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The Official MTD USA Thread

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by johnpaulbass, Oct 6, 2006.


  1. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Speaking of wood choices - has anyone played an MTD with an empress wood body? Mike mentioned it as an option to me when I asked about having a very lightweight 535 built. He described it as having a good bottom end and on the softer side, and also said it looks like ash but around half the weight.
     
    5StringPocket and kevk like this.
  2. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I just adjusted the saddles on my 535. The allen wrench for the height screws is a 1.27mm wrench. Plays great now - I'll be using it this weekend.
    79993371-DCAD-4268-BD40-1F1874CAEFB2-4005-000002AA88D210FC_zps46ddbbfc. B1BC7B6A-3722-496D-BB7E-86DC2238E741-4005-000002AA9D020852_zps06f0bbce. DC9C27BE-6746-4BCF-89E8-5CFB34CFE675-4005-000002AA99AF884E_zpsf4a27d75.
    Dan
     
    Jaco Pastashoot, JLY, kevk and 3 others like this.
  3. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Good to see that my old bass is being well cared for. It's a lovely one. :)
     
    Dan Knowlton likes this.
  4. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    Thanks for giving it up! This is my wife's favorite (except for the Lakland D55-94 she bought me) - which is saying a lot! My others are a Fodera E5S in flame maple, Sadowsky USA JJ5 in satin flamed maple, the Lakland in sunburst and a 55-64 in sunburst and a Roscoe SKB Custom with a solid myrtle body and a birdseye dymondwood fingerboard - all of them sound great and look as good.

    Dan
     
    JLY and bass12 like this.
  5. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    OK, nine month update (no, not talking about the wife. We’re well past that)

    This 534 was spec’d and delivered with the Pope preamp and Nordstrand Fat Stacks. I had based this somewhat unusual spec on my Nashville C6, which had been overhauled by Pat Wilkins; which overhaul included the Pope preamp and Nordstrand Zen Blade Prototypes. That modification was EXTREMELY successful. So, this led me to sell my much prized Hollywood S5 to fund a new build. But, rather than going with what you know, I decided to try a next step with the Fat Stacks and a coil tap switch.

    Long story short, I was never able to make the coil tap function properly.

    Mike initially wired the tap switch with his own DPDT using Carey’s tap circuit in front of the Pope inputs. Seems like that should have worked, but it didn’t. I mean the bass made sound, and sufficiently so that Mike shipped the bass. But the result was not impressive. The single coil tone was dull and lifeless. Mike wasn’t impressed and neither was I. Which itself is a bit unfortunate.

    My next step was to procure a tap switch from Mike Pope, harness that into the Pope input terminal block, and perform the switching in the Pope circuit. That modification correctly recovered the single coil performance of the Fat Stacks; but, the humcancelling state wasn’t humcancelling and just sounded lifeless. After three rewiring / ground fault checking sessions, I still couldn’t get it right.

    So, a few weeks ago, I decided to throw in the towel and ordered up a high mid switch from Mike Pope and a set of Carey’s Zen Blades. Those arrived by this past Monday, and I got to work yesterday. Here is the result:
    B5021E5D-F0DC-4CA1-BDEB-86845964D268.
    47ED3596-CD71-41BD-B501-D3F7AFDBFDDA.

    Boom! Now the bass sounds A-MAZ-ING. And, the high mid switch is actually pretty useful, especially for dialing in old school P’ish sounds.

    One thing new I learned about the Zen Blades is that they also have a single coil tap mode. Whereas the Fat Stacks are primarily single coil pickups that can be tapped to humcancel; the Zens in contrast are humcancelling pickups that can be tapped for single coil. In fact, my initial install left the Pope tap switch in the circuit and put the Zen center taps in the tap position on the Pope terminal block. So, I was able to hear the single coil character of the Zens, which was pretty respectable; but unfortunately still couldn’t get the humcancelling setting to sit up and talk. At which point the upper mid switch replaced the tap switch for the current configuration.

    I’m ecstatic with the circuit now installed; so, probably won’t monkey with it anymore. No idea why my Pope preamp won’t execute the tap switch properly; but, I’m sort of burned out on the topic.

    One further option could be to put the original DPDT back in and allow switching between parallel and Series on the Zens. Right now, the Zens are wired for Series operation, which is the way my C6 is set up. I know that some players prefer the parallel configuration. And, I may try that some time down the road; but for now, I’m going to stick with what I know, and go out and do some gigs. Enough of the messing around.

