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My Essex '75 project

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Uncle Amos, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Uncle Amos

    Uncle Amos

    Sep 3, 2004
    I gave into my materialistic urges and bought This last night, and I plan on making this my first project bass.

    I have some questions regarding what I plan to do:

    Upgrade the Pickups (I have no idea what pickups to choose. I was looking at Seymour-Duncans, either the Hot, 1/4 pounder, or the Hot Stack, but I am open to other choices. any help?

    I was originally thinking of buying two identical models, but then saw how some of you use one type of pup for the bridge, and another type for the neck! why do you guys have to make things harder for me?? :D)

    -When I install the pickups, I plan on doing the parallel/series mod, using a push/pull switch on the neck volume knob.

    -Install straplocks (Dunlop, Schaller, any difference between brands?)

    -Take off the Bridge Chrome cover (I play near the bridge 90% of the time), but leave the neck pup cover.

    -Replace the stock bridge with a BadAss II (maybe, I'll see how much I like the stock bridge.)

    -and of course, replace the stock strings. I was thinking about using my usual Rotosound Swing Bass 66s, but I have been contemplating some DRs, either Black beauties or hi-beams.

    So basically i'm looking for other comments/suggestions for this project. Anyone have anything to say?
  2. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Favourites for change on SX basses are:

    strap buttons / locks

    So i guess you pretty much covered those.
  3. Uncle Amos

    Uncle Amos

    Sep 3, 2004
    I forgot tuners! i wonder if i'll have to replace those. are they really cheap? I can't wait until thursday or Friday, when the bass comes. :D
  4. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    The tuners work and hold tune fine. they're just not the smoothest things. They do improve substantially though if you take them apart and lubricate them a little bit, then you won't need to be as quick to change them out.
  5. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    The way that I'd play it is as follows:

    - play the bass for a few hours
    -asses what you like and don't
    - replace what you don't like, keep what you do

    For example - if it were me, I believe that the biggest difference in sound/tone/playability (etc.) would come from replacing the bridge.

    Say that now I have the new bridge on, I find that im not quite staying in tune as much as I would like - so then i replace the tuners.

    An alternate hypothetical situation would be that this bass neck dives alot (i dont know if it does, this is just supposition). Now I know that to alleviate neck dive i can try a wider/thicker strap, or I can adjust my playing style, maybe balance the body of the bass with my plucking arm. If I still can't stop the neck dive i'd consider replacing the tuners with ultra-light's.

    The same pretty much goes for pickups etc. Although if it were me, and i replaced the pickups, I'd also have my tech re-wire the bass completely with brand new pots of higher quality.
  6. Interesting topic, please keep us informed about how this project turns out. I'm about to start a similar project, because in a few days time a dirt cheap P-bass copy (Richwood) will be delivered at my door. I want to upgrade it and make it into an 'anytime reissue' P-bass that is able to compete with the best of them:

    - Richwood Precision '57 reissue in Lake Placid Blue
    - bridge and pickup cover
    - thumbrest (wrong location, 70's instead of 50's, but I intend to use it)
    - 80's DiMarzio 'model P' pickup in cream :eek:
    - 60's N.O.S. La Bella flatwounds :cool:
  7. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    I have a SX SJB-75C in 3TS.

    So far all I've done was change the bridge to a Gotoh 201.
    I just got a Schaller Double J for the neck position, and will be ordering a Dimarzio Model J for the bridge.
    I'm going to change the pots to 500K, not sure what cap to go with yet, and some chrome knobs.
    I'm still toying with the idea of going volume-balance-tone, instead of volume-volume-tone, and may put in a push/pull tone pot for a series/parallel option.
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    For all the money you're going to put into it you could have had a much better bass in the first place.....

    Why don't you spend some time with it stock before jumping in with the mods? Just an idea.
  9. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    This is the only change I would make. Try it out at home, at gigs, wherever you plan on using it.
  10. Uncle Amos

    Uncle Amos

    Sep 3, 2004
    That's the plan....

