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Best upgrade

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by funkasaurus, Oct 24, 2002.


  1. funkasaurus

    funkasaurus

    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Hey TBers,

    I've been playing about 18 months now, so I guess I'm still relatively new to the bass. Loving it so far, just wish I had started earlier! Anyway I have a MIM Jazz that I've been thinking about upgrading. My question is pretty basic:

    What upgrade will have the greatest effect on my bass' tone?

    I've already changed my strings a couple of times. So besides that, what can I change? I am looking for a tighter, cleaner sound. Pickups? Bridge? Tuners? Install a preamp? Jump up and down like a monkey when I play?

    I mostly play jazzy funk/funky jazz fingerstyle with a little slap thrown in, but I also like reggae, hip hop, blues, classic rock, soul, anything funky.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. Just my opinion, but the thing that would have the most impact on giving you a "tighter, cleaner sound" would be lessons with a great teacher. After that would be improving your practice habits. These will have more impact on your sound than ANY new bass or upgrade you could buy.

    Maybe not as much fun as getting gear, of course!

    Oh, and third is jumping around like a monkey, of course!

    Good luck!
     
  3. rickreyn

    rickreyn

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    Here's a fun idea along the above lines. It will help you practice and it is an upgrade. I use a Korg Tone Works Pandora's Box. It'll act as a preamp, give you a bunch of cool sounds, give you some rhythms, bass canceller, and phrase trainer to practice with, and tune you up. All for about $219.
     
  4. funkasaurus

    funkasaurus

    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Yeah I had been taking lessons with a great teacher, Buddy Booker, until I moved from Brooklyn to San Diego a couple of months ago. Haven't had the time with the move and all to find a new teacher yet, but I definitely plan to in the near future.

    I love to practice, and I feel I have pretty good practice habits. Although I've only been playing bass for a year and a half, I played the violin from the age of five until I started college, at which point I was just burned out on it. Thirteen years of weekly lessons, playing in two school orchestras and a traveling chamber orchestra outside of school finally caught up with me and left me burnt out on music. At least until last year when I decided to pick up the bass! :D Point is, all those years of playing the violin really helped my hone my practicing skills. Now that I think of it, I have been neglecting to practice my jumping up and down like a monkey skills. Better get on that.

    Okay, so what hardware upgrades should I be considering? I guess I should have included "besides my fingers" in the original post. :)
     
  5. funkasaurus

    funkasaurus

    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have heard of the Pandora's Box, just never had the chance to play around with it. It sounds like it would add some variety to practicing, which is always good. Cool.

    Being a bass tech newbie, how would I hook up the Pandora's Box?

    bass ---> p's box ---> amp ???
     
  6. I agree with this reco - the Pandora is a great tool and does help make practice fun.

    Okay, since you gotta have some gear: dropping in a J-retro preamp or getting a Sadowsky outboard preamp would definitely give you more tonal options. I have both and prefer the Sadowsky premap. Very clean and neutral preamp.

    Jeff
     
  7. rickreyn

    rickreyn

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    Guitar cord in, amp cord out OR headphone out. You can plug in a CD player with one cord too (into headphone jack on CD player). This unit requires a simple read through of the manual for the rest.
     
  8. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I agree that practice is the best way to make your bas sound good. After that comes the amp.

    Your amp looks alright as long as you dont really gig.

    If you do gig, I would recommend a more powerful amp. Probably something with at least 2-10" speakers.

    If you dont gig, then I guess pickups/ preamp would be a good idea.

    I would try getting the J-retro preamp first. If you still dont feel your sound is as god as youd like, then look into pickups.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  9. pyrohr

    pyrohr

    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Hey Im from Brooklyn and still live here. What you have heard here is righton but what kind of amp are you using and at what settings? Before you change more on your bass try some different amps out. Not all amps will have the sound you are looking for regardless of price. Tightness comes from you first not your equipment.
     
  10. funkasaurus

    funkasaurus

    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Hey pyrohr what part of Brooklyn? I lived in Carroll Gardens for four years and Greenpoint for one. I miss NYC, but SoCal has its advantages too. Though you couldn't get a decent slice out here to save your life...

    I have an Ampeg BA-115. Pretty happy with it. I don't foresee myself playing any gigs anytime soon. I have a guitarist friend who comes over to jam, and the BA-115 has more than enough volume for now. I do plan on getting a new amp eventually though.

    Question about the J-Retro:
    Will it fit in my MIM Jazz without any additional routing?

    Thanks for all the ideas so far. Any more suggestions would be great :)
     
  11. pyrohr

    pyrohr

    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    yo funka Im from williamsburg then jamaica queens then church av in flatbush ! yo just check out some different amps first. Dont go crazy yet, while you are at it try some maybe used mij or mia jazzes. mim basses are decent axes (check my profile) but with all those mods it's still a mim axe
     
  12. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    The retro should drop directly in with out routing. Another change would be the bridge. You could get a badass for cheap.
     
  13. funkasaurus

    funkasaurus

    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have tried out some MIJ and MIA Fenders before. Pretty sweet. I really liked the Geddy Lee I tried out once on 48th (can't remember which shop).

    Does anyone know where I can find more info on the J-Retro? Sound samples would be great. Also, how tough is the soldering required for installing an onboard preamp? I did some basic soldering back when I was growing up and building rc cars, but it's been awhile.

    Brian,
    Does the Badass require modifications to install on a MIM Jazz? Thanks!
     
  14. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    From my understanding, the soldering is minimum. Just connect the 4 wires to some well marked positions on the circuit board and solder teh ground.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  15. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    I believe the badass should drop straight in with no extra holes.
     
  16. pyrohr

    pyrohr

    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    drop in replacement for the badass II but you must file in the notch where the string will lay after you line the string up over the pole pieces.
     
  17. funkasaurus

    funkasaurus

    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Cool. Thanks again for all the info.

    Cheers
     
  18. timre

    timre

    Jul 9, 2001
    Vancouver, BC
    You could put in some Dimarzio DP149's in your jazz (I did) and get a quiet, sweet tone for your bass with no active electronics to deal with. Cheaper too. You can still put in a J-Retro at some point and your tone will only improve. Remember: that Fender pickup soloed is still noisy no matter what preamp you put after it!
     
  19. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    How much would upgrading to a nice Badass cost? Under $100 CAD? Also, what kind should one get for a 4 string?

    [EDIT]

    Also, is it a single or double screw on the string saddle?