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To drastically modify or not modify, that is the question.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Dynomuttasaurus, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Dynomuttasaurus


    Jul 23, 2016
    I love the FEEL of my '85 Westone Dynasty. The neck is spectacular and there's no denying the quirky-shredtastic silhouette of the body and headstock. It's super comfy to play - and the neck - it's fast and reaching the all the way up to the 22nd fret is super easy. The only drawback is the SOUND - especially the aforementioned easy to reach high notes. They're anemic. The pickup is a mid-80s Japanese P which is somewhere between soapbar and humbucker sized - placed a bit further back towards the bridge than a traditional Fender P. Electronics are passive.
    Like most of you, I have arguably too many basses already. Because I like them. And the one constant among them all is that regardless of passive/active, J or P pickups, I almost always use a blend of two pickups. I just cannot find the right full range with one pickup. I tried using a SansAmp Bass Driver to EQ the Dynasty into something wonderful, and have failed thus far.

    So here's the question; Do I spend the money to router and modify the Westone into a dual pickup bass which may cost more than the current value - and will most likely devalue the bass in the process? Or, do I just accept the bass for what it is and either use sparingly (or sell)?

    I would imagine one or two of you have found yourselves in this very predicament. Your insight is very welcome.
    mech likes this.
  2. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    If that pickup is anything like the pickup on my Aria Pro II bass, it's bright (almost like an active pickup) but with low output. My suggestion is to leave the bass AS-IS. I've never seen one of those before, and I'm somewhat of a Matsomoku fan too. Try a graphic EQ pedal, it doesn't have to be a bass-specific EQ pedal. A compressor can help even out the volume of notes as you play, you might check those out too.
    NigelD, neuman, 40Hz and 1 other person like this.
  3. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    +1 to letting it live on unmolested. Don't be a molesterer! ;)
    40Hz likes this.
  4. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I agree, leave as is. If you want more bite in your pickups, consider having them rewound and re-magnetized to higher output. I should not cost more than $50 US or Canadian.

    Also, that passive split coil style can be made to have a hotter output, no need to go active.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
    neuman and 40Hz like this.
  5. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    I've got this same problem with my Tobias growler 5 where it plays great, looks great, but the pickups just aren't quite there.
  6. Dynomuttasaurus


    Jul 23, 2016
    The feedback is much appreciated. I didn't even think about rewound/remagnetizing the current pickup. Thanks.
  7. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    I'd find a reasonably priced pickup and preamp you liked, preferably larger than your stock pickup, and go to town.

    That is not a korina Flying V, so don't feel bad about making it the way you want it.

    I guess Guyatone, Hagstrom, and such aren't $95 anymore, but they aren't gold waiting in someone's attic.
  8. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    I'm a modder and would go to town without a second thought. Just got a Blacktop Jazz and am gutting it...tuners bridge pups Audere pre...am half done the job of painting the headstock.

    Make it playable to your standards, sez I.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    cdlynch and somebrains like this.
  9. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    If it's no use to you as is then change it or sell it
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  10. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    Just do it!

    I would have no second thoughts of modifying a bass I loved playing into something that had a desirable tone as well.

    P/J sounds like a great idea.

    And personally I would go for a passive EMG Geezer Butler pickups set.

    Maybe even go all the way, and make it into a 3 pickups configuration, with the J as bridge pickup, the P as middle pickup, and then a Seymour Duncan Rickenbacker neck pickup close to the neck, which I personally think sounds amazing.

    Love the looks as well, even if admittedly it has a certain toy vibe about it, but that is part of it's charm!
    cdlynch, Groove Doctor and Zoobiedood like this.
  11. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Build and fit a JFET buffer. Tone and output for days and uses original parts so fully reversible. If there is no room for a battery you can even use phantom power.
  12. hopwheels

    hopwheels Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2015
    Atlanta, GA
    If Ultraman had a bass, that would be it. Dig it!
    Dynomuttasaurus likes this.
  13. knigel


    Apr 20, 2009
    Hopedale, MA
    I'm the Squier of Fenderbirds
    I had an issue with a different MIJ that has the same style pickup...it was an Aria TSB 500, and one pickups was dead. I put in a Nordstrand Big Split (edited to say, I replaced both pickups with a set of Nordstrand), and I liked the sound very much. They make one that's REALLLY close to that size--it's a hair small, but it looks fine. Maybe that mod will get you to fall back in love with the bass?
  14. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Yes, it's IMO the most cost effective way to get a hotter output without spending a lot on aftermarket preamps and pickups. And, if you decide to sell it down the road, you won't lose much.
  15. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unless you think that making those mods would turn it into a bass you intend to use a lot, it seems like a waste of money IMO. Not much resale value, but do you want to sink that much money into something that will just sit there?
  16. Dynomuttasaurus


    Jul 23, 2016
    Using it extensively is exactly the plan. I'm a believer in "the bass is a guitar just tuned a bit lower" philosophy. And, I love to play metal, thrash, goth, etc. My idols growing up were Cliff Burton and Steve Harris for their out-front stage antics as much as their over-the-top playing.
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  17. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    I don't think this is a resale project.

    Judging from the wording of OP's post the whole point of modding is that he loves the bass and it's playabillity, but hates how it sounds.

    So the most logical conclusion from that would be that he plans on modding it for the purpose of making it one of his playing basses if not even main.

    I could be wrong though, sometimes people really do have some weird ways of reasoning.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I didn't mean for resale, but that if he was not going to be playing it much, it would be a waste of money. But yeah, if you think you will be playing it regularly, then go for it. It's not a collector's bass.
  19. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i might bring it to a store and run it through a gk plex preamp to see if you can get the magic you want, but what the hell do i know anyways
  20. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011

    About your concern about the fact that modding it would cost you more than the bass would be worth in resale value and possibly even devalue this.

    To begin with the bass is not worth much as it is, so that wouldn't be any concern I would have.

    I personally bought a new pair of pickups for my Ibanez Mikro that nearly cost me as much as my bass from new, simply because I really love it's playabillity.

    And it was every coin spend worth it, improved the tone of my Mikro from decent and somewhat lacking in clarity and definition, to something with an amazing tone with lots of clarity, plenty of definition and further more added some welcome extra output, punch and growlyness to it.

    It is now fully on pair regarding quality of tone with some of the best sounding basses I ever owned, even if with it's own unique character, and I owned some 1000$+ basses.

    Next investment will be a fret leveling job, as it got some minor imperfections in that department, nothing to worry about though, as it is custom to skip the last part of the fret leveling procedure on budget basses to save production costs, and I don't really experience any problems at my preferred string action anyway.

    I just like the fact for my main to be as flawless and good as possible.

    Point being that if an instrument really speaks to you, it has amazing playabillity and sounds good acoustically, I really can see no reason whatsoever not to invest in modding it to perfection, no matter how little the original modding platform cost you and no matter how little an eventual resale would pay you back.

    I don't care what brand I play or how much it cost, if it's a great bass for me, it's a great bass, and if I plan to keep it as my main bass anyway, why should I even pay resale value as much as a single thought.

    Go for it!

    Make it into that shredding tone monster it always was destined to be and make it live up to it's full potential!
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017

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