Refinish '73 P Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dannylectro, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. dannylectro


    Aug 2, 2010
    Yonkers, NY
    I've never formally introduced myself to the forum but have been posting opinions and help where I can for the last couple/few years. I've played bass for over 30 years, and guitar 10 years longer than that. This is my first question to the group and I'd be interested in hearing opinions.

    So... a friend (very knowledgable, and I play in a band with him) has suggested that I have my '73 Fender Precision stripped of its chipped and dinged polyurethane sunburst and refinished in nitro for the purpose of improving how it looks and sounds. I've had this bass since 1983 and have no intention of ever selling it - it is my primary go-to bass. Also, while the neck, body, bridge, and tuners are all original, it has had a brass nut installed, and the pickups and controls are EMG's I installed back in the 80's (I do still have the original PU's and wiring harness/controls). I also 'broke down' the poly finish on the neck so it has a much softer feel, and replaced the original pickguard. Bottom line, the bass is not a pure original.

    So… what do you think? Have it professionally refinished in nitro? I know it would look pretty cool, but would I gain anything sound-wise?
  2. Kevin aka Kebo

    Kevin aka Kebo Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2011
    Princeton NJ
    Owner - Kebo's Bass Works
    STOP and back away from the bass... Few things here.

    * Your taking a perfectly fine 40 year old vintage bass and refinning it why? Congrats - you just took a 2000.00 bass and made it worth 1400.00 then back out the cost of the fin and your bass is now half... Never refin an orig bass. Thats my opin.

    * Refinning your bass will not make it sound better
    * Nitro vs poly - Todays nitro is not really nitro. Its a thinner lacquer. Real 60s nitro is a carcinagen and an explosive and its not allowed on the market. I dont think you can get thick skin either. The real equation is Laquer vs Latex But youre not gonna fin this now are you?!!?!?!?..

    Id be more than happy to trade you a nice refin bass for your beat up orig bass any day of the week.

    I know your bass has a few changes BUT this can all change back...

    Do yourself a favor.. dont listen to your friend

    With love, peace and respect - Your friendly neighborhood vintage bass columnist, luthier and dealer

  3. And "that great sixties nitro" used by Fender. ONLY the top layer was nitro

    Undercoat: fullerplast (and a thick layer of it), which is a polyester-based resin
    Metallic colors like CAR, LPB,...: all acrylic.

    The only thing nitro is the color-layer in the sunbursts and non-metallic colors, and the transparant layer on top of that, if applicable.
  4. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    If you want a pretty looking new bass in nitro I will trade you a 57 RI P bass. That '73 shouldnt be tampered with, the nitro refin wont make it sound any better. Sure you made some mods to it but with the original parts on hand mostly it can easily be put back to stock.

    Your going to pay for a refin that lowers the bass value, so not worth it. You may not ever sell it but your kids , wife, brother, whoever may have to sell it when you die.
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  6. DeMayunn


    Dec 12, 2012
    Don't refinish. You'll get rid of all the mojo :)
  7. thisSNsucks


    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    If you're refinishing the instrument to improve the tone, then don't waste the money and ruin the basses resale value.

    Side note, You're not the only person with a beat up 1973 Fender P-Bass in Yonkers!

  8. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
  9. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no.


    And put a gag on your "knowledgeable" friend. :rollno:
  10. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    + 1,000,000 to what he said. And to OP: post pictures of your '73, we love to see pictures of vintage basses!
  11. hardtwister


    Jan 1, 2013
    +what he said
  12. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012

    To the posts above
  13. Do not refinish! Pic of my 72

    Attached Files:

    • 2.jpg
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  14. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Just a BassGuy! Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    +1000000000001 :D
  15. dannylectro


    Aug 2, 2010
    Yonkers, NY
    Umm... so I guess I'm hearing "No, don't do it"? :oops:

    Here's the bass in question. It's the back that's all chewed up...

    Thanks for the opinions - I appreciate it!

    Attached Files:

  16. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Just a BassGuy! Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    Your money would be much better spent trying to track down some '73 P-Bass pickups.
  17. pgullo64


    Jul 23, 2010
    New York, NY
    That's a beauty!
  18. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012

    Don't refinish it!
  19. dannylectro


    Aug 2, 2010
    Yonkers, NY
    I still have them, and the original knobs, wiring and pots. All in the box the EMG came in when I had them replaced around 1984. The tech very slightly carved the control cavity to make room for a 9V battery.

    I love the EMG. It is very warm, and very balanced tone-wise up and down the neck, eliminates those occasional characteristic P-Bass "weak notes" and it records beautifully.
  20. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Easiest question in weeks, if not months.... Easiest answer too.... NO ;-)
  21. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements

    What you apparently aren't aware of is that for some reason, these basses in original condition are starting to be worth $REAL MONEY$. Every departure from 100% originality is a big hit to that.

    Your "knowledgeable" friend's brilliant refinishing advice would have reduced the value of this bass by perhaps as much as $2000.