You CAN have a nice bass for a cheap price!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Perhaps this is stating the obvious to many TBers. However, this is directed to those who are maybe new to the bass world etc and perhaps you want a $1000+ bass but just can't afford it. Well, you can have a pretty nice sounding and playing bass for not a whole lot of money.

    IMO you can buy an SX or Squire and fix up it a little at a time and in the end you will have a great bass that you bought parts for *as you could afford them*.

    In my case I wanted a good shortscale bass to use while my custom shortscale Stambaugh was being made (which could take as much as a year to complete). Since I was getting a $2000 bass I didnt want to spend a large amount of money.

    So I bought an SX J shortie with an ash body and maple/rosewood neck. The type of wood is the heart of the bass and pretty much everything else is upgrade-able.

    The first upgrade I did to my SX ss J was to bring it in to a luthier and get a fret job and pro setup.I also got her to install a new graphite nut. That right there cost more than the price of the $100 bass but to me is essential to take a bass from "mediocre" to "great".

    Then awhile later I upgraded the pickups to DiMarzio Model Js and put on a set of Chromes flatwound strings.
    Sometime after that I scooped up some HS Ultralite tuners I had on another bass and put those on. Down the line I put on a BA II bridge I picked up used for $50. Finally, I upgraded the electronics with better quality components and an orange drop capcitor.

    The result is now I have a fairly good bass tailored to my desires that didnt cost me a whole lot of money all at once. To be honest the bass plays so well and sounds so great that I am sort of wondering if I made a mistake ordering the Stambaugh. I can bring the SX to any gig, be it a sleazy bar or in inclimate weather, and not worry. A $2000 bass will always bring me concern as I want to protect my investment.

    So if you can live with an "SX" on your headstock, you might be find yourself very happy with a budget instrument that you have, as funds permitted, upgraded to make into a great sounding and great playing bass.

    Fundamentally, you can take any bass and make it much better by getting a pro setup, putting good strings on and upgrading the pickup. Those are the essentials. The rest is just gravy.

    One of these days I'll have to take a proper picture, but this is roughly what it looks like.

    Here is a video of me playing with one of my bands using this bass:

  2. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    I know what you mean. I have had my SX SJB-62 3TS for about a year now, and it's still going strong. There is a Bayou Audio wiring harness in it, but everything else is stock. The electronics are the weak point in these basses IMO. On the other hand, I think the pickups are great. After setting it up to my standards, it plays and sounds better than most Fenders at Guitar Center.
  3. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Yeah, the stock pickups are decent, but IMO the Model Js are just fantastic and have become a part of 'my tone'.