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How I turned my £30 P Bass Copy into a Pro Instrument


greghagger

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If the bass has a sentimental attachment then wanting to upgrade it, is down to the owner & their wallet. Encore did a E84 model bass which had a natural ash body, a few people bought these and upgraded the neck to a Fender version.

Edited by luckman67
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11 minutes ago, luckman67 said:

If the bass has a sentimental then wanting to upgrade it, is down to the owner & their wallet. Encore did a E84 model bass which had a natural ash body, a few people bought these and upgraded the neck to a Fender version.

Yes sentimentality definitely started me off with the idea of upgrading the bass. To then end up with an excellent instrument was just the icing on the cake. 
 

I reckon that a lot of bass players on basschat might have an old instrument lying around and I’m very happy if I give a few of those some enthusiasm to make their basses into a nicer instrument. 
 

I wasn’t aware of the Encore basses with the natural wood finish.  Do you have any knowledge about whether Encore used one main type of wood for their coloured bodies back in the 80’s? 

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Shame it’s so expensive getting a decent neck. I tried buying a unbranded Jazz neck from one of the uk guitar parts suppliers recently, but I had to return it (and also the replacement) as the fretwork was terrible.

 

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2 hours ago, greghagger said:

Yes sentimentality definitely started me off with the idea of upgrading the bass. To then end up with an excellent instrument was just the icing on the cake. 
 

I reckon that a lot of bass players on basschat might have an old instrument lying around and I’m very happy if I give a few of those some enthusiasm to make their basses into a nicer instrument. 
 

I wasn’t aware of the Encore basses with the natural wood finish.  Do you have any knowledge about whether Encore used one main type of wood for their coloured bodies back in the 80’s? 

IIRC the Encore E83 was made of ash blocks glued together, like the Sunn Mustang basses were. The E84 was either a 2 or 3 piece body which not only looked good, but the hardware was gold instead of chrome.

Edited by luckman67
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2 hours ago, nilebodgers said:

Shame it’s so expensive getting a decent neck. I tried buying a unbranded Jazz neck from one of the uk guitar parts suppliers recently, but I had to return it (and also the replacement) as the fretwork was terrible.

 

At the time that I put this bass together it was a bit cheaper to get parts in from the US. , but unfortunately everything has got so much more expensive in the last few years.  

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16 hours ago, Bassassin said:

This is like that "Are YOU A Boring Bass Player?" guy all over again.

Looks like the OP's been a member here for 12 years - surprising then, that it hasn't clicked that we're largely a bunch of middle-aged, highly experienced, frequently pro/semi-pro musicians, many of whom will have been knocking up bitsa basses for the last three or four decades!

Oh, and here's one I made earlier. :)

pink1200.thumb.jpg.dff4fa9278980e35f71954fbbfc4274f.jpg

I love this picture, it reminds me of one of those scenes you might see in an American drama where the murder already happened & the perp is about to dismember the body to dispose of the evidence!

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8 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Instead of being happy to concentrate on the transparent body and the pg-matched headstock, I find myself with three questions: what does the little switch do? is that a Di Marzio PAF? does anyone ever use tort for the block inlays on a maple fretboard?

Little switch is series/parallel, pickup is indeed a PAF-stickered DiM Model P, which I liberated from an old Satellite P copy which I paid £50 for, and then sold for £100. Them were the days...

Never seen tort blocks but I'm pretty sure some of those Overwater J types had black MOTO scratchplate material inlays.

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6 hours ago, greghagger said:

Yes sentimentality definitely started me off with the idea of upgrading the bass. To then end up with an excellent instrument was just the icing on the cake. 
 

I reckon that a lot of bass players on basschat might have an old instrument lying around and I’m very happy if I give a few of those some enthusiasm to make their basses into a nicer instrument. 
 

I wasn’t aware of the Encore basses with the natural wood finish.  Do you have any knowledge about whether Encore used one main type of wood for their coloured bodies back in the 80’s? 