    I’m a bit sad that Mike T never got to hear how the instrument performs with properly functioning wiring. I think it is absolutely stellar; but, it will have to remain my little “secret.” I suspect he probably thinks I’m a bit daft, and just one of those crazy customers.

    Regarding the Pope preamp, it’s a great circuit; but, I have to say that from a trouble shooting standpoint, the detailed information and access to parts is a bit clunky. Kind of like a high performance auto. Mike P is a very nice guy, and pretty responsive. But, he’s also very busy. I’m pretty sure the tap issue is somewhere in the preamp. But, I’m not going to put further effort into figuring it out. Missing jumper? Ground fault somewhere? Bad connector? Who knows.

    Anyhow, the bass is now a monster. So, off we go for some gigs.
     
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Empress is some kind of poplar, right? The basses with poplar bodies I’ve played sounded and felt terrific; but, I ran into issues with threads stripping out. For that reason alone, I personally wouldn’t use it. For a lighter instrument, I would go with the toasted ash. I actually requested that on my 534; but, for some reason Mike pushed back on it. Don’t know why. Perhaps, he has some tone based reason?

    Mike talked me into Northern Ash for my build; so, my bass is actually at the far end of heavy that I will go out and gig at 9 pounds, 8 oz. It does have that SOLID slap response that the heavier 70’s Fenders have. So, there are trade offs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  7. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    I don't think it's actually a type of poplar, but just tonally similar. To your point, I used to have a tulipwood (which IS a type of poplar) MTD and had the same problem with threads stripping.

    My main MTD 535 has a northern ash body, and weighs in at 9.5. I'd love to get this new one as close to 8 lbs as possible without sacrificing tone. Mike also suggested alder...we'll see!
     
    bucephylus likes this.
  8. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Looks amazing! Post some sound clips!
     
  9. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    My two lightest 535s have been my alder/maple/rosewood and my swamp ash/wenge/wenge. The alder one is the lighter of the two. I don't have exact weights for those basses but the person who sold me the alder 535 quoted a weight of 8 lbs (according to his bathroom scale). I will say that my alder 535 feels very light for a 535 and that it has been one of my favourite MTDs. Very punchy with a tight but round low end. Clear and full-sounding with a great slap tone. More "polite" than my northern ash/wenge/wenge 535s but still authoritative. Great bass.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    vision likes this.
  10. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Nice - yeah I'm leaning towards an alder body with quilted maple top, along with a toasted maple neck and BEM board. Mike said this would get me close to 8 lbs and would have a more "polite" and traditional tone than my current 535, while still having some bite when I dig in. The biggest thing I need to decide on now is electronics - since I'll still have my regular 535 I'm thinking of going with something different on this, like the Super 5 pickups in the normal 535 location so I can switch between single and dual coil tones.
     
    GHOST AT, 5StringPocket and bass12 like this.
  11. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Right there with you, brother!
     
  12. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine
    Jason-you should seriously consider the Norm Stockton sig. That is almost what you have spec'd out except the toasted neck and possibly the electronics. Most versatile MTD I have owned.
     
    vision and bassgrackle like this.
  13. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    It's definitely on my radar - the issue is the size of the Saratoga body style though. Mike said that with it's larger size it would be harder to get one as light as I'd like. But around how much does your NS sig weigh?
     
  14. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    My NS sig is a little north of 9 lbs.
     
    vision likes this.
  15. bassgrackle

    bassgrackle Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    My 535 is 9lbs 5oz and it’s lite without being goofy lite.
     
    vision likes this.
  16. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine
    I think right around 9.5lbs on my 35 scale. Not sure on my 34” scale being built right now. Hopefully around the same.
     
    vision likes this.
  17. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Yeah - that's the issue with the NS sig for me. My current 535 is already 9.5 lbs and I want to have the new one be at least a pound lighter - between 8 and 8.5 lbs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  18. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Headless?? :)
     
    vision likes this.
  19. KUUGA

    KUUGA

    Sep 3, 2015
    Hi, here are the 2 parts video that i made during my visit to MTD facility (up state New York) on Feburary
    Part 1:

    Part 2:


    Please enjoy! :)
     
  20. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Many thanks! That was outstanding. Great to see where and how my bass came about. What a class act. Not much like it these days.
     

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