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Author Topic: Washburn Force ABT B20  (Read 6755 times)

Offline Whiplash

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Washburn Force ABT B20
« on: February 03, 2005, 03:10:07 PM »
Hello !!

I've got un problem with my bass guitar. It's a Washburn Force ABT B-20 of 16 years old and the electronics and the micro aren't so powerfull and sharpness as they were....
So my question is : Can I change the micro without changing the electronic ?
Actually there is EMG active micro.......

PS : excuse me for my english I'm french

Offline Le Basseur

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Washburn Force ABT B20
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2005, 02:45:53 AM »
I got a Force ABT B-20 (pearl-white finnish) on repair a few weeks ago,so I'm familiar with this instrument.
First,about your complains regarding the weakened PU (or micro,as you said) and active electronic,please check first the 9V battery with a voltmeter.Is the battery OK? IF it has less than,say,8V you'll have to change it with a fresh one because that generation of active onboard preamps is particularily sensible on the power source's voltage value.
Second:you might want to consider putting a fresh set of strings on your bass.
You didn't mention what strings are you having in this moment,but if they're some old (maybe even the original set?),change them immediately.
Believe it or not,a poor sound quality comes mainly from a worn-out string set or from a wrongly-choosen one.
Third:let's clarify a little confusion about the pickups (micros).From a certain point of view,there are two PU categories:actives and pasives.Again,we're talking about PU's ONLY,not about a bass or guitar having an onboard preamp/EQ of some sort.
The active PU's have the normal coaxial wire (or,in some cases,there are simply wire leads,no coax) for the output signal AND a third RED wire wich comes from the PU and goes to the + side of the battery.This means that,aside of being coupled to a preamp,the PU itself is powered (polarised).
On the other side,there are passive pickups,wich don't have that third red wire.
Therefore,your PU's are the passive type.
For further details,please see some dedicated websites,such as Bartolini or Seymour-Duncan.
It's true that a magnet inside a PU may weaken after a number of years (in this case,the output signal suffers obviously) but I'm sure that this isn't your case.Remember,your bass is 16 years old,meaning that it was built somewhere in the late 80's.Frankly,I never saw a weakened magnet's PU made after the 70's and,if I remember correctly,there were some magnet problems during the 50's or 60's..but that's about it.
In other words,I'll stay with the original PU's (they're good,average Jazz types) BUT try replacing the electronics (the preamp) in the bass' cavity.
Now we're getting close to your issue:I begged the bass' owner I had on repair for investing in a better onboard preamp because that would be the only practical movement for upgrading that bass with a fair price.He refused so I had to scratch my head and to try modifying the existing preamp...wich I did,but don't ask me WHAT I did,because I wouldn't do it anymore,for anybody (that owner is a good friend of mine with a hard live,so I had to...).
To keep things short,I found that the onboard preamp is the weakest link.Some passive components (condensators) worn out and had to be replaced,the potentiometres were scratchy and need to be replaced and the way the preamp worked was bad...the op amps (those little chips on the PCB) were of an older generation and the preamp was hissing alot when you dialed fully the treble correction and,more than everything,the bass and treble fixed correction were too low and too high for an electric bass (too boomy on the low side-somewhere around 50 Hz and too high for the treble-somewhere around 8-10 KHz).
Eventually,I managed to solve all the problems but,as I said,it took me alot of time and work.
In your case,you'll might consider replacing the entire preamp section (along with the potentiometres) with a modern preamp.There are alot of specialised good brands out there and those manufacture a wide range of bass onboard preamps according to your bass' configuration AND your taste.
Since you're in Europe,I'd reccomend a Noll preamp:
This is their German distributor:
Of course,there are many other products available,but I allways had VERY good results with Noll products.They're real specialists,use top-quality parts and have a very good customer's service.(...and no,I don't have any commercial interest in this brand.I just like their products ALOT!)
In the end,it's up to you to appreciate what's the best for you (what style do you play,what sound do you look for,etc) and also to correctly evaluate if your Washburn is worth of such an investment as upgrading the onboard preamp.You must look at the neck (is it OK?it can be fixed?),at the frets (are they OK or are worn-out?),at the tuning machines,bridge,etc.
If you consider that there are some weak points on that particular instrument,try a second oppinion (go see a specialist and ask him detailed questions) and if the things cannot be easily fixed,consider buying another instrument (ebay,second-hand shops,etc) instead of investing in the Washburn.
Good luck!

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