SX basses are recognised by many players by being affordable yet quality instruments. Modelled after iconic basses like the Fender Jazz and Precision basses, SXs provide a sound economical alternative for budget minded beginners and more seasoned players. Many SX owners decide to design their own SX series bass by upgrading several of the components used in the bass's construction. Several of the upgrades affect both the tone and visual presentation of the bass; for brevity's sake, this article will cover common upgrades many players apply when designing their own SX bass.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Two towels
- New strings
- Wire snips
- New pickups (EMG, Fender, Bartolini, DiMarzio, etc.)
- Soldering iron
- New bass bridge
- Wire crimpers
Lay your SX bass out on a flat surface with the towel underneath to prevent accidental scratches to the back of the body finish. Roll the other towel and place it under the headstock for more stability. Loosen and remove the strings, then discard.
Unscrew and remove the pickguard and the bridge, then discard or set aside as spares. Unscrew the pickups: each Jazz style pickup for Ursa 2 series, the P bass style pickup for Ursa 1 and the P/J pickups for Ursa series 3. Pull the pickups out of their cavities and heat the soldering iron.
Heat each pickup joint on the volume and tone pots until the wires are loose enough to pull the pickups away from the pots. Discard the pickups once done. Open the package of new pickups and consult the included diagram. Crimp the ends of each pickup wire (including the ground wire) to expose new wire.
Solder the new pickups are directed by the manufacturer's pickup schematic. Allow to cool completely before reinserting them into their respective cavities. Re-screw the pickups until secure. Replace the pickguard with the new pickguard and screw into place.
Attach the new bridge, aligning the holes in the new bridge piece with the pre-drilled holes from the previous bridge. Screw into place. Unscrew the strap pins on the top horn and end of the bass, then screw in the new straplock pins.
Restring the bass with new strings, winding each string around their respective tuning posts, then tune the bass to your desired pitch. Plug the bass into your amp to check your work: listen for a hissing noise (improperly soldered pickups) or buzzing (bass needs set-up). Fix as needed.
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