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Sting 50s Fender Precision Bass Upgrades and the "I'm Gonna Leave This One Stock" Lie!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Alan Ace Cooper, Aug 16, 2016.


  1. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    Well… A week after owning my Used Fender Precision Sting Signature model, I started changing stuff. It came with a set of Ernie Ball flat wound strings, which I changed to Fender 9050L flats, then to D'Addario Black Nylon tapewounds, then to Fender Nylon tapewounds, then back to the Fender 9050L flats. I sold my hardly played, Godin A5 Acoustic to fund this venture but still wanted something that could be mellow in an acoustic situation. Hence the reason for the flat and tapewound strings.

    Body wise. I added a Ebony, single hole Thumb Rest/ Tug Bar, added a chrome pickup cover (which I keep taking off) and added aluminum shielding tape to the control cavity and the underside of the pick guard.

    The next move was replacing the stock tone capacitor. I tried one of the Russian Made, Paper In Oil, 0.1uF K42y-Z caps I got off eBay. It totally smoothed things out and I could get a little more use out of the tone control. I felt the highs from original cap sounded too grouchy once you turned it past the half way point.

    How about those bridge saddles? How about that intonation? It's fine…. "I can work with it. I wanna keep the bass stock". Well, that was the goal until I saw someone selling, the discontinued, 2 Saddle Wilkinson Compensated Brass Saddle Bridge on Reverb. I probably overpaid but, try finding another set. I kept the stock Sting bridge plate and added the Wilkinson saddles to it. The bass is now about 98% intonated. The D string is a few percents off but the G string is dead on. I figured I would more likely play an octave above the 12th fret from the A to the G string versus playing an octave from the E to D string that high up the neck. As for the brass saddles - Tonally, I haven't noticed any advantages or disadvantages over the stock bridge.

    Next up was changing the pickup. I knew it was going to be one of the Seymour Duncan / Bassline models but which one?!?! So, I went Whole Hog and popped in an SCPB-3 Quarter Pounder. The QP is such a great looking pickup! Whew, the lows with the new cap were overwhelming! The highs were incredibly sizzly, like Geddy Lee's old Rickenbacker! Not bad, just not my thing. The main thing I did not like about the QP was it took away from the vintage sound vibe. It seemingly made the bass too even sounding. To me, it sounded more like a more modern Split Coil P Bass pickup. Again, not bad, just not the direction I wanted to travel in. After a week, I replaced the SCPB-3 with the SCPB-2 Hot version. Thick, rich and very wooly and boomy with the Russian cap. So much so, I went back to the stock cap, which did give the bass more lowend detail. All was good until…..

    I was reading more and more reviews and musings here on Talk Bass and came across some info for Kelling Sound. I had seen some of his work on the Bay, so I decided to do some more investigating. Since the Sting P Bass uses mini controls, I thought my options would be more limited but that was not the case. After about 10 messages back and forth, I decided to order their 3 Way Tone Control Solderless set with the Treble Bleed option. Kelling had the new control set to me within 4 days!!! Initially, I was not as Wowed by it as I thought I would be but I have to say, it does make for a Much More Functional bass!! The overall tonal detail is better. The tone control now has a push/pull. In the Up position, I can still get the smoothed out, swampy, Dub bass tones the Russian cap offered. In the down position, the unit becomes a standard tone control. Ahhh…. I can get more range from the tone control because Kelling also added a 0 ohm resistor that kills off some of the 60 cycle hum. I have to say, I am wowed about that little feature!!

    Lastly, I could not resist trying out the Duncan SCPB-1. I kept telling myself… "Maybe I'd like having the more true vintage sound". "Maybe it would give more breath to the overall sound, kinda like the 1955/56 Precision Bass I played at Action Music in Falls Church, Virginia last month". With the Kelling Solderless option, I decided to be a little more adventurous. I popped out the SCPB-2 Hot and popped in the SCPB-1 and within 20 minutes, the Hot version was back in! The SCPB-2 Hot is just as they say, more punchy, more ballsy, more bigger! Also, the Kelling controls are more useful with the Hot version. There's more tonal coloration room to work with. The SCPB-1 required less movement because there are no big round tones to spread out and the midrange is more pronounced so it required less from the Kelling. If I had left the standard controls in the bass, the SCPB-1 may have been the better option.

