So... I've got a Squier VM Fretless jazz. Had it for 2 1/2 years now, and let me tell you it is a workhouse. Seriously. I actually just used it to record my band's demo, sounded great. However there are a few things that I'd like to change on it. The bass has already had the bridge and pickups replaced with a Gotoh 201 and a pair of Dimarzio Model J pickups.

1) Strip the bass down, repaint it white, and add a red pickguard. I'm assuming my local luthier/music shop can do it, he usually does wiring, replacement parts, and repair but I think he could, or at least recommend someone to do it.

2) Replace the tuners with something a bit more accurate. They hold tune well, but I find they don't exactly get it spot on and a slight nudge with change the note drastically.

3) Install a MM style humbucker in the bridge position and wire it up to run in series, parallel, and phantom coil such as Stingrays do. I want to do this because I like the idea of versatility, and I think that a MM would give me that sound. Also I love the sound of MM basses, but am not looking to quite buy a new bass, I like the wiring idea behind it, and I would like a little more punch in my bridge position.

4) This one is not quite set yet, I'm still on the fence about it but I think I would like to include a nice 3 band active preamp onto it as well. Make it a bit easier to fine tune my tone, change tones without walking back to an amp and messing with it. At the very least I'd like to switch out my controls for a Vol, Blend, and Tone knob rather than Vol, Vol and Tone if I don't go for a 3 band eq.

Now then... I know that the cost of all this would probably easily add up to the cost of a new bass. Why don't I want to buy a new bass? Because I like the way my bass plays. I like the way it sounds for the most part, but I believe I can make it better. I do not like the way it looks, it looks like a ripoff a Jaco tribute, which quite frankly I don't care for. And I want to make this to be a bass unique to me. I am going to buy a new bass by the end of the summer before I head to school (I have a full time job, and very few financial responsibilities), and I'm planning on having that be a Fender Deluxe P bass.

So the questions I have are

Who makes a very nice MM style humbucker that I can slap in the bridge? Let's say budget is up to $150 USD.

What would be a nice preamp to throw in there? Preferably 3 band, stacked knobs would be preferential, but since I'm throwing on a pickguard and repainting it I could replace the control jack to one that would fit more knobs. But again this one is not set in stone.

Some good tuners in your opinion that will hold tune well, not have such a low ratio, up to $100 USD?

Thanks for all your help. Really.
Gear:1991 Fender MIJ Jazz/Squier VM Fretless Jazz -> Pitchblack -> Way Huge Green Rhino -> Boss OC-2 -> Boss DD-7 -> Markbass Tube 800 -> SWR 4x12.

Flat wounds. Flat wounds on everything. Everything is a little fatter when it's flatter.
With the amount that all that is going to cost you, I'd recommend buying a new bass.
Also, if you like the sound then why are you trying to change it so drastically?

/incredibly unhelpful post.

*Reads thread properly*

For the price of a refinish job you could get a second hand Squier Classic Vibe jazz that comes in the colour you want, you could just swap the neck.

I've never had any tuning problems with the numerous Squiers I've had, are you sure you don't just have too much overlapping string on the tuners?

Every major pickup brand does a MM style pickup, try Seymour Duncan, EMG, Bartolini, Nordstrand, etc. Look for soundclips though. Most of them can be wired passive/series/split/etc.

East, Aguilar and [insert when I remember the name] make the best preamps.

Might I suggest a new bridge too? Gotoh 201s are nice but I don't think they compare to a Badass Bass III.
Last edited by Spaz91 at Apr 24, 2011,
^ I'll just add to that good advice:

- Check out Hipshot's Ultralite tuners. They're very high quality, and will lighten up your headstock.

- For preamps, it all depends on how much you want to spend. East and Audere make good drop-in preamps that come loaded on a control plate. Aguilar and Glockenklang also make excellent 3 bands.
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That's brilliant Spaz! Ah you're a genius! I'm relatively certain I could find a Cv jazz for slightly cheap, swap the necks, install the MM and pre-amp in it, and also have my VM for a fretted bass, for cheaper than most other options.

I'm looking into SD's MM, along with Barts and Nordstrand. I think the SD may be the best option for the money, especially since this plan will require routing, rewiring, pickup and neck swap and then set ups for both basses.

As for a pre-amp I'm really leaning towards Audere. I remember an old friend telling me about their pre-amps a while back, seems like a good bang for your buck with wide tonal options.

As for a badass bridge I may, but I'm not incredibly sold on it, but could be persuaded for a used one, more of an approximate value.

Thanks for the help, keep the suggestions coming if you have them. Or if you have pieces or a white CV jazz I could buy.
Gear:1991 Fender MIJ Jazz/Squier VM Fretless Jazz -> Pitchblack -> Way Huge Green Rhino -> Boss OC-2 -> Boss DD-7 -> Markbass Tube 800 -> SWR 4x12.

Flat wounds. Flat wounds on everything. Everything is a little fatter when it's flatter.
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That's brilliant Spaz! Ah you're a genius!

On second thought, maybe a Badass Bridge isn't the best thing for a fretless bass, do you have an approximation of the tone you want?
Last edited by Spaz91 at Apr 26, 2011,
I put EMG-HZs in my old Squier, along with an East J-Retro. Fantastic combination, and they make MM pups. Might be worth considering.
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Basically I'm looking for a punchier tone in my bridge position, something that will pickup harmonics well, won't sound too thin when soloing on the bridge. I'm not a huge fan of that Jaco bridge pickup sound. I have tried quite a few Stingrays, due to the manager at my local GC being a huge Stingray fanatic, and I love the tone. Deep, punchy, versatility for days. Combining it with an active preamp and the capacity to shape tone quickly to fit each song. I've got a pretty good tone from having some nice, not boutique, but good, equipment.

My hesitance on the Badass Bridge just comes from I may be happy with switching out the bridge pickup, and the electronics, and have that be enough. I just want clarity. I'm not sure if the Badass is necessary for that. I am aware it would probably be beneficial, but necessity.
Gear:1991 Fender MIJ Jazz/Squier VM Fretless Jazz -> Pitchblack -> Way Huge Green Rhino -> Boss OC-2 -> Boss DD-7 -> Markbass Tube 800 -> SWR 4x12.

Flat wounds. Flat wounds on everything. Everything is a little fatter when it's flatter.