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 T-40 with Darkstars

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Posts : 60
Join date : 2008-01-12
Location : Chicago

PostSubject: T-40 with Darkstars   Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:01 pm

I hope this is not in bad form, here's another bit that I did a while back and am bringing in from elsewhere

In the beginning the T-40 came in the mail, but it's cavity was formless, lacking pickups pots and wires...

Then Fred Hammon sent along a set of his fabulous Darkstar pickups and Butch (Owner: Bayou Cables)sent some enormous orange caps,and this was the rough result

Not satisfied with the gaps on the sides of the pickups, I made these: (rough form)

From this:

And the end result is this:

It sounds great! I like to roll the tone off on my basses, and the sound is so thick and deep, but still defined!

The only minor things I will left are:
-Create a plug for the now useless side input jack hole
-Finish working down the plastic nut I installed. I am taking my time, as I am not very experienced at this kind of work.
-Possible route out under the pickguard to decrease weight. It feels like it may be heavier than my ash body '79 t-40!

Notes on process:
-I had to enlarge the end of the electronics cavity slightly to accomodate the front mouting of the input jack in the space formerly occupied by the phase switch.
-I used the vol/vol/tone/tone and a switch dual p-90 wiring diagram from the Semour Duncan website. I wired it a mirror image to the diagram and used the ground from the Dark Star pickups instead of the illustrade Ground/shield that p-90's have.


I am a Darkstar Believer! Now officially my favorite pickups! For super mellow roundness, I pull out my stock '79 t-40, but this bass does everything a t-40 should do and more.

I am very happy with the results. The sound is great, and the whole process was really quite simple and straitforward. The Darkstars and aluminum/plastic radio shack knobs really compliment the heavy chrome look of the t-40. My pickup covers are a bit rougher than I might like, but they look fine from 4 feet away, and now that I know it works, making a better version (where I actually make precise measurements) would be quite simple.

I'm intersted to hear what you all think, and ready to answer any questions about the project.

Today (8 months later) After keeping it like this for a while, I routed out some wood from under the pickup to lighten it, but it didn't help much. Still, it's my go-to bass for any gig of 2 hours or less. If it's longer I bring a p-bass for the second set. It's hard to express just how much I like this bass. I sold a really neat and pretty rare MIJ Squier bullet bass to finance the pickups, and I have no regrets about investing 2.5 times what I spent on the bass in the pups.

Oh yeah, the group is Janesville ( )
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Posts : 419
Join date : 2007-11-26
Age : 48
Location : Minot AFB, ND

PostSubject: Re: T-40 with Darkstars   Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:39 pm

Not bad form at all. DSing a T bass is not a knock on the original electronics at all. In fact, I'm on the lookout for my dream T-40 and will keep the electronics stock. I love the T-40 pickups but, as versatile as they are, there are limitations if you're looking for a particular sound. Particularly an old school 60's sound.

Now people might say just to use flatwound strings. Well, yes but the humbucking 40's electronics are too....well, hot.

A T-45 + Dark Star + Pyramid flatwound strings = McCartney. I even tried putting flats on my new Rickenbacker and it didn't sound as good as my T-45....and since a Rick is what Paul used on Pepper up and through Wings, that says something. Yes, the Rick doesn't have the toaster neck pickup and horseshoe bridge pickup but the tone hasn't changed that much.
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Location : Chicago

PostSubject: Re: T-40 with Darkstars   Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:28 pm

I could never have seen the McCartney thing coming...

Interesting observation on the 60's tone, my experiences are a bit different in that my 79 t-40 stock is much more mellow than the darkstarred version, but it may be because it has the toasters in it, and I always play on nice dead nickel rounds.

Even though I don't really slap, the darkstarred t-40 can even get a good slap tone, something that the 79 was never really suited for. However, even with both tones down, it the DS's never get quite as creamy and round as the 79.

All that said, both sets of pickups are still quite versatile.
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Age : 42
Location : Cassville, MO

PostSubject: Re: T-40 with Darkstars   Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:57 pm

I too am contemplating the Dark Star route. Right now it's in the dream stage, but I would like to find a nice T-40 that needs some love and have it completely overhauled, kinda like a T-40 that never was but should have been, an Elite edition maybe.
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PostSubject: Re: T-40 with Darkstars   Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:42 pm

that looks excellent! I have never heard the darkstars myself but I'd be willing to give em a try! And man, I like the white T-40's!
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PostSubject: Re: T-40 with Darkstars   Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:40 am

Looks nice. I was hoping to find some pics of a darkstar-d T40. I just bought a body with all the hardware. And I was seriously considering doing this myslef.
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