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Thunderbird Noises

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mzungu, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. I recently switched from a Fender Jazz to a Gibson Thunderbird. I really like the sound, look and feel of the T-bird. This is my first experience with a Gibson T-bird and although I'm really digging it, the bass seems to have some annoying qualities which could ruin the relationship. No, neck dive is not the problem, but rather the pickups have a lot of hum when the tone is set above 6. I know the pickups are supposed to be really "hot", but is this normal? The T-bird has more hum than any single coil pickup I've played (my '51 P bass for example). The T-bird pickups are humbuckers aren't they so I think they should be quiet? Also, the bass makes a crackling sound whenever I move while playing. It sounds like the jack is loose but it isn't. My cords aren't they problem either and it isn't the amp. Any thoughts from the vast TB knowledge? Thanks! :D
  2. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Can't say exactly what, but it sounds like a wiring problem in there somewhere to me.

    None of those symptoms are normal for a Thunderbird.
  3. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    My T-bird hums too. More Gibson quality control issues, I assume. I'm having my luthier shield it soon.
  4. picknslap


    Sep 9, 2004
    whell, as far as the cracking goes, if the jack isn't lose. You may just need a new one.
  5. Ostur


    Dec 21, 2004
    my Tbird had a hum and I never could figure it out,I just got rid of it,make gibson deal with it, if you got it new? it may be a shielding problem,but as far as the crackle goes,that sounds like the jack,actually the jack might be the problem with the hum also,I had an Ibanez that had a hum and it turned out to be the jack,as soon as I replaced the jack, the hum went away.
  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    cords and jack are most common source. Could be poor connection. Take the cover plate off, lay the bass on your lap, and use a pair of tweezers or needle nose and jiggle each wire with the bass plugged in at low volume. I'm guessing that will locate your problem. It could be a poor connection on the pup but that's more of a last resort. Don't now how the pups are mounted but if you can get play in the pup with the screws removed - jiggling the pup around a bit with the amp at low volume should isolate that.

    Good luck.
  7. I fixed the crackling noise. It was happening whenever I moved the bass. It was due to a static electricity charge on the plastic control cavity cover. When the bass moved against my leg the static was picked up by the electronics. I bought some Static Guard and sprayed the cover. That did the trick. My guitar players Les Paul makes the same noise when you rub the cover with your finger but that part of the guitar never makes contact while he plays. I guess his belly is too big! I think the hum is a shielding issue. I'll take it to a tech to find out.

  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    That is not normal for a Thunderbird. My advice is to have the input jack replaced. It is of the sealed barrel type (at least mine is), and for whatever reason, over time the connection gets loose, which can lead to crackling and even hum. I have had mine replaced 2 or 3 times (medium to heavy gigging over 14 years), and this solved the problem (for some time, at least) every time.

    I truly love my Thunderbird, and I think it would be worth your while to resolve this issue.

    Best of luck, Tom.
  9. Quualudes


    Sep 29, 2003
    Duluth, GA

    What ended up being the problem that fixed your 'hum when tone was set higher than 6'? I have a new IV that does just that and I thought that it was just the way it was suppose to be!!! I would LOVE to figure it out!

  10. It's interesting to read the above thread. I have a Gibson T-bird I bought about 6 months ago. Sat night at a gig the sound started cutting out mid set. Imagine playing Judas Priest's "Another Thing Comin" without any bass. I assumed it was the jack on my Ampeg since my T-bird is new. Nope - it was the jack in the damned bass. This bass has been lightly played for 6 months and the jack is already loose and/or needs replacement. I love the look and sound of the Gibson, but seriously people, what the FU%$ is wrong with the folks at Gibson? I also have an Epiphone T-bird (paid $300 new) and I suspect the build quality may be better than my Gibson (paid $1400 new). Is there something wrong with American made instruments or is it just Gibson?
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Are you using Monster Cables by any chance?
  12. It happens whether I'm using my wireless or cables. I would think the cable would be the most likely source. But when I switched to my back up bass (Warwick Corvette) the problem went away. So I'm assuming it is the T-bird.
  13. OK, it was an EASY FIX: the plug was loose. I turned it so the ground wire would not touch the hot wire. Then I tighted it in place and put the control cover back on. Problem solved. However, I am not impressed with the overal build quality and paint on this American made T-bird. I expected better from Gibson. My advice - if you want a T-bird buy an Epiphone.
  14. My Gibson T bird is a 1990...I got it new...and there is absolutely no buzz, hum, static, or any other "extra" sound from the bass. My almost new Epi Pro, however, has some annoying static when close to flourescent lights, a buzz that stops when you touch the (metal) housing on the cable jack, or the bridge, strings, etc. I'm guessing it might be a shielding problem; this is the 1st time I've run across this on humbucking pickups. Maybe the active electronics make it worse?
  15. $Lindz$


    Oct 27, 2008

    This part was a joke, right?

    I still don't understand how you could say that. If your Gibson was THAT bad, talk to them about exchanging it because you have a lemon.

    What was bad about the paint? There isn't much that can go wrong with it, so I am curious..... And what color is it?

    And build quality? There are 2 glue joints (one on either side of the neck for the wings) and then everything else is screwed into the wood, so what is the exact problems that you are encountering with built quality?