54 P build project - need a few ideas

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54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby dukeplaysbass » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:34 am

I've been building (which mostly means sanding primer and grain filler, really) a 54 P clone from parts from USA Custom Guitars.

I'm basically going for a vintage look in a color that just wasn't available (hell, maybe not even invented yet). I'm not relicing this, tho - just a cool looking axe that performs great and sounds killer.

I've started shooting the paint in Sherwood Green metallic, and the clearcoat nitro seems to be coming along.

Neck is maple with the smaller style headstock, and will be ambered out a bit just for looks.

I need some suggestions regarding pickup and bridge.

There are a half dozen single coil precision bass (SCPB) pups out there. I have been left a little "meh" about the Fender ones I've tried (in both Sting and 51 P RI basses). I was thinking Lollar, or Fralin, or Rio Grande. I want a good rock bass that can mellow out a bit.

As for bridge, I was going to go with the Hipshot A style, but here's the catch - I want this bass to have both chrome covers. I realized yesterday that the Hipshot won't fit under the ashtray I have. I need to go with something lower profile that allows the string-thru option (bass is already drilled for this) and can be cleared by the cover. That leaves either the old tradition 2-screw RI/Tele bridge (which sucks for intonation) or one of the bent plate, Fender style bridges. Ideally, I'd like some mass to make sure the thing will resonate. Anyone tried Gotoh? Can the Fender high mass bridges be found on the aftermarket?

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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby Freddels » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:01 am

The Fender high mass bridges are available.

Here's one seller: http://www.darrenriley.com/shop/cart.ph ... ail&p=1730

For the pickup, I believe Fralin makes a HB version that looks like a single coil.
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby steveonbass » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:24 am

I would get a split pickup in a single coil housing. Single coil P bass pickups all sound "meh" in my opinion
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby dukeplaysbass » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:01 pm

steveonbass wrote:I would get a split pickup in a single coil housing. Single coil P bass pickups all sound "meh" in my opinion


See, I've played a few of the real (not RI) SCPBs, and they sound really good to me. I'm afraid of killing off the lows and highs with a split coil. Anybody try one who can talk about this?
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby Freddels » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:33 pm

Ed did a write up with a couple of sound samples of the Nordstrand ones.

http://www.thebasswhisperer.com/tonetest_nordy.html
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby MoBeach » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:45 pm

I like the warm,growly tone of Bartolini's. For a retro Pbass to me they sound like a good choice. The definitely offer more than a traditional pickup.
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby ghiadub » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:01 pm

G&L single coils are the bomb!!

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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby aussiemark » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:49 pm

Another vote for Lollar here
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby pbassplayer » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:59 pm

my local badass bro bigfatbass has a fralin splitwound in his tele style bass and it cuts the noise down.
regular sc pu's are notorius in and around neon,televisions,computers and rooms w/ bad wiring,and forget any quiet if you use a high powered tube amp.

i had a 55p w/ duncan 1/4 lb magnets and that was a thumpy sounding p/u w/ clean low end so that gets my vote,but i'm probably going to pop a fralin and upgrade the wiring and pots in my vintage vibe squire.

p/s : speak'n of my personal preferance,this body style looks great w/ the chrome covers on..... and don't forget the flatwounds

post a photo when you have it ready....
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby Rhian Batson » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:10 pm

I really dig the Gotoh201's but an ashtray wont fit on it unless you put some rubber gromets between the chrome and bass to raise it up a bit. You may need to use a slightly longer screw as well ie: thumbrest screws. I did this to a P bass I had and it worked wonderfully, created just enough clearance & no one ever noticed. Looked great too. If you're looking to get real low action, you wont with a gotoh as the saddles are big and fat. I modded my bridge by grinding the base down of the E & G saddles on a wheel sander to get the low action I like. Tried shimming the neck prior but that F'd up the tonality of the instrument IMO. Currently rockin that bridge on a CIJ 75ri J.

As far as pickups, ehh, better advice above than I can give.
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby steveonbass » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:10 pm

my local badass bro bigfatbass has a fralin splitwound in his tele style bass and it cuts the noise down.

That's what I would use also.
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby hoytbasses » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:12 am

hipshot makes a traditional bridge

http://store.hipshotproducts.com/cart.p ... tail&p=209

shold work with the ashtrayI would think but I don't really know

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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby dukeplaysbass » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:59 am

@ Freddels - thanks for the link to the Fender HMV and Ed F's review. That bridge may be the ticket if I can't get the cover to sit high enough. And I was looking at the Nordstrand pup as a possible one, but could not find anybody stocking it. Might just contact him directly and get one that way....

@ Ghiadub, I agree - love the single coil G&L but I don't want to re-rout the thing. I'm freaked just trying to get the friggin' paint to work right, much less chew it up with my crappy router skills.

@ pbassplayer - thanks for the info on the Fralin. I LOVE his jazz pups but HATE the regular Fralin P pup, just sounds really boring to me. And I completely agree - this style looks best with both chrome covers. That is EXACTLY the look I want to get...

@ Rhian - that's a great idea! Will see if I can get something to shim up the cover to clear the Hipshot I want to use...

@ Hoytbasses - the link didn't really go through. But the B and Trad bridges they have don't have the string thru option. Maybe you were linking to something else?
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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby hoytbasses » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:45 pm

oh....... I didn't read about the strang through body need:

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Re: 54 P build project - need a few ideas

Postby Freddels » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:47 pm

I've heard good thinks about Curtis Novak's pickups.

http://www.curtisnovak.com/
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