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To mod or not to mod... (Squier VM P5 content)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by skyline_01, Mar 24, 2020.


  1. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    Hey all,

    So, a bassist friend recently sent me an unused Roscoe Beck V/Precision Deluxe V bridge humbucker that he had received some time ago as a warranty replacement (I think) for his P Deluxe V. He ended up replacing the stock pickup with something else and was kind enough to send the new replacement pickup to me (without me even asking for it!) so that I could use it in the future for one of my own projects.

    Anyway, I also recently acquired a NOS Squier VM P5 and have done some pretty nice mods thus far (tort PG, CTS/Sprague/Puretone harness, copper shielding, aluminum knobs). Knowing that I will probably not have the time/money to source all the parts needed for a 5-string build I started thinking about how the aforementioned pickup would fare in this bass.

    I know that I would have to either add an additional knob for blend or use a volume/blend stack pot, as well as install a switch if I wanted to take advantage of the series/parallel capabilities of the pickup. Question is, am I nuts for even thinking about modding the P in the first place? And I have no idea if the outputs of each pickup would be close enough to each other or if I'd be better off replacing the stock P pickup. Thoughts? Thanks

    IMG-0715.JPG Roscoe Beck pickup.jpg <----- stock pickup image - mine only has 3 conductors
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  2. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    nope, not nuts at all...
    If it’s something you really want to do, have at it. The hardest part is the pickup routing. Figuring out thee controls is no biggie. The toggle switch needs a 1/4” hole. If you don’t want to add a 3rd pot, you can do a stacked Vol/Vol pot and keep the tone pot exactly the same.

    530B5E25-0CB1-4545-94ED-3648A6F09189.jpeg

    Edit:
    I did some poking around and found the USA fender P that had that bridge pickup. They look absolutely insane...in a fantastic maniacal way. I love it!
    eg9cdhw0xnizbs0gir23.jpg

    That bridge pickup looks like it might have been wired straight Series or Parallel with no coil switching....unless they had a push/pull pot, but I doubt it. In order to match the output of the P pickup, it might be straight Series, but you can play with what sounds best...
    (In my monster Squier I posted above, both pickups are wired North coil/Parallel/South Coil - no Series)

    Fender American Deluxe Precision Bass V Natural 2005 (s190)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
    JRA, CatchaCuda, lowdownthump and 2 others like this.
  3. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    Oh man, that Squier build looks sick! I bet it sounds amazing too.

    Yeah, the Deluxe P V with humbucker from back in the day is a rare and beautiful beast. I played the 4-string version years ago on a session and it was amazing. Like I said before, the friend who gave me the pickup has a 5 in sunburst and I tease him and ask him when he's selling it to me. :laugh:

    The pickup is 4-conductor and on the Roscoe Beck I think both pickups had S/SC/P switching so it's capable anyway. I would have at least the routing done by my tech but the wiring/switch drilling I could probably hack. You've given me some good info to think on. Thanks for chiming in!
     
    lowdownthump likes this.
  4. I'd go for it. I played an Am Deluxe P with that same pickup once, and it sounded huge. If you were going to get the body routed for the pickup, it's not much more of a step to have a couple more pots routed in - personally a Vol/Vol/Tone with a 3 way series/parallel/singlecoil switch for that hambucker would be my preference, you could get a huge range of tones that way.

    That pickup would balance better with the P pup than a standard PJ setup, that's for sure.
     
  5. garp

    garp

    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Another vote for taking the plunge and going for it. If you're already committed to the financial repercussion of having the routing done by your tech (and I second that emotion, too – don't want to chip that beautiful CAR poly), then if you don't like the mod, you can simply "reverse" it by rewiring.
     
  6. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    20200324_171644.png

    Good time for a project anyway, no?
     
  7. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    I’m getting very close to dialing it in 100%, but yeah, it’s sounds pretty crazy. EB slinky’s are brand new, so there’s a lot of zing. Can’t wait for them to break in already...
     
    210superair and skyline_01 like this.
  8. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    210superair and lowdownthump like this.
  9. lowdownthump

    lowdownthump

    Jul 17, 2004
    That is the perfect mod. Go for it. You getting that pickup is. No coincidence. Some things are meant to be. I don’t think you will have any regrets
     
    Bill Whitehurst and skyline_01 like this.
  10. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    Yep, the more I think about it the more I feel like it's fate. Like I said, the odds of me putting together a 5-string project from scratch and sourcing the individual parts are slim to none right now
     
    lowdownthump likes this.
  11. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    I just did a "mock up" with the pickup lying over the strings near the bridge and it looks like the spacing (18mm I think) is pretty dead on. And I was wrong about the wiring - it's actually a 3-conductor (red, white, black).

