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Fender P-Bass/Music Man Parts Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 72LML, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    Thought that I would share a parts build that I have going on. I've been slowly collecting parts to take a stab at building a P-Bass/Music Man combo. I know it's not going to sound exactly like a P-Bass and exactly like a Music Man but I figured why not and maybe I can learn a thing or two along the way.

    Anyhow here are the specs and what I've gathered up so far.

    -Fender MIM "Black Label" Jazz Neck
    -Squier Pete Wentz P-Bass Body
    -EMG Active P-bass pickup
    -EMG MMTW Active Music Man Pickup
    -Seymour Duncan STC-3A 3 band pre-amp
    -BadAss II bridge

    The controls layout looks like this
    1st knob: Volume with Push/Pull pot for "Slap" enhancement
    2nd knob: Blend
    3rd knob: Mid
    Between 3rd and 4th knob: DPDT switch to split the coils in the Music Man pickup. The EMG MMTW pup can be split to run a single coil in the rear to simulate a jazz bass pickup up in the bridge position.
    4th knob: Stacked Bass/Treble

    I've already wired up the electronics and everything seems to works as it should.

    Body to be painted white with a tort pickguard.

    So far the electronics have been wired up, the pickguard has been modified for the 4th knob, and the body has been modified for the 4th knob, side output jack, and preamp. I Still need to route the Music Man pickup opening and route the spot for the battery box on the back.

    Here are few shots that I took tonight. I'm going to route the Music Man pickup so the back of the pickup is in the position of a 60's jazz pickup. I know it not in the optimal spot for a Music Man pup but it's close. It's about a 1/2 inch off according to my measurements from my 5-string Music Man. I'll keep this updated as I progress. Can't wait until it's done!

    Quick Mockup


    Routed body so far
  2. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Looking good. Because of the length of the MM pickup, you could probably get a 60's, and a late 70's jazz bass sound with it.

    Looking forward to this.
  3. I like that body!
  4. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    I got a little more done on the bass over the past few days. I'm still trying to figure out the placement of the MM pickup and need a little help. I know if I was going to go for the true Musicman sound I would have to make this a reverse P to allow for proper placement of the MM pickup.

    So with not wanting to go that direction I'll have to resort to a different option.

    The 1st photograph puts the pickup in the proper location for a 60's jazz pickup.
    1. Puts the pickup closer to a proper Musicman location.
    2. Proper location for a 60's jazz spacing.
    1. Looks a little strange
    2. Will require modification of the pickguard (harder to swap pickguards)
    3. Is it "too close" to the P pickup and will it cause a problem with how it sounds?

    The second photograph shows it just off the pickguard.
    1. Looks better
    2. No pickguard modification
    3. Spaced further away from the P pickup by about 3/8"
    1. Farther away from the "Musicman" sweet spot
    2. Puts the pickup between a 60's and 70's jazz spacing

    What do you guys think? Will that placement 3/8" closer to the bridge make a huge difference? This puts it about 1" closer the bridge over the proper Musicman location.

    Pic #1

    Pic #2

    Had the guys at work make up a aluminum router template for me. Should work great!
  5. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    I've changed my mind. I'm going to change this over to reverse P config and put the MM pickup in the correct spot. Looks like I'll be doing a custom pickguard.:help:
  6. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    If you are going to make your own routing and pickguard for the pickups, can I suggest you move them closer to the neck? Slightly improves the sound.

    I would set up a testing rig with the pickups above the strings facing down to figure out where I want them though.
  7. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    I finished routing the body tonight. The P-pickup has been reversed and the Musicman pup is in the proper position. I also got the battery box routed in the back. All I need now is the new pickguard material to show up and I can finish fitting everything into place and get some paint on this thing. The "rectangle" route that you see in the control cavity is for the circuit board for the 3-band pre-amp.

  8. Great job, I'm really starting to like this!

    (You are going to include sound clips with the "all done" photos, right?)

  9. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I hope there will be soundclips, as well. I'm very interested in how this combo works. :D
  10. cccy


    Nov 23, 2010
    London, UK
    this needs a J pickup near the bridge :D
  11. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Just a BassGuy! Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    Subscribed! I'm betting it will sound killer!

    Here's my Warrior J/MM - Bart pups & pre - It's got a sound all its own... Bring it to the next GTG at hdracers!

  12. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    I'm planning on getting some sound clips. I just need to learn to play something now :help:

    My plan is to have this along with few other goodies at the next GTG. Scott's been working on a small 30watt tube practice amp for me as well. :hyper: We are looking at sometime in February correct?
  13. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    It does have one. Well sort of :). The MM pup is about 1/2" closer to the neck than a 60's jazz bridge pup so it's not in the exact position that it should be. But the cool thing about the EMG MMTW pickup is that you can turn the rear part of the pickup into a single coil just like a jazz bass.


    So with the controls layout you should be able to use the small toggle switch to change between a single coil and the MM humbucker. It also has a blend pot in place so you can blend as you want between the MM pup and the P-bass pup.
  14. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    Finally an update! I got the new pickguard material and started working on it. I still need to bevel the edges, drill all the holes for the controls and pickguard screws, and do some final shaping but it should give you an idea of how it's starting to look. I'm torn on what color to paint it. I've been wanting a white bass for a while now but I think that black will hide the pickups a little bit better.

  15. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Looking awesome! I agree with black.
  16. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    I put it all together and put it through a test run today. First impressions? I like it, I really like it! It has a great MM tone to it and if you eq it correctly you can dial in a nice p-bass tone. Not quite perfect on a vintage P-bass sound but I wouldn't expect that from active pickups and a 3-band pre-amp.

    I still have a bunch of stuff to complete on it such as fret level and polish, neck refinish, swap bridges, and obviously the body needs to be painted. I've settled on black for the color instead of white. I guess that just means that I'll need to build another bass. :hyper:

    The plastic is still on the pickguard so it will have some more "pop" to it once it's removed.

    Here are a few pics.

  17. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    IMO, don't paint it. Sand all of your "construction" marks off and finish it in clear gloss. I normally don't like a tort pg at all on any finish but for some reason I'm diggin it on that natural body. I'm weird huh :/
  18. Naw, you're not weird. That thing would be fine with a coat of gloss polyurethane. Nice work!
  19. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Seafoam green or sonic blue would look good with the tort guard and rosewood fingerboard. Great work!
  20. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The only acceptable solid color for use with a tort guard is white. Other wise it should remain natural or use a different pick guard.

    This is JMHO by the way.