With so many basses on the market, finding one that plays great, can be few and far between. Since the creation of computerized building methods, manufacturers aim to continuously produce instruments that are basically identical. Regardless, there’s nothing better than picking up that “perfect bass”. I personally feel that all basses feel different in one way or another. In some cases, a bass that plays great, may not sound great. Customizing your bass with Seymour Duncan pickups, a new pickguard, knobs and a Hipshot D-tuner, are just a few ways you can turn that old bass into one of your main basses.
I recently decided to customize a Fender Squier Classic Vibe 60′s Precision Bass. There were many reasons for choosing this bass. First of all, it plays great, which most basses can with the proper neck and bridge adjustments. Secondly, a Precision bass can be found in almost every bassists collection, not to mention that my first bass was a Precision and it’s where I spent many many years practicing. The Classic Vibe series from Fender is a great way to get the feel of a vintage bass without the price tag included. I decided to use Seymour Duncan passive Quarter Pound Precision pickups with the active 2 band Blackout Preamp STC-2C-BO. The Quarter Pound pickups feature larger magnetic poles which give you increased output.
The first step in customizing your Precision Bass is to remove the strings, knobs and pickguard screws. Remove the pickguard. Remember that the electronics will be attached to the pickguard. Remove the volume pot, tone pot and input as well as the pickups from the bass.
Now you can replace the pickups with your new Seymour Duncans. The new pickups will screw directly into the factory drilled holes. Next, begin attaching the Blackout preamp, input and volume pot into the pickguard. I chose to reuse the factory volume pot that came in the bass. Since the Blackout is an active preamp, I also had to hollow out a small section of the control cavity to accommodate the 9 volt battery. As you attach the electronics to the pickguard, remember to position them so that you’ll be able to access all solder joints and fit into the control cavity. You may need to hollow out some additional space for the preamp and input.
If at any time during a pickup installation you don’t feel comfortable, take your bass to your local music store to get it done right the first time. Most Seymour Duncan dealers should be familiar with these installations. When soldering connections, be sure to use the right tool for the job. A fine-tipped soldering gun works best for tight spaces. I must admit to starting this installation with a low end soldering gun which did nothing but cost me more time and money. Take your time and follow the installation guide that comes with the pickups. Once you’ve finished soldering, plug the bass in and gently tap on each pickup with a screwdriver to be sure that the bass works. I also decided to throw on a Hipshot D-Tuner, strap locks, a GruvGear Fret Wrap and a bridge cover.
The improvement of the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Precision pickups and active Blackout preamp is amazing to say the least. With separate bass and treble controls, you can dial in anything from ultra low reggae tones to crisp slap sounds, all in one stacked knob. This bass is now as worthy as any other bass, and why not… it’s Sonic Blue! If you’re thinking about customizing your bass, Seymour Duncan provides pickups and circuitry to fit any bass.