Author Topic: Thunderbird II project pickup placement  (Read 3554 times)

999

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Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« on: April 23, 2016, 03:47:23 AM »
I'm setting up a project bass using a single Tbird pup. A different body design and with a set neck - not a straight reproduction. My first inclination is to place the pickup in the usual 'neck' position as I know how that sounds and what to expect. However, I'm considering moving it back some - not as far back as the normal bridge position or a musicman but maybe splitting the distance. Of course, these pups have a pretty wide aperture so I imagine this can be less precise than with a single coil. Any thoughts on optimum pup placement?

dadagoboi

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2016, 10:15:24 AM »
I'm setting up a project bass using a single Tbird pup. A different body design and with a set neck - not a straight reproduction. My first inclination is to place the pickup in the usual 'neck' position as I know how that sounds and what to expect. However, I'm considering moving it back some - not as far back as the normal bridge position or a musicman but maybe splitting the distance. Of course, these pups have a pretty wide aperture so I imagine this can be less precise than with a single coil. Any thoughts on optimum pup placement?

'Optimum'...does that mean what the pickup designer intended? You already know that.

What are your criteria as to tone? And what do you mean by a 'single' TBird pup? Bridge, neck, reverse, non reverse, 'modern', etc.

Here's the simple rule for any pickup: closer to the neck more bass, closer to the bridge more treble.

you might build yourself something like this test rig and find out what works for YOU...before you route a pup placement in a set neck body that turns out to be wrong.


drbassman

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2016, 10:21:59 AM »
I also will measure the pickup placement on a favorite bass with similar characteristics and use that figure.  Not as realistic as Carlos mock up model, but it's worked well over the years.
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999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2016, 10:31:00 AM »
That is a great practical - rather than simply theoretical - test platform.

Yes, I should have been more specific. This would be using a repro 1960s pickup - either a Thunderbucker I have or possibly one of the recent Chinese repros.

There is some subjectivity to the word "optimum", it's true. If the desire is to approximate the sound of a '60s bird, then the optimum is clearly the same position as original. I meant, any perceived advantage to deviating from this from those who might have tried (?)
My personal optimum is close to an original '60s TB II but with perhaps a touch more definition (thinking more about live use) but without taking on the overt characteristic of a soloed bridge pickup. I'll probably just play it safe and put it in the usual spot.

I've read through some of the Talkbass threads and pup placement is clearly a well tread topic; unsurprisingly, people have strong and usually contradictory opinions.

999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2016, 10:37:13 AM »
Crossposts...

Yes, measuring one I know I like the sound of makes a lot of sense. The builder I'm working with was encouraging the Musicman placement and that just seemed too far back to me - but he''ll do whatever is specified. I'd hate to lose too much of the characteristic tbird oompf  ;)

TBird1958

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 10:57:34 AM »


 Happy to lay a tape across my Greco TB II for you David!  :)
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999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2016, 11:00:47 AM »
Appreciated! I actually have the measurements for a '64. Just toying with whether or not I should do something different or not as it wont look the same anyway.

vates

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2016, 06:10:42 AM »
Raised this question previously:
http://bassoutpost.com/index.php?topic=7610

999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2016, 06:15:14 AM »
Excellent. Thanks. Sorry for the repetition - I missed that.

Alanko

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2016, 08:21:31 AM »
I tried to make a TB II Fenderbird a couple of years back, with laughably disastrous results. One thing I learned early on (from memory) was that the neck pickup on Thunderbirds have crept towards the neck over time, and that a TB II isn't simply the same beast as a regular T-bird with a deleted bridge pickup.

My bass was going to have a Fender WRHB in the (hypothetical) 36th fret position, roughly where a P pickup is. It seemed a good compromise on a single pickup instrument, though the bass in question is now safely in the landfill somewhere.

999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2016, 10:53:43 AM »
Sorry about the "laughably disastrous result" on yours! Yes, true that a TB II isn't simply the same beast as a regular T-bird with a deleted bridge pickup. Not really sure why the other pickup being wired in makes as much of a difference as it seems to.

I think I'm going to go with the proven measurement of 3 1/4" from the base of the neck to the front edge of the pickup as on vates' thread.

Dave W

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2016, 11:07:11 AM »
Sorry about the "laughably disastrous result" on yours! Yes, true that a TB II isn't simply the same beast as a regular T-bird with a deleted bridge pickup. Not really sure why the other pickup being wired in makes as much of a difference as it seems to.

I think I'm going to go with the proven measurement of 3 1/4" from the base of the neck to the front edge of the pickup as on vates' thread.

Any two-pickup instrument will have some phase cancellation of upper harmonics whose wavelengths are shorter than the distance between the pickups. How much of the difference you'll be able to hear will depend on the frequency curve of the pickups as well as the distance.

999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2016, 11:19:28 AM »
Makes complete sense with both pickups on. Seems odd (to me, at least) that there would be any influence with the volume of the bridge pup on a IV rolled off. One would think it would be effectively the same as a TB II... Though I may just be remembering the difference as being greater than it is or there are other variables as well.

Aussie Mark

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2016, 04:02:08 PM »

 Happy to lay a tape across my Greco TB II for you David!  :)

+1

That's exactly where I'd put the pickup, given how perfect the single pup Grecos sound.
Cheers
Mark
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999

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Re: Thunderbird II project pickup placement
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2016, 04:08:44 PM »
+1

That's exactly where I'd put the pickup, given how perfect the single pup Grecos sound.

Thanks. Now you've both got me curious, is the placement different than on the 60s birds? Could I get the measurement from the center of the 12th fret (wire) to the neck side edge of the pickup?

Thank you!