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Thread: Rob's PBA-5 (PBG Custom)

  1. #1
    Member ThreeBbass's Avatar
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    Rob's PBA-5 (PBG Custom)

    Hi Team,
    here we go again ... continuing to execute my plan to eventually own 1 of every kind of bass that I've wanted since I was a kid ...
    I've now got the J ... time for the P!

    The plan for this build was for a reasonably stock P bass, but to add some mods that I've been thinking about for a while ... namely a Piezo bridge. I've been a fan of Ned Steinberger for a long time (still own a Steinberger bass I bought in the 80's) and thought that the inclusion of a Piezo pickup in his later instruments was an interesting idea ... thought I might give it a shot and see what the result sounds like. I was also interested in ditching the scratchplate and doing the routing for the pickup and at the back for the electrics myself. I contacted Adam and, after a couple of back-and-forward emails he helped me decide on a 5 string P bass, with the body made from Ash, with no routing apart from the neck socket.

    While I was waiting for the kit to arrive I also acquired all the hardware that I wanted to use on the build:
    Schaller Piezo bridge, GraphTech Ghost pre-amp, EMG P5X active pickups, Warwick Just-A-Nut and straplocks and replacement Tuners (not a big fan of the flappy paddle stock ones)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This build is going to take a while ... 'cause the "project manager" has some other projects she wants me to work on as well! (which is perfectly fine with me ... happy wife etc.!!)
    Last edited by ThreeBbass; 07-11-2016 at 06:21 PM.
    1st Build - JB-5RF (Runner Up GOTM November 16)
    2nd Build - PBA-5 (PBG custom)
    3rd Build - JMA-1 (JazzMaster)
    ... n+1 Build - currently plotting


  2. #2
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    nice looking build Rob, some cool mods you are doing and doing routing for pups and control cavity a good entry way to learn how to build a scratch build. Should be a very cool 5 string bass !
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  3. Liked by: ThreeBbass

  4. #3
    GAStronomist stan's Avatar
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    hey cool project 3BB, this will have a really clean look

  5. #4
    Overlord of Music andrewdosborne's Avatar
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    Love a good p-bass, this is going to be a cracker


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Current (Active) Projects
    #1: ES-5V http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=5955
    #2: JB-4M

  6. #5
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Should be an interesting build. I've got to integrate a piezo bridge with standard electronics on a mate's Tele. Making the decision as to where to rout out for the battery and piezo circuit board has put me off doing it for quite a while now, but I really must must progress it. Hopefully your build will inspire me to get off my butt and do it!
    Build #1 ES-3 under construction http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=6489
    Build #2 EX-1 (with alder body) Yet to start. http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...093#post123093

  7. Liked by: ThreeBbass

  8. #6
    Member ThreeBbass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Should be an interesting build. I've got to integrate a piezo bridge with standard electronics on a mate's Tele. Making the decision as to where to rout out for the battery and piezo circuit board has put me off doing it for quite a while now, but I really must must progress it. Hopefully your build will inspire me to get off my butt and do it!
    Hi Simon, you might find this site useful ... I came across it when I was researching the piezo install electrickery. It's not a tele, but might give you some ideas ... http://avhguitarrepair.com/repair-bl...l-walkthrough/
    1st Build - JB-5RF (Runner Up GOTM November 16)
    2nd Build - PBA-5 (PBG custom)
    3rd Build - JMA-1 (JazzMaster)
    ... n+1 Build - currently plotting


  9. #7
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeBbass View Post
    Hi Simon, you might find this site useful ... I came across it when I was researching the piezo install electrickery. It's not a tele, but might give you some ideas ... http://avhguitarrepair.com/repair-bl...l-walkthrough/
    Yes, I've got a Graphtec piezo bridge (though it's individual leads from individual saddles as it's a Tele), and so far have have routed out channels under the bridge plate for them to run through holes I drilled in the bridgeplate and into the bridge pickup cavity. There they run to a 6-into-1 circuit board with a single output lead running from it off to the graphtec piezo control board. My control board seems bigger than the one they've used and I haven't got the space to fit it in any existing control cavities. The standard Tele control cavity is only big enough for its own pots and switch, while the pickup cavities are full of pickups. So I need to rout out either one big cavity to fit the battery and control board in or one for a battery box (back of body) and another for the control board (probably under the pickguard). I'm getting more confident with my routing, but I'm still rather apprehensive about doing it wrong.

