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Poor Man's Music Man

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ElGoodo, Nov 19, 2018.


  1. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    So have any of you out there upgraded your OLP to work and sound like an actual EBMM?

    I just had a NBD and picked up one from Craigslist.

    I am loving it, and everything works and sounds great. Gigged with it and only struggled with how the knobs were configured. The current configuration V/V/T doesn't seem right to me. I want to gut the electronics and make it like an the EBMM or even he sterling with Volume and low/high EQ.

    First thing I need to figure out is if I am going to stay with a Passive bass as there is no battery compartment currently. I am on the fence. If I want the EBMM eq, will I need to make this active no matter what?

    Has anyone ever overhauled their OLP or Sterling to make it sound and feel closer to a EBMM?

    Here's a Pic of my new addition. 20181117_133023.

    Thanks for your help.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    You could wire the bass with volume, passive treble and passive bass cut controls. G&L do this in some basses. Wire the pickup in parallel and some of the Stingray bite will be there.
     
    Spyrosaab and ElGoodo like this.
  3. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    So, that IS a thing. I have not seen that before. Thanks for the feedback! That might be the way I go. I would LOVE to have active pickups in this, but I don't have the skills with a router (or a router) so I would have to hire that out. I am OK with keeping it passive if I can keep the beef and sexy sauce that comes with the MM sound.

    I am also eyeballing the Nordstrand 4.2 Music Man pickup from BBG to go with the new controls.

    This doesn't seem like such an out of the ordinary idea to me. I was hoping someone who has done this before could maybe share their experience.
     
  4. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys. Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Mobile, Alabama, USA
    Yes, IMO you will need to go active. I'll save you some time, get

    this Music Man Seymour Duncan SMB4A

    and

    this "Music ManĀ® Clone" 2-Band Bass Preamp (3 Knob Version)

    You're correct that you will also need a battery compartment added unless the OLP has a larger control cavity than a regular stingray or SUB5.

    So my story is a little different but I think it applies. I own a EBMM SR5 Classic and bought a USA SUB5 as a backup here on TB. The SUB5 came to me with an EMG pickup and pre. It did not sound like a the classic at all or even much like a Stingray.

    I used the linked parts with the exception of course being I used the 5-string version of the SD pickup. The two basses sound virtually identical now. Which is what I wanted but this combination worked better than I could believe.

    Mojotone nailed the 2-band pre. I know I could have put my own preamp together from the various plans floating around the internet for less but for $95 the Mojotone was money well spent. High quality components and beautifully wired and soldered and guaranteed to work. Plus as I said it is dead on to the classic's pre. The pre is only half of the electronics equation so obviously the SD pickup faithfully duplicates the MM pup also.

    I do not know much about OLP's but if you dig the bass and plan on keeping it this upgrade path is worth considering.
     
    mcnach and ElGoodo like this.
  5. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    Thanks TK, I really appreciate the feedback. This is exactly the kind of information I am looking for.

    With your suggestions and add my guesstimated cost of having the battery compartment routed by a professional should put this bass right around $500 total investment. The neck is really solid and fast and feels much better than the Sterlings that are going for $299 at GC. This one has minimal fret wear on it as the guy whom I bought it from was a steel guitarist that just wanted to have a bass around. It never got played. Lucky me. :)

    I am going to seriously consider your information. If it really is that much of a difference, it might really be worth it.
     
  6. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys. Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Mobile, Alabama, USA
    Like I said if everything else about the OLP is a keeper then it's worth it. I'm pretty confident that he difference in your current setup and what you'd have with the MT/SD kit will be night and day. But keep in mind that as you approach ~$500 you're toying with the used USA SUB price range. Although the prices seem to be rising on those now so you'd have to shop pretty diligently. The active USA SUBS are pretty much USA Stingray Classics with lower quality paint jobs. Just something to keep in mind if the Stingray sound and feel are what you're after.

    I didn't really want to drop $200 on upgrades on the SUB5. But it was either re-sell it or try to make it right. Now with the upgrades I have no intention of letting it go any time soon. It sounds that good.

    Good luck on whatever you decide.
     
    ElGoodo likes this.
  7. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    Yea, this one is a keeper. I have a request out to my guitar tech for a quote on getting the battery compartment routed. I only paid $180 for this blue baby, so if I keep it under $500 and have a great and versatile MM, I will be over the moon with it. I also really dig the color and there are no flaws in the paint that I can see.

    I will post my results on what I end up doing and how it turns out.

    Thanks TK!
     
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Not exactly what you were describing, but I did gut and upgrade a SBMM Ray34 recently. I replaced the neck with a Status-Graphite MMJ neck (Stingray heel block tapered down to a Jazz nut width), Nordstrand MM4.2 pickup, and John East MMSR preamp. Sounds great. It definitely wasn't a cheap venture though, so it doesn't qualify as a poor man's anything :p

    45668780_10157974328949408_2831961492062994432_n.
     
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  9. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    ElGoodo likes this.
  10. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    +1 on needing to go active to really get that MM sound. The MM sound is as much if not more the preamp as it is the pickup, IMO.
     
    ElGoodo likes this.
  11. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    Minus the graphite neck, that is exactly one of the configurations I am looking at. Yours is beautiful BTW. I have never played a graphite neck. What is it like?
     
  12. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
  13. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    So it can make a difference on which preamp I choose. I will keep this in mind. Thanks!
     
    solderfumes likes this.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    They vary. Status, Modulus, Zon, Moses... They all feel a little different. Status necks are my absolute favorite and I have one on every bass I own.
     
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  15. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    I'd definitely say so. For example I think there is quite an audible difference (based on the YouTube videos I've seen) between even the 2-band and 3-band Stingray preamps. I DIY'd a 2-band from a schematic floating around the internet because it sounded a little better to me.
     
    ElGoodo likes this.
  16. brianmharrison

    brianmharrison

    Oct 11, 2007
    Atlanta
    SD sells a stingray pu and preamp kit that you might check out
     
    ElGoodo likes this.
  17. ElGoodo

    ElGoodo

    Nov 27, 2017
    Austin TX
    I will. Thanks!
     
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I upgraded the electronics in my Sterling SUB Ray4 to all (active) EMG. Pretty damn close sounding to the real thing.
     
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    As well as Nordstrand.
     
  20. I'd wire the existing pickup in parallel and use a clone 2-band pre. If it is currently vvt, then it kind of already is in parallel and you should be able to simply take both hots to one preamp input. If you are short on space, and don't want to route, make sure the pre has that old op amp from the 70's, (4250 if memory serves) and it has the current set resistor as well. This way you could probably use a little a23 12v and still get pretty decent battery life.
     
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