Bronco mod project!
I've got a long history with the Squier Bronco bass, having bought one early on in the days of Home of Tone to develop my own upgrade wiring kit, and to do some testing of the awesome McNelly Broncomaster pickup before it came a part of the standard McNelly Pickups range. Since then they have become one of my most popular bass wiring kits, mainly of course due to the Bronco being such a great modding platform bass. The owner of this very early production run Bronco got in touch initially just for one of those McNelly/Home of Tone wiring and pickup upgrades, but after some discussion decided to bring it in to have it installed along with some other choice mods.

Squier Bronco bass guitar modified by James' Home of Tone

The bass has been across the world with it's owner, and is showing some battle scars, but all signs of a well used, well loved instrument really! Main downside though was that the original tuners were long since broken and needed replacements. Rather than go for a like-for-like swap though, an upgrade of Hipshot licensed Ultralite HB6 tuners were chosen. I supplied and fitted those, which was overall a simple procedure. The bushings/posts are wider on the Hipshots compared to the originals, so the holes in the neck needed widening. The footprint is also smaller on the Hipshots, which does mean the original mounting screw holes are visible. The owner wasn't concerned about the visuals of that though, so we didn't opt to fill/re-finish. I have included a couple of photos below of how these tuners look installed, and also to show how much is left visible from the footprint of the original tuners to the new HB6 set. If you want to carry out this upgrade, it is a simple one to do, but bare in mind about the visible screw holes from the originals. This may or may not bother you but if it does and you want a more refined look, it will require filling and refinishing of the back of the headstock to achieve that. On this occasion, the owner didn't mind and just getting decent tuners on their was the priority. I do like these as a upgrade/retrofit tuner set for Broncos, the size suits the bass itself, the pegs/buttons are of a similar design to the original bronco but in use they are so, so much better than the originals. Always keeping an eye on Bronco mods done though, so if you find a tuner set, that is a direct fit to the original footprint but is a worthy upgrade over the originals, then by all means let me know in the comments of this article! 

Squier Bronco bass with Hipshot HB6 tuners
Hipshot HB6 tuners on Squier Bronco bass

He also asked about upgrading the bridge, as the factory item on these is a traditional 2 barrel saddle style, which of course limits accuracy of intonation. From my time modding my own Bronco bass, I had great experience using the Gotoh Contemporary bass bridge. Although it's baseplate is smaller than the original, it will cover up the original screw holes meaning it's a pretty clean looking retrofit bridge. It's top loading like the original so no issues with needing through body modifications etc. It does of course require new mounting holes drilling, but the benefits of a quality 4 saddle bridge, and the fair price of the Gotoh, make it a good upgrade/retrofit. I supplied and fitted this for him and overall is a pretty simple modification, just some alignment details to take care with and you're all good! Also worth noting, that the string spacing is a smidgen wider than the factory bridge, but still suits fine as it reaches the neck. I have used this same model bridge on my own Bronco for years now, and it has served me well so I was happy to recommend the item for this customer too. Hope these notes help you if you are planning on retrofitting this bridge to your Bronco. 

Gotoh Contemporary bass bridge on Squier Bronco bass

One bit of damage that needed resolving was a damaged/bent fret. Thankfully it had only bent the end of the fret, not damaging the fret slot. I'm not kitted out for that kind of work, so my friend Andy at Andy Charles Guitars in Birmingham replaced the fret for us, and I stepped back in and did the level and crown afterwards. Appreciate the tag team help there from Andy! For refret work, or more substantial repairs, I recommend his talents!
Then just a setup on D'Addario short scale flatwounds and it was good to go! Sounded and played great, and love how it looks thanks to the aged original neck and pickguard against the black pickup cover too.

Interested in booking your guitar in for some work? Feel free to check out the Guitar Services page HERE

James

Comments

Jack Greenwood

Jack Greenwood said:

Great mods to a very underrated bass. Is your ceiling blue? I use the same strings and can only guess they are reflecting the colour of your ceiling :)

James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Ah cheers! Thanks for reading the article :)
Haha ah no, regular white ceiling! Not too sure why they’re looking blue to be honest, maybe just a combination of shooting the photos at night with studio lights, the photo edit and how the website is hosting them maybe! Not sure on that!

Antonio

Antonio said:

To confirm, the string spacing on the bridge is 19mm? Or at least that’s an okay spacing to use for the bridge? I’d been seeking this confirmation and hadn’t been able to verify anywhere.

James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Hi Antonio,
That’s correct, 19mm string spacing on these Gotoh Contemporary bridges. I personally have one on my own Bronco and it has performed great for many years. As it’s a top loading bridge too (bronco as standard isn’t string through) there is no concern of matching the spacing there either.
As you can see from the photos here, the string spacing at the heel is also absolutely fine.

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