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Which bridge & pickup for a '76 P-bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sbpark, Feb 4, 2013.


  1. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    The '76 Precision I recently acquired unfortunately came with a Badass II bridge on it and did not have the original. The good news is I took the bridge off tonight to see what it looked like underneath, and low and behold the finish is absolutely perfect and you would never know it was installed.

    I have the bass for sale right now, but am having second thoughts about parting with it...and if there are no takers I would really like to get it back to sounding (and looking) as close to a classic Precision bass as I can. Aside from the BAII bridge and Dimarzio pup, everything else is original including the pots, pickguard, tuners, cap, knobs, etc. (it also didn't come with the bridge & pup cover or the thumb rest.)

    SOomy question is which bridge should I install? Do I scour Ebay and pay a small fortune for an original mid 70's bridge, or should I just pick up the Fender '75 RI bridge (part # 0055257000), or is there another aftermarket bridge that's recommended, like something with grooved saddles that was used in the 60's, and as some claim is subsequently better? The only requirement is I want it to look like the original (I HATE the way the giant BAII looks on this old bass!) and the bridge cover has to fit over it.

    As far as pickups go I'm pretty much ignorant when it comes to bass pups, since I'm a guitarist new to bass. My brother has a Fralin pup in his P-bass and he swears by it (but he also has a BAII bridge as well!) Again, it would be nice to be able to have a pup that would give me that 'vintage' tone (yes, I realize that 'vintage' tone is an incredibly subjective and broad term, but would love to put a bidge and pup in this bass that restores it back to they way it should sound!)

    I realize the bridge with the grooved saddles was used in the 60's, but have heard it was actually later staped saddles that CBS used in the 70's.

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  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The closer you can restore it to original, the more money it will fetch on the open market. However, I am not a fan of the pickups Fender made back then. Gutted the one in my 76 years ago and never looked back. And I bought a 79 Precision a few years ago and flipped it for a profit mostly because the pickup was not great and I didn't want to molest the obviously unmolested electronics. So it's a choice between future collector's value and tone IMHO.
     
  3. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Well given that this one has already been 'molested' what would you recommend? I'm totally fine with not have an original pup in it.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't really know. I like a lot of different pickups in Precisions. For typical vintage tones, the Fender Original P is great, and I haven't tried them but the Duncan SPB-1 is highly recommended by folks I know who have vintage Fenders to compare them to. And hot pickups like the DiMarzio Model P and Duncan Quarter Pounder have a different tone that's less bright and thicker in the low mids but it's cool for some things. And then you can go active if you want more tone shaping capabilities onboard. I prefer EMG's for the active thing and have them in my P Lyte, which is my main bass these days. Different vibe from the passive pickups but cool as well.
     
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  6. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Since I'm going for a more old school tone active is out of the question. There is a vintage Dimarzio Model P in there now. I guess it sounds ok to me. With that BAII bridge and Dimarzio pup it does allow for some nice growly rock sounds, but it's tough to get that old school 'thump' even when messing with the tone pot and the amp controls, but that could also be because of my inexperience with the instrument. I've even thought about adding some foam under the strings by the bridge.
     
  7. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    monday morning bump!
     
  8. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Owl Farm (Los Angeles)
    Well, yours may have been "molested" but it's not un-reversible.

    For a 76, the original bridge will be the one with the barrell saddles and the single groove. You should be able to find a new version pretty easily; if you wait a bit, you can probably pick up a proper-era on on ebay for $100 or so.

    As for pickup, why not try to dig up the right pickup, too? That'll run you around $150 or so.
     
  9. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    The Owl Farm (Los Angeles)
  10. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Oh come on now..... that's not why you want to swap the bridge and the pickup back to OEM. You're not a bass player, so what do you really know about "old school thump". You want to swap the bridge and pickup back to original so the bass will be easier to sell.
     
  11. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Actually...I'm contemplating on keeping it, and if I do I want it to be as close to original as I can. If nobody jumps on it I'll just keep it. And with the money I'd have to spend on an original pup and original bridge I'd make more by just selling it as is!
     
  12. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Actually...I'm contemplating on keeping it, and if I do keep it I want it to be as close to original as I can. If nobody jumps on it I'll just keep it. And with the money I'd have to spend on an original pup and original bridge I'd make more by just selling it as is!
     
  13. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

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    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    Wee bit west-o-Philly - SEPA
    As noted, the single slot bridge would be correct. I happen to like the grey-bottom pups. I have a set in my '72 and they sound good (to me). I am building a '74 (with '76 pups) now and I bought the repro bridge in your first post and I hope to capture that "mid-70's" vibe with this project.
     
  14. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    I'm gonna guess that the Fender repro bridge is pretty much the same as an original. I'm just finding it tough to actually shell out the money for an actual original, knowing how cheaply made they really are.
     
  15. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

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    That's why I went repro as well.
     
  16. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Plus, I doubt throwing on a basically identical new (but not 1976 original) Fender RI bridge and a Fralin pup would change the value at all! As far as value it would pretty much be a lateral move as far as value of the bass. So my point is, if I put money into it, i'll just keep it and try and make it sound and look as close to original as I can without spending a ridiculous amount of money on original pups and an original bridge. Although the grooved saddles are not what was on a '76, I have read that they sound better but have no first hand experience with that. I heard the smooth saddles were implemented as a cost cutting measure by CBS, and that the grooved were preferred over the smooth.
     
  17. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Do you have any opinion of grooved vs. smooth saddles as far as tone? I'm gonna guess there's no discernable difference in tone between the two, but imagine the threadded saddles would allow for better string alignment and they seem to touch each other, so they wouldn't slip around like the grooved ones are apparently known to do. I'll be putting in a bridge cover, so I could care less about being 100% accurate as far as looks.
     
  18. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

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    I don't know that it makes any difference tone-wise but I actually prefer the grooved barrels of the old basses and that's what I use on all of my parts basses. It allows for better alignment of the strings between the poles in my opinion.
    I am only using the '70's-style bridge because I am building a '70's-styled bass.
     
  19. thedudebrah

    thedudebrah Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Location:
    Philly suburbs
    As far as pickups go, I have a 77 that I bought with EMGs in it and I tore them out to put some spare passives from a squier in it. They weren't doing it for me so I took a gamble on an original 77 set of pups/pots/harness on eBay and I think I did alright. Someone mentioned they weren't a fan of the 70s fender electronics, but I find mine to be an improvement. Huge warm sound with great mid presence. Maybe I got lucky on mine, but it could be worth it to find an original set if you plan on keeping it.
     
  20. sbpark

    sbpark

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    I just decided to keep it and ordered a new Fender vintage bridge with the threaded saddles. Yeah, they're not the same as the original grooved, but it seems like the threaded offer better options for string spacing and alignment over pup poles and don't slide around like the grooved saddles.

    I also ordered a thumbrest, bridge and pup cover. They are all new Fender parts, so they aren't 1976 originals, but I at least think I'm doing this bass justice by attempting to restore it to it's original cosmetic glory, even if the new parts aren't original.
     
  21. thedudebrah

    thedudebrah Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Location:
    Philly suburbs
    Got any pics of the bass? I'm sure I'm not the only one that would like to see it.

    Mine is mostly original except for the volume and tone knobs and a tort guard I put on. However the body was routed for the EMG battery and there was once a J pickup in it, so I'm not terribly worried about originality, I'm more worried about how well it plays. And play well it does.
     

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