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REPLACEMENT/UPGRADE BASS PARTS
(Click any underlined link to visit the described site)
Stew Mac - Stewart-MacDonald went in business in 1968, which is the same year I bought my then brand new Telecaster Bass! The largest guitar and bass parts inventory online...or anywhere else. Right now they are not carrying the solid shaft pots needed for vintage Fender repairs for some reason. If you need solid shaft pots for a Fender bass then read on to the next listing for Bass Parts Resource or scroll down to any of the other dealers where I mention that solid shaft pots are available.
Bass Parts Resource - Bass Parts Resource is the bass section of Guitar Parts Resource. For their guitar parts section click HERE instead. I buy lots of things from Bass Parts Resource. Genuine Fender pots are really made by CTS and aside from the lot number you get the exact Fender style CTS brand replacement solid shaft pots at below the price that Fender charges for exactly the same thing. Also they carry excellent shielding products like self-adhesive copper shielding and 100% vintage correct cloth covered black and white wire at one of the best prices around! One of the first places I check.
Best Bass Gear - Big selection of pickups, preamps and other parts. Very tone oriented!
The Bass Place - This bass-only shop has recently relocated from Tempe to Peoria, Arizona and is now selling online and I give them my highest recommendation. Once when I needed a part for a Leo Quan bridge, nobody else had one but Dave Goldenfarb at The Bass Place and he sent it out so fast it was there in a flash. These people will not let you down! They ONLY sell bass stuff and they have been doing it for over 20 years! Bass parts available online include tuners, bridges, knobs, pickups, active electronic preamps, strings, tubes, strap-locks and other hardware.
Allparts - Huge selection of name brand and generic/universal parts. Definitely one of the best selection of bass tuners, replacement necks and replacement bodies online.
Darren Riley's Guitar & Amp Shop - This Raleigh, NC shop catalogs and sells all genuine Fender parts on their website which is something rare. So if you have a Fender part number from a diagram, this is a good place to look.
WD Music Products - WD has a large variety of pickguards for Fender, Gibson, Ernie Ball, MusicMan and Rickenbacker brand basses plus makes custom guards too. They stock lots of other parts for basses and ship quickly. Many hard to find parts are often found at WD.
Warmoth - Their bodies and necks are a starting point for building a custom bass or saving an old one. Top quality wooden components.
Axegrinderz - A reliable and very affordable source for vintage new-old-stock "Paper In Oil" Vitamin-Q type capacitors, which are often called PIO CAPS, and for Mylar film caps which are a smooth sounding and more economical alternative. Guitar and bass makers mostly use Polypropylene film caps or ceramic caps because they are much cheaper than PIO caps. Some high end models from Gibson, such as the Les Paul, are the exception. Fender used a ZNW1P1 0 .1 MFD 150 Volt DC Paper In Wax Capacitor in combination with a 15K OHM carbon composite Allen Bradley brand resistor in 1951 & 1952 P-basses before switching to Ceramic Caps and dropping the 15K resistor as amp capability had caught up to the thunder the basses could produce without the resistor. Later Fender switched to Polypropylene. Axegrinderz website sales ship free to the USA addresses. TIP: Axegrinderz sells on eBay but you are better off buying direct from their website because of the free shipping on all their website sales.
TIP: I suggest scrubbing your hands well after handling PIO capacitors and also cables for instruments, microphones and speakers! While a PIO cap has the oil sealed inside a glass capsule which is then encased in a sealed metal case which should never leak, it is possible the exterior of the cap could have been exposed to the specialized oil at the time of production. This oil which is also used in some power transformers often contains PCB's. PCB's are carcinogenic among other things. While unlikely it is possible that PCB traces could remain on the exterior of the cap, so scrub up after handling them because it is better to be safe than sorry. These Vitamin-Q style PIO design caps were rugged enough to be used in military applications like missile guidance systems so they can take quite a bit of rough use. Traces of similarly carcinogenic toxins are known to be present in the outer insulation cover of some cables used for instruments, microphones & speakers for decades. So it is wise to scrub up after handing cables too, especially before eating or drinking. I setup, wash my hands and then play. I pack the rig, wash my hands and then go home. As a general rule never touch anything that "leaks" from any electronic component.
Angela - Since 1977 Angela has been a leader in mail order parts for guitar and bass players. Angela carries more different kinds of capacitors than any other online dealer. For tone circuits the Denmark made Jensen brand Paper In Oil Vitamin-Q style capacitors in both aluminum foil and copper foil varieties are relabeled by them. Angela is the only stable source for copper foil PIO caps which are supposed to be even better than the aluminum ones I've always used. They also carry the Chinese Sequa caps which are very economical PIO tone caps that seem to be copies of the Sprague Vitamin-Q's right down to the transparent insulating sleeve. BUT they carry a huge selection of caps for amps too! They also are a Lindy Fralin Pickups dealer and offer SEVEN pages of parts for Fender basses alone and are an excellent online source for lots of genuine Fender parts including the recently popular vintage style bridge and pickup covers for basses.