A friend had an Encore that was a solid colour which someone had attempted a half-hearted stripping job on. It was solid hardwood of some kind, but not one I could easily recognise. It was light coloured and fairly soft.

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19 minutes ago, Beer of the Bass said:

A friend had an Encore that was a solid colour which someone had attempted a half-hearted stripping job on. It was solid hardwood of some kind, but not one I could easily recognise. It was light coloured and fairly soft.

I remember the wood being pretty awful in the neck pocket and decided against stripping the body.  Good choice in the end and I also get to still see all the ‘battle scars’ that have accumulated over the years! 

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10 minutes ago, Wolverinebass said:

"Sad Ben Affleck has done WHAT to his bass? Find out what Steve Lukather from Toto thinks to Pino Palladino's reaction."

Brilliant - the sequel.  Sounds like a great one.  

Don’t give up the day job though 😜

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On 04/04/2021 at 04:34, greghagger said:

Thanks for your perspective, I’ll run my posts through with you first to ensure that they are suitable for you! 

Respectfully, I think had you just said "hey, I've done this YouTube video for people who might be starting out in modding instruments or not having enough cash to buy quality gear... What do you think?" you may have had a much more favourable response. Different dynamic, I think your YouTube audience are the too skint to buy a Pro Bass new or even 2nd hand, whereas you'll see here is where over 50% of basses in the UK are hoarded and traded amongst the membership. There's some very knowledgeable folk but also a culture of discussion and debate over self promotion. Not criticising what you're doing in producing the video, may even watch it myself as I finish my first ever Bitsa bass, just the approach here hasn't landed! 

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1 hour ago, uk_lefty said:

Respectfully, I think had you just said "hey, I've done this YouTube video for people who might be starting out in modding instruments or not having enough cash to buy quality gear... What do you think?" you may have had a much more favourable response. Different dynamic, I think your YouTube audience are the too skint to buy a Pro Bass new or even 2nd hand, whereas you'll see here is where over 50% of basses in the UK are hoarded and traded amongst the membership. There's some very knowledgeable folk but also a culture of discussion and debate over self promotion. Not criticising what you're doing in producing the video, may even watch it myself as I finish my first ever Bitsa bass, just the approach here hasn't landed! 

Cheers, the more marketing type titles do seem to rub some people up the wrong way.  But the title is just a title!
 

Had some brilliant feedback on this video, just the odd person getting a bit upset by it.  Usually the ones who get a ‘bee in their bonnet’ are the keyboard warriors who tap away showing their distain. But I take them with a pinch of salt!  

I also think you may be surprised about the mix of my YouTube audience.  I teach and coach a few of them and there are all sorts!  Some of the more affluent subscribers have a real interest in modifying basses.   

Anyway, I am not grouping you in with some of the more immature replies, I appreciate the advise and know you are trying to help. 


I hope you enjoy the video if you do get round to watching it.  Cheers. 

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I've always been entertained by the irony that, since keyboard warrior is a pejorative term used to describe people who write in a pejorative manner online, it is impossible to use the term online without falling under its definition oneself 🙃

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9 minutes ago, greghagger said:

Cheers, the more marketing type titles do seem to rub some people up the wrong way.  But the title is just a title!
 

Had some brilliant feedback on this video, just the odd person getting a bit upset by it.  Usually the ones who get a ‘bee in their bonnet’ are the keyboard warriors who tap away showing their distain. But I take them with a pinch of salt!  

I also think you may be surprised about the mix of my YouTube audience.  I teach and coach a few of them and there are all sorts!  Some of the more affluent subscribers have a real interest in modifying basses.   

Anyway, I am not grouping you in with some of the more immature replies, I appreciate the advise and know you are trying to help. 


I hope you enjoy the video if you do get round to watching it.  Cheers. 

I don't think people have a problem with the video per se, but fear I'll be repeating myself and that you'll miss the point again so I'll just leave it - I'm probably a keyboard warrior though

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Watched the video, but there are a few things that would help flesh it out if you can comment.

