my first project bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by chiron_griffin, May 30, 2012.


  1. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    I picked up a beat up Jay Turser Scarabé over the holiday weekend for song. I bought it because of how ugly it was. I want to use this bass to teach me about modification and repair. As it stands, it's playable, but the pick up is lousy and it could use a good set up. So far here is my laundry list of things I'd like to do to this bass: switch out all the electronics, change the bridge, refinish the body and currently matching headstock, defret it, install a pick up cover and possibly a bridge cover, and maybe just maybe throw another pick up in it.

    and now TB I solicit your well seasoned advice. Here is a laundry list of questions that I have before I undertake any of this: What is an affordable P-bass pickup with decent tone? (I currently play a jazz and no nothing of the split coil) If I were to add a second pick up what's my best choice? A jazz, mudbucker, Musicman, or any of the myriad of styles of pick up? I don't believe there is room for another potentiometer in the cavity right now, is there a stacked knob that I could use to independently adjust the volume on each pick up or would I have to enlarge the cavity a bit? If I were to throw another pick up in there, how difficult is it to go all Billy Sheehan dual outputs? The only aftermarket bridge I know anything about is the Badass, is there a less expensive alternative that is better than the flimsy Fender style it has now?

    If you have made it this far, thank you. I believe that is all of the questions I had. Any tutorials, guides, or type of advice is much appreciated. I'm pretty bad about these kinds of things, but I will attempt to keep a build log.
     
  2. Firstly:
    http://curtisnovak.com/pickups/precision_bass.shtml

    Second:
    Find out what -you- want. Adding a second pickup, the first option, and the most clear option, is to go the standard PJ. But I'd suggest sitting down with a list of your favorite bands, looking up their bassists, and find out what they play. Who knows, your favorite bassist in the world might play P&MM

    As far as bridges, Badass is a popular option. Personally, I'm a hipshot man, and they have a good amount of options, though none are significantly less expensive than the badass models. You can usually find something decent on ebay without a name, most MIJ, without a problem. I've gotten a couple off the 'bay and haven't had any problems. They're clearly not hipshots, but they're sturdy and get the job done.

    Just a quick look pulled up a couple:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/GOLD-BASS-G...527?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4602923727

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Quick-R...384?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4cf9cf3748

    And if nothing else, a 'bay "Bass Bridge" search will give you all the different brands. A couple higher end ones to keep an eye out for: Schaller, Hipshot, Badass, Babics, and ABM. Keep and eye out for bridges that aren't brand named but came out of high end basses.

    Also, if you really want to get your hands dirty, check this out:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/wood-bridge-tutorial-337912/

    And my final bit of advice, really my only bit of advice here.
    In the LC subforum, there's a sticky called "New "How to" section"



    Go there. Stay there. Read it all.
     
  3. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    That wood bridge idea looks killer, but I have almost none of those tools. I'm thinking I'm going to need to invest in atleast a drimmel to accomplish some of my goals with this bass. Thanks for the links!
     
  4. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Where are the pictures of this alleged bass?
     
  5. Stilettoprefer

    Stilettoprefer

    Nov 26, 2010
    +1
     
  6. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    I still haven't cleaned it. I fiddled around with the truss rod (first time I've ever done that) and lowered the action and it's actually quite fun to play. the neck is a little thicker than my VM Jazz, and i'm scared cause I think I like it almost more than my Jazz neck. I don't have any guitar cleaner handy so I might just post com crappy shots of it all dirty.

    edit: and here are those pics. I'm sure everyone has been waiting to see this beautiful beast :D www.photobucket.com/jayturserscarabe

    I'm still looking for any links or straight up advice and :help:
     
  7. Stilettoprefer

    Stilettoprefer

    Nov 26, 2010
    I loves me some dirty bass pron!!!
     
  8. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    well there she is, scars and all. My mother-in-law hadn't seen it before I went out to take those pictures. First she asked if I was taking pictures to sell it, so I asked if she had twenty bucks on her, and told her that people were actively asking to see this ugly thing. Then she said it looked like something from Star Trek, which is cool because my lady wants to do the repaint, as she is the artist in the family, as a astral splatter. She's thinking a deep purple base paint and neon astral splatter.
     
  9. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    [​IMG]

    It's a f**king Bat'leth Bass!
     
  10. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I'd go into the classifieds and buy either a used Dimarzio Model P or a Fender '62 reissue P pickup set for like, $50 and start there.
     
