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Essex SX Shortscale P Bass - My First Bass!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by meestro, Apr 1, 2009.


  1. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    Just purchased my first bass guitar. I've been an avid guitarist for years, also been known to dapple in the drums...but this will be my first bass.

    I have heard great things about Rondo as far as bang-for-the-buck deals, and I figured it'd be a good go at a 1st bass. I went with a short scale, after enjoying the tones I've gotten out of them in the past w/ some of the old vintage models I've played.

    The exact bass I got was this white shortscale 60s style p-bass w/ the rosewood fingerboard ($100):

    bg1k34wht1.

    I ordered a Gotoh 201 bass bridge ($40), but not tuners yet. I'll see how these hold up, and how nice the gear ratio is first.

    I also ordered a vintage P-bass wiring kit from Mojo Musical, which comes w/ cloth wiring, 2 CTS pots, and a orange drop cap all for $15-20. I've got a couple original 1950s knobs from an old Fender Lap Steel...I've also got some bone nut material ready in case this nut is shoddy. I also got a Kent Armstrong P-Bass pickup (around $50). Ordered a set of Rotosound Shortscale Flatwound strings for $30 or so...

    I'm having my luthier friend Chris Siegmund do the work on it for me...he works magic!

    Should be a great deal after all is said and done...I have yet to receive the bass, but even if it takes a little fretwork, I'm sure it'll play great after a proper setup. I plan to mostly use it for recording.

    I am also looking to score the Barber Linden EQ pedal to run into a tube preamp/DI. I love the old B15 sound.

    I'll let you know how it all comes together, hopefully w/ some photos of the process!
     
  2. kickupthejam

    kickupthejam

    Feb 22, 2008
    Perth
    Sexy lookin' bass there, welcome to the world of the low end.
     
  3. Mazatleco17

    Mazatleco17

    Mar 27, 2008
    I've been wanting to buy a shortscale sx and use it as a "beater" bass.
     
  4. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    I've been doing the singer/songwriter thing lately, so I think it'll work out well for that sort of sound. If I need to use it live, I can run that Linden EQ into the front end of a Siegmund guitar amp I have. Puts out about 30W w/ a couple KT66's, SS rectifier plug, into an african mahogany cabinet w/ an original early 50s JBL D130. I have run keyboard (rhodes & b3 patch) through it, and it sounds amazing, so I know it could handle the bass fine.

    mbcustom.
    MikeCsm.
     
  5. honestjohnny

    honestjohnny

    Nov 24, 2006
    Very nice! The tuners are very good and hold well. They are heavy, but you may not want to spend $80-90 on the Hipshot UL's 1/2" like I did. They are drop in replacements though. If the Gotoh 201 has string thru capability, you might like to use a 5-string set, so you have a .120-.130 for your low E. It improves tuning stability greatly and has no adverse effect on playability. The string thru body takes up more string length, so you can use standard or long scale strings.
     
  6. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    Thanks for the tip! I believe it does have string thru capability. For my guitars, I always use a Gotoh 510 delta 21:1 tuning ratio for tuners...Do you know if Gotoh makes a similar line for bass? I would assume the tuning ratio would be different, but something equivalent would be great.

    EDIT: Just noticed the Gotoh GB9's. Does anyone have any experience with these? I think I can probably score a decent deal. I'd like to stick with the open gear backs to maintain the classic styling of the P Bass.
     
  7. honestjohnny

    honestjohnny

    Nov 24, 2006
    You'd be just as well leaving the stock tuners on. The Hipshots are lighter weight, that's the only reason I mentioned them. But it's your bass. Have fun!!
     
  8. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    Got the bass today. The tuners are definitely shoddy, as is the plastic nut. Doesn't take more than a slight twitch and the string comes out of tune...also slightly turning one tuning key seems to detune the others...Not sure if this is more to do with the bridge or the tuners, but I have a feeling the tuners have a lot to do with it as well...

    I'll probably get this thing setup w/ the new Gotoh bridge, new bone nut, Rotosound jazz flats, vintage P bass wiring kit, and Kent Armstrong alnico P Bass pickup first...If the tuning improves, I'll probably hold off on the Gotoh tuners for now.
     
