1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Modding for a broke beginner

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by HeidiLikesEBM, Sep 26, 2013.


  1. HeidiLikesEBM

    HeidiLikesEBM

    Sep 26, 2013
    Hello! My first post here, I just now joined. So, just this week, I received my very first bass, an SX Ursa 1 RN BK that I ordered from Rondo Music. I was suspicious at first, but read reviews here, watched some on YouTube, and someone said the owner of Rondo Music will refund you for a dud instrument, so I thought that it was a risk I didn't mind taking for $99. I was pleasantly surprised! I have a couple of bassist friends who have tried it and said it was just as good as they'd expect from an actual Squier P-bass, except one of them said it almost even leaned slightly more towards a J-bass sound, which I liked because that gives me a little bit of a middle ground. Now, I've been playing guitar for a year or so, I make electronic music, I was a drummer in high school, and I like all of those things. But, I intend to make bass my main instrument. So, to get some good recordings out of it and make it a good beginner's bass until I know for sure this is what I want to do, I'm looking into cheaper modding options. I've already put some D'Addario EXL160TP strings on it (.50, .70, .85, and .105). I tune to B-E-A-D to match my Ibanez GAX70's B standard tuning. Since I can't play bass and guitar at the same time, I'm just using my Randall V2XM amp for both. Everything on my bass, minus the strings and Schaller straplocks, is stock. So, that's where I'm starting. I think my budget should probably be roughly $150 total, and anything goes. Pickups, shielding, other electronics, a preamp, I don't know quite where to start so I'm making this thread to get some advice before I commit to something and regret it.

    Further information:
    - I would MUCH rather stick to all passive stuff. It would definitely be a typical scenario for me to forget to change batteries constantly; I can't even remember my own age most days. Also, it would require doing actual woodwork with my bass for the battery compartment.
    - As for my goals, I'm mostly into industrial metal. KMFDM, Bile, Zavod, Rammstein, Herrschaft, Turmion Kätilöt, etc. and so, I would like to be sound mostly like that, but still be able to do session work with all kinds of rock and metal bands in my area.

    So, I guess my first question is, strings, pickups, other electronics, shielding, what should I work on first?
     
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Music theory, and take some lessons.
     
  3. HeidiLikesEBM

    HeidiLikesEBM

    Sep 26, 2013
    Well, of course, that's an ongoing process. I've done school band since 5th grade, I took private lessons for all of the instruments I mentioned, and now that I'm out of school and a bit poor, I'm still using practice books, looking up exercises online, practicing daily, letting my more experienced friends guide me as I initially learn proper technique, etc. This thread was meant to focus on the physical characteristics of my bass that I can change relatively cheaply, and preferably on my own, to improve the overall sound of it since I bought a very basic, cheap bass to start with.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    What's wrong with it? Modding requires a purpose to be successful. Now I'm not familiar with that model, but I used to have an SX P and PJ from 2007, and the pickups were the best thing about them, except for the polepieces sticking up way high. A layer of electrical tape over the top of them them will take care of that, though. Not against modding...most of my basses have been modded. But it should have a purpose.
     
  5. ddhm

    ddhm

    Mar 18, 2011
    Memphis Tn USA
    I agree with Jimmy. You need a purpose. What is the "weak point" of the instrument? You should probably start there. That way, you gain the "most".

    How about having some killer fret work done? Crown, polish and level. That would probably cost you about $150 and have a HUGE impact in the playability of the instrument. It will make a $100 bass play like a $1000+ bass (imho).
     
  6. HeidiLikesEBM

    HeidiLikesEBM

    Sep 26, 2013
    It does; I'm less than satisfied with the tone. I mean, I definitely got what I paid for and then some, but it's lacking. One of my friends brought over his bass, an actual Squier p-bass, with his pickups being factory defaults as well. It's an Affinity series, I'm not very knowledgeable about the Squier line-up but outwardly, it's essentially the same as my bass. Using the same amp and settings, his pickups definitely had more low-end, maybe a bit more of a growl, one could say. That's what I'm looking for. Not to mention that we were playing through his massive amp. It's got to be something like 26x26; my little Randall amp is much smaller, and technically a guitar amp (though it can get some impressive low end for a guitar amp of its size, for sure), so I have to overcome that as well in my recordings. I've tried using EQ in my DAW and a tone booster plugin, but you can tell it's electronically enhanced. It sounds kind of hollow, I guess you could call it watered-down. If I ever go live with this thing, I would need to borrow an amp or buy a better one, and I would still be behind other, more respected brands. Garbage in, garbage out, you know? Except, that sounds like I'm calling the pickups garbage, they're not horrible. Just a bit more mid and less low end than I would like, and a bit of noise going on as well. My microphones pick it up, while my GAX70 doesn't have any noise issues and it's all stock components.
     
  7. BassChap

    BassChap

    May 17, 2013
    Holland
    Leave the bass as it is. Spilt the 150 bucks in half. Find a (used) overdrive pedal and maybe a compressor pedal for your industrial metal sound. Invest the second half in some lessons. And find a drummer and guitarist to play with, if you haven't done so already. Then save for a good amp. Good luck.
     
  8. HeidiLikesEBM

    HeidiLikesEBM

    Sep 26, 2013
    I'm not getting a lot of fret buzz. The biggest problem is just that I'm new to bass, so when it does buzz a bit, it's usually my technique that's the problem. The neck itself feels good. It's not as chunky as other basses I've tried and I like that, I have smaller hands. I was almost considering a short scale for a while, but I figured it was best that I just adapt to a long scale instead of losing a bit of low-end because I'm used to guitar.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You don't lose low end with short scales by any means. And some of them, like my violin basses, have way more low end than my Fenders.
     
  10. HeidiLikesEBM

    HeidiLikesEBM

    Sep 26, 2013
    Well, I honestly can't really afford lessons right now. Maybe for a month. The $150 I mentioned was to make changes to this bass so I can just keep using it for years without having anything else done beyond the usual maintenance. Like, most people have multiple basses, but I don't intend to get another one for some time. That's why I'm concerned with improving this one. Also not a lot of room for more stuff where I live. And other people are... Well, it's complicated. I run a home studio, and am trying to start a small indie label. I get plenty of other musicians around wanting to record, but none of them actually want to play with me. I don't have much luck with friends in general, have been single my entire life, I'm just one of those forever-alone types. If I didn't have recording equipment, I wouldn't have met any of my current "friends". I still doubt they even really like me, I'm just useful to them. I'm not rude or anything, at least not as far as I know. I think I'm just boring or not funny enough. So other people aren't much of an option for now, not unless I meet completely different kinds of people.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I used to be like you. Still am to a certain extent. But people mostly respond to the vibe you put out, and it's a cliche but positivity does beget positivity.
     
  12. HeidiLikesEBM

    HeidiLikesEBM

    Sep 26, 2013
    I know. I try, but it's a vicious cycle, you know? You feel kind of down when people don't like you so it gets harder to stay positive and then it's even more difficult for people to be around you. I think I'm gradually improving at working with people as I do this recording stuff, because when I started even my best friend would talk to me maybe once a week at most, and I didn't talk to anyone else except for my older brother. People are just weird for me. I thought I had Aspergers for the longest time, but I was in counseling my senior year and he said I seemed normal aside from social anxiety. Lol I didn't really need a doctor to tell me that but most of the ways he helped me was beyond diagnoses and medication, it was more like having a life mentor.
     
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I get it, bro. Well all the best in overcoming it!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.