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Deciding to mod or not is like being scared to jump in a cold pool...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by de la mocha, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    Ok, forget the title, I suck! Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I have a squier P bass and I love the way she plays and I love the sound.

    But I'm thinking of switching the pickups. You know the saying, if it aint broke don't fix it, right? Well the only thing that's tempting me is this:

    What if I think I love my tone now, but have no idea that a new pick up would vastly improve my tone and allow me to see how inferior my old pickups really were? Curse the great unknown!!! Grrrrr.....!:mad:

    So here's my problem: Should I spend my hard earned cash on new pickups and paying a luthier to install them, taking a shot in the dark that I'd love the new tone? Or stick with what I'm use to now? Should I jump in that freezing pool and have fun with all the other kids, or just sit by the side of the pool and just watch? :atoz:
  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones

    I modded a great bass, one that a lot of people would say "leave as is" - an Ibanez Gary Willis sig (GWB1).
    I wasn't happy with the preamp.
    So I did as much research as I could to find the preamp I wanted.
    I put an ACG preamp in. That required drilling a third hole in the bass.
    I can relate to your "should I jump in the freezing water" kind of feeling, 100%.

    I'm totally glad I did. Loving the way the bass sounds now.
    I'd say do your research, then go for it and jump in.
  3. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    If it were me, I'd take it to a music store and try it back to back with basses with pickups that I could get ahold of. See how the tone compares to your ears. If you like it better, try a new pickup. If not, be happy with your bass as she is. :)
  4. ohskigod


    May 5, 2008
    I'm a tweaker, so I'm going to say go for it.

    the squier is the right kind of product to tweak in my eyes. a quality product out of the box but doesnt cost a ton. besides, the old pick ups will go in just as easy.

    I have a Squier affinity Jazz that I put a Bad Ass II bridge on along with an Audere Pre.....pick ups are coming down the road as well. all changes were a marked improvement (except for some half round strings I put on....love the sound, hate the feel. thats another story for another day though)

    so my vote = go for it.
  5. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    The best thing I did to my Squier P was to install some American P pickups - made a world of difference. I loved the way it plays, so now the sound matches. I tried some DiMarzios, but the sound was not what I was looking for - not rich enough.

    The other thing I did that made a huge difference was to completely shield the inside cavity and the underside of the pickguard with copper from Stew-Mac. It is now DEAD silent!
  6. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I would never hack up a beautiful vintage instrument with a router or a drill. Even my Yamahas I wouldn't do that to. I've sold a few original classic basses rather than try to mess with their layout.

    A cheap import, a newer Fender or a bass that's already gotten hacked, now that's a completely different thing!!

    In your case, there's no dilemma at all. Changing pickups is easy as pie. With the standard P layout, there's a zillion options and they're all reversible. Are they better than the stock Squier p/u? Probably. You'll never know until you try. So I say: go for it!
  7. Alcyon


    Jan 15, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I have somewhat of the same problem, and it's more like, should I drop $100 on some new pickups when the tone of this bass isn't bad at all? I have a MIJ P-bass and the pickups are quite nice, but I can't help being curious what some 1/4 pounders or EMGs would sound like. I guess I could always re sell them.
  8. whoapower


    Jul 14, 2005
    Austin, TX
    What amp/speakers are you playing through?

    Either way, you cannot go wrong updating the pickups or not. If you are going for resale value down the road, you will not make up the dollars spent on the upgrades. However, if you fall in love with the sound, then a hundred bucks is just a small cost.
  9. Fretlessboy


    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    Guys, here's the thing as I see it... passive pickups in a P bass can be changed with soldering 2 wires... it takes longer for the iron to heat up then it does to make the switch is no big deal. Also, paying to have it done by some one else is a waste of money when you aren't dealing with preamps and stuff.
  10. David Cardoza

    David Cardoza

    Apr 16, 2004
    I've found that modding guitars (and basses) is kinda like working on your own car...
    some like to do it, some don't.

    Myself, once I took the leap and started taking things apart and moving them around,
    I was hooked.

    Just finished modding a Squire PJ special... tone sucked, pickups sucked, wiring sucked,
    neck sucked. I put in an EMG PJ set and wiring harness I had from another bass,
    new and heavier bridge, sheilding. Refinished it down to bare wood and cherry stained it.
    Also replaced the neck with one of the SX 20.00 specials.

    I now love the way it sounds, the way it plays and the way it looks. And I had the fun
    of doing it myself (will post some pictures soon).

    Grab yo tools and go at it!


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