  9. dave120

    dave120

    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    If the tuners seem weak, try this before you spend any money replacing them. Most times they are fine and just need adjustment:

    SX Tuner Adjustment
     
  10. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    That seems kind of ghetto. I think I'll just spend $60 on some new reliable Gotoh GB9's. I don't want to fuss with hardware, might as well just get something tried and tested, you know?
     
  11. BassBob185

    BassBob185

    Oct 25, 2007
    Rocking Chair
    I have the short scake in blue with maple neck. Changed the pickup and new pick guard. Its a great sounding bass. I didn't see the need to change the wiring. My tuners seem fine. The bass can go days without getting out of tune.
     
  12. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    Is that one of the 57 models? I'm guessing by the neck coloration & all maple setup. Where did you find a replacement pickguard to fit? The cap & pots that came with mine don't seem like they'd do much justice for the upgraded pickup, so I didn't mind spending $15 on a nice Sprague Orange Drop w/ some cloth wiring, CTS pots, & switch craft jack.

    The edges of the frets are a little rough, but no lifted frets as some people have experienced. I'm greatly surprised with the real simple sealed/matte finish on my neck. I was thinking I might have to sand down some glossy coat, but there are absolutely none. Neck looks real solid, too.

    The rosewood on the fretboard isn't the purdiest, but it should work fine.
     
  13. BassBob185

    BassBob185

    Oct 25, 2007
    Rocking Chair
    Yes its a 57 model. I was surprised how well the frets were dressed. I did a setup and changed strings. The pick guard is the original but I painted it with Krylon Fusion spray paint made specifically for plastic. I wasn't sure it would hold up but it works great and hasn't chipped or scratched. Follow directions on the can. I used EMG Select pickups on my SX PJ so I decided to use a set of EMG Select Ps.
     
  14. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    Status Update:

    Chris Siegmund picked up the bass yesterday and was able to take a look at it this morning. As a reminder, I bought a Gotoh 201 bridge, Kent Armstrong P-Bass pickup, Vintage P-Bass wiring kit from mojo music, and Rotosound flatwound strings. The following might be of interest to those of you looking to upgrade your SX shortscale bass:

    I plan to get some of the Gotoh G9 tuners as soon as I get an extra buck for this bass. I knew the nut was pretty cheap, as well as the tuning keys as soon as I felt them. The information about the bridge and pickup pole pieces is pretty valuable to anyone that just wants to change out the pickup without the bridge...Sounds like the stock bridge wouldn't line the strings up exactly with the pole pieces of a new pickup. Therefore, it'd be good to look into getting a new bridge when you replace/upgrade the pickup...Also some valuable info regarding the rosewood fingerboard...It's pretty dry upon arrival (most likely due to climate differences along the travel between China and the US). It's a good idea to let some sort of oil seep in there to seal things up.
     
  15. mndean

    mndean

    Mar 20, 2009
    California
    Good news, then. I ordered the same bass, just in sunburst.
     
  16. mslatter

    mslatter

    Apr 8, 2003
    My daughter started with a short scale SX bass, and while the electronics were pretty weak, it was an extremely fun instrument to play. The strings were very light, and the smaller distance between frets made for some really fast finger action.
     
  17. oldrookie

    oldrookie

    May 15, 2007
    Avon, IN
    Took the long way home tonight and stopped in thrift store. Like to wander through looking for basses. Have only seen one prior to today, but spotted one of these. Liked it, but the neck was really out of whack--seriously bowed--and the price is $100. At half of that, I'd be interested. Not a mark on it, but don't want to risk the money on a possible bad neck.
     
  18. meestro

    meestro

    Dec 2, 2008
    Good move. It's $100 brand new.

    The intonation is completely outa wack outa the box, but nothing wrong w/ the solid neck...at least shouldn't be. Got the bass today! Plays soooo much better w/ a proper nut, bridge & flatwounds. The nut that comes on there is such soft plastic that you can actually bend it in half before it snaps. It's the same plastic that barbies are made of...horrible!

    I have a really old bone material on there now...almost matches the color of the headstock.

    The pickups sound just as they should...flatwounds play like a gem...

    Chris said the rosewood board was so dry that he had to apply 3 coats just for it to take...Looks, feels, and plays great now. I'll try to snap some photos...Unfortunately I didn't snap any before shots.
     
  19. Mazatleco17

    Mazatleco17

    Mar 27, 2008

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