#1
Is it possible to buy new pickups for a T-Bird? I'm interested in getting an Epi and then upgrading it but I've noticed Gibson don't make replacement pickups..

Any ideas?
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#2
I strongly advise against this. While new pickups would help, I don't think it could help enough to make it worth it. Plus, the bass has many other problems dealing with the physical shape and the placement of the strap button. If you're planning on buying the bass just to upgrade, I'd look elsewhere.
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#3
Why buy a cheap bass planning to upgrade it when you could just buy a nicer bass in the first place?
#4
Cos I want a T-Bird and can't afford a Gibson. I'm finally upgrading my amp to a GK but want a T-Bird because of the look
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#5
Quote by KillEmAll
Cos I want a T-Bird and can't afford a Gibson. I'm finally upgrading my amp to a GK but want a T-Bird because of the look


Don't get a bass because of the look. Quite frankly, I find T-birds play horribly and sound bland.

Much better to surely get one that plays and sounds great than going for a design surely?
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#7
dont get a t-bird.Get somthig else that looks good.
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#8
Quote by gm jack
Don't get a bass because of the look. Quite frankly, I find T-birds play horribly and sound bland.

Much better to surely get one that plays and sounds great than going for a design surely?



Agreed its not that the sound is bland its just that there are better basses for the money and also it weighs A LOT.

So buy a different bass
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#9
Quote by c3powil
dont get a t-bird.Get somthig else that looks good.



they dont even look that great

but yeah T-Birds suck

big time

get a nicer looking bass, like some of the Ibanez Sr's, man, some of them are just downright sexy

I mean I actually would go to bed with them
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#10
I'm not bothered by the weight, plus I play 80s rock and T-Birds were all over the 80s hair metal scene, and the current sleaze rock scene.

Wouldn't be my main bass, just an alternative to my awesome Jazz if need be, or if it dies mid gig.


Anyway, does someone want to answer the actual question?
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#11
hmm, i was all over in the 80's. and other than Motley Crue, i can't think of any other band that used them. i would upgrade to a decent bass. sorry, i have no idea where to get T-bird parts.
#12
You could find replacement pickups. But people have a point with telling you not to get a 'Bird.

1. Poor weight distribution. Its not that its heavy, its that it doesn't balance well, and the neck slides too the ground if you let go of it.
2. Poor fret access. Sure you may not go past the 15th fret ever, but why would you get a bass that doesn't leave that option, when a $100 Rogue can do it?
3. Muddy tone. Sure you could reduce the muddiness with better pickups, but it will still be there.
4. Horrible bridge design. 3 points of contact? You've got to be kidding. This is one people don't think about, but I've read horror stories on this very forum where the bridge actually fell off the bass because of the poor bridge.

Bottom line, some of the problems can be fixed, but that would bring your total cost of the Thunderbird up to $500 easily. For that price, tons of basses can fit the bill of whatever you want your 'Bird to do.

But if looks are your concern, by all means get it.
#13
Well, if you like the looks, but are afraid of teh sound and reliability. While I know a guy with a T-bird and have played it, it really wasn't that bad, but, I can't say it was at all as good as my jazz.

An Idea I had was a spector Rex. It kinda has that unique body shape of a T-bird, but maybe fewer flaws.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Spector-REX20004-Rex-Brown-Signature-4-String-Bass?sku=514423

http://www.spectorbass.com/NewFiles/basses.html

Just an Idea...I've never played one, so I can't vouch for it at all
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#14
Quote by 83lespaulstudio
hmm, i was all over in the 80's. and other than Motley Crue, i can't think of any other band that used them. i would upgrade to a decent bass. sorry, i have no idea where to get T-bird parts.


Rick, its revisionist rock history at work. I am amazed at all the things we saw incorrectly when we lived through the 70s and 80s.

