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interesting sr406 project...


allan grossman

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I heart my Ibanez SR406 but the electronics hum if you turn up the treble so I embarked on a long and expensive project to replace the electronics in the thing.

 

First thing I did was rip out the stock Ibby humbuckers and replace them with a set of Kent Armstrong soapbars. Stock SR406 pickups are roughly the same dimensions as any EMG 40-sized pickup but they're about 1/8" longer. Width is the same and you'd really have to be looking to tell they might not be stock pickups. If you do use a 5-string pickup in a 6-string bass make sure the pickup has bar magnets :D

 

While I was screwing around with this Rippin' Robin suggested a Graphtek nut so I installed that as well.

 

Then I tried to install both an OBP-3 and a 5-knob U-Retro in the control cavity. Neither fit real well so I abandoned that idea.

 

Anyway, I decide passive is the way to go. I like passive basses anyway, so after much headscratching and with five holes to fill I decided on two 5-way coil select switches, volume, balance and tone.

 

Holes in the bass need pots with 3/8" bushings and *nobody* makes a 500k blend pot with a 3/8" bushing, so I had to get some pot bushing adapters to make the thing fit but I got it all together.

 

I did have to grind a bit of wood out of the control cavity to get one of the 5-way switches to fit but I only had to trim it by about 1/8" right by the bottom left control cover screw hole.

 

Added a tone bleed cap across the volume control and my first attempt at a no-load tone pot failed because when the pot wiper hits the part where I insulated the wiper from the carbon track the bass goes dead. Oh, well. This thing's bright enough anyway so I'm gonna de-fingernail polsh the pot :)

 

What the 5-way switches does - there's one for each pickup.

 

1. Series in phase (normal humbucker)

2. Single coil (north coil)

3. Parallel in phase

4. Single coil (south coil)

5. Series out of phase

 

The bass sounds great but so far the best tone I've got out of it is in single coil mode with the north coil of the neck pickup and the south coil of the bridge pickup - a really nice, raw, jazz bass goodness.

 

Here's a blurry pic of a 75% completed control cavity. There's way more wire in there than there needs to be but I stopped giving a {censored} about that two days ago - it is nice to be able to remove components without desoldering anything anyway. Plus, I *never* cut pickup leads - it's a rule. No telling where the pickup will end up and although it's easy to trim leads making them longer is a real bitch.

 

Things are working out with this just fine. I should have just went passive in the beginning ;)

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