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ForbiddenWytch

Do you consider it sacrilege to modify a signature bass?

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You say it’s made of alder? FWIW, Steve actual bass was (surprisingly) made of maple. 

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

You say it’s made of alder? FWIW, Steve actual bass was (surprisingly) made of maple. 

Yeah I read in an interview with Michael Kenney (steve’s tech) that they didn’t realise the body was maple until a chunk of the Control cavity fell out and had to be fixed which is why these basses were made of Alder and they switched to Maple for the West Ham Model. 

I don’t think these models are actually that close to Steve’s basses and I know he very rarely uses these particular ones

As a side note, the original blue with red mirror guard signature from 2001 was so far away from Steve’s spec that he never ever used them. Makes you wonder why he signed his name off against them?

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5 hours ago, ForbiddenWytch said:As a side note, the original blue with red mirror guard signature from 2001 was so far away from Steve’s spec that he never ever used them. Makes you wonder why he signed his name off against them?

Same reason I just paid £35 for some flimsy Maiden / West Ham shorts ; - Rod Smallwood and £££ 

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I threw a John East pre and a pair of Lollar pickups on my Japanese Marcus Miller Signature a couple of years ago.
It is now the best sounding MIJ MM signature on the planet, and I sold it only to get myself the five string USA version after some time.

So my opinion is mod it all you want, it is your bass.

 

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Posted (edited)

I used to own a Geddy Lee Jazz Bass and always thought it would be my perfect bass if it had a John East pre amp fitted. 

But when I bought another one, about a year ago, I opened up the controls cavity and the soldering was so perfectly done (Japanese Fender alway do things properly), that I couldn't bring myself to vandalise that perfect wiring.

So I ended up buying a black Fender Deluxe Jazz, which is a Geddy Lee lookalike and has the active electronics already fitted (it was a stupidly cheap price).

The Geddy Lee now sits under the bed O.o 

Edited by gjones

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Coming a little late to this party. Only sig bass I have is the Bruce Thomas Profile. I knew one day I would have one the moment it appeared. He is my number one bass hero so it was a bit of a no brainer. 

I really agonised over altering it in any way but then remembered what he said on his blog post - 

"Of course, you may disagree with some of my reasoning and want to tweak your bass in some way or another, which I hope you do."  

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Posted (edited)
On 22/05/2020 at 01:46, ForbiddenWytch said:

Evening all! 

Im wondering what the general opinion on modding signature basses is? As it’s nearly 2am, there’s a long story behind my question below but if you want to ignore that and just leave your opinion, feel free! The gist of it is “bass I need to justify keeping and don’t want to have to sell so need some more variety out of it and buying another bass isn’t an option due to money & adding new pickup would be much cheaper” 

I own one of the Fender Steve Harris Precision basses from the 2010 run of Made In Japan sparkle blue basses but whilst I really do love it and love the P bass sound, to justify keeping a bass of that value I need to use it more so I need some more versatility from it. 

I have a bass with two J pick ups in it and a bass with P/J (Spector style) pick ups in it already so I have the Jazz sound and P/J sounds covered but two of my favourite bassists, Marko Hietala of Nightwish & James LoMenzo of Megadeth/BLS/etc. both have basses with a regular P pick up and a reversed P pick up in the bridge position which is one of my favourite tones I’ve heard and this has got me thinking of adding a reverse P and a mini 3 way toggle switch to my bass to give me extra options. 

I have considered selling the bass quite a few times but ultimately, I have far too much sentimental attachment to it to let it go (i’ve owned it from new, first “new” bass I had, first high end bass etc etc) and there’s a lot to the back story of how I got it/gigs played on it. Also better mention that Steve Harris is the reason I play bass too. This means selling it to get a cheaper bass for modding is out the window. Not just the sentimental reason but I love the spec and finish of the bass.

The bass it’s self isn’t mint but it’s been extremely well looked after so it’s not like i’d be modifying a show piece, this is a workhorse and I have already installed a Hipshot D-tuner & Graphtech black tusq nut when the original broke on it but apart from that, it’s stock! 

I should add, I wouldn’t dare attempt routing the bass myself, I would pay someone to do it properly so it’s a clean rout and likely have the cavity lacquered then I’ll copper tape the cavity like I have shielded the other pickup cavity already. 

Costs wise, i already have a pickup to go in it and copper tape, switches and wire so the only outlay would be the cost of the routing. 

