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A question for those, who customized their bass(es)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thomas Kievit, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    So I'm just very curious : I would like to know from bass players, why they changed parts at their bass(es)?

    Some people only change their bridges or tuning pegs, while others put different pickups or preamps on their gear.

    If you changed anything on your bass, please share it here and tell us, why did you changed things at your bass and can you show pictures as well? :)
  2. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Almost every mod I've ever made was done strictly for aesthetics. I'm usually pretty good about shopping before buying, other than strap locks.
    Like this, my Dillion 5204. I tolexed the pickguard and added the pickup and bridge covers.
  3. Although I find Squier quality very good these days, there are some little things that, to me, can be better. I'm not a fan of 500k pots on single coil instruments, either guitar or bass. I find them to be noisy and retain too much high end. The range of adjustment also seems limited. On both my Affinity strat and J bass, there was too much high end in the sound. The strat was absolutely shrill and the J bass was a little twangier than I liked. Both had more hum than they should have even for single coils. Switching to 250k pots helped both. They also seemed to have less subtlty and range of adjustment, acting like little more than rotary three position switches. On, mid, and off, with little dynamics. The 250k CTS pots vary both volume and tone dynamics a lot more, making the controls feel much more usable. The J bass also had worn pots from heavy former rental use, so were due for replacement anyway.

    Other than that, I don't currently worry about much else. The tuners and most hardware on both has been great. I replaced the saddles of my strat with stainless block saddles, out of preference,but have left the bass alone so far, as the stock bridge suits me fine. May get a vintage style Wilkinson unit with brass saddles at some point.

    Can't speak for anyone else, but these have been my experiences. I also try to maintain a largely stock external appearance, as that's what I prefer.
  4. michaelstrand


    Sep 16, 2012
  5. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I like to tinker with instruments to learn what works and why.
  6. Cottee


    Oct 17, 2012
    KSM Foundation Bridge, KSM Music Logan, Utah
    I have a cheap Squire vm short scale jag bass and a short scale solid body gretsch with one mini bucker pickup... I swapped out both of the bridges as the squire's was basically just a little peice of bent metal. The first changes I will ever usually make on a guitar or bass are either the nut or bridge as I believe I can tell a huge difference over the cheap plastic nut and or low mass metal bridges. Also the jag bass has a p/j combo pickup and the neck pickup is a duncan design which normally doesn't mean much to me but it sounds lovely plugged in but the j pickup was so weak I couldn't even use it with the neck p pickup even after lowering the P and raising the J so I replaced it with a Seymour Duncan quarter pounder for more output and less hum. On any bass that is a flat solid body I use KSM foundation bridges because I know the owner, used to teach guitar up there and I love the extra sustain and looks much better than stock.
    The Gretsch pickup sounds fine to me but I will have a new nut cut for it as it was cut a little too sloppy for me and the strings aren't seated right... But I like the stock pickup fine on that guitar.

    So guitars/basses to me are like computers... You buy them but everybody has different uses/preferences with their performance... But one thing to remember is if you buy something that isn't playable or the basic instrument isn't to your liking no amount of mods make it better and then it costs way more than just buying a better model bass. And you can't sell a hot rodded squire for anywhere close to what you paid for it so you better like that squire to begin with.

    I have owned 30+ guitars and converted one to a fretless, and made a bunch of pickup mods, tuners, new nuts, pots, input jacks... And since recently adding bass guitar to my instruments that I try to play I brought my bad habits over... But now I have sold over half my gear and am focussed on a few quality items rather than piles of okay stuff I feel that it is helping me focus more on the music.
  7. For all reasons possible. :)
    On my two main basses (a Spector Euro and a fretless roytek neck on a Fender J body) i painted the pups white. On the Spector i upgraded the electronic circuit to 18v and added a push-pull pot for bypassing the preamp and going passive. On the J i put the pups in series and added a multicapacitor tone control (which i'm still in the process of getting right).
  8. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    I picked up a Fender HM that had lived a less than gentle life. It was an old yellowed white with a rosewood fretboard, black headstock, and black hardware. I stripped it and painted it in a silverburst (still need to lacquer it), swapped out all of the black hardware for chrome, and changed a bad TBX pot. Going to string it with Chromes. May put a fretless solid graphite neck on it down the road. I think that would look really sharp with the silverburst.
  9. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Sounds awesome! Can you show pictures, when it's complete? :hyper:
  10. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
  11. Pretty much, other that straplocks, which I usually put on all my instruments as a matter of habit, the only changes I've made have been strictly aesthetic, as I have found the stock electronics and hardware to be just fine. Out of my three basses the only two I've modded have been my Squiers (I left my MIA Jazz untouched except for the aforementioned straplocks), the VM P, which I simply added a bridge cover, and the VM J, which I modded to look as close to a 70's bass as I could get:
    The only thing missing is the chrome "bullet" truss rod nut.
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Things i've done:
    -new pickguard , tuning knobs for asthetic reasons
    -installed Dunlop strap lock buttons on most of my basses.
    -on squire bronco I ditched the 'two-fer' bridge trees for custom bridge for better intonation adjustment.
  13. I change pickguards for their strong tone-shaping ability.

