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modding my starter bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nataku, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    since i cant afford a new bass that would be worth it, i was thinking about modding my johnson p-copy. i want to keep it passive, and im not going to add another pickup.

    i love the sound of mia p basses, but im not too fond of mims. are the pickups in these different, or is it just the woods and construction that make it sound so much different?

    also, would new hardware have a major effect? i see people talking about new heavier bridges and tuners etc., but are they really necessary, or are they kind of frivoulous?

    besides new strings and a new pickguard, what are some other things i could do to improve my bass?
  2. superfly


    Aug 4, 2004
    Yes the pickups are different. To change the sound of your bass to something better a new pickup is the way to start, along with some good strings.

    I would start with a decent pickup like a SD 1/4 pounder, and maybe some good flatwound strings for that traditional P bass sound.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Sounds like a good idea to mod it, and you can really make it sound great.

    Yes, MIA and MIM P-basses have different pickups. Neither are commercially available, but you could grab either used off the Net or find many replacements.

    New hardware would make an effect, but not as much as new electronics (but remember to upgrade the pots with the pickup) but I always prefer a good set of tuners like Hipshots with an Extender, then of course a good solid bridge like a Badass or a Gotoh 206 never hurts. These won't be the most extreme mods.

    Lastly, there's the ever important setup. New strings, pickup and a damn good setup is night and day between a starter bass and YOUR bass.
  4. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    im thinking of putting flats on it, what pickups go well with flats to make a nice smooth sound?

    also, what would a heavier bridge actually do to the sound?

    as for pots, where can i get info about new pots, and do they come with pickups when you buy them?
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    For the pickup with flats I would recommend either the Fender Original P Bass pickup $65 from basspartsresource.com or the Seymour Duncan Antiquity Pride P-Bass Pickup that'll run you $105.

    A bridge can do many things depending on the bridge that's there. Personally, the difference in tone is usually so minimal that the replacement is only recommended if your bridge has physical faults like the inability to stay intonated or the screws slipping (causing the former) or bending of course. Some say that the tone is more focused, more sustain, and in some cases are true. I'd check out the Gotoh 206, bolt on replacement for a 5 screw Fender type bridge and doesn't need any pro installation like the Badass II.

    Lastly, whoever you buy your pickups from should be able to provide you the pots you need. For a P-bass, you'll need two 250k pots, Switchcraft jack (you'll be glad you upgraded this little bugger) and a .047uF capacitor and some good quality wire. Then you'll want new knobs for those nice new pots. However, basspartsresource.com also happens to sell a P-bass wiring kit, either the standard kit for $13.99 with standard poly wire, or the vintage kit for $14.99 with cloth covered wire. Harder to work with, but I think it's worth the extra dollar for the vibe.

  6. +1 everything you said... in addition, you can look to stewmac.com as well...and while you're at it, PLEASE, get some copper tape and shield your electronics cavity (don't forget to do under the pickguard, as well....
  7. Great post, Lyons. If something like this is not in a general-FAQ, it should be.
  8. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    thanks for all the help guys, but i dont understand a lot of the tech stuff. im definately gonna the cavity sheilded and rewired (i screwed up the wiring a bit by taking off the pickguard once, and my tone suffered a lot).

    another thing i thought of, is old school covers for the bridge and pickup. are there any companies that make these?
  9. fenderaholic


    May 25, 2005
    Burbank ca
    basspartsresource.com also sells the bridge and pickup covers. fender makes them.