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About SamPlaysBass

  • Birthday 06/02/1994

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    Merthyr Tydfil

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  1. Trade Pending, after lockdown.
  2. Mayones Victorious 4. Handmade in Gdansk, Poland. It's the best made bass I've ever owned and sounds incredible. Woodwork is honestly more like artwork. An American ash body with a Wenge middle and a Redwood top looks stunning. A 9 piece maple and mahogany neck with neck-through construction. Seymour Duncan soapbar pickups and SD Basslines STC-3 Active electronics. The 3-band EQ is one of the most usable I've ever encountered, with all parts of the sweep altering the tone in a useable way. Each pickup has a wonderful voice and sounds amazing solo or used together. Honestly, this was going to be the 'keeper', but my technique is more suited to Fender Jazz-style basses. The bass was made in 2012 but is still in 9.5/10 condition - a couple of surface scratches under the G string from where I pretend to be Mark King in the mirror, but these would polish out (negligible at best). This bass would be equally at home on stage as it would be knocking nails into wood or hanging on the wall as art. Gutted to be selling. Mayones branded hardcase and documents included. Could post in the UK (especially during this time) but I'd limit to UK only, abroad would have to arrange their own postage. I'd be interested in trades for 4-string active Fender or MusicMan shaped guitars (Jazz Elites, Sandbergs, 3-band StingRays in cool colours, Laklands, Sadowskys etc.) so please message with an offer. I'd also consider trades to 60s reissue jazz basses or even Limelights etc. with cash to settle the rest. Try me! Based in South Wales.
  3. Definitely. I've played some basses with £xxx pickups and they sound great, but compared to the likes of Entwistle and Wilkinson, there isn't much in it. In fact, I'd say that pickups are different rather than better or worse. Plus I quite like representing the underdog in badge wars Perhaps some pickups are better suited to certain applications but even sub £30 pickups are a vast improvement over what a lot of manufacturers put in their basses from the factory. YMMV but the pickups I had in my old MiM Jazz from 2007 were absolutely dreadful. Actually uninspiring.
  4. I think you're right! Any advance below £39? 😜 Congrats @skankdelvar, you built an entire bass for nearly the same price as my 'budget' bridge cost me.
  5. @PlasmaZombies They are great basses and they happen to cost £339. There’s no downside! If a second hand one comes up that would be unbelievable value for money. I’d definite recommend them.
  6. What a little beast! The Entwistle pickups are seriously good. Plenty of attack but can also do mellow pretty well with some gaming of the tone knob. Bet that bass can flap some trousers.
  7. The Fender Hi Mass bridge fits perfectly. I unscrewed the old bridge, used the same screws to the screw the new bridge in. Took less than 5 minutes. A very worthwhile upgrade in terms of playability if you are thinking of keeping the bass. Otherwise, save it for something you’ll keep. I think any Fender-shaped bass that’s strung through the bridge will benefit from one of these.
  8. @ead they are lovely! I did try looking for DiMarzio DP126s but there were none around and I was getting impatient. Both of those look awesome 👏🏼 Do they still get outings? There’s something wicked about giving a cheap bass a bollocking on a gig.
  9. Show us some pictures, sounds like a great little project!
  10. Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I’ve got some sound samples of the Entwistle PBXN compared to the standard Squier classic vibe precision pickup here. Just to help people out.
