The Last Bass Outpost

Gear Discussion Forums => Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs => Topic started by: Alanko on June 15, 2017, 02:03:53 PM

Title: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 15, 2017, 02:03:53 PM
I've found somebody selling some circa 2008 Gibson Thunderbird pickups. I'm not entirely happy with the plugged-in tone of my MIM Jazz bass. I like the girth and grind of a Thunderbird, and I love the feel and unplugged tone of my MIM Jazz bass.

A simple question really, is it worth getting my Jazz routed for T-bird pickups? I'm not after that chromed out look or anything retro like that, simply a bit more meat and muscle to my Jazz bass, while retaining the feel of it.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Highlander on June 15, 2017, 02:51:05 PM
Three letters and one luthier will give you the answer...

JAE; Peter Cook.

QED ;)
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Aussie Mark on June 15, 2017, 03:59:57 PM
Mike Lull doesn't think it's a silly idea at all

(http://www.mikelull.com/images/basses/jt4/08-gallery.jpg)

http://www.mikelull.com/site/instruments/basses/bass-JT4_JT5.html

Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: slinkp on June 16, 2017, 05:51:14 AM
Go for it.  You'd be in good company.

That's more or less the idea behind Carlo's Cataldo RR bass...
(http://www.cataldobasses.com/image/obj262geo221pg1p411.jpg)

And he's done some mods like this one in the archives of the outpost ...
(http://i976.photobucket.com/albums/ae241/cata1d0/THUNDERBUCKER/P1040571_zps084a407f.jpg)

... where you can also find any number of fenderish basses by Brad Lowe equipped with T-bird pickups. Lots of P's, not sure if Brad's done any J's; here's the first I came across...
(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m199/BeeTL/DSC01934_zpsb0jjy804.jpg)

And Mike Watt still has this on his page of basses:
(http://hootpage.com/56pbass.jpg)
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: lowend1 on June 16, 2017, 01:27:43 PM
I'm happy with my effort.
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/lowend1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpshdcfv5ft.jpeg) (http://s6.photobucket.com/user/lowend1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpshdcfv5ft.jpeg.html)
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 18, 2017, 02:30:05 AM
My only concern is that the bridge pickup route will be too long on the Jazz bass. I've found a source of black T-bird pickup rings online, so the bridge pickup might gain a ring.

Cool to see all the examples here, but mostly seem to use those chrome pickups and rings.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: slinkp on June 18, 2017, 05:34:38 AM
I still say go for it. Chrome is the thing that gets everybody excited about the vintage look and sound, but people are probably tired by now of me ranting about how great the black TB+ pickups in my LPB1 sound.
Uwe is vocal about his love for them too.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Dave W on June 18, 2017, 08:49:49 PM
Chrome covers and rings would only be a big deal if a Jazz Bass came with them to begin with. Even if it did, go with what works for you.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Chris P. on June 19, 2017, 01:15:22 AM
Pino Palladino has a Tbird equiped Fiesta Red P too, which was discussed earlier. That one is (officially not) made by the Fender CS.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 19, 2017, 01:58:41 PM
Pino's bass grew a mudbucker at some point, somewhere in London.  8)

The pickups are purchased, so I just need to wait it out. And hope that the local repair guy will do the routing!
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: slinkp on June 19, 2017, 10:22:13 PM
Post sound clips when you get it done!
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: bassilisk on June 20, 2017, 04:03:15 AM
I bet the Jazz with those pickups totally rocks. I had a 2000 TBird and I liked everything about it, but I was in the thralls of GAS
and had too many distractions with items on the menu I still wanted to try.

I thought those pickups sounded great. Looking forward to seeing the finished product!
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 20, 2017, 12:45:33 PM
No pressure, eh! My guess is that the Jazz pickup routes will be a wee tiny bit too wide. Maybe ~2mm or so, or a 'baw hair' in Scots. I think I might be able to get away without using the rings.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: BeeTL on June 20, 2017, 02:06:20 PM
One of these rings will cover a Jazz bridge rout, no problem:

(http://www.lowecustomguitars.com/wp-content/gallery/random-images/DSC01744.JPG)
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: gearHed289 on June 21, 2017, 08:08:06 AM
I still say go for it. Chrome is the thing that gets everybody excited about the vintage look and sound, but people are probably tired by now of me ranting about how great the black TB+ pickups in my LPB1 sound.
Uwe is vocal about his love for them too.

