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Planning to pimp out my bass and I have a few questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FenderStripes, Sep 29, 2005.


  1. FenderStripes

    FenderStripes

    Jun 12, 2005
    So I got this old, raggedy bass lyin' around that I got from WAL*MART a few years ago. It was my first bass, so naturally, it has a very special place in my heart. However, the pick-ups (the split-coil kind, like the ones on Fender Precisions) are no longer fuctional and the bridge is terribly rusted and it just looks disgusting. :( So I plan on buying new pick-ups and a new bridge. I want to restore this thing so I can play it again. I just need some suggestions on what I should buy.

    - What are some good (split-coil precision) pick-ups? I've heard about Seymour Duncan's, are they good?

    - Would these pick-ups fit on ANY type of P-bass? Like I said, this is a FirstAct bass from WAL*MART. I don't wanna spend money on brand new pick-ups only to find that they don't even fit!

    - How would one go about removing and putting in new pick-ups? Articles or explanations, please!

    - What's the best bridge in your opinion? I really don't think I want the string-through kind; I'd like a quick-load bridge. Also, I would much rather prefer one that I don't have to file down myself (i.e. the BAII Bridge). But if you really really think that there's one really good bridge, despite my preferences, go ahead and make a suggestion!

    I just want some opinions, input, comments, whatever you guys can do to help! Much thanks!! :)
     
  2. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I don't have many good suggestions, but I do have a few words of caution. One, similar-style pickups aren't always straight drop-in replacements. If you do select a Seymour Duncan or any other type of P-style pickup, you'll need to measure the pickup cavity to make sure that you don't have to some routing or end up with gaps around your pickup. Pickups are fairly easy to install, if you know how to do some minor soldering. Assuming your new pickup fits the cavity for the old one, all you'll have to do is run your new pickup leads wherever the old ones went, and after unsoldering the old pickup leads, replace them with the correct hot and cold leads from the new pickup.

    The trickiest thing about bridges is finding one that has the same screw configuration as the old one. This isn't absolutely necessary, but it's far and away easier than drilling new holes without running into the old ones and then having to ensure that your new bridge is perfectly lined up with your neck.

    The final issue is: is the build quality of your current bass worth all the money you're about to invest in improving it? You mentioned that you have a place in your heart for it, which is a good reason to continue on the route you've indicated. However, new pickups and bridges can't improve the feel of your bass, so if the bass has other serious flaws, you may be better off saving that money and putting it towards another bass altogether.

    I don't mean to be so pessimistic... I'm actually working on plans to pimp out one of my own basses! It's just that as I've been hammering this stuff out, I've come across these points and have had to accomodate them, and I thought I'd share the warnings before you bought something you couldn't use withouot significant extra labor. Best of luck to you, and if you take the plunge, keep us updated with pictures! :)
     
  3. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    A few choice words to preface this post"

    "you can polish a turd, but it's still going to be a turd"

    If the bass has sentimental value to you I would suggest upgrading just enough to make it functional. Drop in a mighty mite p-bass pickup (it should fit just fine) and a mighty mite or similar basic bridge. You can get all this for less than 60 bucks, close to 40 if you look hard (check ebay and hix bros music)

    Honestly, a first act doesn't warrant a good bridge and pickup, but if you must are hell bent on dropping some cash then I suggest a Semour Duncan quarter pounder( bestbassgear.com and other places have them) and a carvin/hipshot bridge You can see it here.

    http://www.carvin.com/products/single.php?ItemNumber=SF4C&CID=BKT

    I have both of these and they are great pieces.
    Total outlay of cash about 112 bucks which is more than the bass is worth, but supposing the truss rod works and the action is ok, it will play and sound good.
     
  4. Sutton

    Sutton

    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    I'd recommend that you just buy an SX jazz of P bass. Both the Jazzes and P Basses are known for there easy "pimpin" . The problem you'll run into with the first act is that alot of stuff wont fit easily, and in the end, you'll still have a terrible bass (no offense). From what I've played on the first act is that the fretwork is terrible, and there is no truss rod for adjustment. Atleast with an SX, you'll have something to work with, and like I said, most everything will fit into an SX with little effort
     
  5. FenderStripes

    FenderStripes

    Jun 12, 2005
    Oh, no offense taken at all! I know it's a piece of junk, but I love it to death. The action is INSANELY high and the fret-work does indeed suck, but something about having to work a little harder just appeals to me, I guess. Just the fact that if I make even the smallest mistake, it'll sound terrible; it just keeps things a little exciting :p But that's just me...and I'm a weirdo.

    Anywho, what's that Mighty Mite pickup sound like? I've never heard of the name before. Also, I've heard from another forum that if I soak my bridge in a glass of coca-cola, that it'll remove the rust. Does anyone know if this is an effective method?

    Thanks to everyone who's replied, all of you have offered very helpful responses. :)
     
  6. Spector_Ray

    Spector_Ray

    Aug 8, 2004
    Texas
    Tell you what I'd do since the bass has sentimental value. I'd buy a guitar hangar and hang it on the wall for decoration. Then I'd buy at least an SX bass. When you come up with more money, upgrade.
     
  7. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    ok- so- i've only seen mtv's "pimp my ride" a couple of times- but go with me on this one.

    im thinking ocean blue paintjob with airbrushed lightning bolts, a leopard print strap, and chrome- lots of chrome- everywhere. cupholders, too. got to have cupholders.

    post pics when you've made these modifications. thank you.
     
  8. Don't forget the spinner pickguard....
     
  9. FenderStripes

    FenderStripes

    Jun 12, 2005
    Oh dear, there seems to be a slight misunderstanding...this isn't my only bass. I also have a beautiful Fender Precision and I'm completely happy with it, but like I said in my first post, I'd just like to restore my FirstAct.
     
  10. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7218548&type=product&cmp=++&id=1114638646332


    Is this your bass...

    if so...looks like any cheapo fender-type bridge will work...as for a pickup...stay on the cheap side too. You're not gonna make this bass sound great...so keep it basic...

    I'd say have a look at www.mightymite.com for your parts...

    You're stand replacement p-pup should fit. You should try just cleaning up and oiling the original bridge...

    take it apart piece by piece, keep in mind exactly where you took each piece from (screw lengths can be different). Give them all a clean with a copper wire brush on a dremel tool and then do a machine oil on everything and a buff (again with the dremel) and then reassemble...it'll look old, worn and very cool...

    you may also need new pots...i'd check everything out before you change the pickup anyway, because there's a great chance that your pickup isn't bad at all, that just a wire has fallen off, or your jack needs the tip brush bent in again.

    Have fun with the project, but don't spend too much money...OK...
     
  11. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    In response to the question about the mighty mite pickup. It's a basic replacement that from what I have heard is probably around the quality of a MIM fender. Nothing special, but it is cheap (15 bucks) and almsot certainly better than what was origionally in the bass. you can see it here:

    http://www.hixbrosmusic.com/product_info.php?products_id=239

    Any basic fender bridge will do, and usually you can find a good used one for sale here on talkbass for less than 20 bucks. I bought one from a TBer for 10 bucks and it was just fine.

    One more thing...If you wanted to do a bit of experimenting with a different kind of cheap pickup, check this out

    http://www.hixbrosmusic.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=bass+pickup
     
  12. FenderStripes

    FenderStripes

    Jun 12, 2005
    Okay, I think I'll shoot for the MightyMite P-pups. As for a bridge, maybe I'll try eBay and look for something good and cheap...if I can't find anything, then I'll just ask around here. Thanks a lot everyone :)