Can an HH Stingray approximate a J-bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ajsmcs, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs

    Oct 15, 2014
    Good morning! I have an SSBM Stingray SUB4 that I happen to like a lot, but I've really gotten into the sound of the Jazz bass recently.

    I've been thinking about adding a second pickup/switching system like the factory HH in the hope that the outer half-coil neck/bridge tone might be close to that of a Jazz bass. How similar are they? (And on the same note, how similar is the inner half-coil neck/bridge tone to a p-bass?)

    To be clear, I have the tools and the skill to route a cutout for a new pickup/switch and wire everything up correctly, so the only expense is the cost of the parts. (I'd go with one of these: KP - GFS MM Pro Plus- Alnico Music Man style pickup - INCREDIBLE tone! - Kwikplug™ Ready )

    It'd be a fairly cheap upgrade for me to do, but I won't waste my time if it won't even get me close to what I'm looking for.

    Why not just buy a J-bass? Well, I'm mainly a guitar and synth player, and I just don't have the budget for a whole new bass. Nor am I interested in selling mine to help fund one. ;)

    Thanks in advance for your help! :)
     
  2. zortation

    zortation

    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    The toggle in 3rd position ( I think) on an HH ray sounds most like a dimed J bass, but it still has the Ray snap. The neck pickup is positioned further north than on a J or a P bass so when it's soloed it tends to have a more brown, "unruly" kind of tone than a Fender.

    i guess it would be neat for you to really research where you want to put it if you want a more of a P-ish kind of sound
     
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  3. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs

    Oct 15, 2014
    Thanks for your response! Are you saying the position with both pickups/all coils sounds most like a J?

    And does the position I've circled in the attached picture sound at all like a P?

    I realize they're not gonna be exact by any stretch of the word, I'm just curious if its a close approximation and to what degree.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. It won't be exact because the pickup is not in the same location. Also the output will probably be quieter than the normal humbuckers you're used to. And if you're trying to get jazz and P tones, you'll want to wire your switch with the outer coils in parallel for the J, and inner coils in series for the P.

    Last but not least, check the wiring of your existing pickup before you get started. I've modded an EBMM Sterling, and they do really weird stuff with only 3 conductors from the pickup and it goes into a PCB board, and it was much more complicated than normal wirings that I'm used to.
     
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  5. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs

    Oct 15, 2014
    I was worried about that. I'll make sure to look at the harness and verify that I can do what I want before ordering any parts.
     
  6. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid

    Jun 7, 2013
    Illinois
    If you route the second pickup closer to the existing route, similar to a Warwick $$, the outside coils will be in J range. You lose nothing, and with a 5 way switch you will gain 4 new usable tones. I'd also recommend getting 2 of the new pickups and wiring it passive.

    For sure, go for It! I did the same thing to a Fender Rascal bass and Kent Armstrong pickups and it is terrific.
     
  7. zortation

    zortation

    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Looks like no. 2 is the one like a J bass....If I recall correctly, the one with all coils on actually sounds a little like an Alembic, of all things, at least it did to me anyway. :)

    The only setting that sounds remotely like a P is the front pickup soloed, but like I said, it's "different".
     
  8. gerryjazzman

    gerryjazzman

    Dec 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    I converted an OLP MM2 to an HH configuration since I wanted more versatility and wanted the J-bass sound as well. I used those exact GFS pickups (the alnicos). They are really nice for the money. Not sure about the SUB4, but the rear coil of the existing pickup was very close to the 60's J-bass bridge position. I used my MIJ Fender fretless as a guide. I installed a neck pickup with the outer coil in the 60's neck position. I put two push pull volume pots that let me select single coil mode or humbucker mode and to select outer or inner coils (in single coil mode. Humbucker mode overrides this). I could have done something with more options including series mode, but I wanted to keep the control plate clean an original looking without adding more switches, etc. Could do that in the future but I really like it the way it is for the time being. IMHO, the two outer coils cops the J-bass sound perfectly. I made a new pickguard using the original as a template. I didn't want to modify the original if I didn't like the results so I could put it back on to hide the second pickup route. Here are a few pictures.

    Original bass

    Second pickup route

    Both new pickups installed


    Final result
     
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  9. ajsmcs

    ajsmcs

    Oct 15, 2014
    Looks clean. My plan was to buy an HH pickguard and basically use it as a template to trace out the part to route, but I might go your route instead. What's the edge-to-edge distance between your pickups?

    I haven't decided on a wiring scheme yet. I've done a variety of different things on my guitars, including a Strat I built for my brother that has 23 different pickup settings with a 5-way blade, two DPDT mini toggles, and a 6PDT rotary switch in place of the middle tone control. :D

    I'll probably stick with the stock-style wiring with a few extra mini toggles for good measure. Or not. Sometimes I gettoo caught up trying to capture every possible option rather than keeping it simple and useful. :roflmao: Only time will tell.
     
  10. gerryjazzman

    gerryjazzman

    Dec 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    Edge to edge distance turned out to be 3/4 inch. The important dimensions were the coil distances. The 60's jazz pickup placement seems to nominally be 1) bridge saddles to the bridge pickup pole piece centers of 3 inches, and 2) bridge pickup pole piece centers to neck pickup pole piece centers of 3.5 inches. No idea of how these would correspond to a real Stingray HH pickup placement but it wasn't important to me. I think a real Ray HH pickup spacing is wider but I'm not sure. Because of this, an actual Ray HH pickguard may not correspond to the pickup spacing that would provide proper J-bass spacing. That's why I just made my own.