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Modding a Brubaker Brute?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by phillipkregg, Nov 12, 2010.


  1. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Hey guys,

    I just got a Brubaker Brute and I love the way this thing plays. It feels like a much more expensive instrument. It sounds good with the stock stuff, but I believe that with an electronics upgrade it will be a MONSTER.

    I'm thinking of doing a full-bore Nordstrand upgrade...

    ******************
    Electronics:
    3B-4b ( 2 pickup - 4 Knob)

    - Volume/Passive Tone Stack
    - Blend
    - Mid (pull frequency selector)
    - Treble/Bass Stack

    Pickups:
    Nordstrand MM5.2 Music Man style humbucker in the bridge.

    Nordstrand NJ5S Split Coil, hum-canceling jazz bass style pickup in the neck position.

    ******************

    Has anyone else tried a setup like this before? Any opinions on a different setup?

    All input much appreciated! :bassist:
     
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    This is the only thing that kept me from buying a Brute...by the time the electronics are replaced I figured I could have just bought Carvin or something USA made. I'd like to know how it would sound though, I haven't totally discounted getting a Brute :)
     
  3. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    You make a good point, but let me say this...

    I currently own 2 Laklands - a 55-02 and a JO-5. The Brute is built just a solid and the neck feels better than either of the Laklands (and this is coming from a big Lakland fan).

    It also has a 34" scale with a tight B-string. Going back and forth between my Laklands and the Brute, I'm starting to notice that difference in scale length and the 34" feels easier to play.

    I figure if I end up dropping about $300 dollars into the bass to give it super electronics, than I'm still spending half of what the Laklands cost. And in the end, it will probably end up being a better bass than either of them.

    So to me, it still makes a lot of financial - and practical - sense to buy stock and then upgrade.

    (Although I have to admit, I have some GAS for a Carvin SB5000 myself. Those are pretty kickass basses. :))
     
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    I wish I could try a Brute before buying, I'd really love to play one. I'm not too hot on the colors either, but I could deal with a natural one!
     
  5. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Well, I emailed Kevin Brubaker a couple weeks ago and he told me that the new Brute line is coming out at the end of December.

    There may be some different colors in that lineup. If you shoot him an email he'll probably tell you what the colors are going to be.

    The one I have is Black with a Black/White/Black pickguard. Looks very classy.

    I also really like the white one. The red one looks a lot better up close than it does on the website.
     
  6. Low2go

    Low2go Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Hows the B string on the Brute phillipkreg? I took my warwick thumb out today and it seriosly has the best B string I've played...... I may have to just keep it and let my 5502 go..... have to go to PT though if I play it standing up. Really interested in this brute....wonder if I could mod it with some Bart soapbars in place of the jazz pickups......hmmmmmm!
     
  7. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    The low B feels pretty good to me.

    I put up some audio clips of it last night if you want to listen to it. Here's the link: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?p=9979505&highlight=#post9979505

    I'm mostly just goofing around with some funk-type music, but if you like other types of music you'll still get an idea of what it sounds like.

    The B doesn't feel as tight as the Lakland, but it doesn't feel flabby like a lot of Fender 5's feel either. And it sounds very solid. The 34" scale feels really good to me - better than the 35" feels.

    If you are a soap-bar pickup kind of guy, you may want to with an MTD Kingston and upgrade the pickups on that. You can have soapbars put into the Brute, but it's gonna take a lot of routing and cutting the pickguard up to do that. If you take it to a luthier they can do it for you, but it will probably cost you a good bit.

    The Lakland 55-01 is a fantastic bass that is built very solid - and it has soapbars that a lot of people on TB upgrade with Nordstrands or something like that. But, it has the 35" scale, so thats another thing to think about.
     
  8. Low2go

    Low2go Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Only reason I was thinking Soaps was I heard Terrance Palmer, a gospel players Brubaker....cant remember the model but just awesome sound. Maybe 5000.00 buys you that sound. Listened to your clips last night ....liked your tune by the way and this brute sounds good from what I heard....has good bite in the mids too. Thanks for posting that.
     
  9. Me and a buddy got Brutes around the same time with the idea of modding them out because they were so cheap to begin with. The feel of the bass is its best feature to me. I agree with the above poster that the neck feels a tad better than my 55-02. The problem I had was the sound. It didn't quite get any particular sound just right. It's pretty much hollow under the pick guard and that could have been a big reason why. It also uses nato wood which i hadn't heard of before. My buddy felt the same way and swapped his pups and pre with EMG DC's and Aguilar OBP 3 band. The sound didn't improve much. After that I decided not to take the chance with mine and sold it. He sold his shortly after for about what I got for mine (he left the upgrades in the bass which also included a custom pick guard and ramp in-between the pickups).

    I'm not knocking Brubaker at all. He's a great guy and he actually personally setup the bass at his house when I picked up it. The crappy thing was as good as it felt, the bass sound just wasn't there for me.
     
  10. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Hey thanks for your response Brian.

    I personally have never really liked the sound of most EMG pickups, so I'm wondering what difference having another brand in there would make.

    I know that my Lakland with Barts sounds VERY different from the new Hanson LH pickups that Lakland is putting out right now. So that's making me think that the pickups - or better yet, the right pickups - may make a big difference.

    At least now, I know to steer clear of EMG's. But I would have thought that the OBP-3 would have made some difference - oh well. It would hurt to experiment I suppose. :)
     
  11. Agreed on the EMG's. ;) I never really liked them on any bass other than a jazz bass. Would love to hear your thoughts if you choose barts or something else...
     

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