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Help give my SR5 a makeover!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mikopita, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. mikopita

    mikopita Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    Greetings all!

    I do apologize if this information has been directly posted in other threads. I searched for awhile, but couldn't come up with specific info about what I want to ask.

    For quite some time, I've been on the 'outs' with the sound of my SR5. I love my Sterling, but the Ray just doesn't quite cut it. On numerous occasions I've considered trading or selling it, but I cannot seem to pull the trigger because I love the way it both looks and feels. It's an early model (5/90), has beautiful flames on the neck, and the honeyburst is stunning in person.


    Recently I happened upon basstasters.com, and checked out the samples of the Rays with the Stock and then the Nordstrand pickups. I must say, that the Nordstrand's are exactly the sound I am looking for. This leads me to my first question.

    Will changing out the pickups alone really get me such a drastic change in the tone? It sure seems to me that the EB preamp would play a much bigger part in that tone than just a swap of the pups. I realize that there will of course be a change in tone, but egads... those samples sound like night and day.

    Does anyone know if I could go with the MM5.3 (phantom coil) as a replacement without routing? I've never taken any part off of the bass and have a feeling that it won't but figured it wouldn't hurt to ask in case someone might know.

    I'll likely go with a black cover for the pup, so am also thinking about going with a Tort PG. I am open to all recommendations and suggestions including other pickup/pickguard combos.

    Thanks a bunch.

  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Yes...changing the pickup will be that drastic. The magnets on the SR5 are ceramic. The magnets on all SR4's are alnico, which give that classic signature SR tone.

    What does taking the neck off of the bass have to do with changing the pickup? You shouldn;t have to touch the neck..even if you do need to route, which I doubt...but Nordstrand can answer that for you.

    I have a tort PG on my SR5 w/ black pickups covers...and I also really like the white pearloid. Here is a pic of mine...

  3. mikopita

    mikopita Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    You caught an error in my writing. I had two different thoughts going at the same time and didn't complete them. Sorry about that. I should have proofread better. Thanks for catching it.

    I meant to say that I've never taken the thing apart at all (to see how the pickup route is). I've never even had the neck off even though a time or two I had thought about putting a maple one on there.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It's pretty standard under there...at least mine is. It should lokk something like this...granted this is an SR4...


    There is a small hole to get the wires from the pickup into the control cavity...
  5. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    The magnets on the first generation of SR5's were all dual coil Alnico. To check yours, put the swith in single coil mode, stand next to your PC or amp and listen for a ground hum. I had an older SR5 and a new SR5. The newer sounded more like a Sterling (ceramic magnets) than a 'Ray. Also the preamp has been changed since the earl 90's. I loved my old SR5 but I sold it because of the inferior(IMO) electronics. If you go for the Nord 5.3, you will have to route out some wood for the phantom coil.
  6. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL

    The SR5 with original pickup you are listening at basstasters.com is a current-generation model with ceramic coils - yours probably has alnico, as do Nordstrands pickups. So changing your original pickup to a Nordstrand (MM5.2) won't make much difference.

    The MM5.3 is intended for current-generation 3-coil SR5s, so you would need to route the body.

    If you like the sound of your Sterling, and that of the clips of the original SR5 at basstasters, then a ceramic-coils pickup is your solution, and for that you have to go to Seymour Duncan.

    They have a direct replacement ceramic-coils pickup for your exact model.


  7. mikopita

    mikopita Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    Thanks for the replies.

    What are the real differences between the old and new electronics?

    Lefty007, I hear what you are saying about the pickups, but I swear my bass sounds closer (much closer) to that of the clips of the Stock pups than the Nordy's. It's interesting that you feel changing out the pups will likely not change my sound. It's the clacky high-end that I don't care for on my SR, and the Nordy's just don't seem to have that sound (at least according to the clips).
  8. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    When I had my older SR5 I called EB and talked to a tech about getting a new preamp. He said the newer pre's have less noise with treble boost and are less susceptible to interference(RF noise, neon lights ect.). BTW he wouldn't sell me a new pre. They're only available thru EB for replacement if you send them a defective one. Occassionally one pops up on EBay.
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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