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Thread: Thunderbird bass bobbins

  1. #1
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    Thunderbird bass bobbins

    A friend of mine is going to allow me to experiment with his Epiphone Thunderbird bass and he wants a chrome covered set of T-bird bass pickups but I have no idea where to find the bobbins or magnets for this. None of the usual parts suppliers have them that I can see and I'm hoping someone here can help?

    Thank you in advance.

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  2. #2
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Here's the cover.
    https://www.philadelphialuthiertools...d-bass-guitar/
    After having the cover you will more than likely have to build the pickups from other parts.
    You could use parts for a emg 35 or 30 pickups
    https://www.mojotone.com/guitar-part...-Pickup-Bobbin
    https://www.mojotone.com/Pickups_x/P...gnet-2-95-Long
    Ceramics work great for bass.
    mount the bobbins and magnet to a home cut plastic baseplate, with super glue.
    Attach the cover with wax potting.
    You have to figure out all the particulars, and best way to mount.
    I've not made TBird pickups, but I've made lots of other bass pickups with similar techniques.
    Don't overwind for bass, or you get mud.
    Anyone else have ideas, please jump in!
    GL,
    T

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    Courage is being Scared to Death, but Saddling up anyway! (John Wayne)

    Terry

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    Hi Terry,
    I've appreciated your input, knowledge, and enthusiasm greatly over the years so thank you for that! I've got a line on all the parts now except for the bobbins. Those Mojos would work perhaps after they've been cut down to vintage spec size but man, I really want to find the right stuff to do accurate - or really close - reproductions. Anyone? If disclosing the source publicly is an issue, feel free to send a private message. Thank you again.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Sorry, I didn't realize you were trying to be vintage.
    I hope you find all the parts.
    If you have the cover, no one usually cares what's under the hood, as long as it sounds good.
    I always tried to make my pickups sound better not stock, or vintage.
    There are smaller bobbins, with shorter magnets available, no need to cut them down.
    Make them several different ways, and see what sounds the best, who knows you may stumble onto the magic bullet!
    I've yet to ever see the internals of a TBird pickup, not sure about how the bobbins are made.
    Maybe you can find one tore a part, it would have to be gibson, epiphone usually doesn't replicate.
    The EB-0 Sidewinder is a good example of that.

    GL,
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 05-16-2019 at 03:28 AM.
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    Terry

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    I've had daydreams of alternate internal concoctions for these of course and I'm very happy to experiment but would really like to start with traditional parts and build, to take a stab at known specs for the originals and see what I can do with it. There's a few companies making cheapies ..so who supplies their bobbins? Again, I'll gladly take a private message here.

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  6. #6
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    When you say original?
    The early model was side by side regular humbucker.
    The 70s models went to a sidewinder design.
    This old thread on talk bass has some info on it.
    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/gib...ickups.286084/
    Some more info on MEF below.
    https://music-electronics-forum.com/...erbird+pickups
    https://www.google.com/search?q=thun...ka5C16M:&vet=1

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    Terry

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    Before I had a mould made we use to make the bobbins out of forbon- two flat pieces with a slit down the middle of each and would glue those to the magnet. Before i had a laser cutter I would make the slit with a router and a 1/8" bit, the covers and bottom plates I designed for a parts company where they gave me a one year exclusive before they started selling to the public so during the initial release we built up all the bobbins. The magnets we had to have made. The bobbin mould was lost so I wont sell any to anyone as I will have to pony up for another one at some point

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  8. #8
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    T, I'll be starting with the original standard side-by-side build because I prefer the sound and output to the sidewinder types. I've never done a sidewinder in any form and definitely want to experiment with that build-style at some point! In examining the links you shared, it seems theres a few different ways a person could implement the basic build of it and it'd be interesting to try a few and see what I can do with it.

    Jason: I have a table router in my workshop and your 1/8" bit channel suggestion is spot-on. I've made bottoms and tops for lipstick pickups this way before with excellent results! Winding those became much easier and extending that to a TBird type - absolutely. Since I only need 4 bobbins, this seems like the best way to go. I didn't think of doing it this way until you mentioned it so thank you!

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  9. #9
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    cool! magnets on those are 2.5 X .125 X .325 - inches of course and they have a steel baseplate the magnets have direct contact with.

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