#1
I have an old, black Squier Precision Bass that's on the lower end that's just kinda sitting and I want to make some upgrades to it.

Now I know you all are thinking "just get a Fender" but it was my first bass and I'd like to keep it around as much as I can. I talked to a man from Sweetwater Sound to give me sort of a guidance on pickups and he guided me towards the Quarter Pounder and Dimarzio P. I originally was going to go with the EMG GZR Passive set after one of my favorite bassists Geezer Butler. I originally was going to go with that because my band plays a lot of Classic Rock (Anything from 60s-80s Rock, 80s Metal, 90s Grunge, and a couple Modern things) and I love how it doesn't sound sweeped. So this is what I was gonna do:

Add Pickups (EMG GZR ($100 with pots), SD Quarter Pounders ($65), Dimarzio P Set($85))
Black Bridge (Needs to be Really Affordable, Hooshian ($25), a Badass Copy ($10)
B/W/B 3 Ply Pickguard or W/B/W 3 Ply Vintage White from The STRAToSphere ($15)
Wilkinson Black Clover Tuners (Any Good? $30)
Aged White Block Inlay Stickers (Jockomo, are they any good and easy? $7) (http://inlay-stickers-jockomo.myshopify.com/products/jazz-bass-block-fret-markers?variant=227547096)
Dean Markley Blue Steel Medium Light Bass Strings ($10-$15)
Extra Little Things (Screws and Knobs $10)

I may or may not need new pots. The ones in it now sound okay but the knobs consecutively fall off of them which isn't great when live. Any Recommendations on those that are affordable?

And I'd like for it to be pretty affordable. I'm kind of going for a Vintage with a Modern twist look. Hence the All Black body with the Aged White Block Inlays. I am leading a little more towards the Seymour Duncans but still am not sure. The guy I talked to said they will be most versatile with what I play.

And a lot of my sound is influenced by Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Geddy Lee (Rush), Cliff Burton (Metallica), Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), David Ellefson (Megadeth), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), and Justin Chancellor (Tool).

I know it's weird saying all of those but those are people that I've sculpted their sound into mine. Even though my EQ settings is always changing, I try to be as close to them EQ wise if anything.

And anything that I have more than one thing on, if you could give me the advice on what will be better and look better, that would be great. Thanks!
1996 Fender Tex Mex Stratocaster
1994 Ibanez Iceman ICB300 Bass
2011 Custom Gibson Les Paul
1984 Morley Power Wah
Squier P Bass
1983 Peavey Session 500
Line 6 POD 2.0.
Various BOSS Pedals
Pearl Forum Series Drums
#2
I assume you have a Squier Affinity series P-bass? If so, it is currently worth about $100 in its current stock configuration.

It is possible to add $1,000 or more in upgrades to make an absolutely killer bass that will be worth about $200. This, of course, would be insane unless you are one of those compulsive modders that can't seem to leave any guitar alone. Sounds to me like you just want to make the old Squier a viable gig-worthy bass.

The "Vintage with a Modern twist look" is simply not cost-justifiable on an Affinity bass, in my opinion. You can make your Squier look better or you can make it sound better. You cannot do both without having way more money in the bass than it's worth. I recommend you go for the sound upgrade. If you simply must have both the look AND the sound then buy a guitar that's already pretty much the way you want it and keep the Squier as a backup.

IMHO, it is critical before you do anything to verify that the neck on your Squier is up to snuff. No ski-jump, warping, or excessive bowing, etc. If the neck is good to go then you can proceed. A Squier Affinity with a good neck is verrry playable.

EMG has hit a homerun with the Geezer Butler pickups. For $100 you can completely upgrade ALL the electronics and have a killer tone with no soldering required.

There is nothing wrong with the Dimarzio or SD pickups, other than you need soldering skills, and you won't get new pots & output jack unless you arbitrarily decide to replace them.

If you buy a Dimarzio or SD pickup AND replace the pots & output jack they won't cost a great deal unless you have to have a guitar tech do the soldering, in which case the $100 for the Geezer EMG's will likely be cheaper. All 3 pickups are decent and I have one of each in one or more of my basses. Personally, I prefer the sound of the EMG's for classic rock but you might think differently, I dunno.