    Sounds like a great setup you'll have. I want to buy a P bass later to mod in somewhat the same fashion.

    What advantage would the 500K pots have over the stock pots (which are what, 250K?)

    I was thinking about have only one volume knob with a blend knob as well. anything to make things simpler. I'll definitely put in the push/pull tone pot for the series/parallel mod.

    I plan on making this a drawn-out project, not only for fun, but for the educational aspect of it. I added everything up, and if I do all the mods (which I might decide not to do some of them) it'll come up to around/under $400. I'm willing to spend that if I'm able to learn how to replace hardware, electronics, etc. without paying someone else to do it.
  11. truckin88


    Oct 18, 2001
    Newburgh, NY
    I don't quite agree with this, for the money you put into it, you come out with about a MIM fender Jazz with a lot better components, the bodies are virtually the same construction, and the necks happen to be very well made, in fact there was recently a statement that the necks are graphite reinforced. So when you put in quality electronics and other upgrades, I think it makes more sense to upgrade a SX then an MIM fender, in fact I think it takes the place of the MIM, unless you are stuck on the name thing.

    I recommend putting some sheilding in while you are inside the bass. might as well cover all aspect.
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    As long as you don't expect to get any real value out of it, that's a great idea. It's a great way to learn the ins and outs of what makes a bass tick.
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    A MIM Jazz has much better wood than an SX. SX is not graphite reinforced whoever wrote that is either delusional or on crack.:p No SX is going to compete with a MIM Jazz IMO no matter how many high dollar mods you make.
    It makes no sense IMO to mod either unless you're just wanting to delve into the guts of a bass to see how they tick. They are both quite nice and usable right out of the store. Shielding may be a good idea.....
  14. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    OHHHHHHHH i shouldnt ...but cant help it!!!!!!!!!!! This MIM vs SX battle...many here disagree with your statement me included .An SX modded or stock meet and beat alot of MIM and we who see it save alot of $$$$$$$ I wont give Fender my $$$ for the Quality that a MIM lack ...i did fall for it once i owned 3 MIMs...... but ive learned now.
  15. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    A MIM Jazz has MUCH better wood than an SX? If you really think that they're hand picking 1 piece Alder bodies in Mexico you're the one that's somewhat delusional. The quality control on SX's seems to be a lot more consistent than MIM Fenders ever are. I invite you to take a MIM Jazz and an SX Jazz, put the same strings on them, and compare the two acoustically. If they're both Alder bodies they sound nearly identical. How do I know? Because I did just that yesterday. So how exactly do you KNOW what wood each factory is using in each and every bass? Have you personally been to Mexico and China to inspect? Or do you just believe that Fender would NEVER think of putting out a body made of so so quality wood? There's a reason MIMs have a reputation for questionable quality control.

    Hardware and electronics wise the MIM Fenders are a step above the SX line. As far as the bodies and necks go, the construction (not necessarily the setups) are of similar quality from what I've seen. American Fenders are a different story, however.
  16. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    FWIW I've been to Rondo's store were I played with a lot of SXes, all kinds of models. I've had GTGs at my house with both stock and modded SXes, well set up to boot. I own a Brice and love it but do not own an SX. I've owned an MIM Jazz (modded it, sold it) and played with more at music stores. My opinion is based on my personal experience with a lot of each of these things. As I say they're both fine and dandy right out of the box IMO (after a setup of course).
  17. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    As suggested by other TBers as well as the manufaturer.
  18. not much at all, really...

    the best and cheapest thing you could do to improve an SX other than a really good setup and a good set of strings is to put in a push-pull pot for a series mod...

    did this mod on my Yammy PJ and it was definitely money well spent...
  19. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    True, but from what I found out, when using humbuckers it's a little better to go with 500K.
  20. My guess, IMHO, is that, as stated, he wanted a "project bass". It's not the thrill of a new awesome bass, it's the thrill of putting together a new, awesome bass!

    Go for it! Keep us "posted" on the progress! :D