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Dual Musicman HH humbucker configuration in a Sterling SB14?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Peter Weil, Jul 28, 2012.


  1. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi all

    I have laid hands on a very nice Sterling by Musicman SB14 bass. It has a Nordstrand MM4.3 which is currently wired up in it. It sounds great and is extremely aggressive, though less aggressive than the original ceramic humbucker (which I also have safely tucked away). It definitely sounds like a Musicman at this point, and I'd like to preserve that, though a bit more flexibility wouldn't hurt.

    I like the sound of the current Nordy alnico humbucker in both series and parallel. I don't really use the single coil setting.

    I'm considering whether I make it a project bass and try to install a second humbucker at the front, like a Stingray HH. I'm still trying to figure out the wiring options, but as I already have a Jazz, I don't really need single coil operation or to make it sound like a Jazz Bass.

    It'd be nice to be able to have series/parallel toggles for both pickups and a master switch to swap between front pickup/both pickups/rear pickup only. Keeping output levels equal could be interesting....

    I'm eyeing up how Musicman wire up their basses with interest. The Stingray HH remains in parallel in all settings; the Sterling HH remains in series in all settings.

    I'm not sure whether the ideas I'm considering could be done with the ceramic humbucker at the front and the Nordy MM4.3 at the back, whether I should try and find another MM4.3, or whether I should just start from scratch and consider buying 2 Nordstrand MM4.2s.

    Then there's the issue of how everything interfaces with the current preamp. I understand the preamp is quite clever in how it deals with different modes of the pickup operation in its current setup. Not sure if I'd have to get a Nordstrand or John East MMSR pre-amp.

    I realise this project may well be more trouble than it's worth. I'd plan to hand over the work to a tech, but I'm just trying to figure out what is feasible before I make any further plans.

    Anyone else done this or have insight into it?

    Many thanks.

    Pete
     
  2. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    This bass may also get a new medium scale 32" neck, though obviously the bridge or pickups (or both) may need some shifting around also.

    Nice easy project, no? ;)
     
  3. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Meant to say, I have searched extensively on Talkbass and on the internet generally, and there aren't a lot of people who as far as I can tell that have done this or something similar.
     
  4. stingray96191

    stingray96191

    Jul 27, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Unofficially Endorsing Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars
    For what it would cost, you could buy a used EBMM HH Sterling.
     
  5. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Point taken and I have been thinking along similar lines. (Though I will point out you don't know how the secondhand price I paid for the SBMM.)

    However, I'm keen to try out the medium scale neck, and there's no way I'd hack up a proper USA Sterling to move the pickup. One of the main reasons I picked up a SBMM SB14 was so I could experiment.

    Second reason is that (heresy ahead!) I prefer the sound of basswood to ash.

    Thanks for the thought though. My innner cheap b*stard is alive and kicking and will proceed only if things seem viable! (Or at least, viable enough...)
     
  6. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Anybody?
     
  7. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I can certainly understand wanting to install an HH config. I'm not sure what you mean about the preamp and how it deals with different pickup modes though.

    I can't see any good coming from changing the scale length. If you ever wanted to sell it, the resale value would be completely shot from moving the bridge.
     
  8. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks for the advice. I understand and appreciate your good intentions.

    Changing the scale length would probably be fairly straightforward - replace the neck, and shift either the pickup or the bridge. In either case it would probably be straightforward enough to ensure that the bass is not seriously defaced.

    What I am looking for is advice from anyone who has done anything like this. So far, I haven't read anything pertinent on this board.

    I picked up the bass cheaply enough that I am not afraid to modify it and lose resale value. I would appreciate it if others could take this into account when offering commentary.

    I definitely wouldn't do this to a USA EBMM. However, I suspect there'll be a bunch of people who own SBMMs or SBMM SUBs who might be considering it in the future, especially as the newest wave of these basses are so cheap.
     
  9. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
  10. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie

    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    ++ to 2nd humbucker. Ew to medium scale neck :p
     
  11. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    This.
     

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