Bullet Bass needs CPR

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Chronic Iguana, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Chronic Iguana

    Chronic Iguana

    Apr 16, 2017
    Have a very previously owned Squier Bullet Bass that's used sparingly for home recording. The "works when wiggled" jack that otherwise produced nothing but snap, crackle and pop, just crapped out on me. Wiggling no longer works. No snap, crackle, etc. But applying pressure to the middle of the pick guard just above the volume pot does provide a temporary remedy. Sort of. Sometimes. Problem: Fender designed the thing with the jack planted on the pick guard. To remove the pick guard to get to the problem child jack seems to require removing everything, including knobs and pickups. And I have no clue what I'm looking for when, or if, I manage to get there.

    Before attacking the thing with a screwdriver, a circular saw or a hand grenade, a little expert guidance would likely be useful. Am a total klutz with a soldering iron, but can muddle through if absolutely required. Consider this a cry for help. Thanks in advance. The borrowed photo shows the jack placement on a similar model.
  2. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    You have to remove the pickups on a Bullet in order to fix the jack?
  3. Chronic Iguana

    Chronic Iguana

    Apr 16, 2017
    Apparently so. Pick guard must be removed to get to the jack. And this seems to require pulling the pickups. Am hoping someone has a work-around that will avoid yanking the pickups.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This isn't the end of the world.

    Just take your strings off, dig in and do it. Remove all of the pick guard screws only. It looks like the pick ups will remain attached to the pick guard and the wiring will come with. It will probably all come out as a single unit.

    You can do this.
    RSBBass likes this.
  5. +1 to Charlie. Remove only the pickguard screws and gently try to remove the pickguard. If the pickups are attached to the guard they should come with it. If they're attached to the body they should stay. Just be gentle as you're taking the guard up. The jack may just need to be cleaned or reheat the solder joints and flow a little more solder in. However, what I've sometimes found, is someone has tried to tighten the jack without holding it from the inside and twisted the wires up and maybe off. Still should just be a resolder job.
    RSBBass and SirMjac28 like this.
  6. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    When I had one of those (still have the pickups around here somewhere), I seem to remember everything being mounted on the pickguard, and probably the only thing tethering the pickguard to the body will be the bridge ground wire, but there should be enough slack. You might be able, if you're careful, be able to do it without removing the strings. The pickguard might be stuck to the body, but a bit of prying should pop it up.

    The prior suggestions about the possible problems are good, and to that I'll add that the tip contact of the jack might have gotten bent enough so that it doesn't make good contact with the plug. If you're lucky and that's the case, it might just need to be bent back to its proper place.
  7. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I just did some rehap on a Bullet, and posted about it here: Fender Bullet Bass Deluxe.

    Pulling the pickguard really is not a big deal. The pickups are attached to the pickguard, as are the controls. It will all lift out once you remove the screws around the perimeter of the guard. The ground wire running to the bridge will tether the pickguard to the body, so pay attention to that.

    The initial problem I had to fix with this particular Bullet was the lack of any sound, and that was a jack problem. I removed the strings and pickguard and took a look. I lightly sanded the contact points and that got it working. If your problem is corrosion, you might be able to fix it without any disassembly, if you wrap a little fine-grain sandpaper around something round, you might be able to clean the contact points.

    Other possible problems are that you might have to ben the contact point for the tip a little, or the jack could have twisted and either broken something or could be making contact where it shouldn't.

    After you take it apart, plug a cable in and visually inspect. Look for broken/disconnected wires and make sure the plug only touches the jack at the sleeve and the tip.
  8. Yep. Getting at that jack is fairly easy and totally doable.

    Just do what has been said already.

    That is basically the same setup as a Squier Bronco. I've had mine apart several times when modding.

    When you put it back together just make sure all the wires are sitting in their cavities and not sandwiched between the pickguard and the body.
  9. Chronic Iguana

    Chronic Iguana

    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Had to momentarily set the bass problem aside to deal with an issue that had crippled my primary instrument, a Hammond B3. Fixing the bass was easier. And cheaper. And a lot lighter. As suggested, everything came along for the ride when the pick guard was removed. Among a few other problems, the tip contact had bent outwards and wasn't making contact. The jack was badly worn. Rather than risk totally screwing it up, tossed the dismantled bass into the car and gave it a ride to the guitar place down the road. The tech, who had previously brought my banjo back to life, replaced the jack, tended to the scratchy pots, upgraded the tuners and machine heads and gave it a long overdue setup. Am out the price of a few Happy Meals, but the bass needed the work and I figure it should now be good to go for another 40 years. Wish I came with the same guarantee. But again, thanks.