1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

What is the most expensive bass you have modified and why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Baird6869, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I have always wondered why people drop $4k on a bass and then rip out the pickups, add a new preamp, etc.

    I would personally never buy a $4k bass unless it absolutely blew me away and I would never buy it if I needed to modify it dractically, but to each their own.

    Personally, I am about to add a Sadowsky VTC (Vintage Tone Control) to my 1992 Sadowsky NYC and that is only to give me some more vintage tones out of my amazing sounding (and amazingly bright and modern sounding) bass. The VTC on my new MS5 sold me immediately.

    So what have you modified and why?

    I am interested more in why someone would modify an Alembec, Fender, EBMM, etc., not really an SX or a Squier.

    Straplocks and changing pickguards don't count.:smug:
  2. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    a fender i could understand, since their stock pickups usually leave a little (or a lot) to be desired, and considering the vast volume of aftermarket things for them.

    but an alembic, a fodera, anything up there, im with you. why would you spend all that money without getting exactly what you want, without having to gut it? :eyebrow:

    at that point, youd be better off just making your own.
  3. I took a power sander to a three-month old Warwick SS I 5 string and tried to take the finish off of it. Turns out that finish seeps really deep into the wood. By the time I was through the bass was obviously smaller and lighter. Then I glued pieces of wood into the pickup cavities and re-routed them for jazz pups and painted the whole thing Sparkle Black. The bass looked great but honestly I mutilated the hell out of it before it ended up that way. That was a $3,600.00 instrument. Doah!!!!!
  4. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    most expensive to me would be my KSD its what $800-900 new

    I ripped the Preamp out, changed the control plate, added chrome hardware etc.
  5. Well, I would never spend 4k on an instrument period. I did get a 3k instrument used for about 1500 bucks, and I pulled the electronics and pickups out of that, replaced them with passive Bartolinis wired straight to the jack. Not enough high end stuff comes with passive electronics.
  6. rad87gn


    Sep 17, 2007
    Fender Custom Shop 1970 Jazz Bass Closet Classic LTD Natural team-built limited run of 100 instruments. List $5,000/sale price $3,500.

    I removed both ash tray covers. They got in my way of playing it. I removed the stock pickups and installed EMG J set. Reason is the stock pickups have 60hz hum from hell. Wanted it quiet which it is now. They were professionally swapped out by my friend at the music shop. Can put it all back to stock easily.

    The jazz is light weight and very well balanced. Build quality is high and it plays/sounds nice. Just hated the hum.

    Rest of my expensive basses are left stock.
  7. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    that would have become extremely expensive without the mods?

    In the late 60s my guitar player friend, who was/is also a killer bass player (believe it or not) owned a 1960 stack-knob Jazz bass in great shape. He stripped the finish to natural, converted it to fretless, and I believe he may have even routed the body for some reason or other. He eventually sold/traded it sometime around '69 or '70.

    Untouched and unsold, it would be worth upwards of 10-15K now, if not more.

  8. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    My MIA Fender P, I did not like much the sound from the stock pickups, I also hated the cheap bridge, and I replace the neck too just because I wanted to have ebony to match 3 sunburst body color
  9. simple11

    simple11 Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2007
    Oh Well Here IT IS!! And on it's way to ebay,,, I might get more on ebay for the parts I kept than bass now!!!!
    As for the WHY?
    1) I thought I was a rock star.
    2) I really knew how to improve the bass.
    3) I like red.
    After the mods:
    1) No more head dive.
    2) No more muddy mid-range - note the 2nd pickup.
    3) Highs reflect off the chrome pickgard.
    4) Stays in tune (belive it or not, came out of 20 yrs in storage - not heated - IN TUNE, not even what I would expect).
    5) Still like red.
    1) Go ask a collector.
    2) A little additional weight from all that chrome, But still way lighter than almost all fenders I've seen.
    3) Some people don't liike RED.
    4) VALUE, VALUE, VALUE,,,,

    Attached Files:

  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've heavily modified two Steinberger XM2s; so much so they are referred to now as Strangebergers. I gutted the original EMGs and preamp and replaced them with Rio Grande Pitbulls and a single toggle switch (no knobs!). I replaced the necks with a fretted and fretless Moses neck. I also installed a Yamaha Midi pickup, which I had to shave the rear pickup mounting ring to get it to fit. I've shielded them like crazy and beat them to hell - they sound and play fantastic. I think they were around $3500 new back in 1984 - now they only thing that's original on them is the body and the bridge.

