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Another Bronco pimping

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PB+J, Jan 17, 2017.


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  1. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I've never been a short scale bass guy. They always felt weird to me. But recently I gashed my hand pretty badly in a shop accident, and it hurts to make the stretch with the little finger. I had some gigs coming up so I went out and bought a squier bronco bass for $100 bucks nearly new.


    It's pretty well made--fret finish was good, nut was cut just ok, but very playable. I had to take the E and A string notches down a little. Body finish was consistent, balance was ok, a little bit neck heavy. Neck is unfinished or seemed unfinished. But it's a traditional fender-style one piece maple neck with skunk stripe. I thought the stock pickup sounded lousy, thin and lacking low mid booty. And it buzzed a lot despite the good coat of shielding paint in the cavity


    So I swapped it out for a p bass pickup I had around. Because the string spacing on the bronco is more narrow than on a p bass, you have to fudge the position some, and it's not perfectly aligned at the pole pieces.


    bronco1.

    But it sounded much better! I added a j bass pickup cover to conceal the hack job I did cutting the pickguard and because I like j bass pickup covers. Also ordered a piece of blank pick guard material to do a better job on.


    I played a gig with it and had trouble staying in tune. The stock tuners are astonishingly light, but they weren't working well. Also whatever wood it's made of does not play nice with screws. Several pickguard screws were stripped out and the strap buttons were feeling dicey. Also it was a little bit neck heavy, despite the extremely light stock tuners, and that was annoying.


    So first, a coat of amber shellac. The alcohol in the shellac dissolved the logo, but the shellac went on easily. Got a good finish quickly


    Then on went a set of hip shot ultralites. I used a step drill to widen the holes to 9/16. Step drilled both sides, then used a 9/16 bit to get the parts the step drill didn't reach. Filled the old screw holes with toothpicks.

    bronco2.

    bronco3.



    What about that neck dive? I added a weight under the bridge--routed out a small cavity and dropped a piece of lead in there. A router slip was made which we shall ignore as it won't be visible. For good measure, I added a second piece of lead in the control cavity. While I was in there I fixed some of the bad screw holes by gluing new wood in


    bronco4.



    I decided to add a second pickup. This is the only thing I had to buy. I went with a overwound strat sized blade humbucker I got on amazon for yes, $11.37 (Musiclilly pickup) If I like the way it sounds I might buy a better pickup. Or at least a pickup that’s less embarrassingly inexpensive. It would have been tough to fit a j-bass style three knob dealio in there, so I used an old toggle switch like on the Fender p-j mustang. It will be wired tele-style. Oh and two oven knobs.



    I like the stock bridge, and while I can’t get perfect intonation on the tuner it’s not far off and in playing it sounds fine




    bronco5.



    So now it's a two pickup short scale bronco with tuners and pickups worth more than the bass itself. Because I had nearly everything on hand, it appeared to have cost me very little.



    Here's what it sounds like--first the neck pbass pickup alone, the the two together, then the bridge pickup. this was recorded direct in to the computer--no eq, no compression, nothing


    Bronco busting



    i think it sounds ok but too bright for my tastes. next step: flatwounds



    It was fun, but I could also have just bought one of these:


    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/ibanez-tmb30-electric-bass



    For $179. That Ibanez talman is pretty astonishing value
     
    Grumry and Big Dog Johnson like this.
  2. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Also after playing it some more--that 12 dollar Musiclily pickup is really pretty good. it's very solidly made, it's dead quiet, it's very high output. It's a little bright I think for use as the main pickup but it adds a lot of midrange jaco-esque bark.

    Did I mention it was 12 bucks? I mean, seriously
     
    Grumry likes this.
  3. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    An update and a question

    I've since done two gigs with it and been pleased. It helps my injured hand, and it holds tuning better now. The second pickup adds a great flavor

    So if anybody wants to vote, which pickguard? I made a template and so I can make as many pickguards as I want

    which pickguard, white or black?

    broncowhite. broncoblack.
     
    jallenbass and Grumry like this.
  4. grisezd

    grisezd

    Oct 14, 2009
    Ohio
    Black. Nice job!
     
    jallenbass and Grumry like this.
  5. Grumry

    Grumry

    Jul 6, 2016
    Nashville
    I like it. I have an $8 random Chinese P pick up in one of my basses and it sounds pretty awesome. It's also very bright, but I just roll the tone back and all is good.
     
  6. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I added a pbass bridge cover to it. If you grind down the trapezoid shaped edges of the existing bridge a p bass cover will work well

    IMG_1666.


    Also for strings--I wanted to try some thomastick jazz flats, but they are a little too long for a 30 inch bass unless the bass is setup with the strings passing through the body. So I made a little extender out of scrap wood that makes it possible to string it with 32 inch string sets. You can see the ground down bridge in the pic below as well

    bridge1.

    I thought about making it string through the body but meh. I don't have any string ferrules. BTW the LaBella "flexible flats" are a great sub for Thomastiks if you like the Thomastik feel, and half the price of the Thomastiks

    Also after hunting around for a good gig bag for the thing I found the GigBlade Sliver is a nice snug fit. I posted a review of it--kind of mixed feelings. It's better than the "urban" bag fender sells, but has some annoying features and costs as much as a new bronco
     
    fermata and jallenbass like this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    nice job: glad it worked out for you! congrats! :thumbsup:
     
  8. Very nice!! With the black pickguard..
     

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