T-bird parts do exist; I just can't remember where I saw them at the moment. But I just can't see the point of upgrading a bass that has so many flaws. The mod to any bass shouldn't be worth more than the original parts. And somethings could be gilded and still not worth it. To me, the T-bird fits into that niche.
#15
Quote by anarkee
Rick, its revisionist rock history at work. I am amazed at all the things we saw incorrectly when we lived through the 70s and 80s.

my memory is perfectly intact. i remember getting stoned every morning, and drinking most every night, among other psyco-delics i won't mention, but other than that, it's kinda fuzzy. oh, wait.....what was i talking about? oh yea, t-birds were not that common in the 80's.
#16
Quote by bigwilly
An Idea I had was a spector Rex. It kinda has that unique body shape of a T-bird, but maybe fewer flaws.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Spector-REX20004-Rex-Brown-Signature-4-String-Bass?sku=514423

http://www.spectorbass.com/NewFiles/basses.html

Just an Idea...I've never played one, so I can't vouch for it at all

Take a look - there's fret access, and the top 'horn' comes out much, MUCH higher than on a traditional T-Bird. Spector wouldn't release a conceptual nightmare without making sure it balances first.

OH... crap... I just commented on another Thunderbird thread. Damn it. Now all the PC T-Bird commies can shake their heads and say "dang, there he goes again... he's on every Thunderbird thread spouting drivel. Even though he owns a Mandobird."

But seriously, that T-Bird looks like it could work.
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#17
i love my tbird and i changed the strap button to be on the neckplate and it helps with the neckdive. and it sounds awsome
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#18
Quote by zamok
i love my tbird and i changed the strap button to be on the neckplate and it helps with the neckdive. and it sounds awsome

if it sounds so awsome, why the KORG AX10B Bass Modeling signal Processor?
to make it sound awsomer?..lol


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Last edited by 83lespaulstudio at Mar 7, 2008,
#19
Quote by KillEmAll
I'm not bothered by the weight, plus I play 80s rock and T-Birds were all over the 80s hair metal scene, and the current sleaze rock scene.

Wouldn't be my main bass, just an alternative to my awesome Jazz if need be, or if it dies mid gig.


Anyway, does someone want to answer the actual question?



Could you not just replace the current pickups with other soapbar pickups?


Anyways, I think a vintage BC Rich Warlock, or a newer BC Rich Mockingbird Heritage would be a much better choice than a T-bird if you're looking for that 80's hair metal look.
#20
I have a t-bird [spare me] and i don't really mind it that much.
A few pointers.
I adjusted the truss rod to make the strings closer to the fretboard a month ago and this makes playing alot easier but you'll need to get your frets filed down.
If you want to replace the pickups i'm not sure if they sell those, but they are just humbuckers so, meh.
Also, you might have to redo the wiring completely if you want to add EMG's or something. But i'm not to knowledgable on these things so, get a second or third opinion.
#21
Quote by thefitz
Take a look - there's fret access, and the top 'horn' comes out much, MUCH higher than on a traditional T-Bird. Spector wouldn't release a conceptual nightmare without making sure it balances first.

OH... crap... I just commented on another Thunderbird thread. Damn it. Now all the PC T-Bird commies can shake their heads and say "dang, there he goes again... he's on every Thunderbird thread spouting drivel. Even though he owns a Mandobird."

But seriously, that T-Bird looks like it could work.



dang, there he goes again... he's on every Thunderbird thread spouting drivel. Even though he owns a Mandobird.


The best Gibson bass pickups are the chrome humbuckers from 60s and 70s birds. But they sell for stupid prices, just like old Gibson PAFs.

Bartolini make replacements too, they are pretty good. Seymour duncan sell some humbuckers. Alternatively, the Gibson T-bird pickups are pretty good compared to the Epi ones. Whatever you do though, I don't think there is a direct replacement, SDs and Barts fit the Gibsons, and will require routing for the Epis I think.
#22
If you really have to get a T-Bird, buy a Tokai, it's much better quality than the Epi and I found it played better than the Gibson.
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#23
*sigh*, I hate this things....

www.stewmac.com will have parts a plenty, they won't actually be for a t-bird though. So a tad bit of woodworking may be an order for the parts to go in correctly.

www.warmoth.com find some stuff there.

But I highly recommend not using a T-bird. They are a living specimen that of "worst case scenario" basses.
#24
Quote by Your41Plague12
I strongly advise against this. While new pickups would help, I don't think it could help enough to make it worth it. Plus, the bass has many other problems dealing with the physical shape and the placement of the strap button. If you're planning on buying the bass just to upgrade, I'd look elsewhere.