Anyway. Sorry for the essay and interested to know what others think. If you’ve read through that then I congratulate you and apologise again for my late night ramblings! 😂😂

 

6C11DAF8-6D29-496A-8204-BEF4F3113644.jpeg

(Pickguard is reflecting an Iron Maiden flag pinned to my ceiling, it’s not artwork on the pickguard)

Sell it to me, and use the money to go buy a 2nd hand Precision you can experiment on ✌

*** I know you don’t want to sell it, but still worth a try 😉 ***

Edited by mattbass6

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I modify things - I’ve just done this to a Marcus Miller.

The pickup polepieces dig in my fingers (Causing blood blisters) and I like the pickups close to the strings.

these covers are £4 a set on eBay.

reversible modifications.

unlike what I’m going to do to my natural miller 😂

 

3BCDD720-5682-47B5-B41D-B64B6874B1FD.jpeg

0FD753BB-F14A-452E-92FE-998E5EC7C6FB.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

Not at all.

To me it would be very much like asking if drawing a mustache with a marker on some famous rock star pictured on a fan poster would be a sacrilege. 

Most signature basses are massed produced products, not exactly works of art, or even just fine craftmanship, if you can make it one though I'd consider it an improvement, actually giving it a soul.

Same goes for by far most vintage basses really, though I guess in special certain cases with really rare basses, unique prototypes as an example, that has a historical significance it could be seen as defiling a historical artifact. 

With boutique basses I guess we are approaching sort of a grey zone for what is acceptable, the luthier definitely does deserve a great deal of credit and respect for his extraordinary crafmanship, still it wouldn't exactly be truly unique, but just a copy of a model he, or, even more likely, his boss invented, and in the end it is still your bass, and I wouldn't consider it an actual piece of true art, just a testament to someone who did a great job.

We are getting very close to sacrilegious proportions modding artfully handmade custom basses though, those should be considered actual works of true art in my opinion and not just fine craftmanship, and it would be showing the creator serious disrespect to mod it, if not even being a quite literal personal attack on them, after all he or she channeled some of their own soul into their creation, and as such has a spiritual link to it, unless of course the creator explicitly has expressed that they are fine with you modding it.   

Where I set the definite indisputable limit would be modifying a bass which belonged to an acclaimed artist before it got into your possession, at very least if it have had an actual significance to music history, that would be defiling a historical artifact, as well as showing disrespect to it's former owner, again they might actually have channeled some of their very own soul into this instrument. 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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Posted (edited)

This is truth. From the owner’s perspective. I only disagree in that when the last dot and bound jazz remaining Pristine has been re-sprayed neon, then we will have Truly lost something. 

Edited by Geek99

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On 04/06/2020 at 05:23, Baloney Balderdash said:

Not at all.

To me it would be very much like asking if drawing a mustache with a marker on some famous rock star pictured on a fan poster would be a sacrilege. 

Most signature basses are massed produced products, not exactly works of art, or even just fine craftmanship, if you can make it one though I'd consider it an improvement, actually giving it a soul.

Same goes for by far most vintage basses really, though I guess in special certain cases with really rare basses, unique prototypes as an example, that has a historical significance it could be seen as defiling a historical artifact. 

With boutique basses I guess we are approaching sort of a grey zone for what is acceptable, the luthier definitely does deserve a great deal of credit and respect for his extraordinary crafmanship, still it wouldn't exactly be truly unique, but just a copy of a model he, or, even more likely, his boss invented, and in the end it is still your bass, and I wouldn't consider it an actual piece of true art, just a testament to someone who did a great job.

We are getting very close to sacrilegious proportions modding artfully handmade custom basses though, those should be considered actual works of true art in my opinion and not just fine craftmanship, and it would be showing the creator serious disrespect to mod it, if not even being a quite literal personal attack on them, after all he or she channeled some of their own soul into their creation, and as such has a spiritual link to it, unless of course the creator explicitly has expressed that they are fine with you modding it.   

Where I set the definite indisputable limit would be modifying a bass which belonged to an acclaimed artist before it got into your possession, at very least if it have had an actual significance to music history, that would be defiling a historical artifact, as well as showing disrespect to it's former owner, again they might actually have channeled some of their very own soul into this instrument. 

You know what, there’s nothing I can say to this because I totally agree with all of it. It echoes a lot of the replies in this thread so far but a lot of great added points too. 

 

On 04/06/2020 at 05:42, merello said:

You bought it,

You got it,

Sod it!

Just mod  it!

Special mention to this, I love a good poem to make a point.

 

On 04/06/2020 at 05:36, Geek99 said:

This is truth. From the owner’s perspective. I only disagree in that when the last dot and bound jazz remaining Pristine has been re-sprayed neon, then we will have Truly lost something. 

