Hey folks. I have a 12 year old Cort A4 Artisan that has served me incredibly well since I bought it new in 2000. (EDIT: To prevent you from having to read for more than 2 minutes, here's a synopsis. I want to refret my bass. I would like stainless steel frets. I don't have a luthier I trust in my area and I need a reference. There ... that's the short version for those suffering from Twitteritis. However, if you're able to read roughly about as fast as you can speak, below is only about 2 minutes worth of informational time suckage. Thank you.)
I'm attempting to answer more questions than I generate, so here's everything I can think of: MAIN REASONING:
I was about to buy another mid-priced bass to continue moving forward with some project ideas I have going on. But I've decided to instead invest that money into doing some refurb work on my Cort. WHY STAINLESS?:
I've wanted another bass with stainless steel frets since I built a Warmoth with them years ago. I have since built (uh ... assembled?) ten other Warmoths .. all guitars .. and each one has SS frets on them. I live in a rural area with nothing in the manner of trustworthy luthiers anywhere within driving distance. So these SS frets are nice simply because they last so long, as does any fretwork done to them. That alone is a nice feature due to our location and lack of anyone capable of doing touch-up work. JUST DO IT YOURSELF, IT'S EASY.:
I've often been inspired by the likes of Billy Sheehan to begin doing my own fret-leveling work, or even just minor touch ups. I have some equipment needed for that, such as a high quality 24 inch framing square, mics and dial calipers, and a complete machine shop (mill, lathe, TIG, MIG, Oxy-Acet torch, several drill presses, bench grinders, and so on .... still short that Porter Cable router though!! A powered mitre saw would be a nice addition as well). But I don't feel confident enough to actually do refretting.
So, I'm looking for someone to help out with this and do the work for me. SOLID ENOUGH AND WORTH INVESTING IN?:
What follows here are the details about this bass. I'm thinking that this bass is worthy of putting some money into, I really think it could be made into a very excellent player if handed over to the proper person. I'll be converting it over to 2-channel operation soon as well just like I did to my Squier ~modified~ Vintage Modified Jazz 70's bass ... 2 channel modification on a J (many pictures).
This is the first generation of A4s, with the old style bridge and tailpiece and no passive EQ toggle switch. This ain't no plywood bass with a veneer top either, as you can clearly see the solid figured maple wings are .. well .. solid figured maple wings. I'm not sure what the multi-piece laminated neck is lam'd with ... I'm told it's wenge. The headstock is even part of the lams, as the neck is one lamination from the strap button all the way up to the tip of the headstock.
So I think this is a good foundation worthy of putting some effort into to take it a step or three up the quality totem pole. So may I have some suggestions? "SPAM" is welcome, so if you're someone capable feel free to self promote, you have my blessings to do so. I'm willing to ship the Cort off to anywhere stateside, and ~yes, I have a decent case for it.
Here's what you'd be working with ....
The neck does NOT have binding, it just kinda looks like it does from some angles.
This is the Cort "Fortress" bridge. It is a certified bitch to do adjustments on. The strings have to be relaxed enough to allow you to turn the threaded saddles up or down. To adjust intonation there is an allen headed machine screw inside of each saddle track that must be loosened, then the saddle is simply slid by hand to another spot, then retighten the saddle screw, retension the string(s) and retest intonation. It isn't impossible it's just a hassle. The payoff is unreal sustain and crazy harmonic overtones ... piano-like. The bridge is counter-sunk into the neck quite a bit, so it is pretty massive, and solid brass.
Frets 1 through 4 are pretty worn out in a few places. I used this bass during my "animal" phase of learning to play more aggressively. I'd like to have it given that "Warwick" level of playability. I've owned one and got a bit spoiled!
I currently have the J as my beater, which I go from pick to fingers with. But the Cort is played fingers-only. It's been used on countless gigs, over 250 recorded songs, and been hauled all over the Desert Southwest. And it still looks as good as these pics present.
Top end budget is about $500 for this project. That has to cover all of the shipping/insurance as well. I plan on retaining the stock licensed Bartolini single coils, and the stock tuning machines seem to be adequate. The nut is solid brass and seems to be in fine shape as well (although it falls off everytime I restring it, it's been that way since the first month I owned it. I've never felt like it needed to be attended too, it seems to stay put and notes still ring foooorrrr ~~~~ evvv ~~~~ errrr.......
There, that's the whole pile of noodles. Sorry about the verbous post, but I'm notorious for that.
Thank you, Flux Of Earth.