Bayou Audio Cables - Butch Ammons not only builds all types of audio cables but also sells electronic parts like pots. He even does complete prewired electronics for basses so all you have to do is mount it and solder on your pickup and bridge ground leads! Every job is a custom job at Butch Ammons' shop, so keep in mind that he has other orders ahead of you. He builds cables to order, so if you need something really fast this might not be the best option, however if you want something made just for you exactly the way you want it made using the best available components, then Butch is the man.
Acme Guitar Works - Mostly guitar parts, but a good selection of bass pickups by brands that are hard to find at online retailers like Lindy Fralin & Jason Lollar.
Specialty Guitars - Another site that concentrates on guitar parts but many guitar parts, especially electronics, are used on a bass too! For example Specialty Guitars is one of the few sources for the Jupiter Beeswax HT Capacitors which some claims state sound better than even the paper in oil "Vitamin Q" style caps. Another source for solid shaft CTS pots too.
Guitar Electronics - Since 1996 G.E. has been a good source for Bartolini preamps and hardware in general.
Guitar Nucleus - The more I plunder around Guitar Nucleus the more I learn. On top of that they have a pretty good selection of electronics parts at rock bottom prices, including solid shaft pots and thumbrests of various types.
Buzzard's Bass Guitar Shop - This Bradenton, Florida bass specialty shop carries many hard to find bass parts. Buzzard's also does all sorts of pro services for bassists. They offer many leading bass brands including budget brands and you can pay a little extra for a very professional setup including fretwork. A very nice collection of bass parts!
Wilde Pickups by Bill Lawrence - Made in Corona California by master pickup & instrument designer Bill Lawrence and his wife Becky. Wild Bill Lawrence's innovations in passive electric guitar and bass pickup design have revolutionized instruments every few years for most of the history of the electrification. He is probably the only person who has designed pickups for both Fender & Gibson regular production instruments. His current Wilde pickup line is cutting edge stuff that manages to suppress noise while overflowing with vintage tone. On top of the innovations WIlde pickups are a tremendous value when compared to other custom pickup shops. I just installed his most up to date balanced P/J set, PIO caps and CTS pots with a new jack in "Sapphire" (my '95 Ibanez TRB70) and it is the most extraordinary passive P/J setup I've ever used! Wilde Pickups are probably the best aftermarket, upgrade or replacement pickup value around with excellent quality control and a very affordable price when compared to other pickup suppliers. You get mounting screws, integral pickup cover and a wiring diagram (you'll need it) at no extra charge. The website has been undergoing some redesign recently. Just phone them if you can't find what you want online. Bill Lawrence's Wilde pickups of today are potted in an epoxy resin, and while I've always preferred wax potted pickups, I can't find any fault in how they sound and can recommend this P/J set. Just make sure you have the room to route one extra lead from each pickup.
TIP: Do not confuse today's "WILDE" pickups by Bill Lawrence with the "Bill Lawrence" brand pickups he designed decades ago. The "Bill Lawrence" brand name pickups are not made by Bill Lawrence, but by a former associate who bought out the old pickup company a long time ago. People often buy "Bill Lawrence" brand pickups believing they are getting pickups made by Bill Lawrence, when they are in fact getting some pretty good pickups designed by Bill Lawrence a long time ago. The following analogy may help you understand what seems to be a complicated matter better. "Bill Lawrence" brand pickups are like "Fender Instruments" after Leo Fender sold "Fender" to CBS. "WILDE" brand pickups are the next phase in Bill Lawrence's pickup designs just as Leo Fender designed "Musicman" and then "G&L" basses after selling off his Fender name.
Lindy Fralin Pickups - Lindy Fralin custom winds pickups in Richmond, Virginia. He does Precision and Jazz pickups including the wonderful SPLIT-COIL '51 Precision bass pickup that I use in my Fender '51 reissue and the SPLIT-COIL Jazz pickups that eliminate the single coil hum! The Split-Coil winding is truly a Godsend for single coil fans. My '51 has a KILLER P-tone and no hum. The Fralin shop will custom wind your pickup to your specified over/under winding. They will let you choose the pole material too. Decisions, decisions! The best warranty (10 years) and a revolutionary exchange policy on custom pickups so you can keep swapping pickups back and forth with Mr. Fralin until you get the exact tone you want. Now THAT is service. These are old time wax potted gems made to order just for you.
Jason Lollar Pickups - Lots of bassists and guitarists find their personal tone in pickups from this shop. While I have considered trying them, I haven't yet but will continue to consider them on future projects. Maybe on my very next project.
Rio Grande Pickups - Another popular "PUP" custom shop out of Houston.