    I am happy with the results - The only downside is having to shave off about a 32nd -16th of an inch of plastic off the "V" shape of the pickup surrounds, as the Duncan/Basslines are not "Direct Drop Ins" for the Japanese made Sting Precision and (supposedly) the Japanese 51 Reissue models. The other drag is having to remove the pickguard for pickup installation. Since the Sting has the "Scam Proof" additional body cavity route, I had to remove the guard to manipulate the pickup wires through the extra channel holes.

    I'm gonna name her Roxanne :)

    StingBass.
     
    Shawn Luckman and Garagiste like this.
  2. Garagiste

    Garagiste

    Feb 16, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY

    Sounds like you went a little further than I did re: mods... I just put on a set of chromes and changed the bridge to the Fender American Standard Bass Bridge Assembly. It sounds amazing in the living room. Now have to try it out with the rest of the band and see how it sits in the mix. Also have to get used to not anchoring my thumb on the pickup. But when you play over the pickup it has tremendous output. Also sounds amazing when you thumb pluck with palm anchored on the bridge (like the man himself does). I'm pretty happy with this purchase. Will post some clips when I get a chance.
     
  3. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    Right!!! I'm a Raised On Jazz Bass kinda guy but I haven't been able to put this bass down since I got it!

    I'm glad I got a chance to try 3 of the 5 Seymour Duncan scpb pickups for it. That way, if I get another one, I will know which direction to take. I have the pickup cover, which provides a good anchor spot but like you said, there are some great tones to be had directly over the pickup.
     
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  4. Broke

    Broke

    Sep 9, 2015
    Wow, you did a ton of work on yours. I changed the strings and got rid of the sting inlay neck. I stayed with the tele neck though.
     
    Alan Ace Cooper likes this.
  5. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    @Broke So you swapped the neck or dug the inlay out?
     
    brendanbassix likes this.
  6. Broke

    Broke

    Sep 9, 2015
    I put a new neck on.
     
    brendanbassix likes this.
  7. Broke

    Broke

    Sep 9, 2015
    Here is mine: And the bridge was changed by the previous owner. e=http%3A%2F%2Fi195.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz249%2Fbrokerrookie%2F20160616_081347_zpsqloaukkd.
     
    Alan Ace Cooper likes this.
  8. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    Nice! How does the Sq 50s Vibe compare to the Sting?
     
  9. Garagiste

    Garagiste

    Feb 16, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yeah, same question
     
  10. At least you got rid of the stinglay hahaha.
     
    Alan Ace Cooper likes this.
  11. Broke

    Broke

    Sep 9, 2015
    They are very close. The pickup on the Fender is so much better. The pots are also better. But for the most part they play exactly alike. I just like the look of the Fender more.
     
  12. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    @Broke Well, if you decide to upgrade the pup, let me know. Since I already tried the Quarter Pound, and the Hot versions, I just HAD to try the SCPB-1 vintage version. I think I'm gonna keep that one in and will be selling the SCPB-2 Hot version. The Hot is probably the most versatile of the 3.
     
  13. boristhespider7

    boristhespider7

    Jan 27, 2008
    UK
    How's the QP'ers tone compared to the stock PU?
     
  14. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    The QP is very broad tonally. Very full bottom and it can give bright and sparkly highs. To me, it takes the basss out of the Vintage realm and gives it more of a modern, Split P pickup vibe.
     
  15. Broke

    Broke

    Sep 9, 2015
    I've enjoyed this thread and feel free to send me a price on that SD pickup if you want to.
     
    Alan Ace Cooper likes this.
  16. Alan Ace Cooper

    Alan Ace Cooper Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Northern Virginia, USA - 13 mi
    Endorsing artist: Devon Basses, DR Strings, EMG pickups, Bag End Cabs
    @Broke I copied you..... I don't know how it happened. I was roaming along online and came across a Squier VM 50s Vibe Precision in Lake Placid Blue and somehow I ended up hitting the Buy button link! I'm probably gonna pop the Duncan Hot in this one and order another control set from Kelling Sound off eBay.

    So, thanks for showing the pic of yours and making me jealous! Hahahaha!
     
    TDR1138 likes this.

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