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Mod a 51 reissue P bass made in Japan

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jeniferever, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. jeniferever


    Aug 8, 2007
    Hi guys.

    Alright, here's the story. I'm a 28 years old guitarist, a great friend of mine gave some of his instruments to me since he's leaving town, so that possibly makes me the oldest bass newbie!

    I have now in my studio:
    Trace Elliot GP12 SMX head
    SWR Workingman 4004 head
    Trace Elliot 4x10 cab
    Trace Elliot 15'' cab
    51 P bass reissue, made in Japan

    I've been playing a bit of bass occasionally in the past 13 years in my band, now thinking of learning the bass with devotion. I might not have the best ears for bass, but here's my thoughts anyway.

    -The SWR Workingman sounds CRAP! The 5 band EQ does so tiny. Cannot get a proper recording sound out of it. Harsh and cold.
    -On the other hand the TE head is fantastic. Versatile sound, sounds good looks good.
    -Now I plugged the TE head into the two cabs I have, leaving the SWR alone. Really loud btw

    I'm more than happy with the amps, for a, ahem, beginner. I'm just not sure about the bass.

    -The bridge is rubbish. Can't set intonation at all.
    -Lack of body in the low/low-mid
    -Nice mids, nice highs, but sounds like a guitar with thick strings imo
    -noisy, nightmare when I try to mic it
    -Hand resting uncomfortably, need a thumb rest?

    So I'm on a mission to modify this bass. With a new pickup, new bridge, perhaps a new onboard pre amp? a compressor? a thumb rest or a classic covers that I can rest my hands on?

    I do not want this to sound unlike a Fender p bass(I love P bass), just want to make the best use of this axe and record some songs with it. Our band does funk soul, dance, and jams a bit of everything.

    Any recommendations? Thanks people :help:
  2. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Press right past the bridge toward the pickup on the strings to establish a witness point. Intonation should be easy to hear and set.
  3. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006

    I used one of those basses for years. It is primitive, but that's exactly the point and the character of it. It seems that it is so unsuitable for your needs that you might have an easier time with a different, more modern bass. It's like customizing your old pick up truck to be a road racer. I suppose you could, but...why not sell it and get a little used Honda. You could get $400-$500 for it any day of the week, they are currently pretty popular. With that you could get any number of nice basses that will sound closer to your ideal, and will probably be easier to play as well. Those 51 RI's are slabs!

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