upgrading a cheap bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jankjo, May 29, 2002.

  1. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    I don't know if I should post this here or in the pickup forum, but here it goes.

    I have a pretty cheap bass, Washburn XB100. I took the time to shield the electronics, and I like it pretty well. I am wondering what others think about whether or not it is worth upgrading the pickups. It is a p-bass, and I am thinking about spending $95 on passive Barts (8s passive p-bass). I guess it would be worth it to me if it was going to improve the sound significantly.
  2. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Upgrading any bass is only a bad idea after a marginal point (relatively speaking).

    If you're going to put $95.00 barts in there, that's not a bad way to go at all. In addition, if you were to upgrade the bridge and hardware somewhat, that would be a good idea as well.

    The point at which it gets, well, pointless, is when you find yourself spending so much bread and altering the bass so much (i.e., putting Barts, extra pickups and a preamp into a formerly cheap passive crapper) that you're essentially wasting the money you could have spent on a better bass. Now, granted, this sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised what some people will do.

    Basically, if your woods suck and your overall body & neck construction are subpar, keep it within reason. You'd be surprised at what you can find for often less money than it would take to drastically modify a crapper.

    In other words, as an analogy, if you own a steel bike, it'll only be so light, no matter how much money you spend on carbon fiber replacement parts.
  3. cap


    Aug 8, 2001
    Hickam Hawaii
    you stated my situation exactly...same bass...everything:eek: creepy...is your bass red?
    but ya..any other things to help upgrade the bass would be appriceated.
  4. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    Wow, that is really interesting. Mine's not red, it is the natural wood which is some kind of Mahogony I think. The neck is maple and the fretboard is rosewood.
    It's got nice action, but the pickup isn't positioned correctly for the G and D strings.
  5. Washburn XB100's are pretty good basses. For the money, anyway. I rented one for awhile when I first started playing.

    Anyway, dropping some better pick ups in there wouldn't be a bad idea. Putting a better bridge on there wouldn't hurt either. I don't really remember what the bass actually looked like, but swapping out the pickguard (if it has one, gimme a break, it was almost 8 years ago) makes more of a difference than you might think. Any little accessory items are cool too (bridge and pup covers, for example).

    Getting a decent set of strings and a professional setup always works, too.
  6. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    Ok...now I am getting excited about fixing this thing up.
    Does changing the bridge affect the sound of the instrument? How do I go about finding one that will work (compatible with my bass)?
    My bass doesn't have a pickgaurd, so I can't change that....I assume that changing the pickgaurd is a solely cosmetic thing?
  7. Yes, the P/G is solely cosmetic. But cosmetics are what sets your bass apart from everyone elses, and gives it that unique look.

    As for the bridge, if it is Fender clone, you can find a lot of direct drop in replacements. Even if you have to drill some screw holes, it might be worth it. A heavier bridge may change your tone, but it might not. I don't know for sure. It'll probably add some sustain if nothing else.