Need some advice for my 51 precision bass project

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stranded horse, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. stranded horse

    stranded horse

    Dec 8, 2009
    outer space
    [ ] yes [ ] no
    I want to build my own 51 P Bass, butterscotch blonde swamp ash body, maple neck, bakelite pickguard, the old 2 saddle bridge, and so on.
    I think it would be a nice bass to kick around, and if I buy the body and neck from allparts and do the finishing myself I will have a nice simple instrument (I like things simple, like 1 pickup, etc) to kick around.
    However, I'm not sure about the pickup. I reckon they pick up a lot of hum, but I dig the style, so a splitcoil is no option. Fralin offers humcancelling 51 P Bass PUs but they are kind of pricey at $140. Are there any alternatives?

    My next question is regarding the control cavity: is it big enough to house an onboard preamp, 2 stacked pots and a 9v battery?
    I want to use an onboard preamp with a 3 band eq, but I don't want more than 2 knobs, so I was thinking of using 2 stacked knobs, one for bass and treble, and one for volume and mids.
    I guess it won't pose a problem enlarging the control cavity underneath the pickguard to house the preamp and battery if necessary, right?

    I know they went out of fashion lately in favor for passive basses and it might seem odd on a vintage bass replica, but I dig onboard preamps, because I prefer to play directly into the PA whenever possible, and with an onboard preamp I at least have some way of directing my own sound.
  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Rather than sit here and speculate, I busted out the screwdriver and ruler. On my body (made by Guitar Mill - probably standard spec) the cavity is 1 3/8" deep, 1" wide and 3 3/8" long (with rounded corners). My controls take up 1" of height (3/4" without the bulky vintage-style capacitor).

    So there might be room for something. Depends on the size of the preamp, the stacked pots and of course don't forget the battery. ;) (My hunch is, you'll probably wind up having to burrow underneath the pickguard.)

    Have you considered the Tone Hammer? :bag:

    Seems a bit ironic to me that you're going for some of the finer details like the 2-saddle bridge & bakelite pickguard, but for the components that will have a major impact on the output signal (i.e. pickup & wiring) you're going modern. (But, hey: your build - your vision...)

    RE: pickups. I'm head-over-heels in love with the Lollar single coil SCPB pickup I put in (best $90 I ever spent). I doubt you'll find a hum-canceling model much under $150. Bear in mind, they ARE split-coils, just in a SCPB shell. Some folks love 'em. Me, I'm glad I stuck with pure single coil - it's what these basses are all about IMHO.

    HTH - good luck with your build! :)
  3. try seymore duncan antiquity pu's. the 51' style is suposed to be awesome.
  4. ric3xrt


    May 19, 2010
    SE PA
    As for the 9v, you can allways route a battery box in to the back of the body.
  5. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    You can order your body rear routed and keep the 51 top control plate (see below).
    The Fralin is pricey, but not really very off the price of my two faves;
    Seymour Duncan SCPB3

    I believe either of those companies will also do you a split wound single coil upon request.

    Me, I want the straight single coil punch/grind/raw edge, hum in some situations be danged.


  6. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    My '51 Reissue doesn't hum any more than a Jazz Bass pickup soloed.

    I wouldn't get hung up on hum.
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    first you say you want it simple, then you say you want active pickups, a preamp with three band eq and stacked pots. (sounds a bit contradictory to me) i can tell you right now that all of that stuff will not fit in a 51 p bass's stock cavity unless you route it under the guard for the preamp and 9V. it would fit the two stacked pots, but that's about it.

    and IMO, the Fralin side by side single coil is well worth the money. it sounds great, and doesn't it hum (or buzz) on stages with neon lights, dimmers or questionable AC power.
  8. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    My Fender 51 reissue would not hold a stack pot.
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    the CIJ ones won't (requires widening the cavity), but an allparts body and a USA fender will.
  10. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Mine was CIJ...
  11. guitarhuckster1


    Aug 28, 2010
    That's what I did recently. Be aware that some neck pockets are straight while others are rounded so you want to make sure that your neck will fit your body.


    I used a SD Quarter Pounder and passive electronics in this one. Sounds great.
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