Monday, August 30, 2010

P's little brother: Squier Bronco Bass

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a bass player, who also plays guitar (rather sloppily). Throughout the many years I played bass I always preferred a full 34" scale bass. However, once I started playing guitar, I have had problems switching between the bass and guitar due to the differences in scales. 30” scale basses however, are close enough that I can switch easily.

Last Christmas, I purchased a Squier Bronco bass with some gift money. Although the list price is $249.00, most retailer actually offer the bass for $149.00, and that is what I paid. To keep costs down, you can have any color as long as it is black or red. I chose a black one, but only because it played better than others I tried. This lil' guy is the descendant of the Musicmaster and Mustang basses of the 1960's. It has a 30" short scale, and a single pickup. As with most imported guitars with mediocre quality control, I had to try several before choosing one with proper construction and fit. Although The action is OK, the sound left a lot to be desired. Again, an Internet search helped me learn more and identify what could be done.  I learned that lurking beneath the pickup cover is a 6-pole guitar pickup. That accounted for the thin, anemic sound.

Overall, I would say that a stock Bronco works fine. The short scale is great for people with small hands, or kids starting out on bass. The only real issue with it is that the cheap ceramic guitar-in-a-bass pickup does not carry much oomph at all, and short scale basses need all of the oomph they can get. 

What I wanted to do to make this Bass my own. The goal was to have a bass that looks attractive and interesting, yet still sounds and plays well. Looks wise, I am shooting for something that looks like a 60's Japanese import short scale bass. So far, I have completed the following mods:

1) Upgraded the electronics with new American made pots and cap and new wiring.
2) New pickup: That stock cheapo 6-pole guitar pickup was replaced with a GFS Lipstick pickup.

3) New bridge: the stock is a top loaded 2 saddle bridge, I added a string-through-the-body, 4 saddle Musicmaster bridge for better intonation and sustain.

4) New tuners: the stock 3/8" tuners even look cheap. I like my basses to have classic ½” tuner posts and elephant ears.

At this point, I am very pleased with the bass. It the sound and sustain are much better and due to the hipshot tuners it has more of a tendency to stay in tune.

What is for the future? My next big mod, will be the installation if a bridge pickup, along with a custom one off pickguard. Of course I will then refinish the bass, and I am shooting for a 60's red with black pickguard look.

1 comment:

  1. Looks great!
    Did you have to drill out the tuner holes to accommodate the 1/2 pegs? Or are they 3/8" elephant ears?