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Thunderbird Club

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TBird1958, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. I remember a 20F (-6C?) day doing 70 or so on my Interceptor. The engine never really warmed up; I kept swapping which leather-gloved hand was holding the exhaust pipe right by the head so my hands wouldn't freeze. That was an interesting ride.
    The day before it was 10F, and I only rode the bike 7 miles to a co-worker's house to ride the other 20 or so with him.
    The day before that was 0F, and my wife was off so I took the car. It never got warm enough to idle without extra gas. I had to keep it at 2K RPM or higher or it would die. On the interstate, I was going 70 in 4th instead of 5th. I had the heater off because it leeched heat from the engine.
    Not a normal Atlanta winter, thankfully.
    GonePlaid, JJR58 and Dr_Feelgoood212 like this.
  2. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Body is basswood. I'd already built Uli 4 TBird style basses before this one, he was looking for something a little different, mainly more treble from the bridge pickup. So there's a 63N in the neck and a hot Jazz pickup in the bridge under the TBird cover, same with the relic '55 ThunDecision I just built for him. They all sound like Thunderbirds to me.

    BTW that RR has a lot more offset to the body than a Fender Jazz. More like a Guild Pilot but not as pointy. The bridge pickup is closer to the bridge by 1.5 inches vs a TBird. The single coil Jazz pup is squeezed into one side of the can so depending how you orient it you can modify the sound slightly.

  3. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird Supporting Member

    I absolutely love that bass.
  4. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Thanks, it was a fun build after I got over destroying a perfectly good Candy Apple Red paint job.:laugh:
  5. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird Supporting Member

    Gives it character.
    GonePlaid, GBassNorth and Dadagoboi like this.
  6. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    It's a relic. It's worth more. Besides, if you can't wreck it, what good are you?
  7. Shannon


    Sep 17, 2016
    And don't even ask about what happens if you post pictures of tort.
    JJR58, RedVee, Gaolee and 1 other person like this.
  8. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird Supporting Member

  9. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    All this talk of non TBird basses modded or built to deliver the TBird sound got me thinking a bit (and acting quite impulsively).

    The guys I play with want to branch out to the current country rock, country western and classic southern rock genre. I said to myself, wouldn't it be cool to have something that visually fit perfect in a country western setting, something that would look perfectly at home in Buck Owens hands, but still sounded like (or close) to a bird. Something that a sound man or other band members aren't even going to suspect, a TBird sleeper, essentially a TBird cloaked in a country western disguise!

    Hollow body would be a step too far. But maybe a semi hollow. Gotta be a Fender variant if it's gonna fool people. But must be able to house TBird type Humbuckers without looking like it's been modded.

    Fender Starcaster in 3TSB
    ...looks the part and with the right pups might even sound the part.

    Things working against me:
    1) the maple neck (possible brighter tone and more prounounced attack)
    2) semi hollow body (possible woody more upright less TB tone)
    3) maple Top and back (possible brighter tone)
    4) short scale (possible enhanced bottom end)

    Sounds like a fun challenge. Found a nice used one on line for peanuts, picking it up tomorrow. Will spend about a month with it to see if it's a keeper and worth modding with some TB type pups and pots. Should be a fun experiment, if all goes as planned I'll unveil it to my band mates after the new year. Won't even mention the mods (they'll never see it in its original configuration) so it should be a true sleeper.

    Here's a cool video of one in stock form in a mix...

    ...and at about 2:50 into the clip the bassist switches to a Thunderbird. May have all been dubbed in but I can't tell much difference in the sound, which leads me to believe I can probably pull this off with the right mods.

    Such fun!
    Shannon, Mike.C., GonePlaid and 11 others like this.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    IMHO it makes zero difference.

    These make WAY more of a difference. But I've played one, and honestly, being semi-hollow, I think the differences are less pronounced than they would be if it was totally hollow. I think you'll dig it.
    PillO, GonePlaid, JJR58 and 5 others like this.
  11. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    That's what I suspect as well. I haven't played one of these yet but every other semi hollow I've played didn't really equate to much of a hollow body sound unless it had a piezo pickup, which this doesn't have.

    So my logic is, give it a spin and fine tune it with pups as needed to get as close to a TBird sound as I can. Should be a fun journey.
    PillO, GonePlaid, JJR58 and 6 others like this.
  12. I think a slab body P-bass with bird pup would suite the visuals nicely.
  13. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Sound wise, I'm sure I could make that work great, probably even better than the Starcaster. Unfortunately, Thunderbird pups in place of Gen 1 Precision single coil or the Gen 2 split coil would be a dead give away. I could possibly pull it off with a Blacktop P bass, which I think had Humbuckers but that's a bit of an odd ball P bass and not well known. Remember, I want this to be a sleeper. Nothing about it (other than the sound) should say Thunderbird in any way.
    PillO, GonePlaid, JJR58 and 3 others like this.
  14. I do find there is a little too much catma at times
    Shannon, PillO, Gaolee and 2 others like this.
  15. RedVee


    Dec 24, 2014
    Love it, is that from the “Alive” era ?

    I liked them pre and post Rhapsody, from about Killer Queen time. Really liked Tie Your Mother Down from post Rhapsody era plus odds and ends right through. I thought Live Killers was an excellent live album.

    A bit of a JD fan.
    PillO, JJR58, Chucky Stiletti and 2 others like this.
  16. Pickup cover :thumbsup:
    PillO, JJR58, Dadagoboi and 3 others like this.
  17. bylar13


    Dec 19, 2016
    I built this parts bass as a T-Bird back-up.

    Mike.C., Engle, PillO and 12 others like this.
  18. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Sneaky, I like it!
    PillO, JJR58, RedVee and 2 others like this.
  19. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Nice! What pups did you use?
    GonePlaid and MCF like this.
  20. bylar13


    Dec 19, 2016
    I used a set of Lollars. Its a 2011 Blacktop P-Bass. I bought a new blank pickguard and had a local guy route the neck pick up a little less that two inches form the neck. The bridge pickup dropped right into exisiting rout.

    The neck pickup was moved about 3 inches forward of the orginal neck pickup position and improved the low end response quite a bit.

    New CTS 500k pots, .047 Orange Drop, Swictchaft jack, early 2000's Japanese Fender '62 RI Jazz neck and Schaller FM tuners. I have since added a Babicz bridge and that seemed to really help even out the string to string volume.

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