Been itchin to buy a 51 P style bass for awhile now. Had a Sting but it weighed a lot and the pickup was a bit out of alignment (sounded fine but drove me nuts). Had been eyeing the Douglas Pisces for a couple of years now. After a disappointing try at a Fender FM tele and finding out the pisces now has a jazz neck I pulled the trigger.
I have bought several SX basses (most before the headstock change and one after) and have always been impressed by their overall quality especially for the price. This is my first experience with Douglas... if that matters. I have tried many of the CV Squier 51 precisions or whatever they are called and just couldn't find one I really liked.
-So I received the Pisces two days after placing my order. Opened it up and except for the headstock it looked good. Played it a bit and it played pretty well out of the box but had some major fretsprout. Figured no big deal, it happens. Also checked out the frets with the fretrocker and she was a rockin.
-Plugged in it sounded decent but was very noisy more so than I expected, bummer. I pretty much planned on buying another pickup anyway.
-The tuners worked great, but they are possibly the heaviest tuners I've ever had.
-Nut was obviously cheap but totally functional.
-The pots on the control panel were so tight that it bent the panel holes, so I needed to replace the control plate.
-the side jack was installed cockeyed
-Pickup was perfectly aligned, which was my main concern.
So summing up while it played decent it needed a lot of work to reach full potential. I bought the bass prepared to do a complete fretjob, electronics overhaul and bridge/tuner replacement. If you are looking for a bass that is ready for you out of the box this bass is likely not for you.
Now I'm not known for my woodworking skills (because I'm terrible at woodworking) So I was a bit nervous about the headstock reshape. It took a fair amount of time and I learned about some new (to me) files that help out a lot. I think the headstock turned out pretty good. Kind of like a P bass and Tele headstock had a slightly misshapen baby.
Stripped the entire neck except the headstock face so I could retain the Douglas logo. Don't care what the name is on the headstock as long as there is something on there. Took whole neck down to 600 grit, rolled the front edge of the board and did a complete fretjob. Then finished with Watco Danish oil.
Had to order some 500k mini pots and decided to go with a Fralin Humbucking pickup. It did need some filing to get it to fit in the cavity. But I got it in there and everything was pretty well aligned.
I had hipshot UL tuners and a hipshot a Style bridge in the parts bin. They went on without much problem. Was able to get spot on intonation with out any problems. another thing I've read has been an issue with these basses.
I do really like the finish on the two piece body and the quality of the grain and the matching of the two pieces is on par with most fenders I've had. Pretty much everything else started out kind of crappy
But we got there and now it sounds and plays very, very well.
Are the newer SX basses still the same quality as they were several years ago?
Anyway here are some pics.
In the beginning
First rough cuts