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Violin bass mods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sonicblue62, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. sonicblue62

    sonicblue62 Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Twin Falls, Idaho
    Maybe this should be in the luthier forums, I don't know. I have a 60's (I think) Univox Beatle bass that has sketchy electronics; the switches only marginally work, and the tone knob doesn't really do anything. The action and playability are fine, so I'm thinking of updating the electronics and pickups. I would still like to keep it passive and simple, just looking for some nice, thumpy, Beatle-type tones. Strings are Chromes. Any suggestions on mods for this baby? I should say that I've never replaced pickups in any of my basses, and think this bass is the prefect candidate for my first venture into mod-land.

  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Swapping in new pickups and electronics is no big deal. But you'll need to check the dimensions on those pickups and their mounting openings to see what will fit. You made need to speak to somebody in customer service or tech support for whatever pickups you're interested in to see they'll work. Or you may need to do a little sawing and sanding if they won't.

    As far as a passive control stack, the sky's the limits. There's tons of great wiring diagrams that can all be easily adapted for use on that bass.

    Alternatively, you could just spend $350 or so and get yourself a nice spanking new Hofner Ignition and be done with it if you'd rather not bother.

    What are you looking for sound-wise?
  3. sonicblue62

    sonicblue62 Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Twin Falls, Idaho
    hoping for just a nice, punchy-yet-thumpy hollow body sound. I don't have a lot of experience with hollow body (or semi-hollow) basses, but I found this one for $90 and thought it was too cool to pass up. I guess a Beatles sound is my main reference point for what I would like to get out of it.
  4. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Get the electronics fixed first before you decide on pickups. As 40Hz said, your pickup options will be very limited unless you are willing to do irreversible mods on the bass.
    With good electronics and the right strings, pickups may be fine.
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    +several to this. Also, the "problem" with some of these basses is that there is no hole for the pickups - other than a small one for wiring. They're surface mounted, which may or may not work real well with newer pickups. IIRC, Hofners (the German ones, anyway) are still made this way; maybe some of those....? But, yeah; take care of the other stuff first, and those pickups just might surprise you...:)
  6. sonicblue62

    sonicblue62 Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Twin Falls, Idaho
    Thanks for the good advice! Fixed the electronics and the bass is cool again. Pickups sound pretty darn good for a bass that only cost me 90 bucks. :)
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