    EDIT: starting to wonder if series/parallel is even an option with 3-conductor wire. From what I'm reading the Roscoe Beck had a 4th wire (green) and the P Deluxe version of the pickup only has 3 (the one I have).
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
  12. this is a 4 but it's built on the blacktop p bass body with the bridge pickup along with a Duncan spb4. volume, blend, treble, bass (push/pull for series/parallel), active/passive switch. parallel sounds nice for a slap tone

    1585157763196.jpg
     
  13. There's an exhaustive thread about the Squier VM P5, the upshot of which is that several owners tried changing out the stock Squier for the pickup from the Fender P5, and the consensus was there wasn't a whole lot of upside to it.

    The smart mods seem to have already been done on yours, and if you have a tech who can do a clean rout to add that Roscoe, to me (that is, IF you think you'd prefer this axe as a P/J), it would be quite an addition: Bill Lawrence designed, and it's a humbucker (you need that strength to balance output with the P, and you can't hear the AM stations), and as a bonus, it's a side x side: You pick up a wider 'aperture', a longer length of string sensed by the pickup, all good for putting a Jazz-style pickup back there.

    These basses are an absolute sleeper, and if Squier would bring them back in an identical form, they'd sell every one of them they could unload out of the sea containers. I own one, and it would be very hard to talk myself into spending two or three times as much for the 'genuine' Fender. The only real update I want for mine is the replacement Hipshot bridge (they make a drop-in version, six mounting holes and all) to cure the very short saddle travel on the stock piece: You pretty much have to use strings with no silk at the ball end to get a proper seating and witness point.

    I really wondered how good it would be, and I've got to hand it to them, it really is a Precision bass with five strings, it just works. And like the best Squiers (like this one), they're inexpensive enough on the buy-in to where you can update them without over-pricing the end result if you're careful ( . . . . or lucky enough for a gen-u-wine barely used one with great updates AND a free gen-u-wine Roscoe pickup to fall in your lap ! ! ! )
     
  14. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    Wow, I love it! I can see a lot of hard work went into that. I'm sure that it sounds tremendous, and talk about versatility!
     
  15. PS: IF you decide to add the Roscoe AND add that Hipshot bridge, be sure and get your dimensions on that Hipshot, it has a bigger 'footprint' than the OEM piece, so plan for spacing around it.
     
    skyline_01 likes this.
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    modifying instruments for 'looks' is fun but has no real consequence. modifying them for any other reason(s) which serves the player, however, is more than just an 'option' --- it may be required! i encourage you to do what you want --- without trepidation! good luck with your mod! :thumbsup:
     
    skyline_01 likes this.
  17. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    Yep, I think I've read just about every post in that mega thread - also been a contributor. I'm inclined to think that the stock P pickup is fine but if the output was noticeably stronger or weaker than the new humbucker then I could see choosing an aftermarket replacement that might be better.

    I'm lucky enough to have a master-level tech here in the Cinci area (tech'd with several well-known bands, Fender silver certified, Taylor gold certified, etc etc) who also builds his own line of custom instruments, so I'm beyond comfortable with his capabilities for routing and wouldn't hesitate for a second. I'm about 98% that I'm going to go through it at some point.

    I am also planning on getting that KickAss Squier-mount bridge at some point. It will be well worth whatever weight it might add, and I've been knocking around the idea of getting Ultralite tuners in the future anyway so that would surely balance things out.

    You're right though, I'm very lucky to have found this bass (sold NOS even!) and even luckier to have that pickup fall into my lap. I figure it's a sign that I need to go ahead with the project, although it might be a little while before I start now due to our current health mess.:bawl:
     
    lowdownthump and Malak the Mad like this.
  18. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    You make an excellent point that I hadn't thought of yet! That could be a potential challenge...
     
  19. skyline_01 likes this.
  20. skyline_01

    skyline_01 Jeremy Nichols, Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Lebanon, OH
    Endorsing artist, Nordstrand Audio
    Right on, man - thnx!
     

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