Changing Hardware

I’ve only had my TRBX174EW for about two weeks and I’m already thinking about changing hardware. With the tobacco sunburst finish and black volume/tone knobs, I’m thinking about replacing the chrome bridge and tuning machines with black ones. I’m also thinking of replacing the stock strings with some flatwounds as, from what I’ve read, I think I will like the sound they produce better along with being easier on my newbie’s fingers.

Any recommendations? :slight_smile:



I’d say play with your rounds for a bit, build up some finger fortitude. That said, I have flats on my P and love them, but I was about 7 months into playing before I switched. Also, I just bought a JJ Peavey, and I put the roundest-sounding rounds on it and love the way it plays and sounds. So, flats don’t preclude rounds and vice versa. All you need are more basses :smiley:


For me, flats = La Bella DTB 760FS, have them on a few basses.
For hardware upgrades, I like to stick with Hipshot or Gotoh as the quality is great.
Bridge upgrades change the tone…for the better?..that is for you to decide.
Tuner upgrades can change tuning ease if that’s an issue, or simply be cosmetic.
Easiest thing is to find direct retrofit (screw holes line up).
Be prepared to find lots of backorders on things, patience is a virtue on upgrade bits these days.


Ain’t that the truth (and a half)! I ordered some Seymour Duncan P-bass pups a month ago, and they aren’t due till the end of August.

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For tuners I would only look for direct retrofit. Drilling holes in hard maple necks looks like more work than you need.

Agree that stuff is in short supply. I have been planning upgrades to my Player Jag. I have a nut, control plate, Hipshot bridge. On order I’m waiting on pickups and pots. I need to order strings.

Point is I’ve been gathering bits for a while. Takes time.

I was of two minds on the strings earlier, but on reflection they’re just strings. Easy enough to change them out if you don’t like the sound.


I have two basses awaiting bits to complete still…
Les Claypool gold pickups are delayed yet again, they keep saying ‘1 or 2 more weeks’, every 1 or 2 weeks.

A Bartolini buffer/preamp that keeps showing up as the wrong one and no one can figure out how to put the right one in a box or if they even have the right one, but the other option (Richter) is 12 weeks at best.


@KentFrazier I played with round wound strings for about 30 minutes when I first started learning bass, and then ordered a set of LaBella Deep Talking Bass flats. I have never played rounds since. In fact the first thing I do whenever I get a new bass is yank those dreadful round wound strings off and replace them with flats or tapes.
Treat yourself (and your fingers), and try some flats. :smile_cat: If you don’t like them, you can always go back to rounds.


That’s the same bass I bought over two years ago to take the B2B course with @KentFrazier…. Mine is in Mango…

As for hardware, for that bass there were a couple upgrades I did fairly early on (within the first month). Obviously strings will make a huge difference. I play both rounds and flats on my bass’s, but did stick with a good set if rounds on my 174 but that’s what I wanted to learn bass with. Strings are a personal preference, and if you wanna have some fun learning, get a set of rounds and flats. Changing strings is easy and sometimes a good break from playing - not to mention that it does help break a bit of the monotony of constant “practice”…

One of the things that the 174 lacks in is tone and tone control. The volume and tone pots are pretty…… well…. cheap as are the pickups…. Replacing the electronics in that bass REALLY makes a big difference in tonal qualities. Also, the tuning knobs are plastic, and a good set if metal knurled knobs makes it not only look good, but are also much easier to adjust when you’re playing. I’ve not changed the tuners on mine because the bass holds tuning well so instead elected to replace the bridge with a full contact bridge. I put a Babitz on mine, but I also have that bass tuned to BEAD instead of standard EADG tuning. You might consider a Hipshot Kickass instead of the Babitz - they are great bridges and I have them on a couple of my other bass’s.

Have fun!

Keep on Thumpin’!


So what should I expect if I change to one of those bridges? I mean, I’m not unhappy with my bass, but maybe I don’t know what I’m missing… What does a bridge upgrade provide?

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  1. A change in tone that you might like or might not care about.
  2. A cool feeling that you modded your bass yourself.
  3. A gateway to a rabbit hole of buying components and upgrading basses with endless possibilities of combinations of hardware and electronics.
  4. A new sub-hobby.

@PamPurrs Some of your posts regarding flats are what got me thinking about them. :smiley:


@Lanny I’ve looked at both the Hipshot and Babitz, but I didn’t find a Yamaha-specific one. Would you mind pointing me to what I should be looking for in a bridge? I didn’t think of replacing the pots, that is something to consider. Maybe just changing the knobs to chrome to match the bridge and tuners would be better cosmetically? I’ll have to give that some thought.


Replacing stock pots can indeed be a great improvement of tone.
Combined with the bridge, both help a lot.
New pickups too.
It’s all kind of hit and miss of course, however, in general, replacing stock items with quality aftermarket will get you better tone.
Just remember, you may not think its better.
I took a Squier 70s jazz bass and replaced absolutely everything on it except the neck and body (and Squier logo). I love how it turned out but had no idea if it would.


@skydvr - The two main components that transfer harmonics to the body are the nut and the bridge. Since the larger mass is the body itself, having a good solid bridge - one with solid contact - will (from my experience) result in a somewhat deeper richer mellower tone than say a barrel type bridge that has the strings suspended using two small screws. There are those that do prefer those type bridges because of the more metallic tones that they produce. A lot of it for me has to do with the music that I like to play (classics, blues, Motown). Another thing is that full contact bridges do not move side to side if you’re really digging in. I do have one Squire P bass that I have installed an upgraded barrel type bridge on that I removed from my Yamaha TRBX304 though. That bridge has grooves that the adjustment screws set in. I use that particular bass when I’m playing certain rock songs because with round wound strings and that particular bridge, it just sounds… mean and nasty…:joy::joy:

It’s all in what you’re after, and the best way to find out is by trying things out on your own and listening/feeling what puts a smile on your face…

Keep On Thumpin’!


@KentFrazier - They don’t make them specific for Yamaha however, the TRBX has a 5 hole mount that is the same as a Fender.

Here’s a link to one of the Hipshots that I put on one of my Fenders.

Hipshot KickAss High-mass Bass…

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You can also order Yamaha parts right from Yamaha, and they are pretty inexpensive.

You kind of need to know what you are looking for when you go there. But if you wanted to pick up the blackened chrome metal knobs, bridge, tuners, and so on from later basses in the TRBX line like the 604, that’s one route.

The only caveat is that while I am certain any of them would work fine for the 304, I don’t know about the 174.


Ha! I have a Squire precision bass and all that is left original is the body, neck and tuners. I didn’t go black so saw no need for the expense. But I did change out the electronics. Came out nice.