I agree im sure there are replacable pickups somewhere. But adding all that money you could invest it in a good bass and svae yourself a lot of trouble.

The only band i have seen use a T-Bird is Marlin Manson bassist (he probably has the Gibson one).
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#25
Quote by Bass First

If you want to replace the pickups i'm not sure if they sell those, but they are just humbuckers so, meh.



Quote by thedonutman

The best Gibson bass pickups are the chrome humbuckers from 60s and 70s birds. But they sell for stupid prices, just like old Gibson PAFs.

Bartolini make replacements too, they are pretty good. Seymour duncan sell some humbuckers. Alternatively, the Gibson T-bird pickups are pretty good compared to the Epi ones. Whatever you do though, I don't think there is a direct replacement, SDs and Barts fit the Gibsons, and will require routing for the Epis I think.



Are you sure the T-bird pickups are humbuckers? Are they not soapbars?
#26
Quote by KillEmAll
I'm not bothered by the weight, plus I play 80s rock and T-Birds were all over the 80s hair metal scene, and the current sleaze rock scene.

Yeah, that's right. Like Motley Crue. And... Motley Crue.
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#27
Quote by Charlatan_001
Are you sure the T-bird pickups are humbuckers? Are they not soapbars?

I was under the influence that soapbars were humbuckers.

I kind of like the thunderbird, I may even purchase one. The neckdive could make it a nightmare to play with live, but I find that the shape is incredibly comfortable to play with sitting down. I also find that the sound is surprisingly varied, and there are effects to remedy the bass's innability to punch through.

As I have said before, I am willing to deal with it's issues.
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#28
Quote by 83lespaulstudio
if it sounds so awsome, why the KORG AX10B Bass Modeling signal Processor?
to make it sound awsomer?..lol



****ty birthday present, before i bought my tbird.
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#29
Quote by Charlatan_001
Are you sure the T-bird pickups are humbuckers? Are they not soapbars?


Isn't soapbar referring to the shape and humbucker referring to the coil configuration?

I'm pretty sure every pickup Gibson have used on T-birds has had two coils in series, making it a humbucker.
#30
Quote by thedonutman
Isn't soapbar referring to the shape and humbucker referring to the coil configuration?

I'm pretty sure every pickup Gibson have used on T-birds has had two coils in series, making it a humbucker.


Precisely. They are simply a subset of humbuckers, often with blade magnets which cross the whole pickup, rather than indivual pole pieces like Musicman humbuckers.
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#31
Cheers for the advice anyway. Maybe i'll stay away from a T-Bird until I play one. It just looked cool, that's all.


Guess I'll stick with the off white Jazz Bass
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#32
I've got one that was given to me as a gift. It really doesn't sound to bad and it is a beauty. One of the best finishes i've seen on a $300 instrument. The biggest problem it does have is the neck dive, but you can get used to it. Like the others say though if your getting it just to upgrade you'd be better off with something better. If $300 is all you have though you could do worse.
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#33
Quote by 83lespaulstudio
hmm, i was all over in the 80's. and other than Motley Crue, i can't think of any other band that used them. i would upgrade to a decent bass. sorry, i have no idea where to get T-bird parts.


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#34
Quote by anarkee
Rick, its revisionist rock history at work. I am amazed at all the things we saw incorrectly when we lived through the 70s and 80s.

T-bird parts do exist; I just can't remember where I saw them at the moment. But I just can't see the point of upgrading a bass that has so many flaws. The mod to any bass shouldn't be worth more than the original parts. And somethings could be gilded and still not worth it. To me, the T-bird fits into that niche.


I've just put a Seymour Duncan Bassline kit on my MM Stingray5, complete new electronic and pickup, I did it because as you say the bass is worth it and I can't see myself parting with it at my stage og life.
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#35
Quote by thedonutman
Isn't soapbar referring to the shape and humbucker referring to the coil configuration?

well actually, the soapbar is a nickname for the Gibson P-90, single coil p-up. these we're soon replaced by the famous PAF (patent applied for) humbucker, dual coil
p-up. calling any other p-up a soapbar, is simply an uneducated mis-use, of the name.
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