    I gutted the electronics on my Dingwall Super J and upgraded the pickups (to another Dingwall set). No knobs on this one, either - just a single toggle switch. I carved a new control plate out of ebony, since I didn't want to leave a bunch of holes where the original knobs were. I also installed a string tree on the headstock. Original list price: $3500. I've beaten this one to death over the las year as well, and it's just now starting to show some signs of minor wear.

    If I get another expensive bass again, I'm pretty positive that I will mod those too. No matter how expensive a bass is, it's just a tool, and if it needs to change to suit my needs, so be it.
  11. Sadowsky NYC Standard 4 with premium woods

    Sent back to Roger to shave neck near the heel heel and/or deepen the body's neck pocket. This lowered the strings to the body; it also necessitated putting on a new bridge.

    I think this new depth is standard on recent basses. My bass was circa 2000 or so.
  12. YCBass

    YCBass Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    I haven't quite done it yet and I am having trouble with the idea... My Fender Custom Classic J5, if I were to mod it I would get a Hipshot A-style bridge and new pickups and possibly change the preamp also... I paid $2k for this bass and I just feel that a bass should be good out of the box - I'm into modding my truck but not basses for some reason. So I'm contemplating selling it and getting something else with the features that I want or want better.
  13. NorCal Dog

    NorCal Dog

    Nov 28, 2005
  14. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    My Sadowsky NYC PJ converts to JJ (has a dual rout and an extra pickguard), and at one point I pulled the Sadowsky HC pickups and put some overwound Lindy Fralin pickups in there seeking a more aggressive sound. I didn't like the results, and eventually changed it back, as the alder/braz. rosewood construction seems to fit the tone of the PJ pickups better.

    The Fralins later went into a Squier VM Jazz and sound great, but that's a cheapy and doesn't qualify.
  15. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    A US Std. Fender Jazz.

    First I had to spray it orange to disguise the fact that it was stolen from a store a few towns away. Next I had to replace the bridge because the E saddle kept losing height - I had a key tied to the bridge so I could adjust it inbetween songs, it was that bad.

    Then I had to replace the electronics before I recorded with it. Then I de-fretted it. And after about a year I had to replace the neck because it was twisting quite badly.

    So the only things left stock on it were the tuners and the body.
  16. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    My 2004 American Deluxe Jazz 5.All I've done is replace the Noiseless pickups with Nordstrand single coils and sheild it some.The Nordstrands do sound much better than the Fender Noiseless which were clear and clean but didn't have the bite and growl I wanted.I was thinking about an Audere preamp but the Fender 18v pre sounds good.I will do a better sheilding job but the rest of the bass is perfect the way it is and sounds great with the Nordstrands in it.
  17. ssarchi


    Dec 22, 2007
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Carl Thompson 4 string:

    P-up routing was sloppy around one of the p-ups so I pulled both p-ups and made a template about 1/4" bigger than the p-up on each side. Got out the router and made a bigger STRAIGHT hole. Very carefully I fitted a piece of jet-black ebony into each pick-up hole ehich was perfectly flush with the top surface. Then I very carfeully routed a perfect hole for the pickups to sit in. Final result was a beautiful ebony ring around the pick-ups.....
  18. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    pictures please! :hyper:

    sounds beautiful...
  19. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    The most expensive bass I did any mods on was a $475 Alembic.

    I did some serious mods to Alembic s/n 84 shown in the middle of this photo


    The photo is post modification. When I found it it was in sad shape. All the electronics had been ripped out and the pickups replaced with EMGs. I paid $475 for it in the condition it was in.

    I had it refurbished at Alembic and kept it for a while before I sold it for a couple grand. Shoulda kept it.


  20. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Most expensive bass I had modded was my Warwick Corvette Standard (currently my only bass. I bought it from a fellow TBer for $700). I had the MEC pickups and preamp replaced by Seymour Duncan STK-J2 pickups and passive electronics (vol, vol, tone.) I felt the MECs were too "active" sounding and the highs were brittle and peaky. I was using half-round strings to mellow out the sound. Plus, I do not like active electronics at all. I'm a no muss no fuss passive guy through and through. Now, the bass sounds amazing. The lows and low mids are much thicker. And with no batteries to muss and fuss with, I'm good to go.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.