Let's See Your Hot-Rodded Cheapo Basses!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Riff Ranger, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    I apologize if a thread like this already exists, but I couldn't find one, so here we go (again?).

    I know I'm not the only one who has tweaked a budget bass and liked the results and yes, I want to show mine off, but I also want to see who else has fine-tuned their frugal finds into favorite instruments.

    Suggested parameters for posting:
    • instrument was inexpensive by your own standards at the time of purchase; suggested figure: originally cost <500 USD in today's market, or equivalent at time of purchase (I'm aware that "cheap" comes at different prices for different people—"cheap" for me is more like <300—but <500 seems like "budget bass" for most of us right now as far as I can tell)
    • list modifications, including cost of each if applicable
    • explain why you made your modifications
    • share "before" pictures as well as "after"
    I'll start in the next comment unless somebody beats me to it. I hope this is inspiring as well as fun.
  2. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hot rodded.... how about perfectly stock and never set up... perfect right out of the $99 box?
  3. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country

    Base instrument: Electra X700JB (230 USD) in 2018
    Modifications: Gotoh 201B-4 bridge (40 USD), Gotoh GB707 tuning machines (60 USD), Gotoh(?) knobs (10? USD), Lace Aluma-P Alumitone pickup (120 USD); 230 USD total

    When I started taking bass seriously again this spring after years of only occasional putzing, I found that my old gear didn't really suit my new ideas about tone, so I set out to find something snarly and dirty when this one crossed my path on reverb. I'd had good experiences with Matsumoku-made instruments from the '80s before, and this one certainly looked the part, so I took a chance on it. I figured the stock pickup would be nothing special, so I ordered the Lace in hopes of building an instrument to really push a burly tube amplifier I hoped to buy down the line (Mesa Buster 1x15). The stock pickup actually wasn't half bad as it turned out, but the Lace was already on the way so I figured I'd go for it. The intonation screws on the stock bridge had been mixed up, so I thought I'd go higher mass with a replacement, but the Gotoh 201 seemed like the only one that would fit, so I didn't go much higher mass. The clover key tuners had gotten sticky and seemed visually out of step with the rest of the instrument, so I opted for Gotoh GB707s which turn easily, look the part of a metal bass, and as it turns out, reduced mass on the headstock sufficiently to eliminate the neck dive I hadn't really even noticed. The plastic volume knob functioned but was damaged, so I had the tech replace both knobs with some black metal knobs (also Gotoh, I think) more in keeping with the look of the instrument. It wasn't a bad instrument when I got it, but with a few tweaks, it has become pretty much everything I want in a bass, and yes it does snarl through the Buster I eventually acquired :bassist:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  4. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Not really what I had in mind, but why not? I'd like to see a $99 bass that somebody loves.
    EatS1stBassist and juancaminos like this.
  5. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    2018-08-29 13.38.55.png
    Left: current.....right: stock at time of purchase (summer 2017).

    Used 2001 MIK epi eb0: $155...payed $55 cash + $100 trade in for dinged/chipped/scratchy pots/dire need of neck adjustment and set up ibanez tr series that mostly lived unplayed in closet for years. Online at time was seeing $150 for better condition ibby tr so happy to get $100 + wasnt doing anything in closet and i found out i love shorties!

    Hipshot bridge: $100. Wanted easier/individual string adjustment. Feels/looks more sturdy than bumping bridge in 3 poles. Bit more chrome than stock.

    Gotoh eye horus knobs: $40 ($ each). Unnecessary customization splurge. Love ancient egyption artwork/lore/themes. Always draw the eye when doodling. So had to get. + more chrome!

    Daddario black tapewound strings (etb92s): $45. Replaced stock 17 year old dead rounds. Wanted to try something else as have only played rounds. Love em.

    Want to replace stock sidewinder w something better but still having some chrome so will probably get guild bisonic reissue ($125) once i get up nerve to expand pickup cavity & can no longer resist mod urges. Maybe for my birthday or next summer 2 yr bassiversary.

    Far far far future if desire more than bisonic, route for bridge and drop in a music man style humbucker. Not something doing myself.
  6. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Right on! What style(s) if music do play with this one? I bet it has a solid thump.

