GK-3B minimized

Hey Willis,
I see that you “minimized” a GK-3B pickup on your bass, presumably to make it look nicer. Before I start hacking my brand new GK-3B, I’d like to ask you if you can give me some insight into how you did it. Is there something I should watch out for, or is it fairly straightforward? Many thanks!

Hey Jerry,
Yeah, I think it integrates into the look of the bass nicely now. I didn’t document the step-by-step process because I was short on time and wasn’t sure it would work. Once you separate the internals from the aluminum pickup shell, you’ll find the pickup is made up of two tiny circuit boards each with 3 coils that sit on top. So I carefully snipped off the extra coil and checked to make sure it still worked and didn’t introduce any noise to the system. As long as you correctly select the corresponding 5-string configuration in the GK setup menu, you’re fine.

The GK-3B has a radius built into it but it didn’t quite match the radius of my neck and the resulting string heights. So I superglued a little plastic spacer to sit under the middle where the 2 circuit board pickups meet in order to more closely match my radius. Probably not entirely necessary since you have the option to individually adjust level between strings in the GK setup pages – but an easy modification at that point so why not?
Once I had the radius done then it was time for the Sugru. I covered the whole thing and shaped it the best I could and let it set overnight. Then I used a dremel with the barrel sander attachment to give it its final shape.
I ran the cable into the bridge plate and from there into the electronics cavity. then out of the back pickguard cover where I attached the GK-3B’s electronics.
The S1, S2 & GK volume controls still connect to the tiny buttons along the underside of the ramp. Since I’m not using the controls on the electronics part itself I eliminated those and covered the remaining access holes with either foam or tape. I permanently superglued the Bass/Mix/GK switch to the middle position since I’m controlling the mix elsewhere.

Attaching the GK-3B electronics to the backside of my bass is an option for me because I access its controls with the switches under my ramp (with the GK volume potentiometer converted to a switch). If you intend to do something similar, that adds another “hack” to the equation – so I suppose I could document that process next time I do it as well.

  • Jerry C

    Wow, that’s quite a detailed answer! Many thanks. I hope I’ll get to buy you a beer one day, or whatever you prefer.

    I went ahead and hacked my pickup. Snipped the 6th mini-humbucker off the soft circuit board with my wife’s scissors (don’t tell her). I retained the original aluminum cover , which I shortened with a Dremel. Gone are the mounting ears, as well as the excess length on the the 6th string side. It turned out pretty nice. It looks like it’s always been there. I even drilled a hole right under the pickup, which ends up in the original bridge pickup cavity. This way you can’t see the cable at all.

    My Modulus bass couldn’t be happier. Thanks again for emboldening me to do this!


  • Jerry C

    I forgot to mention – I used the kit version of the GK-3B (part # GK-KIT-BG3). The switches, pot, circuit board and 13-pin DIN were all “loose”, which enabled me to seamlessly integrate them into the bass. No black wart on the back — or front 🙂

  • rmouynes

    Quick question. I see from the photos that you drove a second screw through the GK-3B right under the “o” in Roland. Did you have to make any modifications to the inside of the unit in order to do this? Or is it safe to drive a screw through the unit at that location?

  • Ivan Pineda

    Hi Gary.
    I was wondering if you could shed some light on the PCB board that is in the GK3B pickup and if it is necessary for the pickups to work. My Goal would be to separate the magnetic pickups from the board and connect them directly to the colored wires that correspond to the correct strings on my bass. I’ve been told that you love to hack stuff and you are the only bass player that I know that has experience with this type of gear modifications

    Any info or help with this would be greatly appreciated.


Gary Willis logo