I've been collecting parts over the past year to build up a fretless 4 string based on Rondo/SX/Essex parts. Anytime Rondo had an old headstock neck for sale I bought one of them, and I scoured Craigslist/Ebay for bodies. Now that I have everything I can begin!
The first part of this process is working on the neck. About 6 months ago Rondo had a few old headstock fretless necks for sale so I bought the last one. Here it is in all of it's nuclear orange glory:
The sticky orange coating had to go, so out came a few rolls of blue painters tape and the necessary supplies (mainly Citristrip, a plastic scraper, and a disposable foam brush):
A good slathering coat on all of the orange parts brought me to here:
I let the Citristrip sit for a good two hours since it was cold in my garage. I waited until the characteristic orange peel like surface started to appear across most of the wide flat areas:
A quick swipe with the paint scraper confirmed the orange finish was starting to lift off:
I scraped off everything that could be lifted easily with the scraper and applied a second coat to all of the more stubborn bits (mainly around the tuner holes and the curved areas of the neck). I let it sit for another hour and here's where it stood:
A second round of scraping left a few really
stubborn bits. A third coat plus another hour:
A few last pieces did not seem to want to lift with the Citristrip, so out came the 400 grit sandpaper, followed by 600 grit. I then removed the blue painters tape and gave everything a sanding with 800 grit. Here's the final result after rubbing everything down with acetone:
The neck is now smooth as a baby's bottom and all of the orange crap is now gone. It's too bad SX feels the need to spray over decent wood figuring with that atrocious 'plasticky' coating!
I then stripped all of the hardware from the bass body I bought on Craigslist for $45, and did a complete shielding job on the body and pick guard. I then placed the neck on the body to get a sense of the final result:
Things I still have to do:
1) The rosewood fretboard was stained with a walnut colored stain that is spotty in a few places. I'm going to give it a quick once over with some Minwax wood stain to even out the color.
2) I'm going to epoxy the fretboard with Mirror Coat.
3) Fit the neck to the body and drill for 8-32 stainless steel inserts and bolts.
4) Measure out and drill for one of Rondo's High Mass bridges.
5) Install a set of Dimarzio Area J pickups and wire up the control plate with 250K pots and a Switchcraft output jack.