It’s been a busy 2 weeks since I last posted anything.  Here’s what’s been happening:

I’ve been testing my Gecko bass (with the Purpleheart neck, Black Korina body and the custom “turbo” pickup configuration) with other pickups.  First up was a brief test with a Seymour Duncan “ASB-5″ active pickup.  Next was a replacement of the Bartolini “classic bass” dual-coil soapbar pickups with a pair of similar Bartolini pickups, but in the “deep tone” quad-coil variety.

The result was pretty much what I expected.  The “deep tone” is an accurate moniker, since these pickups seem to focus more on the fundamentals and lower-midrange.  There is practically none of the sweet, juicy upper-midrange resonance of the Bartolini “classic bass” pickups.  I had tested one of the “quad-coil” pickups in another bass, and found that I didn’t like it as much.  It was interesting to try, but it’s not a tone that I think I would like to have for the long term.  So I’ll be putting the “classic bass” pickups back in soon.

Side note: the Bartolini “classic bass” pickups really seem like they were made for this kind of configuration, instead of the more typical “neck+bridge” pickup configuration.  I wonder if this was intentional?

Also, I finished up the Gecko bass with the new Maple neck, which is mounted on a Mahogany body with a Figured Walnut top.  The pickups are a pair of Delano “HE” models: one Precision-style split coil humcanceller in the neck position, and one Music Man (wide, no tabs) quad-coil humcanceller in the bridge position.  I’ve wired it up with 5 unique coil combinations, so this is an extremely versatile bass.

Unfortunately, this bass has a few shortcomings.  The first isn’t my fault, but I’ll list it anyway: it only has a 1/2″ diameter output jack route, which limits me to using the notorious (and somewhat fragile) Switchcraft deep-panel jacks instead of the very nice Planet Waves jacks (which only Warmoth appears to sell, by the way).  I have these jacks on all my other Gecko basses, and using the Switchcraft seems like a step down.  (I wonder how hard it would be to enlarge this route to 3/4″ or 7/8″ diameter with just a power drill?)

The second shortcoming is due to my prior incompetence.  When I received this bass body (purchased from eBay) it had no holes for controls.  So I took my trusty power drill, installed a 3/8″ bit, and started drilling directly on the body, top-down.  This ended up chipping the gloss finish and made the drill hole really ugly from the front.  Next, I drilled a 1/4″ diameter hole for a toggle switch, that I thought I was going to need later but never actually needed.  This was a mistake, since now there’s a hole that’s too close to where I need to drill another 3/8″ diameter hole (in the right place, this time).  Ah well, live and learn, and use the blue painter’s tape next time.

See next post for a continuation.

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