Modifications - A good thing or a bad thing?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rogerbmiller, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    It used to be back in the day that modifications actually increased the value of a bass. For example, all things equal, a fender J with EMG pickups and a badass bridge got more that a stock fender because it was a better overall instrument. To use a cliche, the whole bas was worth more than the sum of its parts.

    It seems that these days in our ebay culture of "pop-antiquing" that mods are bad, no matter how much better they make the bass. I am wondering what everyone's opinion is on this topic. I started playing bass in an age where mods were good if they improved the instrument. It seems that today they are shunned upon because they ruin the resale value. :rollno:

    Let me know your experiences and what you think. One of the best basses I ever played was an 80's Cort p-bass copy with Seymour Duncan replacements (the kind that had the tiny eq switches on the PU itself). That bass was easily worth more than the sum of its parts.

  2. well, i think you sholdn't mod an expensive vintage bass, like a 1975 fender jazz, because for me, i like that vintage fender sound. as for newer basses, i think it is alright to mod your bass.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    My fretted bass is thus:

    Samick P-bass copy.
    Leo Quann Badass II Bridge
    Seymour Duncan Hot for Precision and Hot for Jazz pickups
    Aguilar OBP-3 Onboard Preamp (18v)

    My fretless is:
    Yamaha BB4F
    Will be:
    Yamaha BB4F with Basslines Steve Bailey Fundamental Fretless system.

    Screw resale value. The Yammy ain't ever going to be a vintage, so it'll sell for more -- same for the Sammy.
  4. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    Personally, I don't buy a bass to resell it. When I buy it, I plan to keep it. I think you have to be on one side of the fence or the other, and take the pluses and minuses of whichever choice you make.

    For instance, I want to put a Hipshot d-tuner on my new Ric. In order to do that, the hole for the tuning key may need to be reamed out a little, and new screw holes drilled. For some, this would be a dilemma. I'm not thinking about what anyone else thinks about the stinkin' resale value, so I don't have to agonize over my decision.

    Hope my 2cents helps.
  5. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Depends entirely what the bass is. F'rinstance, if a vintage Fender fell into my hands, I'd leave it stock and flog it to a collector for as much as I could, and buy a good bass with the proceeds. I don't particularly like Fenders, so my experience at dealing with other vintage audio products tells me to leave it alone and let the enthusiat have it the way they want. Even if I liked this type of gear, I'd probaly leave it alone and enjoy it for what it is. With the availablity of cheap gear like the Essex/SX's, why kill it's value when you can get a servicable similar instrument for dirt compared to the stupid prices a collector would pay. Might as well have it as an investment too if you want to keep it for yourself.

    Besides, I'm of an age now where I see the value in keeping heritage items intact, even though I love to hotrod; there are times in my youth where it would have amused me to put an RB26 motor into an Aston DB6, but now the thought of tampering with such a classic makes me cringe, though I would make an exception for a big-block into a Jag XJ6, only becuase the original motors are such POS's.

    I have several other basses such as my Alembics, Kubicki and Status that I would only consider modifying if the mods would bring an actual improvement to the instrument and were reversible without noticable effects, eg extra holes.

    There are some other low cost (but not neccessarily low value) instruments like my Ashtons, that I'm happy to modify. My Ashton 5 banger is getting a better bridge, Hipshot Ultralites and some new pickups as I find them cheap. The bass is good, but the hardware lets it down, and as I got them cheap and they don't command high resales, the cost of the extra parts added makes them still good value to me. I'll keep all the original parts and replace them onto the bass if I sell it as it wouldn't return all of the investment and I could probably sell them seperately for more money, or use the parts in another project.
  6. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Just my humble opinion, but vintage basses = don't mod. Cheap basses that need to be upgraded to sound better = ok.
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Do what you want. If you have a vintage bass, you will decrease its value with any mod, but if you don't care about that, then mod away.
  8. Jazzbassman23


    Apr 20, 2000
    Before eBay, if you bought a bass, you were essentially stuck with it unless you wanted to receive a fraction of its value when you traded it in. Instruments were sold through newspaper advertisements, but those reached an extremely limited area. Now, with eBay, I buy and try any bass I fancy, knowing that if I don't bond with it, I can easily recoup my money. Playing a bass in a music store doesn't really tell you very much, and it's only after playing it in "natural conditions" that you find out whether it's the instrument for you. I never buy a bass intending to keep it; I buy HOPING I like it enough to keep it.

    What was the question again? :) No mods except to beater ($200-400) basses.


    Mar 4, 2004
    Amal, Sweden
    I would just do mods so it would be possible to return the bass original condition. I have done a lot of mods to a lot of basses i´ve owned but no routing, sawing and painting.

    There are "drop in" replacement parts to just about every part of a Fender. I own a Fender Jazz that i´ve changed bridge, pickups, tuners, pickguard, pots and i could change it back to original in an hour. If i would like to mod more i would buy another bass.