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Johnson by AXL P type bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by aoresteen, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. aoresteen


    Nov 26, 2008
    Newnan, GA
    While in Gulf Shores AL last week, I rescued a Johnson by AXL P type bass from a pawn shop. $65 with a nice gig bag.






    I did a search here but not a lot of info on theses. There is no serial number on it. It was tuned up almost a full step when found. Yikes!

    I shimmed the neck a bit, took the banana bow out of it by adjusting the truss rod, ordered a brass mass bridge, replaced the strap buttons with a set of Schaller locking buttons, and ordered a tortoise shell pick guard for it. I'll put some LaBella flat wound strings on it when the bridge shows up & have my tech add a bone nut. The pickup doesn't sound bad; once complete I may replace it and the pots.

    The neck has a nice feel, body is solid. I plan on using it for some home recording.

    I sent some photos of it to The Music Link and if they have any info on it I'll post it. So far I'm guessing it's from the 90's. Anyone one else using one of these?
    dabbler and Atshen like this.
  2. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Guitar player in my old band had a Johnson Bass. No idea where he got it or how much he paid for it...... quality wise it seemed to be in the Squier/SX range.

    I'd say you got a good deal for $65.
  3. aoresteen


    Nov 26, 2008
    Newnan, GA
    I got a reply from The Music Link. They said:

    "This is an extremely old model, most likely from international line made between 2005-2006".

    So it's newer than I thought; 11-12 years old. Just a baby!
  4. aoresteen


    Nov 26, 2008
    Newnan, GA
    Well, I finished the mods to my Johnson by AXL bass. Terrapin Guitars made a new tortoise shell pick guard for it. A Fender/Squier P-Bass pick guard will not fit; there's a large gap by the jack output area.



    I replaced the pickup with a DiMarzio DP-122 pickup - sounds sweet. The pots were changed to CTS, the knobs are genuine Fender, the bridge is an import brass type, and I used a .033 micro-farad cap.

    Brown's Guitar Mill in Newnan GA made a bone nut for it and set it up with a set of LaBella Deep Talking flatwound strings. It's a really nice P-Bass. Should you stumble across one of these, grab it.

    All and all, it's ready to gig! Not bad for a pawn shop rescue. The headstock has grown on me and I like more every time I pick it up and play it.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    dabbler likes this.
  5. mika77270


    Jul 15, 2017
    Last week i've bought in ebay an old Pbass for 70 usd . the neck says "baltimore by johnson". it's an old model late 90 or early 2000. the seller did a very good job seting it up. the original pickups has been replaced by wilkinson pickups. the action is very low. i possess 7 basses , atk ibanez, peavey, cort , harley benton. this johnson is absolutely crushing all of them hands down. i'm french and this bass was only for united states market so i had never heard of this brand but this is so far the best low budget bass i've ever seen. i love this bass so much i will upgrade it with new picks/knobs, will change all the wire/jack and will shielld the electronic hole. will put a new bone nut and expensive strings. it will be an absolute blast...
  6. aoresteen


    Nov 26, 2008
    Newnan, GA
    Since Photobucket went nuts and wants $400 a year to host photos for forums, I left them. Here are the missing photos of my Johnson bass.

    As Found:




    Updated with lots of mods:



    It's a nice P-Bass and I'm happy with it.
  7. aoresteen


    Nov 26, 2008
    Newnan, GA
    Well, I made another change to my Johnson bass. I decided to add a Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge to it:


    I used a DiMarzio Model J (long – bridge) crème DP 123L that matched the DiMarzio P pickup.

    The controls are a volume control per pickup and a master tone. The output jack was moved to the side of the base.

    It is really a sweet bass now.
    CatchaCuda and MaglorOnBass like this.
  8. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    CAE4C57D-FA22-4F38-9917-086EA8821487. I was able to make a Fender/Squire pickguard work. It almost didn’t cover the electronics compartment, but I was able to finagle it to fit mine. I had to do a little Dremeling and filing to fit the neck pocket and pickups. And I had to do some hole filling and drilling to accommodate the traditional 13 hole configuration.

    So far I paid $88 for the bass and $10 for the pickguard, and am very happy with the results.

    I have a cheap fender style replacement neck on the way, and will update as mods progress.
    CatchaCuda likes this.
  9. CatchaCuda


    Feb 3, 2018
    Transfer, PA
    Are you guys finding the neck pocket and heel slightly wider than the typical fender style?

    I'm preparing to cut my headstock to a tele-esque shape. It's not an exact match to a tele, but with some smoothing it should look presentable. I think I'll have to round the corner on the G tuning machine's "flange".
  10. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    The neck pocket on mine is about 63mm. The replacement neck I have coming is 64mm, so I expect to have to sand it down to fit. I don’t know what is standard for a Fender P-bass, but I think I did have to slightly widen the Fender pickguard to fit the neck pocket (I mostly had to lengthen the neck pocket shape).

    Brilliant idea cutting out the Tele shape, I look forward to seeing the finished product.

    Mine is a little neck heavy and after taking out the tuners I think the new neck will be heavy as well, unless I replace the tuners. Thinking about ponying up the $60 for Hipshot Lic. tuners, but that will put me over budget. I wonder how much weight you will be taking off with your headstock mod.
    CatchaCuda likes this.
  11. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    So my replacement neck came and it’s Halloween orange. So that will be going back.


    After seeing that grotesque orange, the Johnson head stock is growing on me. Lol
  12. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    I returned the orange neck and have a different maple neck coming. I also ordered a set of Hipshot Licensed Ultralight tuners.

    All told that will make for a less than $250 bass. Not sure it will have been a good investment compared to buying a Squier, but it’s a fun product nonetheless.
  13. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    Heres the final product.


    - Gotoh 201-b4 high mass bridge.

    - Black Fender/Squire pickguard dremmeled and filed to fit. Body holes filled and drilled to accommodate the traditional 13 hole screw configuration, rather than the original 9.

    - Seymour Duncan quarter pound pickup.

    - Maple Jazz bass copy neck with block inlays and no binding. All holes except for the tuner holes needed to be drilled. Neck needed shimming both behind and to the left and right. Nut needed filing.

    - Headstock: Hipshot Ultralight tuners, bushings modified to fit holes that were too large. Original Johnson string retainer. Vinyl “Philosopher’s Stone” decal (from alchemy, not Harry Potter).

    Overall weight is about 8.5lbs. Perfectly balanced. Comfortable to play. Sounds great. Total cost: $350.
    C3014AA9-19A8-45A3-8EB0-45E05BED3CE1. 15335116-DE7F-40DA-807F-04FBF186AEF8. 76458B29-2E84-43E0-99AC-E73A0A2CF996. 504A6E5B-F8BC-44A8-A1F8-47D770ED620E.
    CatchaCuda and Zoobiedood like this.
  14. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    F0FCC772-E353-40C1-AB2B-D3853A17A85A. 1086CC66-A175-4ACA-BB21-7AA821DDD614. I just routed out the pickup cavity, installed a custom pickguard, and reinstalled the pickups in reverse position with black screws. I’ve never heard this kind of tonal balance across a fretboard before. Very pleased.
    NighthawkGS and CatchaCuda like this.
  15. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    0EC6779A-3EFB-4C3C-9496-67CB29D91CDB. This has become my main player.

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