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The DEFINITIVE Palatino EUB Modification Thread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by jamiefoxer, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. jamiefoxer


    Dec 2, 2005

    I've been following the Palatino Megathread (http://talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=221493) and there has been a lot of useful information there about modifying the stock Palatino to really get the best out of the instrument. However, delving through that thread in search of detailed modification suggestions is a pain, due to the inclusion of comment posts in between.

    My hope is that I can start a thread that is dedicated SOLELY to posts which suggest information on modification. To keep this thread short and simple to read, if you wish to post suggestions, please only post suggested pickup, bridge, string, and other technical upgrade suggestions. Detailed instructions for upgrading parts of the Palatino VE-500 are welcome and encouraged. With time, perhaps it can even become a sticky

    Posts showcasing "before" and "after" soundclips regarding upgrades to the Palatino are also very welcome, for the benefit of the readers.

    Ok folks...get to posting :):hyper:
    Ben YHWH likes this.
  2. About a month ago I spent a whole Saturday morning writing a summery of all improvements to the Palatino and right at the end MSN (SUCKS) Kicked me off and I lost the whole summery. I will try again and list on both posts. I'm sure we have not exhausted all the improvements yet!
    Ben YHWH likes this.
  3. Here are the modifications from the origonal post:

    Summery of all modifications to the Palatino.

    I ordered some De'Addario Hybrids. While waiting I experimented with my K&K pre amp. I found if you turn the tone control almost all the way to the treble side turn down the volume on the bass and turn up the bass amp then regulate the bass with the pre amp it sounds really close to an acoustic. In fact I told my wife to listen to some new stuff I was working on and then used all 3 of my basses and she could not tell me which was which. Until I told her. Then she could here the electric, jazz thin body and the full sized bass. After putting on the De'Addarios you could really hear a great improvement.

    Hi All... I bought a Palatino from Shanghai last oct. After few modification it sounds like a king:

    1) Change the stock strings to Pirastro Flexocor Stark
    2) Damped the ringing tailpiece!
    3) Forget about the stock pickup and install a Bassmax.

    So what to do...I first decided to get a Behringer Sustain\ Compression Pedal new for about $40 it did improve the sound but that low E note still did'nt ring right. It was like there was too much harshness being transferred from strings through the bridge to the transducer. So Soften it!!!!

    WELL!!! My wife had just bought a roll of.....THIN... anti skid rubber matting for the kitchen draws, about $2 for 1.5 metres, this is the same stuff you put on the car dashboard to stop your glasses from slipping off.
    I took out the bridge on the bass, gently lifted up the piezo pickup, cut a piece of this rubber grip mat to fit inside the full length and width of the block, cut a slit in the middle to the middle to accomadate the piezo lead, put the pickup back in its place and decided to also put a small pieces under each foot of the bridge to cushion the pickup.
    Put it all back together, retuned, plugged into the Amp..........
    WOW!!!!! What a difference!!!!!!!
    Full WOOOD TONES ,,,, even increased the Volume, and the Tone control now has a full tonal sweep from DEEP to TREBLE but without the Harshness. I even removed the rubber sponge I had under the tail peice, nor do I use the Sustain Pedal.....well I haven't tried it since adding the rubber mat....might try it again but I doubt if it could improve the GREAT Sound I'm Getting now. TOTAL COST.....What I used.............20cents!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like many Palatino owners, I found the tubular body rest quite uncomortable after playing for a while and decided to do something about it. My alternative is a strip of aluminium, 50mm wide and about 3mm thick, curved into the rough shape of an upper bout. It's a bit crude at the moment but makes a world of difference in terms of comfort. It's permanently attached right now but sooner or later I'll get round to devising a quick-release version. Total cost 3 pounds (About US$5).

    Pictures at http://www.pbase.com/bassworm/my_music
    Here's my $0.02 on the Palatino. I tried the bike inner tube under the pickup and the bridge feet but found that it sounded too muddy. It appears that the bridge angle has the biggest effect on getting it to sound good. The bridge does not naturally fall on the few points of contact that gets a full and loud sound. So, I took a piece of paper, folded to 10 layers, and 1/2 the width of the pickup and placed it between the pickup and the bass body to move the angle toward the tailpiece. The net effect was to change the bridge angle such that the bottom side of the bridge is perpendicular to the bass (just like how a bridge looks on an acoustic upright).

