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NBD: Schecter P-4 - Zebrawood Top! - First Impressions... Not In Love (but getting there)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by beaglesandbass, Jun 18, 2021.

  1. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    I saw this on Reverb the other day and I absolutely loved the top, however the deck was a bit stacked against me.
    • The one Schecter bass I've bought got immediately returned due to a dead pickup (thanks GC!)
    • I've had one bass with EMGs, and I just never vibed with it
    • I've had one PJ that was active/passive, absolutely hated how it sounded in active mode
    Despite all that, the top was gorgeous enough I decided to give it a shot.

    Bass arrived, and is a very very attractive looking instrument. I've never been a fan of natural or stained finishes (though the seller said this was sunburst), but it I love it. As good as it looks in pictures, it looks better in person.

    It plays really well too. No fret buzzing or dead spots that I could find. Action is relatively low already as it came to me, I haven't done a setup yet.

    However, as I feared I might, I'm not loving the sound. Even with this bass all the way up and treble all the way down (which isn't how I'd want to play all the time), it still has too much twang and not enough thumb - way too aggressive.

    I'm not going to make any decisions until I get it in a full band situation. It could be one of those basses I just don't love at home, but love in the mix. If I don't like it, I may just sell it, or maybe replace the pickups and convert it to a passive bass, or new pickups/preamp and make it active/passive.

    edit: a string change will definitely be first

    Anyway, here are some pictures.



    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  2. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    The solution might simply be strings.
    I bought a Italia Imola two weeks ago.
    Sounded good right out of the box, but once I put my GHS black tapewounds on it, it exceeded all my expectations.
    I hope you can solve your issues with strings, or something simple, because that bass looks great!
    Very nice finish and very interesting fretboard markers.
    (Other than that, I'm not a EMG fan, either.)
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  3. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Yes... Try different strings!
  4. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs

    I don't know why I didn't think of that. I think Slinkies are on there right now. Not bad strings, but not my go-to either. I'll definitely change them up first.
    bignc, Aqualung60 and jd56hawk like this.
  5. Ruknrole

    Ruknrole Professional Amateur

    Sep 21, 2018
    Nice looking bass! Hope you figure out the sound.
  6. Templar

    Templar Rythm Wrangler Supporting Member

    Wow, that is one stand-out looking bass. I like the idea of an active P bass. Kinda surprised there haven't been more offered from the myriad manufacturers out there. Doesn't Sandberg have an import active P bass?

    I should be looking into the P-4 Exotic, myself. On paper, it checks a lot of boxes for my tastes:
    > It's a Schecter, I'm a fan.
    > EMG elecs, long time fan and willing to approach the "Metal Works P" pickup with an open mind, expecting an uber aggressive, raspy vibe.
    > Roasted maple neck, will probably become a fan if I ever get a bass with one to try.
    > Love the finish, the black hardware, and the inlays. Instant fan.

    I'd like it even more if it was built in Korea (fan again), but hey can't have everything.

    Knowing Schecter though, I'm almost afraid to ask what it weighs, but....What's it weigh?
    bassclef112 and nixdad like this.
  7. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    That’s a pretty nice bass. I hope you give it a chance
    HardNHeavy and nixdad like this.
  8. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    The seller said 10lbs 3oz, but it doesn’t really feel like it. Either his scale is wrong or the bass is very well balanced.

    Since you seem so intrigued by it, if I end up deciding to sell it, I’ll shoot you a PM first!
    Templar likes this.
  9. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Sounds like you just dont love the EMG sound. If you love everything else about the bass, I'd just swap strings and the pickup, and you will be set. If you like mids, maybe Barts or Nordstrand are a better fit for you?
  10. Templar

    Templar Rythm Wrangler Supporting Member

    Def intrigued with this model. 10lbs 3oz....don't waste your time with a PM.

    The weight is kinda disappointing (especially for weight-weenie geezers like me!), but not at all unexpected.

    Keeping eyes peeled for an 8.5lb used one, but I ain't holding my breath. Cheers.
    steveinohio and nixdad like this.
  11. Relayer71

    Relayer71 Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Beautiful Zebra figuring on that one! And the light burst gives it a unique look.

    If you love the rest of the bass so much, I'd just put flats on it.

    If the active EMGs are not your thing, switch it out for a passive pickup that's less "hi-fi" sounding. The DiMarzio P pickup on my Spector Euro 77 LE sounds fantastic (first one on the left, only pic I had available just now so ignore the PJs :)):


    I also keep hearing about how great the EMG Geezer P pickups sound (passive, too).

    When it's "love at first sight", you will kick yourself for a long time if you end up getting rid of it.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
    Bob Clayton, TonyP-, Lackey and 2 others like this.
  12. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for posting. I'm not in the market, but this is a very handsome bass indeed.
    I hope it all works out.
    TonyP- and JRA like this.
  13. Thud Staff

    Thud Staff

    Jan 2, 2017
    Around Here

    If it has the BTS preamp in it, you can adjust the treble response. This may take some of that sizzle out. IMO, the EMG P pickup, when installed by itself, does not need a preamp. Treble response is adjusted via dip switches:


    What you also may not be gelling with, is the ceramic/steel construction, plus any ‘tinniness’ the nickel covers impart to the sound (edit**** I think this is an erroneous statement?). That said, you may still decide string change > pickup change > active/passive switch. You may pleasantly surprised how well the BTS plays with a passive P pickup (of your choice), especially after adjusting the treble response via the dip switches.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
    seedokebass and Lackey like this.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    it certainly is a beauty! i hope you get the sound thing sorted out (that's the easiest of fixes: strings/pickups) but i'm glad that it balances that weight so well. congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    Bob Clayton likes this.
  15. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I'd slap a DiMarzio P in there with a passive tone knob and be done with it. Cool looking instrument.
  16. HubbardsFate


    Oct 18, 2006
    Dang, she purty...:drool:
    Bob Clayton likes this.
  17. Awesome looking bass! Love the inlays!
    I will echo the others in that fixing the sound could be pretty easy; swap strings, mess with the preamp, swap the pickup and or preamp if all else fails...should be worth if the playing feel is there.
    Bob Clayton likes this.
  18. Rick_Bass


    Feb 10, 2020
    Pics or it never happened...:D
  19. Old Fart

    Old Fart Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    At a glance, it looks like the pickup may not be in the correct position for a P. In my experience, moving that pickup toward the neck causes a different tone. It gets rid of the barking middy aspect of the P tone. Measure from the 12th fret to the poles, and compare that distance with a regular P. Of course, this also assumes the scale lengths are the same. Or perhaps check the ratio of distance from the bridge to the poles, and the distance of the 12th fret to the poles. I have a bass where the pickup is about 1/3" closer to the 12th fret. It does not sound like a P.
  20. wmhill

    wmhill Inactive

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    I'm not sure on this particular bass, but I've had several Schecters w/EMGs that had a pair of dip-switches mounted to one of the EQ pots. These made a subtle but perceivable difference tone. Might be worth taking a look inside. And for sure, you should look at some different string choices. Good luck.

    "One of the features of the BTS Control is a 2-position dip-switch that controls the slope of the high frequency response. By choosing one of the four combinations the high frequency response can be tailored to your liking"
    Bob Clayton likes this.