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Old 04-10-2013, 10:19 AM   #1
Aventador1987
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Yamaha rbx170 Mod/Upgrade

Hey All:

I saw there was a thread on this particular guitar - but I didn't see anything on my specific questions. I have this bass, and want to modify it if for nothing else to make it my own. I'd like to know what options I have open to me. Specifically are there websites that cator to yamaha bass mods? Or are there websites that sell parts that I can use for this? here's what I'd like to upgrade:

New, faster neck
better pickups
add a pick gaurd for aesthetics - probably chrome
new volume knobs (probably can be bought anywhere, right?)
probably a new bridge would be great too.


Do you think guitar fetish would work for the pickups? Just looking to put the question out into the universe and see what comes back. Thank you all so much for the help, I really appreciate it.
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Last edited by Aventador1987 : 04-10-2013 at 10:21 AM. Reason: relevance
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:34 AM   #2
Sudaka
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Mmmh... May I ask you why would you mod such a cheap bass that far? I think that if you sell it and use the money you already have and get a whole new bass, you would be getting a better instrument... The only reason why people mod cheap basses is because they won't sell it and want it to be a good second bass...
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:39 AM   #3
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Yeah i agree with you - I guess I just like to have a more personal feel for my guitars. Kind of prefer making something over buying it etc. I'm a rhythm guitarist for my band but I sometimes play bass on some songs so I like to have a unique bass that no one else has that I made.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:27 AM   #4
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Okay, for the pickguard you would need it custom made I think. There aren't any (that I could ever find) made for it.
The neck might be the same size as the necks on the other RBX models. If by "faster" you mean thinner, check out a replacement neck for the Yamaha RBX374. I don't know where you'd get these though, maybe try contacting Yamaha about that?
Pickups should be easier to get a hold of. Any pickups of the correct type and size (or anything at all if you're willing to route space) should work.
Knobs are easy to come by, any knob should work. There's some good looking ones on eBay, metal with abalone or mother of pearl in the top.
Ease of getting a bridge will depend on your willingness to drill new holes. You want one that will fit the holes it has then you'll need to measure it and start looking. If you're willing to drill new holes, then you've got a wealth of choices.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
Tostitos
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Honestly, just sell it and buy a better bass. I can appreciate that you want to make it your own, however finding a replacement neck will be a huge headache if there's anything out there that'll fit and meet your expectations. You might have to make one, which is no small undertaking. Throw in a custom pickguard, new hardware, and a set of good pickups and you've spent likely double what your bass is worth.

Its easier and more economical to just sell it and upgrade.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
Aventador1987
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Thanks, chatterbox. I appreciate it! Looking forward to this project

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If you're willing to drill new holes, then you've got a wealth of choices.


Isn't that always the case?
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:17 PM   #7
Zaqq
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Sorry, but that's pointless. You'll need to spend the sum of money this bass already costs. Sell it and get a new bass.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:54 PM   #8
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What's with all the hate for cheap-o modding these days guys?

Much like yourself TS I was an avid modder of cheap gear in the days when I actually had gear to mod.

As Tostito above rightly said, a new neck will be a massive headache. If you intend on changing anything structural on your bass, by which I mean neck and body then you might aswell buy a new bass. That being said, Yamaha's a great little basses and would probably make a decent modding platform to learn the trade on.

To me there are four key areas to look at when you're modding

1 Pickups
2 Wiring
3 Bridge
4 Tuners

Let's start with number one. I can see that your bass comes with a typical P/J set up which mean's that there thousands of options for you. Obviously pickups will depend entirely on what sound you're after. There are a few staples that keep cropping up for specific applications. For example, if you want a very agressive sound, normally used for punk music and the like then a lot of people will recommend the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder set up. If you like a very clean tone then you'll almost certainly want to a noiseless bridge pickup as they can be a source of buzz which is something you might want to avoid if you're after a very hi-fi clear tone. There are also hundreds of vintage voiced pickups if you're interested in going for the more vintage sound, think classic rock. To point you in the right direction we'd really need to know what you're looking to achieve and what you're budget is, remember that top of the range pickups can set you back a couple of hundred bucks a piece and we can recommend them all day long.

On to number 2:

Your first big choice will be the choice of active versus passive wiring. Looking at your bass the wiring cavity seems a bit small so you may have a struggle fitting an active circuit plus a battery in there. You may get away with just the circuit if you're willing to route for a battery box on the back but then if you'll route a battery box you'd just as well route a bigger wiring cavity instead.

The safe option here is going passive instead and avoiding that whole can of worms. I can see that your bass is currently set up with 3 knobs. Most likely you'll have a volume for each pickup and then a master tone knob. I'd personally not change that layout but if you wanted to you could set it up with a master volume, then pickup blend knob and then master tone. or same again with a 3 way switch instead of a blend knob. If you want easy to follow wiring diagrams I can point you in the right direction. The other change you can make in passive wiring is the values of the individual components. EG the resistance of the knobs (pots) or on the tone knob there is a small capacitor that can be changed. With pot resistance a rule of thumb is lower resistance = brighter tone. The most common values are 250k and 500K. Your bass more than likely has 500k pots.

Obviously I'm breezing over a lot of this so please feel free to ask regarding any jargon or anything I'm unclear on.

3 The bridge:

Your bridge looks like a fairly standard fender job which means that you're in luck. There are 3 bridge's I'd recommend for replacing that type of bridge depending on your budget. The cheapest and my favourite is the Gotoh 201 bridge. Next would be the Leo Quan Badass 2 which is getting more expensive by the day as they are no longer being made so you can only really pick them up on ebay or second hand. Finally the most expensive I'd recommend is the Babickz full contact bridge. I'm not going to post pics or links just look them up.

4 The tuners.

This is where you don't want to spare any expense. There are 2 brands for tuners Gotoh and Hipshot. Just find the ones that measure up the same as your own ones and get them. If you want to a proper fancy git you could look at a hipshot D tuner which is basically a tuner for your E string, most commonly, that allows you to instantly change from standard to drop D tunings. Very interesting thing to play with but obviously has a price tag which is only worth if you'll use it.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:07 PM   #9
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I have always enjoyed my modded squier p-bass. I think replacing the neck might be a bit overboard, but everything Dan had to say is true. I've probably sunk too much money into mine, but I definitely prefer it to most fender p-basses.
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