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NBD/M - Unity Koa and Chromes content with questions...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by othefool, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. othefool


    Feb 25, 2004
    Chico, CA
    I got this bass a month ago, but it was just "born again," so I think a NBD is in order.

    Right before Xmas I found myself the owner of a passive 91 Peavey Unity Koa Bass. I traded my Ibby 506, which had been languishing on CL for half a year, as well as a Carvin 2x10. Overall, I think it was a good trade.

    I was interested in this bass because talkbass has convinced me that older Peavies are underrated jewels. Also, I have never owned a p style bass, which TB has likewise convinced me is a necessity. Also: Koa.

    The bass is light, well balanced, and has an extremely thin and smooth neck. It came with black beauties which were destroyed: seller states she always played with a pick, and most of the black nylon was gone. Took it home and strung it up with a set of Rotosound 66s I have been holding onto for years. Sound was immediately, insanely bad, with buzzing up and down the neck. As Xmas was right around the corner, I stuck it in its case in the closet and decided I would deal with it later.

    Fast forward a month: another thing that I have learned from TB is that flats are worth checking out. I have surprisingly never used flats, but my recent transition into playing primarily upright has opened me up to appreciating other string possibilities. I picked up a set of Chrome Med Lights, stuck them on the Unity, and plugged in.

    Wow! The E sounds like thunder. The buzzing up and down the neck disappeared, and I was pulling out tones I had never heard from any of my electrics. This is probably just a testament to "P with flats," but the Unity sounds great!

    Used it in practice with my soul/old time funk singer songwriter band. P pickup solo'd, tone rolled all the way off, and was pleased by the overall tone, as well as how it cut trough the mix. I think this one may be a keeper.

    epilogue: I tried to put the Rotosound strings on my Sterling, and as soon as I installed the E it rattled and buzzed all over the neck. Guess that's why I had them sitting around in the package for years...

    TL;DR: Traded for Peavey KOA Unity. Put new strings on, and it sounded awful. Put in closet for a month, pulled out and slapped some Chromes on it. I am in soul bass heaven.

    And now, for the questions (mostly for Unity owners):

    1) Does anyone know the specific tool needed to adjust the truss rod? I have searched all over for this, and although there is speculation, I have not seen any "this is exactly what you need" moments.

    2) Can I drop in other P/J pickups without modification?

    3) The wood is a little dingy, with some oily looking areas. What is a good product/technique to clean and treat the Koa wood?


    Thanks for checking out my first "NBD" on Talkbass (although there have been many, many new basses since I joined...)
  2. othefool


    Feb 25, 2004
    Chico, CA
    What, no Peavey love? No Chromes commentation?

    I thought the whole point of nbg gloating was getting feedback.

    Now I feel all alone in this cold ball spinning round the sun. Guess if I post a future NBD, it should have a tort pg.

    Now I am going to cook a breakfast of carrots.
  3. Landsharks


    Jul 24, 2009
    Oxford, MS
    I used to have one of these and dropped EMG's and an active preamp with stacked bass/treble. Loved it and regret every day that it has been gone. Went to a Cirrus 5er, while I love this bass, I would love even more to get another Koa Unity. When I would treat my old one, I would use the old can of Warwick wax and wax and buff. You might need to do something to clean before you put anything on it. Not sure if just getting some 0000 steel wool and just doing a light "sanding" and then treating it. Maybe someone else will chime in on this.

    Hope that helped a little.
  4. othefool


    Feb 25, 2004
    Chico, CA
    Thanks landsharks that's good info. I am thinking about EMGs, but will probably keep this one passive. Maybe :).
  5. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Re. Trussrod - A Gibson 5/16 wrench like this will work perfectly -


    All kinds of aftermarket pickups can be dropped in with ease.
  6. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    Only thing to watch if you're changing pickups is to make sure that the J is hum canceling. I did a swap in my own unity koa (yours is beautiful, by the way) before I knew any better, and the hum was insufferable.

