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XT25 aftermarket pickups

jim g

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Since I received no replies to this thread, I have to assume that there are no aftermarket pickups available for the XT-25 bass. Damn! The ones on there sound just like the 'buckers that I had on an Epiphone T-bird years ago--weak and thumpy and dull. That should be no surprise--they're probably the same pickup, and Gibson is not known for their great bass sound. I know tone is subjective, but I prefer something articulate and musical. I was hoping maybe an EMG HB series would work, but I think the string spacing on this bass is too wide, and the gap in the magnets in the middle worries me with the 5-string alignment having a middle string.  Has anybody swapped pickups on the XT-25?  Any advice would be appreciated...Jim

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  • 10 months later...

Late replie:

As the 4 strings version is equiped with two Guitar-Humbucker-size pick-ups, the XT 25 is equiped with  Humbuckers which are the size of a 7 strings guitar Humbucker...So no easy alternative unless you route a bigger cavity for pickups like EMG40...

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It's a pleasure to receive a reply to this thread after all this time. THANK YOU! I believe you're 100% correct about this. I think essentially the pickups are the same as the ones that they use for the bolt-on-neck version of the Epiphone Thunderbird bass--the cheaper one of the two they offer. I owned one of those and they sound about the same. Those are also approximately guitar humbucker size, but there is no 5-string version of that bass available. In fact, if Gibson brands makes another 5-string bass, I don't know what it is. And I don't know of a 7-string Epiphone guitar that they make. That begs the question, are these pickups specially made for the XT-25? That seems unlikely as they seem to put as little money into Steinberger as possible. I haven't checked lately, but are they even still manufacturing Steinbergers since their restructuring?  I'd love to carve up one of these pickups to see what's inside, but since I don't know of a replacement, that's not gonna happen. I did solve my tonal issue by installing a Seymour Duncan Blackouts 2-band active concentric EQ where the tone control was. This gives me boost and cut for both treble and bass, and it made a massive difference for a small price. Plus, no routing or drilling necessary. Of course, that makes this an active bass, but there's room for the battery and I've played active basses for years so they don't bother me. Thanks again for the info!...Jim...

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  • 1 year later...

Hey Jim,

Thought about doing the same and came up with a couple of options-

The  EMG 35P, an active P-style split coil pickup for 5 string basses with narrow spacing, will fit in the 3.5 x 1.5 inch cavities of the XT-25.   Just make sure that the current pickup rings sit inside the cavities so you don’t have exposed screw holes when you remove the rings to accommodate the new pickups.

Also would recommend giving EMG tech support a call with your string spacing at bridge and neck pickup positions.


Btw, any of the EMG 35 soapbar series will fit in those cavities, including single coil J and standard humbucker configurations.  You might want to try a P/J combination like on a Spector—. just make sure that the string spacing is compatible.

You might contact Mike ‘Smitty’ Smyth of MJS Custom Pickups out of Ontario Canada.  He provided replacements for odd-sized pickups in my 1985 Gibson Explorer bass and a 1985 Aria Pro II ZZB Deluxe explorer style bass.  In case of the former, he also provided a vendor who made custom brass pickup rings for me.

Fun fact is he made the P90’s for the Gibson Tony Iommi SG Special guitar.

Just give him the dimensions of the original pickups along with the low to high string spacing measurements  at the bridge and neck pickups.  







Edited by Harmonotrophic
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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks, Harmonotrophic. First, I apologize for the late reply. This forum would not accept my main email address, so it notifies me on an email account I seldom use, and I ended up not finding that notification until today. I am an EMG active pickup fan, and I checked out the EMG 35P pickups you spoke about. The spacing of the 5 strings of my XT-25 was right at the edge of their recommended limits, particularly the bridge pickup. Would it have worked? Probably, but perhaps not. I've thought about custom pickups, but should I spend that kind of money on an inexpensive bass? The Seymour Duncan STC-2C -BO active 2-band EQ (no affiliation) really perked up the Steinberger pickups a lot. They're still pretty dark by nature, but with the Seymour Duncan active EQ and stainless steel wound strings, I've ended up getting a very good sound out of this bass.

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