  11. Stilettoprefer

    Stilettoprefer

    Nov 26, 2010
    That thing would look wicked with fanned frets!!! And pretty much any P pickup will work. The fender RI pups are popular as well as 1/4 pounders from Seymour Duncan. I used a GFS pup in my P build and am perfectly content with it.

    That bridge looks fine, so I wouldn't bother messing with it. Idk what the quality of the tuners is like, but it seems like that thing would have some wicked neck dive, so lighter tuners would probably be good.
     
  12. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    See my avatar pic. I would do a hybrid of my twins...

    Mudbucker at far neck, Dimarzio Willpower in the middle and Dimarzio Area J at the bridge.

    Of course the bridge pickup route is more difficult because its not covered by a PG. A pro would probably do a J route for you for $50 or so I'd guess.

    The mudbucker route can be done by a moderately handy guy with hand tools (drill with step bit, chisel, dremel and wood putty).
     
  13. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    Connecticut
    Wow. Fugly. But awesome :cool:
     
  14. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    It looks fine, but I'd like a high mass bridge and to know that I am capable of doing it. Neck dive isn't terrible, but it's noticeable. I wanted to change the tuners as well, but the decent light weight ones I've found I couldn't really justify the price.


    I'd love to load this bad boy down with as many pickups as possible, but I think doing any kind of neck pickup addition would be risky because of how close to the neck the body comes on the g string side. I was also concerned about how difficult it will be to fit and/or make space for extra pots or switches.

    Also, I want to do this all by myself. I may see if I can get up with my uncle or step-dad cause they are much better equipped in the power tool department than I am, but we work conflicting schedules. Though if I could get into their work shops I'd have drill presses, sanders, drills, routers, and all sorts of goodies at my disposal.
     
  15. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Can you post a picture?
     
  16. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    scarabe.jpg
     
  17. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Ahhhh...I see. One person described this as looking like a Klingon weapon. Now I see why. Kinda cool though. Nice pose on the rustic wood.

    How about a 4 coil P pickup (I think Dimarzios are) so you can do some series/parallel wiring tone switching and then maybe add one of these things - onboard chorus could be cool on a radical bass like that.

    http://www.guitarfetish.com/GFS-MODboards_c_204.html
     
  18. pnut166

    pnut166

    Jun 5, 2008
    alabama
    I think you`re going to be limited in adding pups because of the narrowness top-to-bottom of the body. I`ve never seen one of these - wow. Not the usual Jazz player`s weapon of choice (pun intended :) ) I love modding cheap basses. GFS is a good place for parts. Their stuff is low-cost but well made from what I`ve read. They have a few different P pups very well priced that have gotten good reviews - I keep planning to try one of their overwound or classic P pups myself. They also have some nifty - looking bridges, as well as wiring / pots / etc. Take a look at their site. ovtopmobabrs.jpg $20 bridge T03_a_thumbnailResize.jpg Overwound P pup $32 From the website: This is the very hot OVERWOUND set- Wound to a paint-peeling 16K, using ONLY the best stuff- Alnico V sand cast polepieces, Formvar plain enamel wire, genuine fiber bobbins, potted in a beeswax/parafin mixture, all hooked up with vintage style waxed cloth leads.

    What we wanted was a very firm and full tone, with enough grit and dirt to really punish your amp- but with the extended bottom end that our GFS guitar pickups are already famous for.

    We LOVE these pickups- and we really think you will too. Even on cheap Squiers we notice an almost unbelievable amount of low end grunt, snappy string response and sweet, round tone.
     
  19. chiron_griffin

    chiron_griffin

    Apr 19, 2012
    I've always been attracted to the strange and obscure, so when this popped up on CL I jumped on it.

    I hadn't even thought of onboard effects. You just opened a whole new dungeon for me to explore. Those might come after I do the standard stuff, but if I don't have room for another pup I might have to do it.

    I will most likely buy my hardware from gfs, unless I can find some stuff cheaper on the classifieds.

    I've got a buddy with a P-bass equipped with a Dimazzio DP127, and an EBMM Sterling, he's going to let me test them out to see if I like the pups in either of them. I've only been at this for 6 months and he's got near on 10 years of playing time and some gigging experience. I'm not sure how much modding/repair he's done, but he's going to try and help me with some of these decisions.
     
  20. Funny! I also picked a crappy Jay Turser (the short scale P-Bass, ya know) that is totally ruined (jack input rusted, only three strings, and so on). I might have it changed a little, but I mostly think it'll turn into a piece of art. Like Eric Clapton's SG or Jimi Hendrix's Flying V. Hell of a project.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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