Gecko 5, noob looking for final opinions and advice before placing order


New member
I've not started it yet, but I'm hoping I found the right part of the forum.  

I've been playing the same P-bass for 10 years and am generally happy with the sound.  I'm pushing to a 5-string to get a little more rumble on the bottom (low B  :icon_biggrin: ).  I'm looking to have a new bass that does things a little different than the P (just to have some variety), but I still want a smooth, warm bottom on it.  I'm hopping to get a little more punch out of the mids and not trail off the volume and strength when I go into the higher freq parts of the neck.  I mostly play at church in the mid-rock areas (think Chris Tomlin, Lincoln Brewster, Third Day type stuff, but the bass part!).

My concept build:

body:  alder or swamp ash
top:  Quilted maple -- blue dye (maybe tourqoise and blue burst, still thinking on this one.)
Neck:  wenge (i'll have warmoth install a nut before they ship it out.)
fingerboard: ebony w/wenge inlay.  Warm low and good midrange from the wenge and brightness from the ebony for good all around tone.  Overall, it should have a wenge heal, gecko, and headstock all matching with the very dark fingerboard.  From reading, these woods are hard enough to not require finishing and are still under waranty from Warmoth.  Does that sound correct you all you?  Does the unfinished neck require any special upkeep?

Pickups:  I want two active pickups.  Mostly to be a little different than my P-bass.  I'm thinking of the asb2's offered from Warmoth.
Tone:  2-band should be plenty.   Master Volume, Master Tone, and variable bridge/neck control.  Again, looking at the Seymours from Warmoth.
Bridge: I'd like through body mount for the strings, but unsure on the rest.  The Takeuchi that was being made for the Gecko is no longer available, so looking for ideas.  The basic ones on my P-bass wiggle sideways some, and I don't really like the feel of them (looks like the Gotoh 201 without the tracks that the vertical adjustment screws ride in).  The Schaller looks sturdy, though I'm not sure if it is through body or not.  Then there are the single string bridges, but I'm pretty sure they are not through body attach for the strings either.  Ideas?
Tuners:  stable and match to the bridge visually.
Jack:  Looks like active pups need a TRS jack to turn on/turn off the circuits.  Is this correct?  Mostly I want a good one that is unobtrusive.  Ideas?

I'm interested in feedback from anyone who's tried similar combos or just corrections if i'm thinking the wrong way here.

Thanks in advance!

There is no "wrong way" but you mention a master vol with a master tone, and mention active pickups.  Most active pickups are active because they feed into an onboard preamp, so you may double check those pickups and see how they are traditionally wired, they may possibly come with a preamp and harness.  Not sure though.

I play in similar venues as you, and just finished my latest Warmoth bass build, and for the pickups I used two passive alnico polepiece Musicman pickups (SMB-4a, SMB-5a for 5 string).  This is my third bass I've built that uses those pickups, and on both 4 and 5 strings they give a pretty wide variety of tone.  I have each wired for series/split/parallel which gives you a pretty handy selection of tones when you have two of them, and it will be able to go both deeper and brighter than your average P-bass pickup, depending on how configured.

I'm not main jazz-style bass at the moment is an active Ibanez Gary Willis GWB1005, but if I'm building a bass from scratch I like it as fool-proof as possible.  That's just me though, I'm a bit of a fool, so fool-proof is required!  :D
Hmm... I don't have enough experience on different pickups to really say which is better for what.  But I am curious about the tone circuit.

I'm looking at the STC-2A, and I may have just mis-named some of the parts.  They show them as "Master Volume", "Blend Control", and "Concentric bass/trebble".  It does have a preamp/tone ciruit board.

A couple quick notes:

- The Gecko will normally be a contrasting wood color.  It will likely cost extra to get a board custom done.  Skip it and stick with the contrasting color or omit the Gecko.
- I'm not sure of the need for active pickups.  That significantly limits your options.  How about J+MM for the pickup routing? I used a MusicMan for years in the same arena as you.  Sits in the mix just fine.
- TK5 bridges are still available.  String thru no problems.
I can't agree more with the suggestion for the MM pickups. That plus the J will give you great sound and good options. My favorite bass pickup.
As far as Alder vs. Ash, I'd think about if you are going to color the back or just the front.
Either a translucent color or clear will look much better on Ash than on Alder, I think.  It'll look really classy with the pinstripe accent line they can do. If you're going solid color on the back, I'd say to check out the tone descriptions to best match what you are looking for.
I would strongly recommend SGD passive pickups.  I installed some of these in a recent Gecko bass build, and the tone is incredible.  Lots of good warmth, punch, and midrange detail without sounding unnatural or brittle.  They can be made in the "standard" soapbar shapes.  An active pre-amp is optional - these pickups put out a lot of volume without any electronics.

My experience with MM pickups is limited, but on the Gecko body you'll need to pay some attention to the placement of the MM pickup.  This is because the Gecko body has less space for mounting pickups than a similar Fender or MusicMan bass, partly due to the long 24-fret neck and the asymmetric heel.  This isn't a bad thing, but you'll need to be aware of what you can (or can't) get.

Usually if you get the MM pickup in the "bridge" position with another pickup (P or J) in the "neck" position, the MM pickup ends up closer to the bridge than on an actual MusicMan bass.  This could give you a different tone than what you might expect with a MusicMan.  However, if you order as a single-pickup route in the "sweet spot", it will be closer to the classic MusicMan position.

My advice is to test many different basses with different pickup types, measure the distance from the bridge to the center of the pickup, and use your experience to guide how (and where) to place the routes.