  11. Just before we were sent into our houses for the foreseeable (big shoutout to those key workers who are out making the world go round), I bought myself a Squier Classic Vibe 70s Precision bass. I had sold a Squier Chris Aiken bass last year that I had modified with EMG GZR pickups and really regretted it, so it was time for another. I wanted a P bass that I could leave in the back of a van or not worry so much if it gets knocked or, to a lesser degree, nicked. I've got some great basses but it's hard to relax when you've got a couple of grand on a stage in a dodgy venue! I needed a 'cheap' bass. So here she is... £339 from A Strings in South Wales. They had two in stock, this and a brown one. The brown one looked cooler on the Internet but the black looked better in real life and this one played better. I also wanted a bit of a project - I enjoy taking guitars apart and wanted my new bass to be different to everyone else's. So I decided to set myself a bit of a challenge, Top Gear style (but without the laughs and million pound budgets). A cheap bass challenge it was then. I gave myself the challenge of spending 10% of what I paid for the bass on each upgrade - maximum of £34 per modification. I'd been looking at P bass pickups and the prices you can pay are crazy - you can easily spend 50% of what I paid for this bass on fancy pickups alone, so I thought I'd try a few budget conscious options out. First to go was the bridge. The bass played very well to begin with, but I've always had a problem with the thin, bent metal bridge that Fender supplies on its poverty instruments. I find they wobble a bit in the saddles and don't feel secure. So I ordered a Fender High Mass bridge from here -> https://mickleburgh.co.uk/shop/fender-jazz-bass-p-bass-brass-bridge-assembly/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMItePq_P7q6AIVQbTtCh08ZgWEEAQYAyABEgISgPD_BwE for £34. I wanted to see if the age old forum rumour was true - does a bridge increase sustain and improve tone? To find out, I recorded myself before changing the bridge and after. (Soundcloud link at the end, and no it doesn't!) The new bridge made the bass feel a lot tighter, and better screwed together, weirdly. It also added some weight to the very light body and helped it sit a bit more nicely on a fabric strap. It's a quality item, with well machined parts and no sharp bits. Intonation was easy to sort and it required very little saddle adjustment to get the bass playing nicely again. I'd recommend Fender's Hi Mass bridge. In terms of sound, I didn't hear any difference. See for yourself in the Soundcloud link below. The notes don't sustain for years like people say and the tone of the bass remained the same. I never understood why someone would want a bass that sustained for ages, I've certainly never found any use for 2 minute long sustained notes... yet. Happy with the bridge, I decided to try some new pickups. The pickups that came with the bass were a pleasant surprise - they had character and a nice output. The tone control was useful and helped tame some top end but it could also let the bass 'bite' when you wanted it to. I decided to change them just because I had some free time and I was curious. I had acquired a set of Seymour Duncan SDP-1 pickups courtesy of @shoulderpet. They arrived really quickly and I set about carving up my bass to try them out. They needed a little soldering, but I fancied a challenge. Unfortunately, I was only getting sound out of the E and A strings. Upon going through everything with a fine tooth comb (and a magnifying glass), I had realised that in trying to solder a connection from one half of the pickup to the other, I had lost the end of the winding. I had probably lost it when I put some heat on the solder point and it had slipped out of it's hole and gone missing. Bugger. I shelved those for now and I ordered a set of Entwistle PBXN pickups to see what the fuss was about. Whilst I was waiting for them to arrive, I decided to shield the insides as per @la bam's awesome thread on his John Deacon bass. I had noticed a bit of noise when I wasn't touching the strings previously so thought why not. I got some aluminium tape and went to work on the gizzards. It's a surprisingly therapeutic thing, putting foil tape in the pickup cavity, but my attempt did look a bit like a 5 year old had finished it off. I put some on the back of the pick guard and we were done. This was the tape I used, a whole £4.09 - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fixman-190288-Silver-Aluminium-Adhesive/dp/B00FHXA7TE/ref=pd_nav_hcs_rp_2/258-0320931-5931511?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00FHXA7TE&pd_rd_r=abbd6043-4e0b-4aae-9843-e48fde7dfe81&pd_rd_w=LHmq1&pd_rd_wg=TIXYi&pf_rd_p=12e82a50-703f-4e6f-ae56-e22f8e18f1f0&pf_rd_r=M0X9MJ3HJM004AQ0HFH7&psc=1&refRID=M0X9MJ3HJM004AQ0HFH7 The new pickups arrived from Pickupsplusmore on eBay (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Entwistle-PBXN-pickup-for-bass-guitar-neodymium-designed-by-Alan-Entwistle/233364897542?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649). First thing's first, these pickups are DEEP. The screws that go through the pickup go pretty much the entire height of the pickup again underneath. I had to cut the foam that kept the original pickups secure in half and put them either side of the screws that hang down. After a quick test with a tap from a screwdriver and happy that they worked, I tried to refit the pick guard, but as is well documented on here, the 'ears' of the Entwistle pickup cover are bigger than the originals. IMG_3912.HEIC Luckily, I had the Seymour Duncan pickups here which I salvaged the pickup covers from. Popped the Entwistle ones off, put these on, and the pick guard fit. Voila. I'm not a badge snob by any means (in fact I'm a bit gutted not to be representing a British guitar legend), but the Seymour Duncan covers look cool and the Entwistle pickups are superb. Using neodymium magnets obviously gives these pickups an increased output, but they can sound aggressive and menacing or they can chill out but keep a fat, smooth sound. There's more of everything - every frequency seems to have been turned up by 4 or 5 notches. Playing with these pickups reminds me of the first time I plugged my old MiM Jazz into my friends Fender Bassman 135; it made my bass sound higher in quality compared to playing through the shitboxes I usually went through. There were deep, rich overtones and each note left my bass beautifully. I feel like that is what these pickups have done to this bass. I'd be impressed if they were £130, but they aren't. They're barely £30. Honestly, a brilliant buy. I recorded this bass throughout the (admittedly limited!) mods. I've uploaded them to Soundcloud with a fingerstyle, a slap line and a picked blues tune to give a bit of a range. The fingerstyle pieces were played with the tone at 50% but the rest had the tone fully open. There is no compression, no touching up (oh matron...) or do-overs, or even a backing sound. Just the raw sound of the bass with all of my mistakes after each mod. So in all, this bass has cost me: £339 - bass £34 - Fender Hi Mass Bridge £29.49 - Entwistle PBXN £10 - Seymour Duncans (that I ruined, sorry!) £4.09 - Aluminium Tape Total = £416.58 I'm really pleased with everything, and all upgrades cost no more than 10% of the bass. I've spent around 23% of the bass' new value modifying it. God, lockdown is fun, isn't it?
