New Squier Bronco bass upgrade kit!
You may have recently seen on some social media posts that my wife expressed an interest in learning bass. Well I used to own a beautiful PJ bass, full scale, and she struggled to play that due to it's size and scale, so a 30" short scale was the way to go for her! We tried out a few and fell in love with the incredibly affordable Bronco model by Squier. This is an Indonesian made bass, which has classic 'student model' 50s Fender looks, and overall feels great. But a couple of details do let it down tonally, and that's it's standard Strat (6 pole!) guitar pickup, and low quality wiring. So I contacted Tim at McNelly Pickups to ask about options for these and he does indeed make a specific upgrade pickup, in the same sizing and mounting, for the Bronco bass (Also fits Musicmaster basses too). Output - 10.5k

McNelly Musicmaster / Squier Bronco bass pickup

This is a drop in sizing replacement, so still sized like a strat single coil that the Bronco has, but is a specifically designed bass pickup which has a nice high output and produces overall fatness along with great clarity! Upon buying my wife the bronco bass, I delved into the usual google searching to learn more about the model, and what I found was quite a large community buying these cheap and cheerful basses as cool short scale projects. Many people either route out the pickguard and fit something wild pickup wise, but the majority seem to fit Seymour Duncan hot rail strat pickups. I would imagine this is down to output, zero worries of string spacing due to rail magnets, and sizing being a drop in replacement. By the sounds of people's demos online, this a cool sounding upgrade to make, But to me that felt a shame to fit another 6 string guitar pickup rather than a specific bass model pickup. So I've decided to offer the McNelly Musicmaster / Bronco single coil bass pickup as a standalone product now, which is available on the website as I type! 

Squier Bronco bass wiring kit

Why upgrade the pickup to a nicely made item, if I ignore the low quality wiring as standard? Well fear not! I've also created a 'Signature Series' harness upgrade for the Squier Bronco, which features 2x CTS 'TVT' series 250k pots (with either split or solid shaft options depending on your preference), a .022uF tone capacitor (usually my standard spec is a Yellow Mustard type, such as SoZo USA or Jupiter USA), Pure Tone multi contact jack socket all wired together with some Gavitt USA 22AWG cloth covered wire. This harness is drop in (with the exception of widening the pickguard holes to suit the larger USA pot shaft diameter) and helps bring out the best in what the pickup is doing. You can now order this Bronco upgrade harness on the website, and I've also listed the option to order a complete Bronco upgrade kit which is for a Signature Series harness and the McNelly Bronco single coil bass pickup as a bundle. Two specifically designed items with the Bronco bass in mind, a cool upgrade to make to this great value short scale!

Home of Tone 'Signature Series' Bronco wiring harness kit
McNelly Musicmaster / Bronco single coil bass pickup

Squier Bronco Bass pickup and wiring upgrade kit


Adi Joseph

Adi Joseph said:

I have a 2017 bronco bass learning to play.Would like more imfo ?

Charles Coffeyin

Charles Coffeyin said:

Can I put this pickup in myself with not too much trouble will it go in with existing holes Etc

James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Hi Charles!
In terms of fitting the McNelly Bronco/Musicmaster bass pickup it’s about as simple as can be which I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear! It fits existing body routing and existing pickguard cutout. All you’ll need to do is remove the original pickup and remove the wires from the volume pot. Fit the new pickup and solder the two new wires. So a nice simple, drop in solution.
Hope that helps and thanks for reading the blog!

Donald Easton

Donald Easton said:

I know what you mean. I’m into short scale basses. I own a Gretsch Junior Jet, and a few months ago, upgraded the Gretsch pups to TV Jones. I also bought my son a Squire “Badz Maru” style Bronco, but he never took to it. I use it as backup. My mate put a Strat Seymour Duncan pup in. Now, it’s loud, but that’s it…it’s loud. Quality is nowhere as good as the TV Jones. I’ve just found your blog. Do you find that your McNelly Bronco Pup produced good tonal qualities, as well as volume. I’d say the TV Jones PUPS aren’t hot, but they sound really nice harmonically. So, I get quality sound, but up my amp if need to. The Bronco needs the amp turned down a lot. It’s just too loud. Thank you for reading. The downside about the TV Jones is..the PUPs themselves were around £120 each. Then got stung by postage from US to UK (£90) Finally got stung for £100 Labour. So in all….around £430 just to put two pups in. I’d intend doing this myself. Just need to find out your charges. Many thanks, Donald.

James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Hi Donald, thanks for taking the time to read the post and share your thoughts too :)
I can honestly say the McNelly Bronco/Musicmaster bass pickup can hold it’s own against any other quality bass specific pickup design. It is essentially based upon a double pole P-Bass pickup, only without the split coil design due to the sizing/mounting. It’s a full sound that has good attack with the tone control all the way up, and a really nice warmth with the tone control rolled off (my personal favourite setting). Highly recommend installing it alongside a wiring upgrade though, I would honestly say there wouldn’t be much point upgrading the pickup to this without putting some attention to the wiring components. Better wiring components would help bring out the best in the pickup, well it would bring out the best in any pickup really! I am planning to record some demo sound clips of my own Bronco bass and McNelly pickup installed, just been a lack of time to do so recently. But really want to record some basic clips with both round wound and flat wound strings, my bass playing isn’t the best but I hope it would give some insight to a basic set-up with the pickup installed. If it helps, there’s some info on the pickup price as well as my wiring harness upgrade kit too over on the main shop part of the website. But any specific questions, feel free to e-mail me directly on

Graeme Thomson

Graeme Thomson said:

Hi James,

I hope you are well!

Just picked up the Bronco bass for a bit of recording and I am going to invest in the Harness soon it looks great! Just out of interest which bridge and tuners have you installed on yours as I’m looking to make similar mods to make everything a bit sturdier and improve intonation!

Many thanks


James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Hi Graeme!
Thanks for the comment :)
I haven’t actually changed the tuners on mine yet, something I have wanted to just haven’t gotten around to it. So if you change them, let me know which you go for!
Bridge wise though I retrofitted a Gotoh high mass bridge. It juuuuust about covers the factory bridge mounting holes, but will need re-drilling for the new bridge. Works great!

Graeme Thomson

Graeme Thomson said:

Thanks James, much appreciated! Just ordered the harness looking forward to getting it fitted!

Chris Ashenberg

Chris Ashenberg said:

So I just came across your page.

I have both a Squier Musicmaster and a heavily modded ’78 Fender Musicmaster.

The Squier is pretty perfect, smooth playing neck and a great sound with that Vista Tone.

Just looking at the photos of this pickup I’m wondering about the height of it. It looks very tall, is there room for adjustment with the standard routing? I already have new CTS pots and jack that were installed about a year ago along with a Nordstrand pup that is much better than the original but still pretty weak by comparison.


James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Hi Chris,
Ah nice! Great to hear you like the Squier Musicmaster too.
It’s a standard fit, I’ve supplied so many of these pickups now and not encountered a single fitting issue with Musicmaster or Broncos across the range from vintage originals to import modern made examples. It’s a direct fit :)

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