    I would try to keep mine buffed with tung oil when I was younger and had that kind of spare time. :) Now I've semi retired the Peavey from gigging and keep it as a home player. It was my first bass, bought brand new in 92, and counts as my "I'll never sell it" bass. It's also the best recording instrument I've got.
  7. othefool


    Feb 25, 2004
    Chico, CA
    Thanks for the pic of the Gibson wrench, I actually went looking for one of these. My local stores shrugged at me, and eBay, amazon, and the Gibson website have been no help. This one is tapered, to fit the bezel in the headstock. Everyone I have seen on line just looks like a socket with a handle, which won't fit! Now I have to either track this one down, or call Peavey and see what they have!

    This would have been a sweet first bass! I didn't start having an affinity for natural woods until the mid 90s, tho...
  8. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    Are you sure it won't fit? My Gibson wrench works fine on my Dyna Unity. The wrench is a "socket with a handle" and I have no problem using it. It fits my Sarzo as well.
  9. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    Thinking about it, I actually have a socket that a friend drilled a hole in so he could add a handle. Literally a socket with a handle, and it fits my Peaveys.
  10. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Stew-Mac has them.
  11. othefool


    Feb 25, 2004
    Chico, CA
    Thanks smcd, I found it!

    There is another thread on here that talks about regular sockets damaging the bevel or getting stuck. I don't know, I can see how this could happen. But I am sure that the right thin socket would work. Guess I would rather pay the $9 for the right tool than risk chewing up the wood on my new baby!
  12. themarshall


    Jun 26, 2008
    cochrane wi
    That's a purty bass right there. Any special reason you're pondering a pickup swap?
  13. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    Congrats. I bought one of these last summer and I love it. It came with EMG's (look to be factory because there's a built in battery compartment). It sounds great and plays exceptionally. I am very happy with it and I'm sure you'll enjoy yours.

    Good luck with it!
  14. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I too have had difficulty getting the standard truss rod wrench to work properly. Not only in Peaveys, but Gibsons, too. But these angled, bullet-shaped wrenches work like a charm.
  15. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    As far as caring for the wood, I use Old English Lemon Oil furniture polish on my tung oiled koa Carvin. It really makes the wood look better, and makes it feel smoother on the back of the neck.

    Congrats on your new bass. I've always thought those Unity basses were gems.
  16. Dawntreader


    Aug 23, 2013
    GREAT looking bass. Mine was Dyna/Unity series Koa. Active eq. Great sound Great feel light as a feather.....Man I miss that bass. I had a fender jazz willed to me so I traded the peavey for a Kustom 200 with 2-15's [mistakes were made]
  17. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    I have one of these (but an active version)... Wanted one for years, it's a great bass, but I am a passive guy. Getting ready to put it up for sale.

    yours is beautiful..

    Moonshine :bassist:
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I love this bass she's a beauty I always root for Peavey they have put out some outstanding products over the years and these basses are proof congrats.
  19. The Thinker

    The Thinker Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I LOVE these basses! Used to own one and regret selling. Played wonderfully, looked fantastic, was lightweight and resonant. I wasn't wild about the stock PUPs and dropped in EMGs. Sounded fantastic.

    You can get the correct truss rod tool from Peavey. Contact their customer service hotline. Don't risk stripping the nut with something that doesn't quite fit.
  20. othefool


    Feb 25, 2004
    Chico, CA
    I have a feeling that this bass will be my primary electric for a while, which I am sure will make my Brute and Sterling sad, but they will get over it. I think I will try new pickups, just because I can, although I feel that it sounds fantastic as is. I think I will be able to form a better opinion of it in a month or two, when the Chromes settle down. Right now, it just sounds amazing with the p solo'd and the tone rolled all the way off. Adding the J or treble just makes it sound ultra bright to me, for now.

    Thanks again for the feedback, and all the Peavey love!