  14. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I change the nut around the input jack because of the increased sustain.
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I'm in love with a P-bass. I am not in love with the P-bass neck however. My right hand is happy, my left hand is happy..... I'm happy.
  16. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Which bass?

    A. '73-ish Precison I bought in '77. Heavy ash body, big fat neck with a wiggle around the 2nd fret. I put about four or five different pickups in it, I tried several bridges, and I tried every string I could my hands on (and that was a lot because I managed a guitar store), and a brass nut trying to turn that particlar sow's ear into a silk purse.

    B. Fender VS '62 Precision I bought new in April 1983. Only thing I modded was putting on a Hipshot shortly after I got her, changing the tone pot when it was broken, putting on Straplocks (first Dunlops, then Schallers, then back to the much better Dunlops), and playing it.

    C. Fender (MIJ) Jazz Bass Special, a factory Fretless. It had a great neck, but suffered from an ugly nasal midrange I hated. I tried a bunch of bridges, different PUP combinations, and different electronics. I changed the fingerboard from rosewood to a thick chunk of ebony and that helped a little bit. But it was only when dumping the basswood body and replacing it with a mahogany one that it started to sound like a real bass to me. That experience along with the experience with the '73 Precision, and al the work I did in the guitar store for 11 years assures me that wood DOES matter. The inherent sound of the bass is how the strings interact with the neck, bridge, and body wood. The PUPs only translate that.

    Since then the only mods I make to basses are to put on Hipshots, Dunlop Straplocks, Duracell batteries if they're active, and cut the nut correctly (because except for my Laklands, almost no factory nut I've seen since I learned about doing it right in '78 has been cut correctly).

    Well, I DID put a mother of toilet seat pickguard on my Geddy Lee, just as a cosmetic change.

  17. Porkbun


    Mar 10, 2010
    Stamford, CT
    I mod because I dont like the way a bass sounds or looks, or I like the way a bass sounds or looks but think I can make it play or look better. This view on basses has spawned a ton of experiments mostly on Epiphone thunderbird basses trying to see what will make a bass sound better while still looking awesome. Great bang for the buck

    Past projects(including a defetted guitar that I did just because I had never seen it done before):
  18. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    As of now, I place Hipshot A bridges on all my basses. They look nice and provide easier intonation during setups. I also knock in American button straps on all my basses, regulars strap buttons are just horrible and are accidents waiting to happen (the cone-shaped ones). I USED to dunk Quarter-Pounders in all my basses but recently I've lost my love for them. I used to love their sound but dealing with the scooped mids always felt like a losing battle. Pickguards are also swapped out to either a tort, white pearloid, or mirror pickguard. Used to attach bridge and pickup covers on everything, too, but those seriously hindered my playbility in terms of different sounds I could get from altering my hand position. Necks I swap out for anything with a maple board, however, my hands love the slim jazz necks now more than p necks... Ugh....
  19. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    swapped the hardware and pickups in my schecter p. changed the stock chrome hardware in favor of black schaller bml tuners and a schaller roller bridge. swapped the pickups for an emg phz/35hz combo and had a 3-way coil-tap put in for the bridge (single/parallel/series) and had the push-pull tone swapped for a 500k with a .047 cap. slowly learning about the electronics side of things and the .047 cap is too dark and will soon swap it to a .022 cap. i had the preamp pulled out of my schecter stiletto elite-5 and had independant tone controls put in, both 500k with .022 caps. i like the tone i get from it but there isnt really any sweep in the control, it's either on or off. if anybody knows more about electronics, would i get more sweep with a lower value pot or do i need to have a linear taper pot put in as opposed to a audio taper pot?
  20. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    On my Ibanez SR700 I upgraded the neck pickup to the USA model because I didn't like the sound of the stock pickup on the G and D strings. The USA version has silkier highs. I've also added small pieces of rubber on the bridge beneath the strings to shorten sustain and reduce the twang. The goal is to get a bass that sounds more like a vintage Fender but plays like an Ibanez.

    On the Ibanez SR755 I removed the B string, moved the other four down and added a C on top. The idea is to play some chords along with the bass notes. I left this one twangy sounding because that works better with chords.