Upgrade Day! Anyone Else Upgrading?

Looking real good. How do you like the Custom Shop 60’s? I like them a lot. :sunglasses: :+1:


I wish I had made a recording pre swap out, but didn’t.
I had played a lot, swapped then played again and I felt like the tone changed considerably and I liked it.

Emerson pots appeared last night, so Part 4 later today…on to finding all black pickguard and control plate that fit (apparently Squires vary greatly).


New pot went in today.
I’m shocked at how different the bass sounds.
I feel like the tone variety is much wider now, and sounds like what I hear in videos.


I had my old Lyon LB40 upgraded with new pots, Seymour Duncan SLB-2, SPB-2 pickups, D’Addario ECB81 flat wounds 45-100 and a setup.
Picked it up today.


My Sharpie marker got rid of that pesky white line on the pick guard for free.

Next up…back screws and black control plate.


The Italia bass finally arrived today, along with a used Tonebone Bassbone to blend the piezo and mag pickups. Quick lunchtime spin on the bass and I’m liking it. Time to fiddle with the Bassbone now to see what it can do tone wise for it. I dig the piezo sound on the hollow bodies.

Will fiddle with it AFTER proper practice…


Screws came…
And so did the string retainer.


What do all the knobs do on the Italia?

Two volume, two tone, and a mix?


Mag pickup at the neck - Vol and tone
Piezo at the bridge Vol, bass & treble
No mix - two discrete circuits, two discrete output jacks.
Both are active.
Thus the need to mix them in another way.
A guy on talkbass who has the bass said he just uses a Y jack, which I picked up but had a hunt here this would not be ideal based on some feedback here. And that was right.
It works, but it could use a bit of blending/tone shaping.
The tone controls on the bass are ok, but the ones on the Tonebone Bassbone are better, and channel 2 is optimized for piezo.
So when the kids go to bed tonight, I am going to take that pedal for a whirl and play around with blend/tones.

It is a very interesting and odd bass, which is why I like it.
The two separate circuits.
Mahogany body (back) with ‘acuousti-glass’ front (fancy word for plastic) fused toether.
Hollow body.
Adjustable wooden thumb rest.
Wooden bridge.
Sleek Italian deco-ish/mid-century styling.
Built well, its heavy.

Weird and cool.


I assume you’re going to install black tuners as well?


Yep. Hip shot with a drop D
Back ordered, like half of the world right now.


A while back I had ordered 250k CTS potentiometers and a .047 uf capacitor for my Squier Affinity Series PJ bass. Today I finally got around to installing them.

I had previously upgraded the pickups to DiMarzios, so I knew that the bass had cheapie little min-pots. Here they are with a CTS pot for comparison.

Replacing the pots was pretty straightforward: Lots of soldering, and the holes in the pickguard had to be enlarged a bit.

There was room in the cavity for the volume pots, but fitting the tone pot required enlarging the cavity a bit with a Dremel tool.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much of an audible difference with the new pots, and that was true with the volumes: Turn it up, it gets louder. Duh. However, the CTS pots have a nice silky feel and are totally free of static or any sort of background noise.

Then I tried the tone control and was blown away. It now has about twice the range. Back it off and you get that classic fat P bass thump but turn it up and it almost sounds like an active preamp - serious treble here.

I’m not sure why this is happening. The original pots were stamped 250k but metered out at 210k. The replacements are a matched set at exactly 270k. The little green capacitor was cryptically stamped “2A503J” which means . . . who knows?

I replaced it with an “orange drop” cap. These are said to have legendary properties in some circles, but I’ve always believed that a cap is a cap and it doesn’t matter what type is used.

Whatever the cause, the function and sound of the tone control is greatly improved and I’m a happy camper. :+1:


Sounds great, @spidey9! Sometimes I think about upgrading my Cort Action PJ as well. Better pickups, better pots, maybe a high-mass bridge… Then I realize I would be spending more money on upgrades than I did on the bass itself :joy: Probably better to put that money towards a higher quality instrument.


I did this on my Squire 70s vibe J bass too @spidey9, and the difference was amazing as you say. I did it the lazy way and got the overpriced Emerson pot assembly.
I am over the moon happy with the tones that I now get with Fender CS 60s pickups and these pots.

@Mike_NL - I think in some cases this is worth doing, but depends on the ‘bones’ of the bass… This Squire is built so damn well its out of control amazing. When spring hit here in NY, my Fender Custom Shop 61 P bass with a quarter sawn neck started moving like crazy, had to add over a full turn to the truss rod to get the relief back to where it was. These quarter sawn necks are supposed to be as sturdy as they come. The Squire…less than 1/8 of a turn got the relief adjusted. So I figured this bass was worth trying to do the upgrades.

Between the pickups and pots, and all the ‘blacking out’ of components (black high mass bridge - this made a difference in tone too, black control plate, black hipshot tuners with drop D just for fun, black string retainer, black strap locks vs. chrome, black screws everywhere, black nuts and washers) I will have put in more $ than what I paid for the bass, but a lot less than a bass with all those components in it, and its been a LOT of fun doing it.

There was really nothing wrong with the bass before I started, it was solid, now its better (in my mind) and I have no interest in pursuing a high end J bass (ok, for a while anyway). The next addition will be a Stingray Special, but probably not til next year. Will window shop until then.


It’s funny I have exactly the opposite dilemma. I think it would be fun to experiment with comparing pickup sounds, but it seems ridiculous that I would change the pickups on an already quality instrument. :joy:


I go round and round with this. I’ve definitely spent more on mods than the cost of the bass on my Squier (and my Ray 4 as well, for that matter), and I also know that I will not come close to recouping my investment should I decide to sell.

However, both these basses play well and sound great.

Nonetheless, I still have this craving for a genuine American Professional II Fender P bass. If I do ever get one, it will stay completely stock. As @DaveT mentioned, a bass like that shouldn’t need any mods to play and sound awesome.

Besides, it’s one thing to attack a $229 Squier bass with a Dremel tool, and something else entirely to do it to a $1600+ Fender. I probably couldn’t do it - my hands would be shaking too hard. :roll_eyes:


Quite true, @spidey9 . . . . and I fully understand your craving! :wink:



It’s good to know that this works both ways :sweat_smile:

You would probably get struck by lightning or swallowed by a freak sink hole before you could even try :rofl:


So aside from the faulty peizo under the E string which gets looked at this week, I have fiddled a bit with the bass and really like it because it has very unique and different tone(s).
The body being mahogany on back and ‘acuosti-glass’ (aka expensive plastic) on top gives the body and the bass a LOT of resonance, and, what I feel like is a bit of built in reverb going to the amp. Never experienced this before.

I was playing with blending the pickups and putting a lot of bottom end on the mag pickup and emphasizing the top end on the peizo and got some very unique tones, almost pick like without a pick (which is cool because I currently am not very adept at picks). Hoping to recored Folsom Prison Blues on it before it goes in for surgery Thursday as the three upper strings are fine on the peizo.

Looking like the peizo will need replacement, and looking forward to exploring tone across the bass.

Weird thing is there is no control cover on back (except for 9V battery access) and I don’t see any other way to access controls. The top and back are ‘fused’ together, whatever that means. So will leave to Chris at 812 Guitars (excellent luthier btw in Greenwich, CT) to figure out how to get in.


That is typical for anything designed in Italy. It’s the same with Italian cars. They are designed and built to look beautiful, and everything fits and works (initially), but if you need to change a headlight bulb, you need to disassemble half of the engine :rofl: