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Is a BTB405QM worth upgrading? Help me with my thinking, please.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, May 10, 2019.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    rqhtmag6oaxlqj1zjoso.jpg I got a BTB405QM in trade for a 4-string version that I was trying to sell. No bites on the 4-string other than a trade for this fiver.

    The bass is in really good shape and all the hardware works. I've got some Sadowsky flats (E - G) on it and a different B-string and have been able to get the action nice and low (a big plus).

    One issue is that the preamp isn't working correctly. It's really low output for an 18v system and the mid control has issues. The boost/cut knob is fine, but the frequency selector control isn't. I turn the frequency knob and I get static and volume boosts - like the frequency knob works intermittently. Sometimes when it works the sound is warbly like a phaser.

    I would also want to replace the pickups I think. They're okay, but bland sounding. Nothing is the same size, though. These are 1/4" longer than a P2 size and shorter than the P4.

    If I did all of the upgrades I would want to do it would cost $400ish. Audere preamp and Big Splits. This would definitely give me a different tone than my other Dimarzio loaded bass.

    What would you do? Do I just need deoxit for the mid knob, or do you think it's shot?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  2. Spectre1966

    Spectre1966 Striving For Mediocrity Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Wallingford, CT
    I have the same bass...maybe try cleaning the pots with deoxit.
     
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I player a ton of gigs with one. The pickups are much nicer than the Barts that were available on some models.

    Try this. Get some contact cleaner with the tiny little red straw that extends the nozzle. Find a rectangular hole in the side of your pots. Spray a tiny bit in the hole and work it back and forth. See if that clears things up.

    With everything working properly, it's a very cool bass. I never ran flats on it. Maybe try some rounds or Chromes to liven it up a bit?
     
  4. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm not sure where to get deoxit locally - can i use the kind I would find at a hardware store?
     
  5. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit Inactive

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    I had a neck-thru version for several years. Glad to see you're hanging on to it!

    I agree about the electronics; I had 2 issues with the BTB. One was the string spacing, not my taste. The electronics were the other. It's a versatile bass, for sure, but it's...too polite? If that makes sense...

    I didn't look into Audere, but I strongly considered Nordy's Big Blades (warm & woolly flavor). I think you're on the right track.

    One difference between the neck-thru & the bolt-on versions is the N/T had a mid switch rather than a knob, which I liked a whole lot more.
     
  6. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Buy used here. An obp-3 was the first upgrade to my btb.
     
  7. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I had one , Super Singles and a Bass Mods preamp , great bass . S7300642.JPG

    Totally worth upgrading .
     
    Spectre1966 likes this.
  8. Spectre1966

    Spectre1966 Striving For Mediocrity Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Wallingford, CT
    Any good contact cleaner would work. Two Fingers explained how to use it. I got my Deoxit off Amazon.
     
  9. tubedude

    tubedude

    Jan 19, 2015
    Ga
    I loaded a 6er with big splits and found i only used the single coil. So i ordered big singles for another 6er and love it even more. Using audere, bart, carvin, and other preamps, i found that passive sounded best of all.
     
  10. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I bought some contact cleaner from CRC - QD Contact Cleaner. It doesn't say that it's lubricating so I also got CRC 2-25 multipurpose precision lubricant. The can says that it improves electrical properties.

    Should I clean with the contact cleaner and then lube?
     
  11. Spectre1966

    Spectre1966 Striving For Mediocrity Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Wallingford, CT
    I wouldn’t suggest using a lube. A small shot of contact cleaner into the bottom of the pot, turn it back and forth a bunch of times and it should be fine. If it doesn’t turn smoothly after that the pot probably needs to be replaced.
     
  12. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Somebody mentioned that contact cleaner without lube will remove the lube that's normally in there and cause metal-on-metal damage. No?

    All of the pots turn fine, but the mid control doesn't sound like it should, like it's not making contact through the whole rotation.

    I'm going to give it a try and if it doesn't work I'm going to drop a Tone Monster in there next month. I'm not much of a knob twiddler anyway. I'd go straight passive if I though the pickups would sound good that way.
     
  13. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I used the contact cleaner and it did the trick on the mid control. Still think I'm going to replace the preamp, though.

    I think I'll keep this bass and slowly upgrade it. First the preamp and new full Sadowsky flatwound set (which cost more than the preamp). I might eventually replace the pickups as well, but we'll see how they sound after the new preamp.
     
  14. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    If you need a loud preamp, the Nordstrand one has an internal pot that you can use to raise to boost your whole signal. I saw one for $100 use with pots on Reverb.
     
  15. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Thanks!
     

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