What are you really playing?!?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DenverontheOne, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Hey everyone. 62 year old new to bass, new to blogging and new to music making. Decided now or never and after lurking in music stores, I bought an Ibanez GIO. And off I went for the last couple of months. Then I discovered TB.

    What the hell have you done to me? I love my beginner bass. Squier VM P/J CAR. But now I'm addicted to TB and all it's different forums and classifieds. I had no idea! All the great basses out there, the history from Leo on, music theory, the great players through time, GAS, modding, all you great people. Already gassing for some vintage maple fingerboard P, maybe a Stingray, a G&L, a Ric ......sell it all for an upscale custom, keep it all....aaaaah you see! Oh and finding the right instructor.

    Anyway, as I start to swap out some minor parts on my Squier, a question occurs to me. How many parts do you have to change on your original bass before it stops being what it was born?

    I often see when someone asks about a particular Bass X answers that say what a great bass. "I put on Hipshot tuners, EMG pickups, Babicz bridge, changed knob configuration, etc. slapped some flats on it and she really pumps."

    But is that Bass X or something else? Frankenbass (in the best way)? Is it really the Bass X being asked about if just the body, neck and decal are original? If it's not stock, then is it not Bass X? What are you really playing?
  2. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Who cares, as long as you like what you are playing.

    I am playing a modded Ibanez Mikro (28,6" scale length) with EMG Geezer Butler pickups installed, since I wasn't totally happy with the sound I got from the stock ones, even if the P pickup was quite good, if lacking some definition and clarity, and the stock J and P combined was capable of producing a quite decent tone.

    However with the EMG's I get much more clarity and definition as well as added punch out of my bass, and the J pickup is really great sounding as well compared to the rather thin lifeless tone of the stock one.

    Also I modded my Mikro visually by changing the horrible fake chrome plastic knobs that was installed from stock and painted some colored figures on it as well.

    So here it is, what I play as my main (it looks more greasy than it really is, I swear it's the light :p):

  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Well to me its kind of like if you hot rod a car. No matter what you put into it its still whatever make and model car it started as. So a hot rod Fender P bass is still a Fender P bass.
    Rickter, jaybones, JGbassman and 2 others like this.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    If you change everything but the body and neck you still have a brand name bass but with mods. If you start mixing and matching body parts then you have a parts bass.
    Arnel M., Joebone, JRA and 11 others like this.
  5. I play a Squier Affinity PJ bass. I am waiting for my pickups to arrive in the mail so I can swap them, and I will also shield my bass while I have it open, since it has a nasty hum problem.

    I've never really thought about if Bass X is original or not, it doesn't matter. Depends on the player! For every guy who mods the heck out of his bass, there is another that is completely satisfied with his 100% stock bass.

    Those who have totally different necks or bodies refer to them as Frankenbasses, which makes sense to me!

    The only time it matters is when it's time to sell a high-end bass, because the majority of buyers really want the bass to be original. By original, I mean stock.
  6. Welcome to the world of Bass. You can play whichever instrument that makes you the most comfortable.

    Reading through TalkBass, it is easy to drool over peoples' posts of their instrument collections. I admit that I was influenced and bought a few basses since discovering TB. However, predating my new additions, I've owned an Ibanez SR885 for 20 years, which still sounds very good. People always complimented me on the sound in recordings and live performances.
    HolmeBass and Ellery like this.
  7. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    ^ this.
    mattj1stc and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    First off, welcome to TalkBass!

    Now that we have the pleasantries out of the way, THOU SHALT NOT.....

    I'm just kind. You are falling into the trap many of us are in a rotating door with. Stop thinking so much and enjoy yourself. If you are doing mods because they bring you joy, have at it. If you are doing mods because some schmuck named "two fingers" said these are the best pickups ever then put down the tools and pick up your bass.


    Enjoy your time here. Allow yourself to enjoy what YOU enjoy, regardless of whether or not the interwebz agrees with you.

    All that being said, unless it's a P bass with a tort guard and flats it sucks.

