Good Preamp into cheap bass, would you?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by eastcoasteddie, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. I bought a Bartolini 3-band preamp for my Dean, but seem to like the sound of the original 2-band preamp...which also sounds a bit hotter and louder than the bart. So I put the original 2-band back into the Dean and now I have a pretty sweet Bart preamp sitting in a box.

    I also have a "cheap" (read: "inexpensive") 6-string fretless bass from Rondo, which has an OK preamp (Artec) but I feel like it's missing something, and I'd like it to be louder (switching between the Dean with Bart preamp to the fretless, I'd have to raise the amp master volume about 1.5 clicks to match the output of the 2 basses). My experience with bart preamps and fretless basses is very positive, lots of growl and oohmf...but I'm wondering if I should even dare combine the 2. I would have to do a bit of pot-hole enlarging to fit the preamp in there, and maybe even drill an extra hole depending on whether I use the 4 pots the preamp comes with plus a pickup selector (total 5 holes), or 3 standard plus one stacked pot (total 4 holes).

    What would you do...say "F*** it" and start drilling, or don't bother (the preamp costs as much as the bass)?
  2. TortillaChip520


    Jun 3, 2008
    If you really love the playability of the bass, then yes. If i had a cheapo bass that played great, i would not hesitate to put some great electronics in there to make it sound as great as it feels.
  3. +1. Ultimately the question isn't how much you paid for it, but what you can do with it that matters. If I had a $5 bass that played better than anything else I owned... I wouldn't hesitate at all installing a $400 pre-amp that I liked. The end result would be better than paying $2500 for a bass that I hated to play yet got such great reviews from other bassists.
  4. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    Why not? Makes all the sense in the world to me.

    You already know you like the combination of Bart and fretless. As long as you like the feel of the fretless- do it!!
  5. If you've got a good preamp just lying around and a bass with a sub-par preamp why the hell NOT swap them over?

    (you could always put the sub par preamp into use on a squier or something if you don't fry it...I think?)
  6. Slap the Bart in there. C'mon seriously, do it.
  7. DONE

    Man, it sounds a-frickin-mazing!!!!
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I put Bart pups and pre in my cheap (a BB605 originally about a $700 bass but I paid $350 as a "scratch and dent" bass) Yamaha and it really sounds nice. The stock stuff was fine but single coil so it hummed. Since I was adding pups I decided to go all the way and do the preamp as well. It's been my main bass for a long time.
  9. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    I wouldn't.

    Generally I like all my basses to be expensive. :D But barring that, cheap basses are fantastic platforms for trying out different passive wiring schemes.
  10. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I have a Spector Legend that I paid a little over $400 for.

    As of next week, I will have dropped nearly $450 in electronics, and I plan to spend another $200 or so in hardware upgrades.

    Do it.

    The way I see it, if there's not much difference in playability, there's no need to spend an additional $500 for the upgraded model that still doesn't have the electronics configuration that I want. Additionally, I like modding stuff. :)
  11. Jehos


    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Yep. If it plays well, it doesn't matter what it cost. Why do you think so many people look hard for excellent MIM Fenders or even Squiers for example? Cheaper bass that is every bit as good as a MIA Fender, so you can afford to buy the bass *and* put in top-end electronics.
  12. been there, done that...made me realize that I just don't like passive basses. Active only for me, thanks.
  13. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Yeah, I've done something like that, though I didn't spend as much as you. I put a $149 Audere in my $100 SX SJB57C. If the pre does what you want, and the bass feels good to you why not? The ONLY reason I would see not to do it is if you could get the SAME result for less some other way. :cool: