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Your advice for my custom bass ingredients

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by i2k, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. i2k


    Oct 31, 2000
    I plan to make a custom J bass with following ingredients :
    • Fender MIA deluxe style alder body
    • 34", 4 string, 22 fret neck with macassar ebony fingerboard
    • Bartolini 9JCBD or Dimarzio UltraJazz
    • Aguilar OBP1 preamp
    • Sperzel tuner
    • Badass III or ETS Tuning fork bridge
    • Graphtech nut

    So do you have any advice/opinions about those ingredients above ?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    My only advice is to be sure that the builder makes the neck profile in the shape that you like best, and don't assume that you'll like whatever they would otherwise make on their own, even if they are a popular or famous luthier. My first time ordering a custom bass I specified every single ingredient except for the neck profile... and that one thing totally prevented me from enjoying that bass.

    Edit: I just realized maybe you meant you are making the bass yourself? If so, nevermind my rambling. :)
  3. i2k


    Oct 31, 2000
    Thanks Bongo, but I won't build it my self, I have no experience on woodworking at all.
    I already though about the neck and I plan to send my favorite Status Graphite neck so the luthier can copy its' profile.
  4. i2k


    Oct 31, 2000

    I can't decide which pickup to take. Any suggestions ?

    I start to think to make a completely passive bass but with the midrange control from HAS sound (the one from Villex is waaay too expensive) . Does this circuit really work well & can make difference to the tone ?
  5. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    the point of the pre-amp is to be able to boost and/or cut certain frequencies that your pickups produce. that means when set flat, it should sound exactly as it does in passive mode. a pre-amp will always alter the sound by exaggerating or limitting certain frequencies.

    i'm not too familiar with the bartolini pickups you mentioned (but have played many bartolini humbucker basses)...and i have no experience with the Dimarzio UltraJazz pickups. the best suggestion i can give you is to play some jazz basses that have these pickups (preferably with the aguilar pre) and hear what they sound like. for jazz basses, i'm a huge fan of lindy frailin pickups.

    another suggestion is to play basses with the aguilar pre that you are considering. boost and cut the bands and see how they effect the tone. the aguilar pres are set to 40Hz for the bass, 400 or 800Hz for the mids, and 6.5kHz for the treble. the bass is on the low end of other pres, very thick and chunky, but not as low of a freq as the bartolini pre...mids are right in the middle of the road compared to other pre's i've seen and add a nice presence to the sound (i prefer lower mids like 400Hz), and the highs are sharp at 6.5kHz...but not sharp enough to add a glisten on your tone (bart pres are set at 10kHz!).

    depending on what fundamentals the pickups grab as well as the rig and room you are in...the bottom end could be too boomy or the top end could be too tinny. but what sounds good to me, may not to you...that's why you should play as many basses as you can and take note on what you like and what you don't like.
  6. i2k


    Oct 31, 2000
    Thanks. But somehow, since few months ago suddenly I prefer passive to active (except for my active Status Graphite which I really love). I found out that active circuitry doesn't sound as natural/organic as passive circuit even in flat position. I though about Aguilar as I think that based from some samples only Aguilar can sound close to passive in flat position.

    Maybe I will start with a passive circuit and then make a clone of that lovely Status preamp.

    I just checked out David Wilson J bass shootout and I already scratched that Bartolini from my list. Now I need to decide between UltraJazz & Antiquity 2....:confused:
  7. giglawyer

    giglawyer Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2003
    Toledo, OH
    I have an HAS wiring harness, and I love mine. As for changes, I would highly recommend Stan Hinesly's Hot J pickups. Awesome tone.
  8. Consider Valenti for the chef
  9. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    natural/organic i think is a bit subjective, but yes...some pre-amps do add a touch of color to the passive tone. i find that the noll preamp in my acacia actually adds a touch of warmth to the lane poors in that bass...both flat and in passive the bass sounds fantastic. the difference between the flat and passive tone is only noticeable through a crisp pre-amp direct to headphones, but the difference is slight.

    how about adding an active/passive toggle or push/pull?
  10. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Why the Grover Titans?

    I think they look bad to the bone, but IMO they wouldn't look right on a J-bass. Also I used some on a custom 4 stringer that I built from scratch. Ended up having a bit of neck dive just because of those tuners. I put Hipshot Ultralights on it and the bass balances perfectly now.

    Not saying you're going to have neckdive problems, but be aware that those tuners are serious heavyweights.
  11. i2k


    Oct 31, 2000
    OK, I've scratched the Grover from my shopping list. Thanks

    Let's see about that. I will try those HAS sound circuit before thinking about active electronic (I already have 2 active basses, but no passive bass)

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