Hey there gents. I have creeped in this section for a long, long time and admired many of your projects. I have been more interested in repairing and building lately so I figured I would give myself a project to dive into. I have been lucky enough to be working on this project in collaboration with Carl Pedigo (a.k.a The Chicago Bass Doctor) who has been nice enough to let me use this bass as an informal apprenticeship project. For those who don't know, Carl is the man over at Lakland. He is responsible for a lot of the design ideas that make Laklands so great and working with him constantly leaves me in awe.
I found the perfect guinea pig bass here in the classifieds section. It's a 4 string Warmoth body and neck jazz bass. It came from one of TBer JumboDbassman's massive bass sales. The thing that drew me to it the most was the sweet flamed Koa front and back facings and the fact that it was an ash body and the neck had a rosewood fingerboard (a combination I have not messed with much in the past).
Here is the only picture I could find of the bass from the original sale ad.
It came to me without the pickups in it. I already have my jazz bass needs filled with my custom CB jazz type bass. So I figured I would take a shot at converting this one to a MM/J style bass.
I knew it was gonna be a project bass but I didn't really anticipate how much. I got a great deal on it but then once I got it out of the box I realized some of the reasons such a nice body was so cheap. First off, the finish that was on this thing was nasty. It was really thick and bubbly and did not look smooth at all (and it had a really nasty odor). It's hard to tell from the picture but up close it was bad. According to the for sale ad it was a Poly finish. And to make matters worst, it looked like the finish had been sprayed over everything, the body, the neck and even the fretboard with the frets in it.
So I started by removing all the hardware from the neck and body. After doing this I saw that most of the hardware was installed improperly. The bridge was drilled into the body with only two holes. And the tuners were also drilled in with only two holes per tuner. Most of the hardware that was on the bass was cheap generic stuff too. So I sold it all after removing it and set out to get some good stuff.
I decided to tackle the neck first. I removed all of the finish from the neck by hand sanding it from 60 grit to 400, which was quite a pain. I then removed the nut and started to try to remove the fretboard finish around the frets. I brought it to Carl to take a look at and he told me, even though I was trying to avoid it, that the frets had to come out.
So I removed the frets from the board and sanded off what finish was left on the fretboard.
Then I went at the body and started hand sanding off all the finish on the body. I am about 80 percent finished with that process now.
Here are some pics that show the progress after removing the hardware, finish and frets.