    I also replaced the screws on the bridge with longer ones that ran up the bridge as far as possible. Doing this helped a lot with the sustain and stabilty of the bridge (the bridge had collapsed so often that the falling pieces put a bunch of dings in the bass). Doing these two things significantly improved the sound. It was much louder, fuller, and the tone control is very usable.

    To stop the tailpiece from ringing, I bent the middle ring of the wire section out a little to keep it out of contact with the other wire parts of the tailpiece and that fixed it the feedback noise right away.

    I've used a Tech 21 Bass DI pedal for years on my electrics, and it really helps if you want to get a big tone out of the Palatino.
    I defiantly agree with this, it really a huge difference. Doug

    New case
    I thought I would tell you that the custom case I had made at Colorado Case Co is really sweet! It is very well constructed and not like putting a girdle on the bass like the origoinal. It was $265.00 shipped. They have the pattern now so you won't have to make templated up of your bass. I had is made because the second day I owned it I dented the peghead and I am a non dent freek. All of my imstruments are like the day I got them. Sick I know! By the way you cant see the dent I filled it in with a black laquer stick to like new thank goodness!

    JazzDude One I missed Sorry JazzDude
    The stand I have has a boom, but the boom arm fits straight down into the vertical tube so only the end sticks out. I've seen other boom stands do this, but I don't know if they all do.
    OK, I've done some more extensive testing using an A/B setup with my onboard pickup / preamp and my K&K BassMax setup.

    * The bass is strung with Piastro Flat ChromeSteels (not my favorite strings,) and set up with a medium-low action, suitable for pizz playing. I haven't tried these comparisons with arco playing yet.

    * The K&K is set up with both channel EQ's at their midpoints (flat settings,) and with their gain at the factory-recommended levels. While testing, I experimented with blending the wing and string/quad signals to get the most balanced tone.

    * The stock pickup was in the wooden "box" holding the bridge, with no additional padding or insulating material installed. The stock preamp was replaced with my new preamp board.

    I found the onboard setup to have less noise / hiss, and a fuller low end. The onboard pickup is actually quite decent, if a little thumpy. String balance is good, with a slightly lower output on the A and D strings. This setup sounds more like an "old school" upright tone, round with lots of thump.

    The K&K setup is very clear-sounding, brighter and more defined. The noise level was higher (since the preamp has more gain plus the EQ,) but the treble was very nice-sounding. I much prefer the quad pickup to the wing pickup, but the blend is pretty good.

    I'd like to hear the onboard under-bridge pickup blended with the quad pickup - I bet that would be cool. The under-bridge pickup seems to be the best at reproducing that great low end that these basses can deliver.

    The verdict? I'd really like to have both setups available. For solo playing, or recording, the K&K setup would give a more accurate picture of the "whole" bass tone. But for playing with a band, I'd use the onboard pickup for sure. Even for some types of recording, I'd still choose the Palatino pickup since its nice "thump" would sit in a mix better.

    I'm going to be selling these preamps if anyone is interested. gfred already has a PM about it. $49.99 plus $4 shipping in the US, $11 shipped anywhere else. All you need to install them is a Philips screwdriver and a decent pair of pliers (or an adjustable wrench.) The pickup just plugs in, you bolt in the new output jack and pots, install the knobs, and pull the battery snap into the existing compartment. It takes longer to pull the old preamp than it does to install the new one.

    Matt Farrow

    Post slides.
    I have been having trouble especially on concrete with the bass sliding all over. I tries using a rubber cup for chairs but it just wares out in no time. I think the best solution it to put in a Super Endpin ball. I'm going to remove the tapered plastic end and insert a piece of solid steel and then turn it down the the 11MM. This should do it. I have been using them on my other basses for 3 years now and don't have any trouble with slipping. Have any of you done any modifications to your end pin?
    Bob Gollihur carried them
    Ben YHWH likes this.
  4. jamiefoxer


    Dec 2, 2005
    RUBBER modification works EXCELLENTLY!!! AWESOME! I bought bycycle inner tube, cut out a length of it that is half the pickup (the E and A side, as Nohandles mentioned), and cut the double-sided bycycle tube in half (one half for under the pickup, one half above the pickup under the E and A leg of the bridge.

