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Suggestions for Upgrading Bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bertbassplayer, Feb 5, 2001.

  1. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    I have a 1996 Fender American Standard Jazz Bass 5 String, and I'll looking at doing some customizing and upgrading... so I would like to hear some suggestions from you people. I have probobly $200-$300 to do upgrades and stuff, but any costing upgrades (other than getting another bass) would be appriciated.
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not to be difficult, but what is it about the bass you would like to improve or that you don't like?

    Just changing an instrument for the sake of change and calling it "upgrading" or because some cash is burning a hole in a person's pocklet seems like a waste. I mean it would be all too obvious to say, run out and have an optical pickup put on it or have so & so's preamp put on it, but you might not like what happens to your instrument without me knowing what you're after.
  3. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    well I don't like the tone, and the look
  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    If that's the case, I would probably just sell the bass. With the money from the sale, plus the $300 you have for upgrades, you should be able to find a really nice bass that's more to your liking.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Really. What's left? (Well, she's ugly, poor, farts non stop, has STD's, and was exiled by the Board of Health, but she's my girlfriend)
  6. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Don't like the tone or the look? What possessed you to buy it in the first place? I have certainly upgraded pickups in my basses to bring them closer to a particular tone objective.But in your case I don't think you'll ever be happy with this bass. I wouldn't put a dime into it if I were you. Trade it in on something your really like.
  7. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    I like the shape and the body style and the color and the feel.... just not the look...
  8. OK, OK, you've been taken to task enough about your selection :rolleyes: Now on to a solution:

    I've said it before - Try a J-Retro preamp from Vintage Bass Trading Co. at http://www.vintagebass.com

    This is an addition that will, without a doubt, change your mind about the bass. These things have been making waves all over the place. You will gain all of the tone you thought you never had, even with passive pups and the price is right in your range - $250. Then with the leftovers start looking at a pickguard change. If you want to go gonzo custom, you can do that too but even some of the nicer off-the-shelf pg's go for $50 or more. Use your imagination, then come back and ask us here if it can be done. I for one will have lotsa ideas!

    Hope this helps
  9. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    About the PG thing, I was thinking about putting on a Chrome pickguard, I was thinking that might look cool, or maybe a tortise shell.... that J-Retro looks pretty cool... I'll consider that...
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I presume this is a passive J-Bass - and if there's one thing designed to improve these it's the Sadowsky outboard pre-amp. This was made for passive J-basses and is the same electronics that went into Marcus Miller's J-bass and is used in Sadowsky basses. You should be able to get one of these for under $200 and have the added benefit of avoiding the risk of doing any "mods" that might go wrong and affect the re-sale value of the bass.

    Who cares how a bass looks if it sounds great and you can't really go wrong with one of these. If you find you want to get something else, they have good re-sale value and can be used with any bass - whereas once you fit a part permanently you are stuck with it and it's more likely to adversely affect the re-sale value of the bass - how does the buyer know it hasn't been "messed about" with additional parts - they are far more likely to buy a bass that's exactly "as new".
  11. Bruce, I've got to point out that doing a mod with the J-retro in no way is a permanent or un-reversible addition. The design is rather unique in that all of the electronics, and controls are attached to the Jazz control plate. It comes as a single unit and even has the feature of using modular plugs to attach the pups. Very, very elegant. If you wanted to change back, you would just pop in your original tone plate and have it back to stock.

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