The bodies on Squier Affinity basses are usually Alder (a good thing) and a bit thinner than on their Fender counterparts. This of course makes them a bit lighter as well. Depending on how light the bodies are will determine how much (if any) neck dive you have. I say this because the stock tuners on Squier basses have a lot of backlash (slop) in them but if you tune up instead of tuning down I have never seen a Squier bass that failed to hold tune. Wilkinson tuners are a mid-priced tuner; not as good as Hipshot, Gotoh, or Grovers, but decent. However, any of these will just give you a better "feel". They likely won't hold tune any better, or at least that's been my experience. My point is this... If you have no neck dive then there is no functional reason to replace the tuners. If you DO have neck dive then you might as well go the ultralight tuner route (which are usually available in black) and eliminate as much neck dive as possible while improving your look. One caveat is that it is highly unlikely that you will find drop-in replacement ultralight tuners. You may have to drill or sleeve the bushing holes in the headstock and drill new holes in the back of the headstock for the small screws (which will leave the old screw holes visible and unsightly, IMO).

Sooo... IMHO you don't need to spend any money on tuners and the Squier bridge works just fine. Again, if your neck is good just replace the electronics and put the money you didn't spend towards a really good amp setup. A cheap bass through a good amp always sounds better than a good bass through a cheap amp.

Just my $.02 worth, and others may have a totally different slant. But that's why you posted, right?
#3
Quote by VeloDog
I assume you have a Squier Affinity series P-bass? If so, it is currently worth about $100 in its current stock configuration.

It is possible to add $1,000 or more in upgrades to make an absolutely killer bass that will be worth about $200. This, of course, would be insane unless you are one of those compulsive modders that can't seem to leave any guitar alone. Sounds to me like you just want to make the old Squier a viable gig-worthy bass.

The "Vintage with a Modern twist look" is simply not cost-justifiable on an Affinity bass, in my opinion. You can make your Squier look better or you can make it sound better. You cannot do both without having way more money in the bass than it's worth. I recommend you go for the sound upgrade. If you simply must have both the look AND the sound then buy a guitar that's already pretty much the way you want it and keep the Squier as a backup.

IMHO, it is critical before you do anything to verify that the neck on your Squier is up to snuff. No ski-jump, warping, or excessive bowing, etc. If the neck is good to go then you can proceed. A Squier Affinity with a good neck is verrry playable.

EMG has hit a homerun with the Geezer Butler pickups. For $100 you can completely upgrade ALL the electronics and have a killer tone with no soldering required.

There is nothing wrong with the Dimarzio or SD pickups, other than you need soldering skills, and you won't get new pots & output jack unless you arbitrarily decide to replace them.

If you buy a Dimarzio or SD pickup AND replace the pots & output jack they won't cost a great deal unless you have to have a guitar tech do the soldering, in which case the $100 for the Geezer EMG's will likely be cheaper. All 3 pickups are decent and I have one of each in one or more of my basses. Personally, I prefer the sound of the EMG's for classic rock but you might think differently, I dunno.

The bodies on Squier Affinity basses are usually Alder (a good thing) and a bit thinner than on their Fender counterparts. This of course makes them a bit lighter as well. Depending on how light the bodies are will determine how much (if any) neck dive you have. I say this because the stock tuners on Squier basses have a lot of backlash (slop) in them but if you tune up instead of tuning down I have never seen a Squier bass that failed to hold tune. Wilkinson tuners are a mid-priced tuner; not as good as Hipshot, Gotoh, or Grovers, but decent. However, any of these will just give you a better "feel". They likely won't hold tune any better, or at least that's been my experience. My point is this... If you have no neck dive then there is no functional reason to replace the tuners. If you DO have neck dive then you might as well go the ultralight tuner route (which are usually available in black) and eliminate as much neck dive as possible while improving your look. One caveat is that it is highly unlikely that you will find drop-in replacement ultralight tuners. You may have to drill or sleeve the bushing holes in the headstock and drill new holes in the back of the headstock for the small screws (which will leave the old screw holes visible and unsightly, IMO).

