he first step is to change this Musicmaster's pickup from the standard
Stratocaster unit that came with this bass when it rolled out of the factory in
1978. In my opinion, the Strat pickup was just not capable of giving this bass the
sound that it is capable of - and that it deserves to have.
These little basses are an absolute joy to play: they're not only the domain of
guitar players who are dipping their toes into the bass world, or for bassists of small
stature. In fact it's quite the opposite, there are many high-profile players, both male
and female, out there who use these and other short-scale basses, Bill Wyman and
Tina Weymouth among them.
Now, I am a real fan of short-scale basses. They are light, easy to get around,
and they look really funky. I am a big advocator of making any instrument play as
comfortably as possible. If you're going to play at the top of your game for two
hours or more every night, then your bass has to feel comfortable. This will make
the experience enjoyable for the player and in turn, the audience.
I really want to avoid ruining the aesthetic of this bass, which limits me to replacing
the pickup with one that will fit the current cavity in the pickguard, as I don't want
to do any cutting. The new pickup unit that I have chosen for this bass is a Seymour
Duncan SCPB-3 Quarter-Pounder, which should give me the depth and tone that I am
looking for. To install it, I unscrewed the pickguard, and flipped it over to see that there
were two wires coming from the pickup. A word of advice: in this situation, take a
quick photo of where the wires are connected: this will help you later.
Simon McVeigh has been a session bassist for over 20 years, and
works as a bass tutor at the Royal County School of Music in County
Meath, Ireland. He has recorded with many artists and runs www.
breadheadmusic.com, a contacts resource for professionals in the
music industry.
Don't be tempted to cut any wires: always
de-solder any connection you want to remove.
The pick up will be attached to the pickguard by
two screws, so unscrew these and release it. Keep
everything that you remove from your bass. Don't
throw anything away, as you will need it at some
stage. Take this opportunity to clean your tone
and volume pots, which might have become a bit
crackly over the years.
Next time I will be reseating the new pickup in
its optimum position and getting this fine bass
back on the road. ■ ■
Seymour Duncan pickup £50
Bass cost:
sim onm cveigh@ eircom .net
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