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Swapping out P-Bass parts... Woah!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Timmy-Watts, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    So, in the last couple years I have built 3 P-basses. Fender doesn't make EXACTLY what I wanted. Well, lately, in my OCD/ADD picky nature, I got restless and wanted to change up some things to just see what happens. I ended up with none of the 3 combinations I originally had, and 3 P-basses which are now better than they were originally.

    I have been playing these a LOT, so I have grown used to their shortcomings and uniqueness (splitting hairs here), so I noticed differences when changing out things. Here is what I ended up with:
    Obviously, the pictured neck on #1 was originally on #2. That was a direct swap. It's a Warmoth slim taper P neck maple/ebony with 21 stainless vintage frets and hipshot ultralights. On the silver bass, which is alder and on the heavier side, it could be scooped and had a weird rattle on one of the tuners. Gone now. On the current chambered Alder body with vintage threaded bridge it is thick, meaty, and focused. It resonates superb. That body originally had the fretless neck and hipshot vintage bridge, and it was just ok. The fretless seems to work better on a heavier body, and it is better with the nice bridge pickup. It sustains better and is also more even and focused and better balanced.

    #3 was my first build I did and finished all by myself, and I kept the same body and neck together. I love the Pau Ferro and stainless vintage frets. The body is alder and naturally light. Not chambered, it weighs exactly what the chambered one does. It had the vintage bridge on it. It could get unruly in the high mids, and the low E note could get thin with any string type. All that was solved simply with the bridge swap. What stifled one instrument opened up another of similar specs.

    Sorry if all this is confusing or boring, but I thought I'd share. I was not a big believer in the whole bridge thing making a big difference. I always picked bridges for function or aesthetics over tone, but I'm more of a believer now. It seems like the individual piece of wood could be better or worse with a higher mass bridge. Also, the necks changed the behavior of the instruments, even ones made of the same wood. Maybe the mass of the tuners. Bottom line, I'm happy with the changes. I will soon refinish the silver off that headstock and keep these as currently are.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    Eminor3rd, A-Step-Towards and kobass like this.

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