You replaced the neck - was there anything wrong with the old neck? Is the new ones just dimensions you prefer? If the old had a gloss finish and you prefer Matt, would it not have been fine to remove the finish with wire wool? Was much pocket work needed for the new neck? A neck to neck comparison would be good.

Same for the pick ups - do you replace the whole pots as well, cloth wires, audio tapers etc.

We’re the tuners original or new ones? Gear ratio’s, feel etc.

 

Essenitally the price of the upgrade is about the sam as you would pay for a second hand Mex Fender, Sandberg Electra VS4, Yamaha Pulsar etc. For that classic P Bas look - comparing them to it would guide people to trying it or not. I get the sentimentality, but that has to be only to the body in this case.

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26 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

I've always been entertained by the irony that, since keyboard warrior is a pejorative term used to describe people who write in a pejorative manner online, it is impossible to use the term online without falling under its definition oneself 🙃

My, you are on the ball on a Monday morning!  You never know, you might even pick up a few likes for that 😜

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23 minutes ago, ped said:

I don't think people have a problem with the video per se, but fear I'll be repeating myself and that you'll miss the point again so I'll just leave it - I'm probably a keyboard warrior though

Nope I don’t class advice from administrators as someone being a ‘keyboard warrior’ - that’s your job! 😊

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15 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Little switch is series/parallel, pickup is indeed a PAF-stickered DiM Model P, which I liberated from an old Satellite P copy which I paid £50 for, and then sold for £100. Them were the days...

Never seen tort blocks but I'm pretty sure some of those Overwater J types had black MOTO scratchplate material inlays.

I once did some searching for opinions on wiring a split in parallel, and found quite a few people being straightforwardly dismissive of the idea. Are these people simply blinkered, or is it that the DiM has enough welly not to be enfeebled by the parallel wiring?

I've been stupid for the idea of those pickups since I came across a demo video of an early 80s Ibanez Blazer and was told that the glorious sound was probably a combination of one of them and Rotosound 66s. There was a very lightweight Cort P for sale here recently which had been fitted with one. I was so tempted that I was doing my best to persuade myself that my hands would be able to cope with the 1¾" neck. Fortunately I failed, but ah the regret. Obviously I had zero need for it neither.... 😏

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59 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Watched the video, but there are a few things that would help flesh it out if you can comment.

You replaced the neck - was there anything wrong with the old neck? Is the new ones just dimensions you prefer? If the old had a gloss finish and you prefer Matt, would it not have been fine to remove the finish with wire wool? Was much pocket work needed for the new neck? A neck to neck comparison would be good.

Same for the pick ups - do you replace the whole pots as well, cloth wires, audio tapers etc.

We’re the tuners original or new ones? Gear ratio’s, feel etc.

 

Essenitally the price of the upgrade is about the sam as you would pay for a second hand Mex Fender, Sandberg Electra VS4, Yamaha Pulsar etc. For that classic P Bas look - comparing them to it would guide people to trying it or not. I get the sentimentality, but that has to be only to the body in this case.

To answer your last point first, the idea of this video isn’t to find out the cheapest way to get a bass.  But if you are up for making a video on that, I would watch it. 
 

I brew beer, and I’m pretty sure I can buy it cheaper, but I love the process and also enjoy picking the hop profile and malts for the final taste.  That said, in regards to my bass, I knew I wanted Bare Knuckle pickups and if I had brought one of the brands you mentions and replaced the stock pickups, it would work out more expensive that way.  Essentially you can get a bespoke instrument that doesn’t cost the earth with sentimentally as well, which is very appealing to some people. 
 

To start answering your other questions, I am going to hunt for my old neck and post a photo when I find it.  You will then realise why I replaced the neck.  I’ve give you one guess at what modification a teenager in the early 90’s foolishly thought might have been a good idea! 😂

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