  12. I bought a Classic Vibe 70s Precision bass just before lockdown. It’s a great bass, sounds like a P, plays like a P. £339 brand new. I was heading down the Vintage Tony Butler route but I wanted to put some money in the pocket of my local music shop which only had the Squiers in stock. I’m very happy with it. They’re easy to come by if nothing else!
  13. How did it all go with the Entwistles? Any sound clips would be welcome 😉 I fancy changing the pickup in my new CV vibe 70s P. Something more of a vintage voicing but again, CHEAP. I bought a set of Tonerider Jazz pickups for my MiM Jazz last year and they are amazing. Tempted to take a punt on the P version for £35ish. Although, I have heard that some earlier CV basses use Tonerider pickups from the factory. Nothing particularly wrong with the pickup in there now but we’ve got a long few months ahead and a few little projects won’t go amiss.
  14. I love seeing an Ashdown at a venue. Even if it’s been ragged to holy hell and back, they still sound great and have plenty of volume. MAGs usually, EB180 a couple of times. Never had the luxury of an ABM provided by the venue.. yet! Charlie Wrights in East London had a great vintage Peavey Session bass head into a TVX 4x10 cab when I played there around 5 years ago. That had been scouring eBay for a few weeks.
  15. Last month I traded a jazz bass for a Markbass Evo 1 as my old TC RH450 is getting on a bit. After some research, there seems to be a split of opinion on the internet, but here’s my tuppence. It’s larger than the usual Markbass head but not massive at all. Light and well built, as all MB stuff seems to be. The two channels are blendable, and the focus of this amp seems to achieve the results of biamp-ing but using a single head. It does this really well. I’ve set mine up to use the blended option, with a clean tone blended with a grindy-SVT OD blended in in the ratio of about 60:40. It sounds great. EQ is generally flat unless compensating for a crap cab or boomy room and even though it’s 3 band, it works really well. Better than my old LM3, dare I say. I’ve used it for about 10 rehearsals and 3 gigs, and it’s always been plenty loud enough and sits beautifully in a mix. Lows sound full, mids are punchy and there’s top end there if you need it. Very impressed indeed. I use my tone control on my American Professional 5er Jazz to tame the OD, opening the tone up for some spanky intro sounds and mellowing it out once everyone else is playing. My experience is pretty limited in terms of the effects, but the compressore works well and the envelope filter is honestly the best I’ve ever heard. If they could put that filter in a pedal I’d buy it in a heartbeat - much better than the MXR bass envelope filter I’d used for a few years. Tuner is a welcome addition. Downsides that I’ve found so far are that it’s difficult to see the labels for the controls and the blend switch is a bit fiddly if you’re making last minute changes. If they were to release an EVO 2, then I’d like a slightly simplified (or at least emphasised) EQ section. The headphone volume knob is the same size as the master volume and they are next to each other! I’ve used it with my 5 String jazz and my 4 string Mayones. Makes both sound great. Here it is in the Earl Haig Club in Cardiff last night. Plenty of compliments and the opening band (who used my rig) sounded awesome. No complaints from the sound guy. Happy days!
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