Not gonna lie, i’m a sucker for a neon green finish. Would love to see Leo’s #1 in neon pink 😂😂

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On 04/06/2020 at 00:51, AndyTravis said:

I modify things - I’ve just done this to a Marcus Miller.

The pickup polepieces dig in my fingers (Causing blood blisters) and I like the pickups close to the strings.

these covers are £4 a set on eBay.

reversible modifications.

unlike what I’m going to do to my natural miller 😂

 

3BCDD720-5682-47B5-B41D-B64B6874B1FD.jpeg

0FD753BB-F14A-452E-92FE-998E5EC7C6FB.jpeg

Great idea on changing the covers. That’s awful that you get blisters off the pole pieces.

that Miller is gorgeous, have always wanted one of those in the same blue as my above P Bass and a “Geddy” neck (maybe next bass...).

Out of interest, what are irreversible mod are you doing to the au natural one? 🤔🤔🤔

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On 29/05/2020 at 11:30, mattbass6 said:

Sell it to me, and use the money to go buy a 2nd hand Precision you can experiment on ✌

*** I know you don’t want to sell it, but still worth a try 😉 ***

If you’ve got a Dingwall NG-2 (4/5, doesn’t matter) you want to trade for it, I’d be hard pressed to say no 🤣🤣

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7 hours ago, ForbiddenWytch said:

Great idea on changing the covers. That’s awful that you get blisters off the pole pieces.

that Miller is gorgeous, have always wanted one of those in the same blue as my above P Bass and a “Geddy” neck (maybe next bass...).

Out of interest, what are irreversible mod are you doing to the au natural one? 🤔🤔🤔

B3EEAFC6-A9DA-44A0-9AA3-A345A92EF316.jpeg.7c6cb024db8b72b2ec9902fc1348fa58.jpeg

off for a refin 

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Like I said before its your bass to do with But if it was me I would see how much its worth now to sell it & the either buy or put together a bass from parts etc to make it what you want . If its cheaper to keep bass & mod it then do that. If its cheaper to buy another bass or parts bass & do what you want in mods well then sell the Signature bass and do the latter part.  

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Knowing that you've got a big sentimental attachment would it be worth looking into getting a cheap bass body,  doing the routing adding the pickups to it, fitting the neck from the steve harris? Then trying it out for a bit. If you like the sound enough and think you'll use it, you can then route the steve harris and transfer everything back across?

 

The only reason i say, is the amount of times i've modded (irreversibly sometimes) and then played it just to realise it wasn't what i wanted out of it.

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On 09/06/2020 at 07:51, AndyTravis said:

B3EEAFC6-A9DA-44A0-9AA3-A345A92EF316.jpeg.7c6cb024db8b72b2ec9902fc1348fa58.jpeg

off for a refin 

Oooo which colour?

On 09/06/2020 at 15:53, simon88wilson said:

Knowing that you've got a big sentimental attachment would it be worth looking into getting a cheap bass body,  doing the routing adding the pickups to it, fitting the neck from the steve harris? Then trying it out for a bit. If you like the sound enough and think you'll use it, you can then route the steve harris and transfer everything back across?

 

The only reason i say, is the amount of times i've modded (irreversibly sometimes) and then played it just to realise it wasn't what i wanted out of it.

It is a good point and yeah, I’ve had a few of those “why have I done that” ones my self (like routing a Billy Sheehan inspired neck pick up to a passive Spector copy...).

Ill have a trawl of eBay in a bit as I have nothing to do, see if I can bag a body for £20 haha!

On 09/06/2020 at 09:32, robertg43 said:

Like I said before its your bass to do with But if it was me I would see how much its worth now to sell it & the either buy or put together a bass from parts etc to make it what you want . If its cheaper to keep bass & mod it then do that. If its cheaper to buy another bass or parts bass & do what you want in mods well then sell the Signature bass and do the latter part.  

A second hand SPB-3 or 4 would likely be £40-50 and having the routing done would be about the same. That’s what I’d say is the normal situation on it but as it is, I have a spare Precision bass pick up kicking around and a friend of mine does work carving/wood work professionally so providing he can return to work, I’ll be able to get him to do it and pay him what it costs.

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7 hours ago, ForbiddenWytch said:

It is a good point and yeah, I’ve had a few of those “why have I done that” ones my self (like routing a Billy Sheehan inspired neck pick up to a passive Spector copy...).

Ill have a trawl of eBay in a bit as I have nothing to do, see if I can bag a body for £20 haha!

Hopefully it'll turn up something then all you'll lose is the price of the body rather than feeling you've ruined the bass. Good luck Stevie!

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