I've been wanting to pick up some skills like making routes for new pickups and refinishing a body, so I picked up an old Kay bass SG copy for super cheap to mess around with, figuring I don't want to screw up a bass that has any value to it. Early birthday present to myself.
(skip the next 4 paragraphs or so if you're lazy, I have questions at the end. Also, sorry for the terrible pictures, I only have a camera phone)
I've come to realize that this bass is pretty much the worst bass ever in its current condition. The body is plywood. The pickup is microphonic, so I might try potting it. The bridge is the craziest-looking hack job I've ever seen. From the two posts I've found on these old Japanese Kay basses, it seems that there was supposed to be a bridge cover that would hide the ugly mess that was this adjustable bridge. However, it's now missing the bridge cover and the metal prong that it was attached by, so now the bridge just looks terrible. Functional, yes, but hideous.
It looks like someone, for some reason, screwed the neck into the body from the TOP of the neck and damaged the 17th and 19th frets in the process, then decided that that was a dumb idea, and filled in the holes with some type of color-matched filler.
Additionally, while the neck is bound, the binding looks like it somehow shrunk or was just too small to begin with; it stops short of the end of the neck, and the side dots are actually in the wrong place as a result; they are on a slightly shorter scale, so while the dot for the 3rd fret lines up with the marker on the fingerboard, the side dot for the 15th fret is actually on the 14th fret itself. Looks like this annoyed someone else, too, and they tried painting over the binding, but the paint has now worn off.
It's not all bad, though; tuners are alright, the action is actually quite good, and the pickup doesn't sound too bad if I don't accidentally touch it while playing. The bass is also really light, and I'm liking the 30" scale (I'm used to a 35" scale, 5-string, how-could-they-possibly-have-made-this-any-heavier Warlock, so it's like having nothing on my shoulder).
Anyway, the current plan is to strip the body, refinish it, add two jazz pickups, and swap out the scratchy electronics. I might keep the original pickup in it as well just for kicks (it would fit at the neck in its original position, so why not) and throw in some on/off pickup switches.
Things I currently have questions about
1. I measured 15 3/16" from the 0 fret to the 12th fret, giving a 30 3/8" scale. If I scale down from 34" placement, the center of the jazz pickups should be about 25" and 28 3/8 " from the 0 fret, yes?
2. I plan on refinishing with spray paint. From what I've read, I would want lacquer type paint, possibly with a clear coat of something, right? Also, is some other type of primer coat necessary, or will I be fine if I just strip and sand the body?
3. Will chemical paint removers like Citristrip harm a plywood body in any way? I feel like the glue holding the plywood together would not play nice with paint stripper.
I'll probably be updating this thread pretty slowly with any progress, as this'll be a weekend project type of deal. College is too much work.