    The tone is 200-300% better...I can still tell the strings are thin sounding, but the harshness of before is gone. And I can set the bass to baby bass deep sounds for salsa, and move it to treble for more upright sound.

    NOW I'm loving my Palatino....thanks everyone on this THread!:hyper:

    P.S. - the bass is so good...that the neighbor upstairs came down to complain...and I don't even have the amp loud! The bass frequencies have been improved and they cross walls....how's that for a weird, back-handed compliment of the bass' power now!
    Ben YHWH likes this.
  5. I've been playing my Palatino for almost a year with a cymbal stand holding it up. This week, I forgot to bring the stand to rehearsal, and I don't even know where the metal extender arm is.

    Surprisingly, the bass felt much more natural this way. On a stand, it doesn't move with you, and it's hard to feel your way around it with the arms and body. I could never get used to the extender arm - it seems to balance precariously all the time and starts to dig into your side after a while.

    I played it just like it was a small DB, with the body resting against my hip. I had no problems reaching any notes, and found my way around the upper positions easily because my left arm drapes over the side just like on the DB.

    I have a gig with it tonight, and it'll be a pleasure to leave the cymbal stand at home. All I'll have to do is pull the bass out of the bag, pull out the endpin, and I'm ready to go. The stand was a pain because it's heavy and takes time to put it together and get it adjusted right.

    I had been considering the NS Wav just because the stand and bass packs into one bag, even though I really like the Palatino's sound.

    Now it's time to get a better bag - I'll call Colorado Case today.
    GKon likes this.
  6. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    I gave up the cymbal stand too. I sit now when I play. It's a lot more comfortable this way!
  7. Toban

    Toban Toban

    Dec 27, 2007
    Has anyone transported the VE-500 on a plane? Were you able to carry it on or put it in a fragile compartment? I may be picking one up in Denver and flying it back to Winnipeg, and am a bit hesitant to let it get stowed in the luggage compartment...

    Any experienced comments would be greatly appreciated!

  8. bassbob


    Oct 16, 2004
    Someday, some archeologist will go through all this and wonder what the hell was going on with all this discussion about VE 500's Anyway, here's my take on the definitive highlights from the last year or so.

    Starting at post #439 and 444, I break in to the mod section and hit the ground running. Things get interesting at #471 and continue with #523 and #530. Check out #550 and watch out the debate Koolhand and I had through most of #560 to #580 or so. ( I guess we hijacked the thread for awhile. ) I need to give the tailgut mod another try some day. This is one of the better mods I've seen here bar none.

    I like the bridge mods YVARG did in #721, #759 and #809. My daughter showed me how to do video clips with the old digital camera and many of you have seen those. A shout out to Luca in italy:hyper: Thanks for all the hits on Youtube. My kids almost think I'm cool now.

    I think we should have a VE 500 convention somewhere in the states and get together for a day or two. So much for the definitive mods for now. Let's keep on posting.

  9. mani1147


    Dec 12, 2007
    NB, Canada
    Hi guys, I would like to modify the existing wiring of my E500. Basically, instead of having one volume and one treble ctrl for the one bridge piezo, I would like to add an Underwood Piezo clipped onto the bridge and reassign the treble Pot as a volume for this pickup. The result would be a volume pot for each Piezo. Then what would be real cool would be to use the rear plate area where the crappy headphone pre is and re-install a tone pot for the under-bridge piezo to roll off the top end (with better components to reduce the darn hiss of course). With this setup, I figure I should be able to get a good, quiet bottom tone off the under-bridge piezo and blend in the top end via the cliped-on piezo.
    I have a few questions;
    1. Has anyone here ever done this kinda thing?
    2. Do you guys think this would work and give me a better all around tone/less noise?
    3. Does anyone have a schematic diagram of the factory wiring for the E500?
    4. By removing the internal pre, I wonder if that alone would improve the hiss problem?
    5. Could someone suggest a schematic diag for this mod?