Sooo... IMHO you don't need to spend any money on tuners and the Squier bridge works just fine. Again, if your neck is good just replace the electronics and put the money you didn't spend towards a really good amp setup. A cheap bass through a good amp always sounds better than a good bass through a cheap amp.

Just my $.02 worth, and others may have a totally different slant. But that's why you posted, right?


Well thank you for the reply. It is a Squier Affinity Series, however I do think I can make it look and sound like a better bass. And I actually did gig it, but it just didn't jump out at me.

So it sounds like to me the way to go would be the GZR EMGs since all of the electronics will be upgraded. However I hear they aren't the most versatile but I'm not sure since I haven't played them. I originally thought about upgrading the neck too but a) the neck that's on it is perfectly fine b) that would be a little much on a $150 Bass.

If I had to choose between the SD and Dimarzio's which one should I go for? And if I do go this route, what are some great pots?

As for the other stuff (pickguard, knobs, screws and inlays) are mainly for the look of it that I'm going for as they really wont affect the tone.

Thanks again for the reply.
1996 Fender Tex Mex Stratocaster
1994 Ibanez Iceman ICB300 Bass
2011 Custom Gibson Les Paul
1984 Morley Power Wah
Squier P Bass
1983 Peavey Session 500
Line 6 POD 2.0.
Various BOSS Pedals
Pearl Forum Series Drums
#5
I would venture to say that in general most people view a 2-pickup bass as being more versatile than a 1-pickup bass, and that most bassists choose a Precision for its one legendary fat tone rather than any perceived versatility. I would also venture to say that the Jazz bass is generally considered to be more versatile than a P-bass. If versatility is one of the major goals for your project you are kinda behind the curve by upgrading a P-bass.

Now, this is just me here but I cannot possibly feature putting more than $100 worth of mods into an Affinity P-bass. Anything more than $100 and you would be far better off with a better starting platform, perhaps something like a used MIM Jazz bass since versatility is big on your list. Again, this is just my opinion on the matter. Others may differ.

As I stated earlier, I have basses with SD, Dimarzion, and EMG Geezer pickups. To my ear the Geezer beats the SD and Dimarzio hands down for tone. If I had to choose between the SD and Dimarzio then I would pick the Dimarzio by a small margin. Just be aware that the Dimarzio pickup and pot upgrades will require soldering; the Geezer hardware will not.

For pairing with the Dimarzio or SD pickup, at less than $10 each pots and output jacks are relatively inexpensive. I always use CTS pots and Switchcraft output jacks, as are found on many expensive basses.

I believe that an Affinity bass will require the use of mini pots, which CTS also makes. The routing under the pickguard is usually too narrow to accept full-size pots. You can remove some wood to create a wide enough channel to accept full-size pots but the mini pots work just fine and are a much simpler solution.

Two other makers of top-quality pots are Alpha and Bourne.

Again, my advice is to upgrade only the pickups, pots, & output jack. That's where the tone comes from. All that other stuff is just for show with no real value added. Would you spring for a $1,000 paint job on a 10 year old car? I wouldn't. At the end of the day it's a lot like putting expensive lipstick on a pig. However, it's your bass, your money, and your decision.
#6
DiMarzio's (white) were always the goto pickup for an upgrade until active EMG's came out. I use active EMG's in a walnut/ebony fretless I had made at the 12th fret. Both pickups on full and pluck over whichever pickup. It's very punchy and full sounding. One of the best I have owned was a 1966 dot bound neck Fender jazz that had a Bartolini pre-amp soldered onto the original pickups and a 9v battery. The first time I plugged it in I simply could not believe how good it sounded. Even better than my Spector NS2 with EMG's that guitar players would always request I use. As well, I always use old ampeg tube blueline SVT's and B15's from 69/70. People used to scoff at them, but they have the tone.
#7
Sorry, the Bartolini pre-amp was soldered onto the pots not the pickups. I am going to try to find another. I should have taken it out when I sold the bass because the guy I sold the bass to took it off and threw it out not knowing what it was as it wasn't "a vintage and original part."