Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Upgrading the old hunk of wood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sargebaker, Aug 25, 2004.


  1. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I have my old ARIA bass. 4 string, fretted, passive P/J electronics. I dropped it and it lost a little chunk, the headstock is full of nicks, the fret job nearly removed a layer of skin from my hand, and the nut put a hole in one of my fingers. It plays like dung and sounds just a bit better, there are a few deadspots. I am however attached to it and want to upgrade it to make it playable (especially now that I have my Carvin and know what playabale means)so here we go:

    New neck! I was thinking Moses cause I'm curious about graphite, but i REALLY want a birdseye maple board. it needs to be thin, and preferably have 24 frets and fit my bass (dont know the dimensions, I'll call Aria and ask)

    New pickups. DiMarzio Model P and Model J (they seem to be rather $$)

    New bridge (i know nothing of bridges I will need help here too. What are some good NON thru body bridges)

    New Tuners

    Groove Tubes Fat Finger- apparently helps deadspots.(may not add this as a new neck may solve the problem?)

    and with all of that hopefully the bass will be playable, I think the neck and the pups are priority. I need some advice on the neck and the bridge. Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Baker
     
  2. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    go with hipshot, check there site for what ever you need. The graphite neck sounds cool aswell.
     
  3. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    thanks, I was pretty much leaning towards hipshot but I'd like to try wilkinson possibly. im not sure where to get my neck, Moses seems expensive at almost 400 list (US) Warmoth maybe? if they have somethign that fits or custom order. Maybe there are some luthiers who will do just a neck? I dont want to spend too much on this seeing i just dished out most of my cash on the Carvin, I just wanna giver her a little sprucing up, make it feel/sound decent.
     
  4. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Take it to a luthier/setup tech and get them to look at it. If they say they can set it up correctly, dress the frets etc then do that before blowing a big load of $ on a new neck. If you get a custom replacement neck it might not fit on anything else and then you have a bit of a white elephant.

    There was a recent thread on a DIY version of the fat finger using washers (iirc). Look it up and try that for a buck or two.

    Dimarzio P and J's usually aren't expensive at all secondhand if you hunt around. New I've seen them for $120 or less a set. These things have been made since the 70's and it seems there are a billion of them around.

    A good, inexpensive bridge is the Mighty-Mite MM1204. It's solid brass and very nice. I paid $40 new for one on ebay.

    Don't spend a lot of money hot rodding something that might not be worth it, when you could spend a bit more and get a complete Warmoth (for example) or buy an SX new and hotrod that and end up with more bass for the money.
     
  5. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    thanks. Yes I'd say that's my big fear, hot rodding it and finding out it still sucks. I want a Valenti but don't have the green for one So i was hoping for not TOO much to tweak up my Aria for a decent 4 banger in the mean time.Ill search for the DIY fat finger, and as my teacher (quallified luthier) what he thinks about fixing up the fret job etc. I figure however I will at least get the new pups (christmas possibly) cause I guess a good set of P/J pups can never really be useless.

    Thanks for the advice
    Baker
     
  6. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
  7. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    Personally I would stay away from Wilkinson bridges, the saddle design can lead to adjustability problems down the road. IME, YMMV etc. etc.
     
  8. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    what does YMMV & IME mean? I think I,ll go with the hipshot bridges they put on the Carvins and maybe a set of Carvin tuners because they seem cheap, and from what I can tell from my bass are good tuners. I will take my bass in to my lessons saturday and ask my teacher what he thinks about the neck. And after my haircut I'm gonna go pick up 4 washers and try out the DIY fat Finger.

    I need to shop around for the Pups though, at my store he quoted me somethign like 150ish for a set of J's and like 80ish or somehtign for a P. and he said that to order a single J pup would have to be a special order... :eyebrow:
     
  9. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    IME = in my experience

    YMMV = your mileage may vary
     
  10. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I think Dharma got it right. Take that Aria to a good tech person and see how much can be salvaged before sinking a bunch of $$$ into it. Hell, it might not be as bad off as you think.

    If you could at least save the neck, you'd be saving yrself a lot of headache because not all replacements will fit perfectly (you never did mention what sort of Aria you have, what model, any pics?).

