1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Semi-boutique bass pickup replacement costs from the manufacturer?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tekhna, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004
    I am going to avoid using the name of the manufacturer here, because I don't want this to seem like I am bashing them, it just seems a little exhorbinant.
    It also seems like this belongs in this forum, and not the pickups forum because the pickups are a pretty secondary part of all of this.

    I recently bought a bass used that originally came with a custom wound bart. Somewhere along the line someone replaced it, so now I have a non-original bass. Fine, no big deal. So I email the manufacturer asking how much it would be to have the pickup replaced back to original stock form. Or, if they can't do that, since it is custom wound, what current production bart is closest to the original?
    Well I get a timely response telling me that it would cost 280 dollars, total. Including shipping back to me.
    Does this seem a little absurd to anyone else?
    250 to replace, 30 to ship. The shipping is fine, no dispute there. But 250 dollars to replace a pickup?
    That seems extremely excessive to me.
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ibanez GWB1 with the custom bart? PM me, I'm curious.

    That said, life is what it is. If you want the pickup, then shell out the cash. Then again, you could always sell the bass and buy another used one with the original pickup.
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    It's called "go away" pricing.
  4. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    Its a high price if you are comparing it to some guy in a small repair shop with no over head. You don't discuss what the pickup is but retail on a good pickup is somewhere between $75 to $150.
    The manufacturer is presumably not setup to do repairs all day long efficiently. You will get someone who is very knowlegeable about your bass and will presumably do the job very well, just not efficiently.
    Its really hard to compare when you consider that you could buy two SX basses--shipped --whole basses. Made in China.
    Welcome to the US economy.
    You pays your money and takes your choice.
  5. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Hmmmm........ a custom-wound Bart.... Well, in my opinion, the "non-custom" Barts are wonderful as-is. I have them on two basses. If I were you, I'd probably find a Bart that fits, and try that. I got a pair for about $110, which is probably too much. That price sounds way out of line to me.
  6. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I suspect Brendan's right in this. However, it would be worthwhile to ask the manufacturer what it would cost to simply purchase the pickup outright so you could have someone else install it. That would at least give you a fairer basis for comparing prices, since most pickups don't include installation in the price.

  7. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I bet it's a Pedulla. That sounds exactly like what they say to me whenever I ask them something. Like, say for instance, "I think my tone pot is bad, what's the rating so I can replace it?" There response: "It will cost about $180. $80 for the shop time and $50 for insured shipping both ways."

    Um, that's not what I asked......

    I also know that Pedulla uses made to order, just for them, Barts that aren't compatible with anything but the pre-amp that comes in the bass. Evidently it's a heavily guarded secret and they won't even tell you what the damn tone pot rating is. It's pretty stupid actually.
  8. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    Mike Pedulla may be a nice guy, but he is very, very much a business man. I mean, what's the freakin' deal with $20 for a truss rod wrench? The owner's manual, which you also get in the deal, is available in its entirety on the Pedulla site in PDF form.
  9. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Yes, but I hear he's bar none as far as CS goes. All I hear is that you couldn't ask for better customer service than Mike's.
  10. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    For purposes of the conversation, assume this semi-boutique guy is Pedulla. His organization is in Massachusetts a high cost location. He probably pays the guy who works on your stuff $30,000 to $40,000 a year. His basses are in high demand and he could use the guys time making basses or servicing the needs of former buyers of his stuff. He has got costs in just talking with you. He has worked hard to get his name and quality recognised.
    Now you come along and want to maintain the quality of your bass and "keep it original" essentially maintaining that you have the same as he produced.
    The same logic works for any sucessful business product. Look it costs Microsoft absolutely nothing to produce the next copy of its software.
    Any business could charge you only their direct costs for some item, but they would not be in business very long.
  11. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004

    Ok, it is Pedulla.
    However the preamp is original, and the pickup has been replaced with some custom wound one that I think sounds terrible. So the preamp must work somehow with other pickups.

    gapupten-I am not asking for the direct cost, I am asking for a replacement, and it seems that engenders quite a bit of profiteering. The guy being paid 30,000-40,000 is probably going to spend 10 minutes tops with my bass. Do the math.
    Lets make a very expensive guess and say Pedulla pays 120 dollars for the pickup (I would guess it is half that in all likelyhood). That guy making 30,000-40,000 a year is not getting paid 130 dollars an hour. And the other 50 minutes of his time, in all likelyhood once again, is not creating 130 dollars worth of profit.
    Unless they are highly automated, and the guy is just an accessory.
  12. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    HA! I knew it! ;)

    Personally, I think you're better off completely replacing everything. Get new pups with a new pre that you know will all play nicely together.

    But that's just me.....
  13. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Mike, Normally provides excellent customer service in line with the best of the boutique builders. I'm sure if you called him he would sell you the pick up seperately, you might want to give him the serial # of the bass, so he knows he's not selling one of his pickups to go in someone elses bass. I'm sure he wants to avoid that, His price will probably be higher then the standred bart because bart dosen't produce near the number of pickups for pedulla as the regular models, also I'm sure shop time in his Shop is not cheap, He employs some first class craftsman. I had a buzz in the late 80's that developed a back bow, although the bass was well out of warranty (6 years) Mike reset the neck which required pulling the fingerboard, installing a new truss rod and replacing and finnishing a new fingerboard and only charged me for shipping!
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001

    especially when you consider that Pedulla is not a service facility, and so doing this type of work means that someone is not making basses. In economics that's called opportunity cost.

    The person doing the work in not going to "spend 10 minutes tops" on the bass. Unpacking, inspecting, perhaps looking up in records what version of the pup was used for that year, possibly ordering pup if not in stock, plugging in (to test for problems before work is started), removing strings, opening up, desoldering, mechanical removal of old pup, mechanical assembly of new pup, fishing wires and resoldering of new pup, restringing, plug in and test again, and adjustment of pickup height. And that's assuming all goes well, that they don't discover any odd damage or monkey business, electrical or mechanical, that might have been done when the pup was first replaced. And that's without any setup that they might possibly do gratis.
  15. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    As a couple of the posts point out, it is go away pricing. Basically anybody sets their prices saying hey this is what do, this is what I charge, if enough customers are happy with what they get for what they pay, I will stay in business, if not, I'm gone.
    If they set their businees up to deal with one set of customers and their needs and then try to deal with another customer's price points, they will not be long for this cruel economic world.
    The basic question any customer has to ask is it worth the difference to me.
    If shipping is not an issue you are comparing $250 to some other process of getting a new pickup delivered and installed. I would think that it would be hard to do for less than $125 anywhere. So for an additional $125 you get a guy that really knows your instrument, will presumably do quality work on your quality bass, and keep it "worth" the name and reputation that it has.
    If that is not worth it to you, you should be gone. Nothing wrong with that. The values just don't match.
    Good luck.