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The Musicman Sterling USA Delano mod that was in my head.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by techbass76, Aug 28, 2017.


  1. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    I am a huge fan of Musicman Sterling basses. The neck is perfect for me and I really dig the look. I have had the idea for a while to Mod the bass with a Delano Xtender pickup. I didn't actually own a Sterling bass though. I just found a great deal on one so here are some pics.
    I ordered a new pickguard without a pickup route from WD. I used a routing template from bestbassgear.com. The pickup is a delano xtender quad coil. That is wired series/ parallel/ split to the 3 way blade switch and then connected to a Delano Sonar 3 preamp. The results are great! The pickup is in the exact placement as the original so It still sounds like a Sterling but with tighter low end and much brighter top end. Because it's quad coil I get hum free sound in all positions. The master volume is a push/ pull for active/ passive operation.

    The result is great. Modern clarity and tight low end punch but still has the Sterling sound in there. I am very happy with the results.

    20170826_122123.

    20170826_124629. 20170826_110311.
     
  2. Looks good! But brighter than a normal Sterling... I find myself cutting the treble on my stock Sterling more often, so not for me. Still looks great though! Love that dimple.
     
  3. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    I like the frequency center for the treble on this pre a little better than the stock preamp but it is still bright. I think a darker preamp would work better on this pickup. The Sonar is a very clear pre and only adds to the brightness.
     
  4. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    Update. The pickup itself sounds great as does the preamp but the overall sound on this bass is very bright. It has all the low end and midrange tones but the treble stands out due to the maple neck and ash body plus high mass bridge.
    Glad I tried it though. I would say if you have a darker sounding sterling this mod could be for you.
    I just ordered a custom built Kent Armstrong USA Musicman shape humbucker. He is building it to have all that growl and deep thump with less highs. I will post a review on that when it all comes together.
     
  5. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Cool.

    I have to say, first of all, that, though I've never owned one, I've always been a big fan of the Sterlings. Probably one of those basses I wouldn't tend to mod at all.

    That said, I am also a huge fan of the Delano JMVC J pickups, which are NOT hifi at all. If I were going to try a Delano pickup on a Sterling, it would be the MC AL; and I bet that would get you a lot closer to the vibe you are looking for.

    As far as preamps go, again, I would just keep the stock preamp. Though I haven't owned a Sterling, I did gig an SR5 for 10 years or so, and was always impressed with the preamp. Other than that, you could always try a Pope, which have been completely awesome in every bass install I've done with them.

    FWIW.
     
    techbass76 likes this.
  6. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    The stock preamp on mine was ok but a little to aggressive for my taste. Lately I have been favoring the Nordy 3b preamp. Very musical and affordable. I have it in 3 of my basses and it sounds great. The pope is one i would love to try but can't bring myself to drop $300 on a preamp. I have the Delano MC5FE in my Tune custom bass and it sounds amazing. The sterling is getting that Kent Armstrong and most likely a Nordy 3 band as well.

    received_1400848370012020. received_1400848446678679.
     
    bucephylus likes this.
  7. JLW

    JLW

    Dec 5, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Would love to hear some sound samples!
     
    techbass76 likes this.
  8. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    Of the sterling or Tune?
     
  9. JLW

    JLW

    Dec 5, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    the sterling, i was thinking. would be cool to hear the tune too, though.
     
    techbass76 likes this.
  10. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    I try to get an audio demo together soon.
     
  11. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    I kept the Delano preamp in and changed the pickup. I had Kent Armstrong wind me a custom. The bass sounds great. It has a deep punchy growl and smoother highs. The slap tone is amazing. So many good sounds from a single pickup. The master volume is a push pull and it sounds great in passive mode.
     
  12. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    20170903_211408. 20170903_211340.
     
  13. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Maine
    What year is this Sterling?

    I have one from 2007 on its way to me and want get a pickguard with a P route in it, but don’t want to get caught if they’re not the same shape year-to-year.
     
  14. Bagelish

    Bagelish Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2016
    Love that mod! It goes better with the overall shape / look of the bass than the regular MM pickups IMO. Plus Delano's are great, almost impossible to get a bad sound out of them.
     

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