Spectrum ST Bass

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Spectrum ST Bass

Post by untune on Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:29 am

Hi everyone, I've just joined because I have a question that I can't seem to find the answer for!

I've been offered a Spectrum ST bass (white) in good nick for a fair price, and I'm in need of a decent recording bass for some uni projects. The last bass I bought I sank 250 quid into and its fairly useless for recording as there's an incurable pickup alignment problem that makes the outer strings far too quiet!

Anyways, I said that if I'm gonna get another (when I get shut of that one) I wanted something that I'd at least be able to upgrade bits on if I needed to. The Spectrum ST bass has a single pick-up (Magnabass I think?) which from the outside pole pieces appears to be a P-bass style spilt setup in a rectangular cover. I was wondering if anyone has had any success in replacing the stock pickup on this particular model, perhaps by somehow putting a third party P-bass pickup inside the rectangular cover (though I assume the chances of the pole pieces lining up with the holes is fairly slim).

Also, are the other parts easily swapped out? Bridge, tuner etc? Just curious because I know the factory is long gone. Is the ST a good recording bass? Much variety in tone? Any other mods that can be done to it?

Thanks in advance for any help Smile

Cheers
Lee

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Warrn on Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:29 pm

The pickup is actually a humbucker with pole pieces positioned like a P-bass. The sound is similar to a P-bass as well, although personally I think the Magnabass pickups sound better than anything I've experienced on a Fender. The tone knob seems to offer a wider range of tone than a Fender P as well. Considering the size of the pickup cover, I'm sure it'd be easy to fit another pickup inside, but I would expect it to be a hassle (and I doubt a split coil pickup would fit right). The tuners are Gotoh tuners and are very good, so unless you don't like the look of them or they've been damaged somehow they should be perfectly fine. I don't know if the bridge would be easy to swap out, you'd have to check the string spacing (or wait for a member with an ST to chime in; I have a GT which has a different bridge). Hope this helps!

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by corsair on Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:08 pm

heya, bro - a band I was in 10-15 years ago had a bass player who used an ST and he had no trouble at all cutting through the mix; in fact I liked playing it so much I manged to find a Spectrum GT to buy!!!

You'll have no problems with a Spectrum....

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Warrn on Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:28 pm

My GT bass is a beat up heap and it can still cut through a mix, so I can attest to their quality. I usually prefer the split-looking middle humbucker, too, so that ST will probably sound great. I've played the Electra version of the ST, and I found it quite nice; main difference being the Electra used a split pickup and the ST has the full sized humbucker with poles set up to act like a split pickup.

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by untune on Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:27 pm

Cheers for the answers so far guys, I'm certainly warming to the idea of getting it, 95 quid is starting to sound like a real bargain, even if it is 20-odd years old Razz

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Warrn on Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:00 pm

The older the better, as long as it was originally made with care! Older instruments typically sound better to my ears; most of my basses are older than me!

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by untune on Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:46 pm

Thanks for the replies, I just had a thought five minutes ago and wondered if anyone had thought of this before... how does the standard Gibson/Epiphone Thunderbird soapbar style pickup compare to the Magnabass pickup in terms of size etc? Any chance they're swappable?

I've just read that a guy has had the stock pickup in a a Spectrum ST replaced with an Epi pickup but I've not had a reply to say which one yet... my first thoughts were perhaps the mini humbucker like on the EB-3 or the viola, or maybe the humbucker in a Jack Casady...

Any thoughts from owners of the above? Razz

Cheers

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Westbone on Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:01 pm

Try the original first, you won't be disappointed. It is a humbucker.

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by corsair on Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:34 pm

I concur; I was using a 71 P-bass when I played Hughs' Spectrum; no contest, AFAIWC, the Westone was a much nicer instrument to play. I don't know about the the comparison between Gibbo and Westone h/bs though - I did once play a Ripper(?) bass and loved it's tone and ballsiness; but the Spectrum has that, too!!

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Warrn on Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:04 pm

I'm not terribly fond of Thunderbird pickups, but I'm sure they'd fit.

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by untune on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:26 pm

Thanks again for the input guys, I'm not actually planning to replace the pickup since I've heard so much good stuff but the fact that it's 25 years old makes me want to be sure I'd at least have the option to swap it out for something else, should anything go wrong Razz

I've pretty much decided I want this ST anyways, just can't seem to get a reply to my emails off the guy at the moment Sad

BTW Would a rusted bridge be much cause for trouble? Not sure how swappable they would be either and don't really want to go drilling into the body

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Warrn on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:31 pm

As long as the rust hasn't locked any parts in place (or is light enough that locked up parts can be broken loose with some rust solvent) you should be fine.

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by untune on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:34 pm

Ah cheers for that, it doesn't seem as though it'd be rusted solid, just a lot of age and wear showing. Probably fine, need to see it in person. Would be cool to be able to get a Gotoh/Fender replacement though

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:29 pm

Bridge and tuners should be easy to replace. There are probably a couple of mods that can be done fairly easily. I haven't seen the pickup used on this one for a while, but if it's the same sort of design as the Magnabass III (which also looks like a split pickup but is actually a full humbucker) then if you take the cover off the pickup you should find that there are holes through the magnets where the apparently missing pole pieces should go - fit a piece of 6mm steel through the holes and you can change the pickup to a full humbucker where both coils pick up all four strings, which should increase the output. Most Magnabass pickups can also be rewired easily to full 4 conductor wiring which would let you add a series/parallel switch.

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Re: Spectrum ST Bass

Post by untune on Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:56 pm

Thanks immensely for everyone's replies on this topic, you've been incredibly helpful. Unfortunately the guy already sold it, so it seems Sad

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