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First P Bass help, it balances too low for me

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fuadramsey, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. fuadramsey


    Jun 30, 2010
    I switched from an ESP LTD bass to a P Bass.

    One problem though when strapped on the head stock balances lower than what I'm used to.

    This was really noticeable to me last rehearsal. I mostly play resting my thumb on the pickup and found that I was pressing down on my thumb to keep the headstock up. If I bring the headstock up, the weight and balance of the bass brings it back down.

    Any advice? I tried getting a really nice thick bass strap. It's comfortable but seems to make this a little worse.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    You can do any of these things:
    --install "ultralight" tuning machines
    --install a heavy solid brass bridge
    --put some lead weights in the control cavity
    --make an extension rod that relocates the top strap button farther toward fret 11
    --use a strap with a very rough inner surface
  3. I switched my tuning keys to some lighter ones. and got a heavier bridge. the keys are nicer than stock. the bridge made a HUGE difference in my tone and sustain. but if you don't wanna upgrade that stuff, you can always sew a little pouch on the back of your strap on the end and put weights in it :)
  4. fuadramsey


    Jun 30, 2010
    So did that change the balance of the bass? What bridge and what tuners? Was that for a MIA P bass? I'm assuming you did because of the similar problem?
  5. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    I have a similar problem with my J. I've got a 3" leather strap and it helped but it could still be better. I guess a good heavy could help. Is the BADASS II bridge heavy?
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    what kind of P bass?

    the biggest balance fix will be lightweight keys, they'll make more difference than the bridge due to the leverage involved.
  7. fuadramsey


    Jun 30, 2010
    1995 Standard MIA P Bass
  8. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    A guy on IRC also suggested a good tip. Measure exactly how much weight in the body will be needed to balance it to your liking. You can tie a sandwich bag to the strap knob and add pennies to the bag untill it's comfortable. Then when you know the weight required, add some fishing or diving weights under the pickguard or controls.
  9. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I believe those basses had the huge "vintage style" tuning keys right? Some Hipshot Ultralights will change the balance drastically if that's the case.
  10. fuadramsey


    Jun 30, 2010
    Yeah they're pretty big. I'd like a more stock replacement, the Hipshots look too different on the back. I saw something about the Gotoh's being the lightest and not effecting your tone.

    Oh, I just found the weights for tuners:
    Bass tuner weights

    * Custom Shop Parts tuners 61 grams

    * Gotoh:
    o GB70 64 grams
    o GB9 115 grams
    o GB30 83 grams
    o Res-O-Lite:
    o GB350 35 grams
    o GB640 64 grams
    o GB528 53 grams

    * Hipshot:
    o HB6Y Ultralite Y Key with ½” dia 42 grams
    o HB6Y Ultralite Y Key with 3/8” dia 51 grams
    o HB6C Ultralite Clover Key with ½” dia 47 grams
    o HB6C Ultralite Clover Key with 3/8” dia 56 grams

    * Schaller:
    o M4 68 grams
    o BML 57 grams
    o BMFL 110 grams (Fender basses between 1966 and 1982)

    * Sperzel:
    o Bass tuners 49 grams

    Fender Precision and Jazz Deluxe use the BT4S tuners 123 grams

    G&L Musicman and Fender Mexican bass tuners weigh 95 grams
  11. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Personally, I think that the tuners have zero effect on your tone. Even if they did, I think it would be so minimal that the benefit of having a better balanced bass would outweigh the tone change.

    I can tell you that on my MIM 50s P, I changed the crazy-heavy stock tuners to Ultralights, and it did nothing to the tone of the bass, and made it balance perfectly.

    The one thing that a tuner change may do is shuffle the dead spots around on your bass (if you have any noticeable ones).
  12. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Relocate the G-string tuner and put it on the other side (3 + 1 configuration, like MusicMan). Then cut off the now unnecessary length of headstock.

    When you stick weight that far out in one direction, it has a bigger impact on an instrument's balance than placing that same amount of weight near the center of mass.
  13. It definitely changed the balance. It never really bothered me before, so I fixed an issue i didn't really even regard.
    I have the Hipshot tuners, they look and feel a lot like the ones on the newer MIA fenders. plus they just look rad!
    And i have the badass II which is really a nice bridge. makes the bass sound so much better. A lot of clarity and sustain vs the bent piece of metal fender puts on there stock. And its WAAYY heavy.
    Hope this helps
  14. elzeder


    Mar 19, 2010
    Sorry for hijacking this thread

    But I have those exact same tuners on my 1993 MIA Jazz
    Are those Hipshots??? they were stock on mine, did you change for these? Cause of the F on them?
    BTW that 1989 to 1993 "Boner" Jazz with the bigger body and longer horn has a decent sort of centered balance.

    I guess my question is:Are these lighter tuners?

  15. ajn


    Sep 3, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I replaced the giant clamshell tuners on my MIA Jazz (which I assume is what your P-bass has) with these Hipshot Ultralights. It took exactly 8 oz. off the weight of the headstock and made a world of difference in both balance and the weight on my shoulder.

  16. I can't believe no one has suggested to wear the bass higher! If you wear the bass up higher, the fit to your body should hold everything in place.
  17. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    This puts the first fret farther away from your body and makes the lower frets less ergonomic to reach.

    And height is so preferential that it seems like a worthless thing to sacrifice when the bass' construction/design is entirely at fault (both good and bad) for the way it balances.
  18. fuadramsey


    Jun 30, 2010
    The tuners you have pictured(FltecherML) are the same ones I have. What did you switch too? Do you have the model and size? The Hipshots I found are the HB6C 1/2" I measured the hole on my headstock and it came out to 18.2mm which according to Hipshot I should use the 1/2" replacements.

    Here are my current heavy stock tuners:
    <a href="http://s1009.photobucket.com/albums/af220/fuadramsey2/forum%20photos/?action=view&current=_DSC8481.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1009.photobucket.com/albums/af220/fuadramsey2/forum%20photos/_DSC8481.jpg" border="0" alt="Stock 1995 Fender Standard P Bass MIA Tuner"></a>

    <a href="http://s1009.photobucket.com/albums/af220/fuadramsey2/forum%20photos/?action=view&current=_DSC8501.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1009.photobucket.com/albums/af220/fuadramsey2/forum%20photos/_DSC8501.jpg" border="0" alt="Stock 1995 Fender Standard P Bass MIA Tuner"></a>
  19. Those are the ones I have for sure. I'm pretty sure they're lighter than my old ones. If those are too heavy for liking I'd go with something like what one of the other posters put up. Those ones were tiny! Haha.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    no, those are the heavy-ass stock fenders they used from the '90s until just recently.

    ditching them for lightweight units will solve your problem.

    on my '96 P i used these, which totally made the difference balance-wise.

    also, i'd never trade the nice steel-and-brass low-mass string-through stock bridge for a hunk of molded zinc like the badass.

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