Making a cheap 5 a good player...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Oig, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Oig


    Jun 12, 2019
    My plan to sell my 6 and pick up a nice 5 with the proceeds has gone awry – the 6 sold, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on a new bass in the end. Thanks life! I should be able to pick up one in a few months, but until then I’ve got an Ibanez GSR205. It’s one of the older ones with 3 pots and Jazz style pickups. Does anyone have any experience with these?

    Given that I’m still saving for a good 5, I want to mod it on the cheap – to make it a regularly gigable interim player. I’ve just ordered a high mass bridge from eBay (pic below) and right now the plan is to put that on with a new set of strings, set it up and change out the pots and cap for better quality components.

    Other options are a set of pickups like those Wilkinsons you can pick up on eBay for $40, or scrapping the new pots and caps for a cheap preamp like a Belcat (with the stock pickups). What do you guys think – would a set of pu’s like that even be an improvement on the originals? How do I get maximum bang for minimum buck? Anything I’m missing? And what else would you recommend doing? Thanks!

    IMG_6671.jpg Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.37.57 PM.png
  2. It's giggable as is. Is there something you are trying to fix? Do the pickups work? I would gig it stone stock and save my pennies.
    IBJammin, JRA, Duder and 4 others like this.
  3. Did you measure the string spacing on the new bridge to make sure the neck can accommodate the spacing?
  4. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    I have a newer GSR200L. I really like it, because it's very cheap so I don't need to baby it as much as I feel compelled with my other basses, but also does the job well enough - reasonable action, reasonable sound. Abig plus is that it does all that while being my lightest bass.

    That said, when thinking about modding (which I idly think about sometimes) - I never felt it's going to be worth my time or the money. I do think I'll change out the pre-amp but even then - probably just to make it passive, in order to make it more reliable and to fix the seemingly bad tone pot.
  5. Just curious, why isn't it regularly gigable now?

    If you don't know how already, use this one to learn fret leveling and crowning. Once learned, it's a skill that you'll find invaluable the rest of your playing life for any fretted instruments.

    High dollar boutique basses from a luthier will likely come with frets leveled/crowned. However, factory made basses seem to always need fret leveling. Haven't found one yet that doesn't. That being said, when you buy that new 5 string, noodle around with it for awhile, say, a few weeks. If you decide it's a keeper, then level the frets using your newly learned skill.

    Anyway, that's my recommendation.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

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  7. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Plus 1 to this ^

    If it ain't broke...

  8. Oig


    Jun 12, 2019
    Thanks for the replies y'all. Most everyone seems to be in the leave it alone camp, which is definitely sage, and exactly the advice I'd give to anyone but me :)

    As to why - there's nothing wrong with it per se, it just feels like a cheaper bass. It doesn't beg to be picked up and played. Whether I could actually make it into that is debatable of course. But the real reason is I'm a compulsive modder who literally has to screw with or "fix" every instrument I have regardless of it's state of brokenness...

    But in this case less seems to be more, so I'll probably slap the new bridge on when it gets here, rummage through the parts bin for some pots, give it a thorough set up and just play it for a while and see where that gets me...until the next itch strikes...
  9. Oig


    Jun 12, 2019
    Current string spacing is 16mm. The bridge is 17mm. There is some space between the B and G strings and the edges of the fretboard, so I figure I can squeeze it in...we'll see.
  10. Oig


    Jun 12, 2019
    Genius. I was a guitar tech in another life (and store tech at Manny's Music in NYC for 2 years) and although I've done literally hundreds of setups, serious fret work still makes me uneasy. Not to mention a chore, haha. This'll be a good practice mule.
    fig likes this.