You can add me to that list. Loud, aggressive, great tone, and consistent across all strings. Good pups! I looked into this idea myself at some point and I'm pretty sure the ring will cover the J route. I still like the rings I added to my black plastic TB+. I've thought about going chrome, but I think it might be a bit much.

(https://scontent.ford1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/1604620_10202009589419820_1726098445_n.jpg?oh=b184a5d8056cb6ca4a06da95272d8bdd&oe=59DE22D9)
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: exiledarchangel on June 21, 2017, 12:08:49 PM
I still like the rings I added to my black plastic TB+. I've thought about going chrome, but I think it might be a bit much.

I like that combination, has a nice balance of light/darkness.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: slinkp on June 21, 2017, 12:49:06 PM
Nice LPB Gearhed!  I like that color.  Is yours active or passive?
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 21, 2017, 01:55:19 PM
I like the combo of black pickups and chrome rings. As I said before, I'm hoping I can get away without having to use rings, to try and keep the bass looking quite clean. We shall see! I've found it difficult to find the true length of the Gibson pickups, only various aftermarket replacements, and the seller forgot to measure before he sent them to me. If there is a couple of millimeters in it then I will let it slide.

I have a gig on the 23rd of July, so I want to have the bass reworked by then, which involves leveling the frets and a total rewire with coax and 500 k pots.

The bass is currently strung with Jim Dunlop flatwounds and fitted with the Fender Badass II-style bridge that was on my Starcaster bass. The string spacing is tighter than a stock Jazz, and I oddly prefer it this way.  Like the red pickguard on the bass I tried it out thinking it would stay on for five minutes and somehow it has all stuck.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: gearHed289 on June 22, 2017, 08:07:18 AM
Nice LPB Gearhed!  I like that color.  Is yours active or passive?

It had a Bart pre when I bought it, but I pulled that out and sold it on eBay. There was really nothing wrong with it, it's just that at the time, I was going for a totally passive vibe after YEARS of putting EMGs on everything, including my main Ric. The rings with black pups and reflector knobs are a nod to the Hobbit basses. And I forgot to mention, I had to have them custom made since the black pups are a hair bigger than the chrome ones.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: lowend1 on June 22, 2017, 11:34:34 AM
This one had a J pickup at the bridge:
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/lowend1/IMG_0098_zpsomyg3fwz.jpg) (http://s6.photobucket.com/user/lowend1/media/IMG_0098_zpsomyg3fwz.jpg.html)
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 22, 2017, 01:47:51 PM
That is cool! Is that a Gibson pickup, and where did the ring come from? Too many questions.... It looks like a very thin trim ring?
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: lowend1 on June 22, 2017, 03:23:28 PM
That is cool! Is that a Gibson pickup, and where did the ring come from? Too many questions.... It looks like a very thin trim ring?

That is a black TB Plus, no trim ring. You're seeing the edge of the rout with black paint inside. The only trouble that I ran into was that the TB Plus was out of phase with the Select P - so I had to reverse the leads on the P.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Dave W on June 22, 2017, 06:16:31 PM
Love the color. Is that Sherwood Green?
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: lowend1 on June 22, 2017, 08:37:47 PM
Love the color. Is that Sherwood Green?
That is Squier's finest British Racing Green.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Alanko on June 23, 2017, 04:11:36 AM
The pickups arrived today! Very solid, chunky units. I've measured them up and they are 94 mm x 41 mm (3 and 11/16ths by 1 and 10/16ths for you Imperial peasants  :P). By my reckoning they are wide enough to fill out the Jazz routes without requiring any trim rings as it seems that *most* Jazz bass bridge pickups, the wider of the pair, are 95 mm wide.

My only lingering concern is with the speaking area of the pickup. I can see quite clearly the actual topology of the pickup on the back, and there are basically two coils with blades, charged by thin ceramic magnets. I'm hoping these are wide enough to capture the full spread of the pickup. As I mentioned before I'm running the bass with narrower string spacing, so this might not be an issue.
Title: Re: A silly idea?
Post by: Dave W on June 23, 2017, 09:30:34 AM
You ought to be okay then.