    The piezo control board does have an input for magnetic pickups, but I was trying to keep the magnetic and piezo outputs separate (it's designed to use a blend knob but I'd need extra pots on the guitar) and using a 4-way switch so that one position selected piezo alone and the other 3 the standard Tele positions. I'm not 100% sure how the pre-amped piezo output will work running through standard volume and tone controls though. I'll re-read the instructions again and see if I could use a switched pot and run everything through the pre-amp and still select mag or piezo only.
    Build #1 ES-3 under construction http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=6489
    Build #2 EX-1 (with alder body) Yet to start. http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...093#post123093

  10. #8
    Member ThreeBbass's Avatar
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    Day1

    I spent some time today working on getting the shape of the neck pocket right, attaching the neck and measuring out the location for the bridge.

    The routing for the neck pocket from the factory wasn't shaped properly and I wanted to get it as good as I could, since the plan is not to use a scratchplate, which could possibly hide any imperfections.
    I marked out the shape and used the Dremel ... pretty happy with the result ...

    Before and After ...
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    Once the neck was on I measured out the placement for the bridge and split pickups and then attached the bridge ...
    I spent a lot of time making sure the bridge was perfectly square with the neck ... the pic below makes it look a bit squonk because of the camera angle ...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Slowly coming together!
    1st Build - JB-5RF (Runner Up GOTM November 16)
    2nd Build - PBA-5 (PBG custom)
    3rd Build - JMA-1 (JazzMaster)
    ... n+1 Build - currently plotting


  11. #9
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Neck pocket work looks nice.

    Are you 100% happy with your bridge position, because it does look a touch orientated towards the treble side to me? The Schaller bridges do allow for some side-to-side saddle adjustment, but it's best to double check now, before you go any further. As you say, it may just be the camera angle.

    I'd also just mark out the position of the magnets for the EMGs (they are shown in the installation instructions), to make sure that the strings fall within their boundaries with the pickup locations marked on the wood. The B/E/A side has a wider magnet than the D/G side. At the moment it looks like the top and bottom parts of the pickups are symmetrical about the centre line, and it may be necessary to offset them a bit in order to get an even magnetic coverage, and not have the middle A string being picked up by both halves and so producing a louder signal than the other strings. The EMG drawings say they show the magnet placement but state that you should be sure ensure to align the magnets with the strings in order to ensure even pickup. I'd imagine that ideally, the ends of one pickup's magnet should align with the end of the other pickup's magnet (but EMG don't state this, so it's hard to know if this is correct or not). However I'd have thought that the E string should sit fairly centrally on the B/E/A magnet, whilst the D and G strings should sit the same distance from the centreline of the D/G magnet. Passive 5-string P-Bass pickups typically have a much larger B/E/A pickup than the D/G so you can see the offset. With the EMGs they've made the housing the same size, but have a mismatched magnet size, so it's less obvious as to how they should be positioned.

    If you've already done the above, then great and all's well. But if not, then it's worth a quick double-check now, before you've started routing out. Just want to make sure by asking questions now, that there aren't any nasty surprises at the end.
    Build #1 ES-3 under construction http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=6489
    Build #2 EX-1 (with alder body) Yet to start. http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...093#post123093

  12. #10
    Member ThreeBbass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post

    If you've already done the above, then great and all's well. But if not, then it's worth a quick double-check now, before you've started routing out. Just want to make sure by asking questions now, that there aren't any nasty surprises at the end.
    Thanks for the great advice Simon ... I'll definitely get the EMG diagrams out and do some more measuring before I commit!
    "measure twice, cut once" was one of the few words of advice I remember from my school days in the woodwork room ...
    1st Build - JB-5RF (Runner Up GOTM November 16)
    2nd Build - PBA-5 (PBG custom)
    3rd Build - JMA-1 (JazzMaster)
    ... n+1 Build - currently plotting


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