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Uh ohhhh P-bass problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Sippy, Aug 23, 2005.


  1. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    Hey Guys...
    Well my 1973 Fender Precision bass has been acting up. The bottom knob seems to control volume as well as the top. When I turn it all the way down, and the top knob all the way up (High volume low "tone") you can barely hear it.
    Well I took it to my local bass repair guy and he thinks it's not the pots but since i'm turning the bass all the way up it's just lower because it's deeper, and actually the pickups are messed up.
    I made it a point to him I want EVERYTHING original. He said he doesn't think the pickups would be repairable. So I ordered new Fender Precicion Bass replacement pickups. My question is, is that the wrong thing to do? I want this guitar to sound like the vintage fender sound should. Since I'm replacing the pickups, will that ruin the sound?
    Also, from what I described, does this make sense to you? that the pickups are at fault? thanks :)
    Mike
     
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY


    Hold on to the old pickups. Keep them safe and happy. Try the new ones.

    PICKUPS ARE REPAIRABLE, not only that, but a fairly large percentage of that bass' value and sound rests in those pickups.

    If you get the new pickups in and things work as they should...then you know that's the culprit...although this is backwards in my thinking. I'd replace/hold onto the old pots first.

    If the pickups ARE in bad shape, then have a good, reputable pickup person re-wind them. (I'd take em to Lindy Fralin, myself).
     
  3. I think your repair guy is ripping you off.

    Pickups don't generally get "messed up". They don't lose their magnetism easily and they don't weaken.

    Sounds to me like a simple pot problem or other wiring problem. Get your bass back, cancel the pickup replacement order, get some new pots from Stew-Mac and solder them in yourself. www.stewmac.com

    If you need help soldering them in, ask us here, we'll help explain.

    By the way, there are even some low-life repair guys that will sell you replacement parts, then after you've gone, they'll turn around and put YOUR old parts up for sale..."vintage pickups!!" Not saying your guy is like that...but....
     
  4. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    this is what i'm going to do.. let me know what you think... I'm gonna keep the order for the pickups (if it isn't the picksups fault i'll let you guys have them cheap if u need them lol) and I'll do it myself, or have my instructor do it.
    this guy is a reputable guy around here. Also just to let you know the poles on the pickups (circles that are visible when looking at them from the top of the guitar) are kinda rusted or tarnished.
     
  5. A little rust or tarnish doesn't mean anything...

    My suggestion: if you know how to solder, unsolder the pickup completely. Then solder it directly to the jack, use a short piece or two of wire if you need to. Now try it. If it still sounds weak, also try it with another amp and cord just to rule those out. (Of course this is just for a temporary test)

    Hmmmm...I wonder if the tone capacitor may be shorting out or something, re-reading your post?

    Nevertheless, soldering your pickup wires directly to the output jack will be about the purest way to se if the pickups are good. This bypasses everything else. If you get good sound with this temporary test, it's in the pots or tone cap or wiring in between.

    StewMac has complete rewiring packages, I believe. They also have wiring diagrams so you can't go wrong.
     
  6. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    thats another thing!!!! i forgot to mention it sounds great on some amps but not on others.. but the tone is still off on all of them.
    My little 15W Fender amp plays it perfectly.. the tone pot is still fuxored but thats it.. but if I plug it into my 1200watt amp I have to turn the volume knob to 7 out of 10.. to get a decent amount of sound from it.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't tone pots work as tone because they have a capacitor attached to them? Maybe this cap came loose or wasn't installed.
     
  8. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    ok.. so the general agreement is I should avoid this at all costs!!? can anybody recommend somebody in Florida to take my old pickups to?
     
  9. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    no offense taken bro :) Yea it ALWAYS works on my 15w amp.. it ALWAYS works on my buddies 60w.. and it has worked on my instructors amp but last session it hasn't.

    btw.. since I already put a down payment on the pickups.. are the Fender Replacement pickups the same as the squier? or could I put the new pickups in my squier to make it sound better?
    What i'll do is go get my fender tomorrow. and tell them to keep the pickups on order.
     
  10. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    I play everyday for about 5 hours.. and it works EVERYTIME.. yea I did.. with the volume all the way up and the tone all the way down you can BARELY hear it.. but you can hear it if you listen closely.
     
  11. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    yea on EVERY amp it does that tone problem.. but some amps it just won't work at all
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Too bad you're in Stuart. If you were closer to Orlando I could recommend someone. Maybe you could find someone in WPB.
     
  13. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    Smash thanks a lot man. I'm going to save my Fender tomorrow and see what I can find myself. I have worked on guitars before. I just didn't wnat to take a chance with my baby. I'll just take the pots out and see if I can find something out of the ordinary.
     
  14. Sounds like a problem with the pots and wiring, to be sure. When I was first learning how to wire and work on basses, I made the mistake of messing with the wiring in my P-Bass and turned my tone knob into another volume knob, basically like what's happening to you. I just change the position of one wire and it changed. Just get out a P-Bass wiring diagram and compare it with the wiring on your P-Bass. It should look the same. Also, you can replace the pots and wiring in your P-Bass with little worries about decreases in value or tone. Just make sure you get pots with the same rating, whether it's 250k or 500k. Most likely 250k. The tone should remain the same.
     
  15. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    Do you think somebody could go to stewmac.com and giveme a link if the capacitors I need and the pot I need? I don't wanna screw this up! lol thanks a lot guys.