Curtis Novak Pickups - A full service restoration shop that makes some mighty fine pickups. Very accurate sounding. A tone guru to many.
Seymour-Duncan Pickups and Preamps - While not custom pickups, SD's BASSLINES and ANTIQUITY pickups are among the most popular aftermarket replacement/upgrade pickups. SD designed pickups are even the stock pickup on some basses. I currently use their SCPB-3 on my number 1 first-generation P-Frankenbass known as "Blondine." This pickup is a total tone monster, however it is susceptible to RF noise since it is a single coil, yet this is my favorite bass to play. Mass production is what makes SD prices more affordable than the true custom pickups. The widest range of passive pickups, active preamps and active pickups of any company I know about. It is also a little known fact that SD will do custom work and you can see their custom shop page HERE. The SD site is also a great resource for the WIRING DIAGRAMS alone which will work with any pickups I've used except the three-lead type Bill Lawrence WILDE brand bass pickups.
Hanson Pickups - Hanson Pickups in Chicago actually makes the awesome Chi-Sonic upgrade pickups for Lakland basses. They offer pickups that fit Jazz and Precision type basses and also have a 4 and 5 string bass preamp.
Brandon Wound Pickups - Professional pickup rewinding and repair of broken pickups at the best prices I've found. While Jared Brandon's custom made pickups listed on his site are geared toward six-string guitars, Jared also builds, rewinds and repairs bass pickups. Brandon Wound Pickups can rewind your dead or dying pickup to deliver the stock spec tone, or you also have the options of either overwinding for a higher output with more bass emphasis or of underwinding a bit to add more upper midrange tones. Most other custom rewinding and pickup repair services actually charge about the same to rewind your old pickup as they charge to sell you a brand new one. The others WANT to sell you a new pickup instead of rewinding your old one. You will save significant money and preserve more of the originality of your instrument by rewinding your original pickup at Brandon Wound Pickups.
ELECTRIC BASS STRINGS
Just Strings - The name says it all. Good source for string brands ignored by the online mega-gear dealers, and maybe your local shops too, like Labella and Thomastik-Infeld plus this site stocks the full GHS line including the hard to find and very fat GHS 3050 set in what GHS calls "regular" gauge which I use on one bass.
Strings And Beyond - Sells electric bass strings by DR including the D.D.T. series, a wide selection by Thomastik-Infeld, Ken Smith, Rotosound, D'Addario, Dunlop, Fender, Everly, Ernie Ball, Elixir, Dean Markley, Cleartone, Curt Mangan and R. Cocco. The only GHS set they stock is one set of Boomers and do not stock Labella bass sets. Also sells some basic parts and accessories. Well designed website.
Bass Emporium - Dealer for R. COCCO Bass Strings, which are great USA HANDMADE roundwound strings at a price the hobbyist can afford. Plus they also carry the Hofner strings for your Beatle Bass! You probably can't find either at the local music store. Austin, TX's Bass Emporium has a few parts like machine heads too.
Jeannie Pickguards - Totally custom made replacement pickguards! Wide variety of vintage & modern materials plus gorgeous wood pickguards. Very service oriented! Fast turn around for a custom made product. Click HERE to see the custom pickguard they made for me!
Terrapin Guitars - Pickguards from a variety of modern and vintage materials and will make pickguards from tracings with a $20 upcharge. Their stock guards are limited to Fender, Squier and MusicMan.
WD Music - This is a very popular and long running aftermarket pickguard mass producer limited to Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, MusicMan and Peavey.
PickGuardian - Custom makes all their pickguards.
Ed Roman Guitars - Las Vegas guitar shop that also makes pickguards, pricey but custom work.
Greasy Groove - Wild and crazy pickguards for Fender P and J basses. Others custom made by request. Check out their decals too! Crazy!
Pickguard Heaven - Huge material selection. Brands covered are too numerous to list but they list guards from Alvarez to Yamaha and most brands in between including Kalamazoo, Teisco, Tokai, tons of Ibanez models from stock templates. (Didn't see Hagstrom but that is about all that is missing!) TIP: For First Generation P-basses and Telecaster basses look under "T" for Tele.
ColoRiffic Pickguards from Adirondack Guitar - Flashy images and custom work at reasonable prices.
BASS CAB & COMBO REPLACEMENT SPEAKERS
Bass Speaker Replacements - US Speaker has a wide selection of replacement speakers for bass combos and bass cabs. Top brands like Eminence, JBL, EV, B&C and Beyma.
Parts Express - Not just bass speakers, but crossovers and parts for the do-it-yourself type player.
Loud Speakers Plus - Jensen, Celestion, JBL, Fane and Eminence bass speakers.
Avatar Speakers - Dave at Avatar sells some of the same speakers he uses in his famous bass cabs. Often the speakers he has are beefed up over the general retail versions. Click on SPEAKER SEPARATES after getting to the home page to see what he is offering.
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