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Upgrading a Fender P

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by pete&petelives, Apr 9, 2006.


  1. pete&petelives

    pete&petelives

    Jan 8, 2006
    First things first, I like having my own style, so some of you may think that what I'm going to be suggesting is ruining a p-bass but I just want to see if it would work and what I'd need to do it. I recently played Fender's new 50's model p-bass and loved the maple neck and how nice it made the spacing for popping and slapping, yet as with most precisions I wasn't super into the slap sound that was coming out of it. It's one of the only models from Fender that costs less than a thousand and has a maple neck and isn't a signature model... so I started to ponder... and I thought that I would like to add a MusicMan style humbucker in bridge position like they do on they're American Deluxe ones to give me the option of the awesome Fender p-thump sound for some more fingerstyle funk while getting some awesome slap from the humbucker (MusicMan style)... what kind of things would I have to do to get this done? I'm a total noob about making big customizations like this so I was probably going to bring it to some kind of person who customizes guitars and basses. Is this conceivable or would this crack the paint to route the wood and put a new pickup in there and wiring and everything?

    P.S. - I hope this is in the right forum I wasn't sure whether to put it under this or setup&repair
     
  2. fender_mod

    fender_mod

    Jun 23, 2005
    it can get messy with a dremel tool. i routed a whole new pickup slot for a single coil way up at the neck in my p bass special. i had the pickguard to cover it all up and it wasnt that bad but i definately would not want it uncovered. doing something like that will be messy if youre doing it near the bridge and you have no experience like i did. then again a dremel is not the best tool for the job and this can prolly be accomplished much easier with better tools. certain considerations include making sure you get the pickup height right but you can raise it if its too low with some foam or wood putty, also you will need to route space for the wires. when this is done the space is drilled parallel under the surface of the body so you dont see it. something like that will be very tricky because a drill bit will be difficult to get in a space like that, maybe you could get in there by taking off the output jack and drilling through that space (dunno if this makes sense). you can drill a space for the pup if you get accurate dimensions of your pup and use the proper drilling tools, any extra space around the pickup i would suggest creating a frame out of plastic or some sort of pickguard material. maybe this is a start for your project, im sure others with more experience.
     
  3. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Stewart-McDonald sells templates shaped for various pickups.
    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Routing_templates.html

    I just routed out the pickguard cutout for a larger pickup (Gibson humbucker-size) on my cheapo JB copy. I clamped the pickguard to a large plank I had left over from another project (no, not bass-related) by holding it it place with a 1X2. I clamped it so the 1X2 was the same distance from the edge of the new cutout as the router bit was from the edge of the router, so it made a straight-line fence. As a result I got a nice, clean, straight cut when I enlarged the hole. It's pretty difficult to do freehand. The router is a high-speed cutting tool and will go off on its own if you're not careful.

    The REAL problem is, once you've done it, if you don't like it, you've screwed up a nice bass and there's no going back. If it were me I'd pick up a cheaper one to experiment with. I just bought a Squier II Precision with a maple neck for $130, and I would have no qualms about carving a bigger hole in it...but for one worth any money, I'd look for one that offered what I wanted first, without resorting to a router.
     

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