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Adding a modern preamp to an old Ibanez Roadster?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TimBosby, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    So I have an '81 Ibanez Roadster. You know the one. Looks something like this (not mine in the picture.)

    I had someone potentially offer me a preamp in a trade deal. I don't really need a preamp but then I thought maybe I could put it in the Roadster. I haven't the first clue how to wire it up - I could most likely have my friend help me with that. But, I'm wondering first if an onboard preamp is a good choice for this bass - specifically I'm curious to know if anyone else has done a similar mod to their old Ibanez. The preamps in question are the Aguilar OBP-3 and a Bartolini 3-band. I'd probably go with the Aggie. Anyone have either of these in an Ibanez Roadster? (or similar old Ibanez?) If so please share your experience with it. I like the sound of the Ibanez as is, but to be honest, it could use a little boost for playing live - especially for cutting through in the upper frequencies.
  2. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I thought I saw an Ibanez Musician on here at one point with an OBP-3 in it.
  3. Low Main

    Low Main Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    I am a bona fide Roadster freak. So of course I had to go to the pic to make sure it was a Roadster, not a Roadstar.

    I would leave the bass as is IMHO. The stock DiMarzios are hotter than average, and the bass sounds great without a preamp. It has it's own special snarly sound which I love.

    There must be another bass which could use a preamp more than a Roadster. If the pickups are the stock DiMarzios.

    I will say that on one of my Roadsters, I finally got a bit fed up with the pickup selector switch, etc. and did a bit of rewiring. Now it's vol/vol/tone like a J bass and I'm going to leave it like that for a while because I like how it sounds.

    Instead of adding a preamp to a passive Roadster, be on the lookout for an active Roadster - there are a few floating around out there. The one I have, the preamp needs some work, which I am going to get to at some point. I'm actually going to repair the stock Ibanez preamp rather than swap in a Bart or Aguilar.

    But the active Roadsters have an active/passive switch, so it's playable without the preamp.
  4. If it's high frequency content you're after, you might simply be able to replace the pots with ones of a higher value. For example Fenders typically come with 250k pots, and replacing them with 500k ones makes the sound brighter. Cheap/easy mod, see what's in there first though.
  5. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I had a friend with an '80s RoadStar (I know it's different) who replace the stock pickups/electronics with a Bart P/J setup and EMG preamp. Made it a little more versatile/modern but I like the sound of all the passive 80s Ibanezes I've played. IMO a preamp adds nothing to a hot, good-sounding P pickup.

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