    I had my eye (had to do it … ) on those Horus knobs as well but couldn’t be sure they would work with the pots I had. But mine’s fairly flashy as-is, so I might just take a Sharpie to the dings and call it good, haha.
  7. OLP MM2 8-27-18 0003sm.jpg
    My lefty OLP-MM2
    Paid $150
    Replaced stock pickup with GFS MM Pro Plus pickup
    New audio taper pots wired as master vol & master tone (instead of Jazz bass type controls)
    New strings - DR Black Beauties
    Total investment is $225
    This bass now plays and sounds terrific, I gig with it regularly.
  8. LowEndOperative

    LowEndOperative ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2013
    My Ray35 has chrome knobs instead of the standard black ones. And besides, I let the amp do the hot-rodding [sound] instead.
  9. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Right on. I've thought of rewiring my Westone Spectrum GT (P-style pickup in middle position, humbucker in bridge). Currently has one master volume, passive tone for each pickup, and a three-way switch. Thinking of going master volume, master tone, blend knob ... and maybe the switch could set off the pyro? Haha.
    Nick Danger likes this.
  10. enjoi1018

    enjoi1018 Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Auburn, AL
    Rebuilt the first bass I ever owned, a Squier P that came with a new player's kit. I purchased it from my best friend when I was 10. New finish, tuners, pickguard, classic Fender P-bass pup, new pots, wires, and knobs. LaBella flats on her!

    Really happy with how it turned out!
    IMG_4413.JPG IMG_5162.JPG IMG_5166.JPG IMG_5167.JPG IMG_5169.JPG IMG_5171.JPG IMG_5170.JPG
    MYLOWFREQ, ICM, andare and 44 others like this.
  11. Fine lookin bass I always love grainy looking necks. Don’t get that on mim basses and up.
  12. creaturegods


    Sep 23, 2017
    So cool. Nice work!! I wish I still had my first bass. I'd do the same thing!
    enjoi1018 and Monterey Bay-ss like this.
  13. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Just Beautiful!!
    enjoi1018 and Monterey Bay-ss like this.
  14. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    6B143C53-75C8-4A2D-B4CE-A820520F8B06.jpeg Here’s mine “I traded for a $100 pedal”
    16 year old body with a new Chinese Neck and new black Pickguard
    MIM Tuning Machines!
    My favorite! Even over my more expensive basses.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  15. Might have plenty basses cost more but this one gets the playing time :bassist: It starts with a Peavey Zepher 5,the Zephyr series were a European only release. Passive,neck thru though some bolt-ons did happen. The rumour is Peavey were testing the market for a passive Cirrus.
    Zephyr 2.jpg
    Zephyr Web 2.jpg

    Anyway Zephyr 5 £100 s/h. Previous owner had busted a couple of pots so scrapped the lot of them for a Tone Monster preamp £30. The stock 4 wire humbuckers were good but I like Warman Jazzbar HB's , 2 of them £32. Rosewood covers for the Warmans £6 :thumbsup:

    All was good. Playing/sounding sweet :) Then a "friend" suggested gold hardware :( I listened :banghead::banghead::banghead:

    5 Wilkinson tuners £30. Brass nut £4. Strap locks £5. Jing Ho bridge £15 (Jing Ho is the Korean factory making Wilkinson parts). Football jack plate £2. Marshall amp knobs £4. Black Ash TRC and control cavity cover made from scraps £0

    Total inc bass £226 :thumbsup:
    MYLOWFREQ, dralionux, DrMole and 17 others like this.
  16. Gold is nice it really stands out compared to plain old chrome bits.
    kodiakblair and 4 Out of 5 like this.
  17. DRay521


    Aug 2, 2007
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    0C5BE593-8F4E-43A7-BB02-1106271EED1A.jpeg 157A5A50-3F2F-4420-A6CF-1DE392D2A6B4.jpeg 62BFF789-12C3-4B82-AF44-3A558E0C2015.jpeg I don’t have any before pictures, but this is my late-90s Epiphone Accu-Bass Jr. which was actually my first bass. It’s gone through several phases over the years, but is currently blacked out with Gotoh tuners and bridge, black pickguard, Sadowsky-style knobs, Dunlop straploks, Fender ‘62 RI pickups with cloth wire, orange cap, CTS pots and a switchcraft jack. Also sanded the neck down for incredibly smooth and fast playing! Killer P-bass that smokes a stock Fender MIM.
  18. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    That is nice!
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  19. Bought this on the TB classifieds for cheap and sanded it down, stained it and put a Joe Barden pickup and fretless neck - turned out to be great playing bass and very light.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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