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Project Bass: Ibanez 1980 MC900 Musician Series

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ibanezbass671, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Ibanezbass671


    Mar 11, 2010
    Hi Peeps:D

    Well, back in 2011, I've did the Fender Squire Project and when done I was going to do a project on my MC900 Bass.


    Well I've decided to do it this year:smug:

    So here is my MC900 Bass guitar





    This bass guitar have seen better days, and the pre-amp is not working.:(
    In fact...it doesnt work any more even in passive mode.
    The fret board has some light fungus on them (not sure really what it is) and need to be refinished.
    Couple of nicks and dings on the back and front....

    Serial Number is I804720
    So this was made in somewhere in September of 1980.

    So I'm planning to upgrade the electronics and the pickups.
    The single pickups were too noisy (at the time it was working) and created such humming noise that was too annoying for my sound man...:meh:
    There were instances where I was picking up radio frequencies with this bass lol...

    So I know this post may not be in the right place (pardon me I haven't been on the forum for about 2 years) so I have a couple of questions :help:

    1. Is there any aftermarket pickups with the right size/shape that can fit in the MC900 without modifying the body?
    2. What recommended pre-amp active system would do?

    So far I'm leaning towards the Bartolini systems soap bar W4CBC pickups as I was told they fit perfectly on the MC900.
    Also was thinking about using the Bartolini 3-band active pre-amp system (HR-5.4AP/918). My only thoughts is I would either have to fill the unused holes or just put a dummy knob just for aesthetics.

    I love how the Barts sounded on my other bass guitar (BTB575) and would love to have that similar sound on my MC900. But I'm open for any opinions and suggestions.

  2. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    Sweet looking bass. (And just to be pedantic, that is an MC-924, not 900.)

    Can't help much with the pickup and preamp replacements, but if you want to unload those original pickups, send me a PM.

    She's certainly worth fixing, I look forward to hearing about your progress.

  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Are you sure you want to rip the guts out of a US$1,000 Bass?
    I would have a tech check it first. It might just be a broken wire that has it shut down.

    I have played a few 924's in my day. Never thought of them as candidates for upgrade.
  4. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    Those are great pickups. If they work, you should consider leaving them in the bass. The preamp is mounted on an edge connector. First thing to do is clean the contacts and check all solder joints. The preamp is worth saving and that's where most of the problems usually lie.

    Good luck with a cool project!
  5. phatcyclist


    Jan 29, 2014
    Austin, TX
    I have the same bass without the active electronics. I too would be hesitant to replace anything, I'd say have a shop check it out because as mentioned earlier, it could be as simple of a problem as a bad solder point or connection.
  6. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    You're making a mistake.

    As charlie monroe said above, that's a $900-$1,000 bass. You do that work to it and it'll end up as a $400 bass, if you're lucky. Those Super 4 pickups are highly regarded. Ditto the electronics. If that bass is giving you those problems, there's something amiss in the wiring or preamp. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the pickups. Take the bass to a tech who knows electronics and get it repaired. Never mind the "upgrades". Those Musicians are, IMO, one of the best basses Ibanez ever made.
  7. +1 to have a tech check it out first. When I saw the photos, I asked myself, "Why is this a project bass?"

    Good luck!
  8. Ibanezbass671


    Mar 11, 2010

    Thanks for these reply.
    I never knew the value of this bass would go for that much.
    I bought this thing for $250 at a pawn shop back in 96:eek:
    Well now that I think about it, I really want to keep it all original, but I was assuming that the electronics were shocked,

    The last time I open up the panel, a green capacitor fell off and I never found the thing, and was not sure were it was originally.

    Here are more pics of the electronics.
    One pot looks different from the others.
    It might be that this bass was worked on before I got it.


    I also notice couple of wires were taped up and not connected to anything???


    Unfortunately we don't have a music tech available here in Guam were I stay. Been trying to look for the wire schematics for this particular bass.....
  9. Ibanezbass671


    Mar 11, 2010
    Also forgot to mention, the Gain and Volume pots are seized up.
    All the pots for the active 3-band boost are seized as well.

    Any suggestions of what pot Ibanez uses for this model or equivalent?
  10. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
  11. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I restored mine which was in worse condition than yours. All the components for the preamp cost me like 6 or 7 dollars. They tend to go bad after time. The trick with these basses is to not have the preamp gain rolled all the way up which will make it noisy because it is such a powerful preamp. I use mine mostly about 2/3 rolled of and its still incredibly hot and high output. Here are pics of before and after of my bass.


  12. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I refinished the entire bass (which you should do since you commented there was fungus). I also cleaned the hardware and painted some parts of it to my liking for aesthetics (the bridge and trussrod were tarnished beyond cleaning). The electronics were revamped and brought back to spec. Took like a year because a friend did it for me in his off time, but well worth it. It made its gig debut last october at the hardrock cafe... tone to die for through an svt 810 and and svt 450 and SVT TUBE di.
  13. Ibanezbass671


    Mar 11, 2010

    The fungus is on the fret board. Look like it made some etching on them. I'm planning on resurfacing the fret board and having the frets worked on. As far as refinishing, I really like the original walnut color. It's not bad, but could use some refinishing on the clear coat.
  14. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Hit the pots with deoxit. Odds are that will free it.

    Cleaning the connections isn't going to require a rocket scientist.

    If you're in Guam are you US military?
  15. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
  16. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
  17. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Yeah it does. But they're try to get what seems like a lot.

    A lessor example would still bring close to a grand.
  18. Ibanezbass671


    Mar 11, 2010
    I tried cleaning the pots and no luck.
    Looks like I will have to replace the bad ones.
    I notice the one pot that's on the 3 band eq has a pull out?
    This is the only pot that seems to be not seized like the rest.

    Anyways, anybody knows what green cap and value thats supposed to be on the main volume pot is? Like I said earlier, I lost mine when it fell off few years ago.

    I live in Guam, and no I'm not a military personnel, just the average civilian here :)
  19. Ibanezbass671


    Mar 11, 2010
    Thanks Abner

    The color diagram looks like is dead on with my model.
    Trying to figure out what the missing cap is on mine.
  20. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    Push-pull pots were definitely not original equipment on these.

    According to the block diagram, there is a 300pF capacitor on the master volume, and a 0.1mF capacitor from the volume pot to the passive tone pot (this is the passive tone capacitor). I'll see if I can get around to opening mine up later today and verify that for you.

    If you need to source out replacement pots: the 3 eq pots are 20KG (not sure what "G" taper is off-hand); the preamp gain/boost is 150KG; the passive tone is 500KM; and the passive master volume is 500KV.