    Thanks so much in advance.
  10. Polyanski


    Mar 16, 2004
    West Michigan
    Can someone post the picture of Palatino Bass on the cymbal stand?

    Thank you.
  11. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    These used to be a link to one at the begining of the main Palatino thread
  12. Polyanski


    Mar 16, 2004
    West Michigan
    Thanx. I found it.
  13. edspyhill01

    edspyhill01 Guest

    Playing arco on my new Palatino takes a lot of bow accuracy (could work in my favor, maybe). At my first lesson Saturday the teacher pointed out that the curve/arch of the bridge, and therefore strings, was too flat for good arco.

    I sighted down the neck and it looks like the radius of the fingerboard and the bridge are very similar.

    Has anyone successfully modified the bridge radius? Is it ok to to have the curve/arch of the bridge a smaller radius than the fingerboard?

    I'm searching the Palatino Megathread but I'm only about 30% through it even with "bridge" searches of just the Palatino Megathread.


    Ed S.
    LaCeibaBass likes this.
  14. Slapfiddle

    Slapfiddle Craig Akin Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    New York City
    i recently got me a Palatino. i played on it for a while out of the box so i'd know what it was like. after thinking about it i decided to put on obligato strings. and add wood veneer under the bridge to raise it up and give it proper angle, similar to an upright. the tailpiece side is more perpendicular to the top. shouldn't warp as fast and also makes the adjusters easier to turn, but i also applied candle wax to the threads which really helps. these mods reallly improved the tone.
    also, i had master bass man bill merchant in new york remove the varnish from the back of the neck and plane the fingerboard. had a high spot at the octave.
    now the pal is a lot of fun to play.
  15. gfred


    Jan 5, 2006
    Wichita, Kansas
    A REAL padded gig bag can be made for your PAL from Frontier Bag(.com) in Nebraska. I found an old thread that mentioned it, I called & got one and and am real happy with it. $135.00, shipped. A very good investment.
  16. akmusicfreak


    Sep 6, 2008
    My end pin rubber on my acoustic wore off and died, after many substitutes, I find a golf ball does great. It is like the all terrain of end pins.

    All you have to do is find a vise and a drill and a bit just a little bigger than the pin. Drill half-way into the ball and stick it on. Done!
    It looks a little odd but it's a good conversation piece and works well.

    Oh and I forgot it's somewhat carpet friendly.
  17. akmusicfreak


    Sep 6, 2008
    To keep it short here is what I did.
    Changed strings to Corellis med gauge(I should of went with lights)
    Ripped out all active electronics (didn't like the sound of them)
    Wired stock pick up directly to 1/4" jack.
    Replaced bridge with Eminence bridge (this took some time had to sculpt it a bit to make it work, but it sounds great and is better than the POS stock bridge.)
    Put on a Bassmax pickup on the wing of the bridge (E side)
    I took a 1/4" Y cable( 2 male 1/4" to 1 female) plugged both pickups into Y cable the and ran it straight to my amp.

    Straight into the amp with very mild EQing it sound pretty damn good.
    For a little more control I have a Fishman Platinum Bass Pro EQ on the Palitino.
    This EUB sounds awesome now, very natural, very realistic.
    Even running it through my peavy microbass amp it sounds great.
    IMHO this Palatino now sounds like an amplified acoustic upright.
    I am extremely happy with its sound.( after my mods )

    Good luck to anybody else out there doing their mods.
    For the price I paid I didn't mind taking the time and spending a little extra money to modify this bass
  18. Corellis are availble in three gauges: Medium, Forte and Extra Forte.
    The Mediums are already the lightest ones.
    If you want something lighter, you need to get the solo Corellis, which are designed to be played one step higher. At orchestra pitch they're extra-light...
  19. spencerstrick


    Jan 21, 2009
    hello all! i just signed up on the forums and here i am seeking advice already LOL!!!

    i just got my new palatino ve-500 bass along with a new SWR WorkingPro 10 amp, hooked it up, and am experiencing EXTREMELY bad roars, almost like microphone feedback, when playing any "G" note. has anyone else experienced any problems such as this?

    spencer strickland