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Squier Vintage Modified Bass VI Neck Pickup Mod

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by guestOU812, Mar 29, 2018.


  1. guestOU812

    guestOU812 Inactive

    Jul 30, 2011
    I wrote about buying a VM Bass VI in another thread. I must say aside from the cheap-o hardware; saddle screws coming out after 2 hours of hard play and having to adjust the neck a few times because it would bow back after a day or so, I love it!!

    I custom build pickups, my little company is called Sound Laboratories. My three favorite standard bass pickup sounds are the G&L L2000, the G&L El Toro and the Rickenbacker 4003. I may love those sounds because I grew up (since the early 80's) playing the L2000 and the Ric. After totally enjoying the new VM Bass VI I wondered how could I get a sound texture similar to my favorites?? So set out to design pickups for the Squier. I sat down in my little lab and did the mental math. My first set of VM Bass VI pickups I decided will be single coil and the second set will be stacked humbuckers.

    I wanted more bass, a bit more power, I want it to sound open and I want the neck pickup to growl when I strike it heavy and I want it to be smooth and groovy when I am gentle. I chose staggered Alnico 5 magnets for the versatility and clarity and figured the resistance value should be between 11 and 12k Ohms. I assembled the bobbin and magnets to the depth of a telecaster lead pickup and chose 44 AWG PE magnet wire for the heavy spin load and the ability to get more wire winds for more resistance and I certainly want the pickups to be wax potted. I used vintage cloth lead wire because I had it laying around and I like the stuff.

    The pickup resistance worked out to being 11.4k. The sound results are stunning! Gratefully I recorded a before and after of this neck pickup using a David Eden WT260 head (all knobs set to noon) DI through an Apogee Rosetta 800 and into Pro Tools. The results are stunning! I'll post the sounds when the all single coil pickups are complete. I am just so excited about the sound I had to write about it.

    Early this week prior to this mod I popped over to my friend Richie's place (Richie of Richie's Guitars in the East Village). He builds inexpensive guitars for musicians on tight budgets. His builds are getting really awesome BTW. I talked to him about the neck issue I was experiencing. He told me to buy a Vicks humidifier for around 40 bucks, "don't buy one of them expensive ones, the Vicks one works just as good and it has heated vapor which works great for guitars." I looked on eBay and found a referb Vicks humidifier for 29 bucks delivered. He instructed me to set it on full blast and try to get the room to at least 50% humidity (I am in Brooklyn and its the tail end of winter so the air is really dry). He said within a day or two the neck will straighten out and probably go too much in the opposite direction because of the adjustments I made. He said, the wood in the Squires are still living and react to humidity. Because the wood isn't aged and completely 'dead' the costs for Squier manufacturing goes down. Anyway after 24 hours of Vicks exposure the neck flattened out and I had to readjust it to get a little bit of a bow.

    I'll post my results with the next two pickups as I make them and find the time to write. So far I am completely thrilled with the sound of my Sound Laboratories Bass VI Jaguar pickup. Let me know if you want me to make one for you?

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