    Fortunately yr bass has a PJ set up so replacement pickups shouldn't be too big of a deal seeing as yr keeping it a passive bass. I'd keep my eye on eBay for DiMarzios though I wouldn't rule out smaller names like Rio Grandes and Kent Armstrong who make good stuff that's likely much less expensive than yr Dimarzios and Seymour’s.

    Hipshot bridges and generic tuners could be ordered via Carvin but also on the cheap on eBay, Mighty Might, etc.

    Whatever you do, try to save that neck. Blowing a ****load on a graphite neck or Warmoth bird'seye maple job is just insane, my friend. And resale value on this Aria is likely nil so try not to get too carried away with it.

    I hope it works out. And definitely give us some before and after pics!!!

    r
     
  11. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Thanks for the advice, yeah resale value IS nil. That's why I dont really wanan get rid of it, I could probably get like 30 bux at the most :eyebrow: This is the bass except it's blue: http://ariausa.com/series/igb40/igb40.html

    Thanks again,
    Baker
     
  12. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    one last bump to see what anyone else thinks.
     
  13. Whafrodamus

    Whafrodamus

    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    OMGWTFBBQ= Oh my god, Water the flowers, Barbeque?
     
  14. I wouldn't spend a lot of money updating it either, unless you really like the bass. I would just put it aside or have it clean-up a bit and use it to take to lessons or use it as a banger. Sometimes it is nice to have a cheap bass around, one that you don't care if it gets beat-up. I have one like that. I like the way it plays. I have kept in a few hours in a hot car and it always seems to play nicely and not need any adjustments or work. I sling it around with me and keep it at my office at work to play when I feel the urge (in fact I it is right next to me now). For the amount of money that you could sink into it, buying graphite necks and new pups, etc., you could buy a semi decent new bass, buy parts and make a new bass yourself, or just wait and save up for fretted Carvin - as ultimately I think that is what you want. You just got a nice new bass, why rush to dump money in this one?
     
  15. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    Yeah, Hipshot. The model "A" bridge would be my first choice.
     
  16. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Ultimately I want a Valenti or Sterling. Anyhoo, I decided against the graphite neck and all and I'm just gonna get this one cleaned up. However I think I will get the new pups soon sometime between sooonish and xmas. I calculated aproximate 300-350$ CAN for New bridge, New tuners, re dress the frets and new pups.

    Edit: yeah I know I got a new bass and i cringe whenever I play my old one. :bawl: I figure with xmas coming it wouldn't be such a bad idea to invest in making it playable again even if it is just the Pups and redressing the frets. besides 6 fretless and 4 fretted, can't really compare the 2 :p

    Thanks again
    Baker
     
  17. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Not to be a wet blanket, but ... if I were in your position--and I have been, actually--I'd feel that if it's gonna take anything like that much to make the bass decent, it's probably not worth it. As one learns in all kinds of relationships, sometimes you just have to learn to let go. :snif:

    But in the end, it's your bass, your time, and your money. You gotta do what makes you happy.

    BTW, if the issue is needing to have a fretted 4, you can get a Carvin B4 kit for < $400 US. Comparable playability and quality to what you just bought (albeit bolt-on).
     
  18. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    hrm.. The kit seems to be a good suggestion. It never crosssed my mind because I am extremely bad with tools and I don't consider my self too handy. Also wouldn't i need to finish everything my self etc. in which case I would neeed to hire a professional. Tomorrow I shall discuss the issue with my teacher and let you all know what he thinks.
     
  19. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Actually, I think Carvin will paint the kit body for you for $40 or something. At least they used to. Call them up and ask them. The neck you can finish with tung oil, which is about the easiest finish in the world and can be done by hand, or ask them to do it for you (prob another $40). As far as putting it together, I've seen their kits, and they're dead easy. If you get the parts pre-finished, all you need is a screwdriver, and you might have to do a little minor soldering (or just ask somebody to do it for you). Current price on the kit is $350 US w/ passive electronics (goes up a bit for active).
     
  20. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Thanks Rich I'll be sure to check it out. Today I went and binged $0.78 on 4 big washers for the DYI fat finger. unfortunately only 3 of the fit because around the a/d (its a 2+2 headstock) i can only fit 1 washer because then they overlap... My question is will it afect my sound (will the string sans washer sound quieter) should I have it around the D or A peg? or will it not affect the sound (between strings) having only 3 washers? :help:

    Thanks
    Baker