So I'm mulling over a couple, (actually three) backburner shop projects that may involve installing some Alembic awesome-ness.
Moving to the top of the heap is this old Gibson Thunder Series V, basically a 'studio' Thunderbird. Even uses the same pickups and controls as a standard 4-string 'Bird. They only made a few hundred of these at the Nashville plant in 1987 before yanking the plug on yet another marketing flop, but truthfully the Thunder Series instruments were one of the most ergonomic basses Gibson ever produced. They came in 34" scale, with solid mahogany body, a mahogany set neck, and ebony fingerboard. Most of them are white, black, or red like mine. I always suspected they painted the ugly ones, but occasionally a natural finish one turns up with some decent looking wood. Without re-litigating various reasons why the Thunder Series didn't survive, I'll cut to the chase...
The volume pot to the neck-ward pickup is getting wonky, and cuts out at anything less than 100% on. I could just replace it, but then I'd also be inclined to replace the pot to the bridge pickup too. Then there's one odd tone pot left... might as well toss it in a spare parts bin while I'm at it. (I'm getting to it here...) Though I don't know how deep the routs are, these T-bird pickups don't look too far off the shape of Alembic AXY's... heck, they may even drop in. The control cavity is plenty deep enough for Alembic pots and boards to clear, and I think there's even room for a 9v battery in there.
This could be a very easy bass to modify, and while the stock stuff doesn't sound bad at all, some activator circuitry in this thing would be a HUGE improvement. A pair of AXY's with a V-P-F harness, and a 3-position Q-switch would make it work like my Persuader 5-string too, another big plus.
I guess the only thing stopping me is the potential for fouling up a pretty nice bass, not only that, but one with significant sentimental value to me. I would not want to refinish or do anything more than maybe a little routing. Originality of the electronics isn't a concern, but the integrity of the instrument is, if that makes any sense. That said, this isn't really priority enough to send it out to Santa Rosa for the work either. If I can't do it myself it probably won't get done.
Just daydreaming... I like this old bass a lot, and I'd definitely play it more if this could be done. If not, I'm fine leaving as is, and just getting a local solder-jockey to sweat me in some new pots.