the natural finish. Since this was Peavey's and maybe the first shop in America to use CNC methods to construct an instrument, the design original design didn't take into account things like ergonomics.

    Sonically, these basses weren't bad and for $200 bucks its worth having. A couple of years ago I did this and bought one and remembered why I don't have it anymore and sold it. I found one for $95 at a pawn shop.

    Get have fun with it and if nothing else...it'll make a great door stop or BBQ wood
     
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    I recall my T-40 not being muddy at all. I had a black one, my first bass, which was stolen out of my frat house in 1986. I remember it having a clear, strong, piano like tone with the GHS Boomers I typically used. It was not unlike the maple fretboard Precision I have now.

    It had a unique tone. A professional musician (Berklee student) friend liked it so much that he borrowed it for recording some solo material. He said he'd heard nothing like it.
     
  12. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    This is very good to know; thanks, Nedmundo.

    I am aware that originally the T-40s where basically slab body monsters that were ridiculously heavy. Then Peavey implemented beveled edges (if I got the term correctly). This was a smart move because it made the instrument a little more ergonomic and also trimmed some of that weight off by a pound or two (hey, every little bit helps). Anywho, I have my eye on a black T-40. If the original batch of T-40s only came in natural finish, is it safe to presume that oblique colored T-40s have the updated, beveled edge bodies? Nedmundo, do you recall if yr black T-40 was beveled or did it have that slab-like original design? Anyone else’s input is more than welcomed, btw!

    Thank you all,

    r
     
  13. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    Don't remember if the body was beveled, but I sure do remember it was heavy! I used a wide elastic neoprene strap, which really helped.

    Also, to avoid muddiness, remember this bass has loads of pickup switching options, and with two pickups you can clean things up by emphasizing the bridge. I'm sure you know that, but the point is that it probably CAN sound muddy. I had no clue what all that was about back in the day, but I didn't like a muddy sound. I just turned the knobs up to 10 and kept the switches where I thought it sounded best! :bassist:

    You know, I still miss that bass, for nostalgia if nothing else, and I almost pulled the trigger on a nice natural finish T-40 last year for that reason. But I'd prefer another black one.
     
  14. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Has anyone seen or tried to replace any of the T-40's pickups? I know DiMarzio still makes big humbuckers for bass that seems more likely to fit the T-40 than, say, Music Man replacements made by Seymour D or Bart. Just curious.

    r
     
  15. hammer2748

    hammer2748

    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    I had a "1st generation" model (natural finish) T-40. I also regret letting it go. Yeah, it was heavy, and it was a long time ago which means I would probably collapse during a club gig now with it, but I do miss the variety of tone I could get from it. It's definitely not an instrument I would spend the jing on to modify. By the time you're done, you'd have spent enough to buy something lighter/better.......unless it's the T-40 vibe you're after......in which case, don't change a thing! I found the tone great; not muddy at all. With the right strings, slap tone was at the very least decent. As someone said earlier, it's a matter of learning the pots/switches. The right combination could dial in just about anything. I would love to have one in the arsenal today. But it would have to be 1st generation, natural finish. For ~$250.00, I'd jump on it. Just my .02.

    Cheers,
    Hammer
     
  16. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well, I suppose there is no big hurry to buy a T-40 because sooner or later another one in good condition pops up on eBay and you can usually score them for under $300 (sometimes WELL under $300 with original case). But beware! All it takes is one snot nosed kid in the latest trendy band to pop up on MTV playing one and the party is over. Case in point, those big, heavy, ugly Gibson Ripper basses from the '70s and the guy from Green Day playing one on their first video. Not only have those basses double to tripled in price, Gibson has actually reissued them under the Epiphone line. Maybe I ought to stock up on T-40s and give them away to the next big things.

    r
     
  17. paul cuzzone

    paul cuzzone

    Mar 27, 2005
    anniston al.
    im thinking of buying a t-40 myself... well .. no actualy i've decided. play one, you'll see. they are heavy, they are awkward, the neck is a log, but play it once. you wont believe you only payed 200-300 for it. if you know how to set a good tone on this bass, slaps sound good. carfull tho, some of the one's from after 1980 have there pickups set a little high... and you can NOT slap. make sure you get a swamp ash natural finish body with a maple neck, nothing else will do.
     
  18. rdhbass

    rdhbass

    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    I think it is sorta neat that people search for a T-40, even though it was my first bass and replaced it when I was young. It has a real bassy sound and lots of low-mids. The perfect country music bass. Get a rippin' Peavey Combo amp 200 watts or above, and you shake people to the walls. It does not play fast by any means, is weighty, but will last longer than you. It is no slapper either, but to each his own.
     
  19. vkgphil

    vkgphil

    Mar 25, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    An avatar of me with my T40... had it for at least 16-17 years now and will never part with it.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. I might get one for 50 bucks! (one of hte pickups doesn't work right, soldering problem, easily fixable.)