    (That's an inside joke you'll understand the more time you spend here.)
    Arnel M., Plutonium244, JRA and 13 others like this.
  9. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I can only imagine what it would be like to start playing bass in the expansive (a neutral way of phrasing it) gear market of today, especially if one isn't saving paper-route money and can afford more than a beginner instrument. Until you determine if your entry into playing bass pans out into serious dedication to the craft, any number of very affordable options (like your Ibanez) are more than sufficient. Have fun looking at all the candy in the candy store but save your attention for learning your instrument and how it fits into music/ensemble playing. Down the line, if you eventually hear a recording of yourself w/a band and it sounds like music (as musical as any music you listen to) - treat yourself to a nice bass that your ears and fingers respond to.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  10. pappabass

    pappabass Inactive

    May 19, 2006
    Alabama !! Roll Tide
    AS others said, play what you want, mod it to sound like you want. I have a Squier VM Jag that I get compliments on its appearance and sound. It is a stock PJ. I recently purchased a fender p, it already has EMG pickups and a badass II Bridge. It has a real good sound. Ps, going to the guitar store gets you in trouble.
  11. Fixed. :D
    smtp4me and Stevehill like this.
  12. That's where I differ with you.

    You could say the car was a 57 Chevy ( for example) for identity purposes because that is what the body is.

    But if you change the frame, the rear end,the transmission(all non GM) and slap a Mopar in it..then it it is not a 57 Chevy anymore except for the body.

    Ditto for Fender P-basses or any bass where the only thing left original is the body.
    SteveCS and bassbully like this.
  13. Is it unfair to make this comparison?

    If a person dyes/cuts their hair, or changes their clothing, or gets plastic surgery, or gets a piercing, or loses/gains a ton of weight, they are still that same person. Remove the neck from the body, and that person ceases to exist.
  14. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    IMHO, a bass doesn't start being truly "Franken" until you start swapping out necks & bodies... maybe when really tweaking out the original electronics. Most hardware changes are just to upgrade a la high mass bridge or lighter weight tuners.
    A legit Fender Precision with a swapped out Warmoth neck, a Geezer split coil, a Stingray pickup routed into the bridge position all going through some onboard preamp is not really a Fender precision anymore.

    This is my "Partscision" bass, it's been through a few iterations of electronics, 2 bodies, 2 necks and various hardware, but it's landed on what I really like and will keep it this way indefinately. It's a 2010 Squier Dirnt body, pickguard and control plate, a 2011 Squier CV '51 P neck and tuners, 2004 US Fender pickup with S-1 switch, CTS tone pot, Peavey 80s string tree, Switchcraft jack and Schaller 3D4 bridge and Straplocks. Oh, and a sticker to cover the star painted into the finish. :)
    Fundamentally, it's a full-maple necked Squier Dirnt with some electronic and hardware upgrades, but in reality it's a Partscision since the neck and body were made in different years in different countries for different models of basses.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    Arnel M. likes this.
  15. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    As long as:

    1. You don't try to present something as it isn't (putting a Fender sticker on a Squier or parts bass) - who cares?
    2. Always keep the original parts, even if it is an improvement. Back about 1980 - I put a Hipshot Detuner on a 70s Fender - never kept the original tuner. Back then who knew, but one day when I (or my heirs) sell this, I don't even want to think what this slip up cost me.
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Welcome to TB and bass.
    You are lucky to start in a very informative age of bass and music.
    Everything at your finger tips.
    IMHO if you're bass is not cutting it save up and spend on a quality
    axe instead of rebuilding one.
    IME find a good teacher and save years of frustration & time.
    Arnel M. and lomo like this.
  17. Gizmot


    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    No el cheapo basses for me (even though I'm not a great player any more thanks to arthritis). I've always bought the best I could and I know I enjoy and appreciate them much more than something pedestrian.

    In my experience, you can buy better pickups and a much more flexible preamp - but if you put that money towards a better bass, you can get a better bass for not much more.

    Others may disagree - but I've done it both ways, and I think this makes sense
  18. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego
    Gaolee, Bob_Ross, ThuzzleFump and 5 others like this.
  19. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    If a heavily modded Squier falls in the forest, does anybody really care?
  20. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Welcome to TB. I started at age 50. Fun hobby even if you never get to gigging. If you do, it's a blast like no other.
    pappabass likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Aug 2, 2021

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