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Modding my Short Scale Gretsch

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  • Modding my Short Scale Gretsch

    Finally got around to installing a matching bridge pickup to my Gretsch bass this weekend.

    I first put a Fender Jazz bass pickup there. It was highly anemic compared to the stock Humbucker it came with but was better then nothing.

    I then swapped to a double JB Humbucker like this.

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    This was much better compared to the stock pickup.

    Then I bought a matching Gretsch HB on EBay.

    Click image for larger version

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    I didn't have to do any additional routing to get it to fit, but the route for the JB pickups ears that mounted and adjusted the height of the pickup was slightly wider by a few millimeters.
    I had a choice between making a new pickup ring or masking the holes. As a temporary fix I tacked a piece of plastic over the holes using a couple of dabs of hot glue till I could find something that looks decorative, or I got around to cutting a new ring. Its tough cutting the PVC pickguard material and having it look good. I only have 4 ply black on hand at the moment so it would have looked strange compared to the other.

    Electromatic's come in two versions, a single and double pickup version. I think the 2 pup version is $100 more.

    This a newer version of the bass. The double pup version has the bass pickup a little closer to the neck so there's a bit more tonal difference between the two.

    I wasn't disappointed with the pups being a bit closer together however, in fact the tone balance between the two wound up being more then excellent . I was able to get punchy slap tone harmonics I never heard from the bass before

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    This pic is a little blurry but you can barely make out the plastic strip between the neck and bridge.
    It doesn't look bad but it isn't ideal either. I could fill and refinish that area but that rarely succeeds in being invisible plus I want to avoid messing with that process. I've done enough finishes to pull it off but all finishing is nasty work and when the choice is between finishing or masking the problem, I opt for the easier of the two. This isn't an overly expensive bass.

    It is a killer recording bass however, plus its a short scale and has a Gibson style/EBO shaped neck which is great for guitarists.

    The problem guitarists playing bass is they have to build the muscles up in their left hand to play bass well and this can actually wind up having a negative impact on their guitar playing which is highly aerobic. Its like comparing a weight lifter to a runner or gymnast. I can play this short scale without the heavy lifting of my long scale basses and not be down for a couple of days letting the muscles heal in my left hand after a long session. It sounds really fat without mud too.

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    Last edited by WRGKMC; 11-01-2017, 09:32 AM.

  • #2
    Nicely done! I'll bet that opens up a lot of new tonal options for that bass.

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


    • #3
      Definitely so.

      Having the other pickup was better then a single pickup by itself but that was only with a blend of the two. The bridge run solo wasn't very good at all. I'd have to say about as useless as an EBO bridge pickup.

      Now I can run either pickup solo or in any range of blend and it kicks butt. Punchy warm tones, with equal amounts of lows mids and highs.

      I'll be using that one this weekend on some recordings and expect it to do very well and even better when I get some new strings for it.

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      Last edited by WRGKMC; 11-01-2017, 09:35 AM.