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Yamaha BB404 mods?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by avid, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. avid

    avid born lefty

    Jun 22, 2005
    Ashland, Oregon USA
    This is my first post to TalkBass and I am still clueless so please take that into account. <g> I am newbie lefty bassist playing a BB404L with two months of lessons under my belt. I am interested in all styles of music that have electric bass but especially interested in Jazz and Blues. Been a life long music fan and have had the good fortune of seeing some great bassists live, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clark, Jimmy Haslip, Larry Graham.

    This is a fabulous forum and I am glad I found my way here and I am looking forward to learning extensively from all the knowledgeable bassist here.

    I have been through the archives extensively researching what modifications other TBers have done to their BB404s.
    Here are the results of my investigation.

    1. New pickups: Dimarzio Model J&#8217;s, EMG Model LJs, Bartolini (no model given)
    2. Preamp with current pickups
    3. Strings: Rotosound flats

    My question is what modifications have you done to your BB404 and what were the results? Is there any pickguard that could be added without a major renovation project? Has anyone tried tuning BEAD on their BB404 or used strings other than Rotosound flats?


  2. TheNerdBass


    Jun 30, 2005
    Detroit, MI
    The 404 is just like any other bass. You can use any type of string you desire, there is no specific string. You could put a Leo Quan Badass 2 bridge on it, a lot of people have done that, but I'm not sure about the pickguard. I wanted one for my Ibanez, and aside from getting the material and cutting it yourself, there is no easy way to do it.

    The first thing you might want to do is get some new strings...

    I have GHS Flatwound strings, but it's all about what you like. Roundwounds are brighter and flatwounds are more mellow. You can read about all that good stuff in the strings section. There is no "best" when it comes to strings, but there are plenty of contenders.

    I also have custom pickups in my Ibanez. SD Basslines' Quarter Pounders. One for the P pickup in the neck slot and one for the J pickup for the bridge slot. You can buy them from any music store.

    SD Website

    The bass is like a burrito, some people like beans, some like chicken, it's all a matter of taste.

    (If that made any sense...)
  3. Oxblood

    Oxblood Banned

    Apr 17, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    By the way avid, welcome to TalkBass... you will really like it here. :)
  4. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    If you did that investigatin', chances are that was one of my posts praising the Dimarzios.

    I couldn't be more pleased with the upgrade. TREMENDOUS improvement, and the stockers weren't bad to begin with. And it was a simple, easy-fit, drop-in-and-solder swap.

    If you do look at swapping pickups, any set that fits a 4-string Fender Jazz (with the bridge pup slightly longer than the neck pup) fits the BB404.

    Welcome to TB.
  5. I put an EMG J-set in my BB404. The bass already had a pretty modern, hi-fi sound, but I bought it as a "project bass" and I had been wanting to try the EMGs for a while. I did like the improvement, though it wasn't drastic. A little more clarity and smoothness in the high end, a little more growl in the bass, a bit more modern and hifi all around. I think I have 40-95 D'Addario strings on it, but I just got those because they were the only 40-95 set my local store had at the time. They're alright, but they feel a little high in tension for my preferences. I don't play the bass much, but that's because I've found my other two basses fit more in the style of what I play.
  6. Since Yamaha does not offer a fretless lefty, I defretted my lefty BB404 one year ago. I superglued veneer fretmarkers in and covered the fingerboard with about 15 layers of marine epoxy (West Systems) - and spent considerable time sanding it to obtain an even surface.

    It was fun to work on the project, and I really really like the result.

    Currently, I am thinking about changing the bridge. I'd like to put a Hipshot on the bass, but I am afraid that the ground wire routing may be just where one of the mounting screws is placed... in that case, I guess that I'll keep the (pretty decent) stock brigde.
    I just like the way I can change strings without having to pull them through the bridge holes.

    So, why not go fretless?

  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    In all honesty, I left mine stock and alongside a Marcus Miller Jazz and vintage Fender, this is a close competitor regarding tone. If it ain't baroque, don't fix it I say.

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