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Squier Bronco Bass Mod

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I realize this post could just as well go in the "In Progress and Finished Work" forum, but it's nothing worth showing off really. Just a couple late nights that added up to a good story.

For Mother's Day, I decided to hot rod my wife's bass. She likes to sit on the living room sofa, play in one key and sing in another. One of her strings might be a half step off. She refuses to grab an amp, so she can't hear herself play anyway. I should also add that for that reason, she's never practiced much unless she's had something coming up. I wondered if I'd be able to add an onboard amp and speaker to it, and along the way upgraded a few other things as well (pickup, bridge, etc.) Pictures are below, if you're interested.

The key elements:

Squier Bronco Bass (Affinity Series)

GFS Lil Killer pickup (10k)

Guitar Fuel SD-2W mini-amp circuit

2" HiWave BMR12 full range speaker

A cute little sticker from Cafe Press

You might not think that little speaker would work, but the trick was making enough space for it, especially since the body was only 1.5" to start with. I ended up hollowing out everything beneath the pickguard to within 1/4" on the back, and cutting a large channel through to the speaker cavity, which itself was as large as I could make it. (I'll be adding some acousta-stuf soon too.) Surprisingly, it works pretty darn well. The lowest notes lose a little bit of volume, but not enough to be a real problem for living room practice. It has minimal controls. I took the tone knob off because it just confused her. I'd often find myself walking over to her and turning it up, only to have her reply, "Thanks. I wondered why it sounded weird." Now it has one volume control for the passive output, and one for the active output. (The mini-amp makes for a pretty decent preamp too. I actually like it more than the passive channel.) When you output from the active channel, it disconnects the speaker.

The reason I'm telling this story and showing this project is because of something my wife said tonight. She loves the bass so much that it pretty much lives on the couch now. It hasn't even seen the inside of the case since I gave it back to her. And tonight she suggested I make these and sell them to people. I said to her, "Sweetheart, not everyone would like this as much as you do. The reason you like it so much is that it was put together specifically with you in mind by somebody that knew what you needed."

My point is that while most people will never know the pleasure of having a custom instrument, it's a really cool thing when you do. I thought if anybody would appreciate that, it would be you guys.




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Unfortunately, no. I did it all after my wife and baby went to sleep over a few nights, on the living room table with a chisel and a soldering iron. I just can't bring myself to put a router to a finished guitar like that. One slip and I'm in a mess I might not be able to fix. Besides, I can't use the router in the living room watching the Science Channel.

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