Best bass to buy strictly for upgrading

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by progrmr, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I'd like to buy a cheapie bass and make it my "project" bass.

    What's a good one to get for this purpose?

    I was thinking one of the squire models, but the new squire classic vibes look so good and I hear they actually sound good too. I might not want to change anything once I've heard/played it!

    I've got a dean and p-bass so I'm ok on basses..but I would like to learn the internal circuitry and process for upgrading various components.

    Any recommendations?
  2. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    SX basses. There are a lot of people here who have done this; do a search and you'll see some very well done frankenbasses.
  3. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    Carvin basses are great basses that suffer from poor electronics. Great for electronic upgrades. Plus they can be found very cheap in the used market
  4. z_nyo


    Mar 10, 2008
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Cort basses are generally great for and well built.
  5. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    SX. They cost less than all the others mentioned and are very easy to mod.
  6. 4bpauly

    4bpauly Guest

    Jan 23, 2008
    Toronto, ON Canada
    any kind of fender p or j bass

    lots of aftemarket upgrades... a bunch you can do yourself.
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    SX or used MIM Fender. I've done both, and while my preference is for the Fender, either would be a good choice for tinkering with.
  8. I think that this site has a strong thread of SX fanboys. I've become one. I'm starting my second "project" bass. If you get a good one, you can mod it the distance. I must be lucky because both of mine are good. This should be one indicator:
    My first is a SX "precision" fretless. With good strings, good pickup and a lock-down bridge, the sound is unmistakably FL jazz. It's just hard to hit a wrong note. It always sounds like a FL jazz.
    The second is a brand new SX P clone. Even box-stock it sounds good. Quiet, punchy, detailed, even. When I close my eyes and play a certain way, with swing and dynamics, it sounds Motown (but with less power). It could be the pickups; it could be the wood selection. Could be the bridge. I'll start with the obvious - swap the pickup, see what that does. No matter what you do with it it'll always feel and play like a P.

    Have fun.
  9. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    If the SX and Fender/Warmoth necks are direct swappable (I honestly don't know), then I'd go SX. If not, I'd go MIM. Sounds like fun though, getting something specifically to soup up :D
  10. martyman5000

    martyman5000 Guest

    Sep 12, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Go for the Squire Vibe...first impressions are usually right and you can try it before you buy it.
  11. Another opportunity for blatant SX shillery. I've heavily modded three or four now, with two more in the works.

    I recently realized, in great part due to my successes with SX stuff, that I'm much more a tinkerer than I am a "order the perfect bass" kind of guy.
  12. My favorite to hot rod has been any Yamaha BB300 from the 80's. They always seem to hold their "build quality" very well over the years and are great a foundation to work from. I've got one hot rodded one left and wouldnt hesitate to use it in a pro gig'in enviroment. I think I paid $150 for it, then added from ebay, tuners, mighy mite bridge, new CTS pots and jack, and some SD pups, all for another $100 bucks or so!

    Forgot to add that I even routed out and installed a Jazz bridge pup then used a stack knob for both volume controls. Very good P/J sound..


    Oct 10, 2008
    Go with an SX. The new Mexican Fender prices for the Jazz and Precision
    is $499.00 & $549.00. You can get a nice SX for $139.00 to 179.00
  14. Musicman81

    Musicman81 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Oklahoma City, OK
    How are the necks and fretwork on the SX basses ? I know price wise they're verrrry cheap, so you're getting what you pay for but what is the general consensus ?
  15. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars

    I just got a CV 60's P and really, there's no need for any mods. In my experience SX basses benefit greatly by upgrading their wiring and pickups, and most importantly their strings. Some people hate their bridges but I've never had a problem. Also for the price, the pickups are pretty good, but better pickups would be a nice touch.

    The nice thing about the SX is that you get a great inexpensive platform, and tons of drop in replacement parts.
  16. Musicman81

    Musicman81 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Yeah, if the necks and fret work is halfways decent I might order a P Bass and drop a Nordstrand pickup in.
  17. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    I really don't agree with the "strictly for upgrading" concept, but a bass that's already good and can be turned into a groove monster is the Lakland 01 series...


    Oct 10, 2008
    I personally like the SX necks better!
    I just purchased this bass- and the neck was straight as an arrow when I recieved it and the trussrod wasn't even tightened!! :eek:

    After I set it up with the strings I like I only gave the rod
    a half a turn and it's perfect! Low, tight action, level and smooth frets, with no buzzes.
  19. Pushrod

    Pushrod Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Il, USA
    Slightly modded SX SP-57

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  20. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I think an SX bass or those new Squier Vintage Modified would be great choices.

    I used to own a Fender Geddy Lee which I modded. Changes pickups, tuners, pickguard, series/parallel mod and it was great. It is a more expensive alternative though.

    I thought of getting that Squier Vintage Mod jazz and upgrading it just because I love the looks of maple/block inlays.

    For project basses look used and you'll find great deals.