SX Ursa 6 Fretless Mod

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PrietoBass, Mar 30, 2014.


  1. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Hi!

    Late last year I ordered one of the SX Ursa 6 fretless basses from Rondo. The fingerboard needed some sanding to eliminate a small bump around the 12-15 positions on the E and A strings. After asking around, I got a 14" radius block from Stewmac and a level (Home Depot) and finished it with some poly.

    It was OK, but the poly isn't very hard and was intrigued by trying epoxy on the fingerboard. Then I ran into Engine207's Fender Imprecision mod and that was it!

    I removed the neck and started sanding down the fingerboard and the rest. For the fingerboard I used the 14" radius block and 220 grit sandpaper (also from Stewmac). For the rest of the body it was obvious that I'd still be sanding if I used the 220, so I went to Home Depot and got some 100 sandpaper and a sanding block.

    Here we go...

    I'm amazed at HOW THICK that stock poly finish is... I also thought about stripping it, but I ran into another thread were it was mentioned that on some newer SXs the stripper doesn't work... you gotta sand that baby!

    First photo shows the original finish and the bare maple on the neck heel. The second photo shows the back of the neck completely sanded.
     

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  2. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Here's the fingerboard sanded down. Notice that I did the dixie-cup mod as well.
     

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  3. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Here's the front of the headstock. The poly was so thick inside the truss rod access holes that it was difficult to stick the hex wrench in there... it took some ingenuity to get it all off, but I finally managed to do it.
     

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  4. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Here's how everything looks like so far (see attached photo).

    For reference, here's my goal (color-scheme-wise):

    http://www.fender.com/basses/precis...3-color-sunburst-4-ply-brown-shell-pickguard/

    If you do the 360-degree view, you will see that the TF bass has a black unlined fingerboard, but the back of the neck and headstock is the bare wood (probably with a thin poly layer).

    I will be ordering a custom tort pickguard from Pickguarding, and black stain from Stewmac (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishi...gerboard_Stain.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=460).

    Then, after finishing the back and headstock with poly I will epoxy the fingerboard.

    I will also be ordering a custom decal for the headstock (no, it will not say "Fender").

    While we're at it, I've been toying with the idea of changing the pickups but I just don't know what to change them to. The reason being, I want a bit more "ooomph" from them, and I don't like the magnet mod because I feel it introduced some distortion. I'd like to have more clarity and more definition. Only one set of pickups seem to fit in there (the Hippo ones) but they're from Australia and my bank will probably give me grief for that, so I'd like to order from somewhere closer (closer meaning "closer to the USA"... and yes, this is an SX which comes from China, but I deal with Kurt at Rondo and he's a class act, so...). Good thing is that the pickups this SX came with can be taken apart (taken from the cover) so maybe a I can find something that'll fit in the covers so I don't have to take a router to the body... We'll see.

    Ok, now to wait for the Stewmac stain to get here for the next step. :hyper:
     

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  6. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Another note... the poly was so thick that after sanding down the neck heel it no longer fits snugly in the body's neck pocket. I've got a Dan Erlewine's book here that says to use a small piece of window screen to create friction between the body and neck so it doesn't move around. I'll screw on the body pretty tight, but you never know.
     
  7. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time. Supporting Member

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  8. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Supporting Member

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    It'sso much prettier in this color
    I'm going to convert my 6 to fl too

    O wait you're going to do an ebony board?
    does the neck feel lighter and smaller without all that epoxy?
     
  9. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Hi, I'm going to just stain the maple; I don't think I have the skills (or courage) yet to do a complete board swap. I'd say yes, the poly layer is VERY thick... I can't quantify just how lighter and or flatter, since I didn't take initial measurements but it does feel a bit slimmed down. I contacted Kurt to see if he has any SX6 FL necks laying around but he doesn't at the moment. If I screw this job up I might try again with the SX 6 ash, since then I'd only have to sand the fingerboard. we'll see. Currently waiting for the Stewmac stain to arrive.
     
  10. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Jaw drop to the floor!!! :eek:

    That's amazing!!! Looking forward to seeing that project.
     
  11. bassbenj

    bassbenj

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    I don't know if I'd do a real ebony fingerboard for fretted, but let me tell you my ebony fretless blank plank SX 6 is totally amazing. The tone just makes the hair stand on the back of your neck! And it wasn't all that hard to do either. You just buy a pre-radiused ebony fingerboard from luthier suppy. Get out the steam iron and putty knife (instruction online) to get the old fingerboard off the neck (destroys the old fingerboard in the process). Sand it level, saw out the neck shape from the new fingerboard and glue it on. Et. Voila!
     
  12. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Supporting Member

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    thanks
    i'll post a new thing i wont jack your thread
     
  13. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

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    Cool, a vast improvement (IMHO). I can see my 6 being disassembled and the neck following me to our lab where the bandsaw awaits...
     
  14. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    The Stewmac black (leather) stain arrived today, along with the book "Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step". I ordered the book since I wanted to learn about bursts and other tricks, who knows, I may end up liking this sort of thing and there may be another build or two in my future.

    So it looks like I'll be able to work on this project a little bit this weekend. :hyper:
     

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  15. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    I've been working on the custom decal for the headstock... here it is! :) It's a long story and I hope the final project lives up to do the walrus justice! :D
     

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  16. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Supporting Member

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    I like it. What's dixie cup mod anyway?
     
  17. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    Supposedly it started because someone didn't like the Ursa headstock and drew a round edge using a dixie cup...

    I used a spray can... anything that has the radius/circumference that you desire can be used.

    Then I cut the pointy end with a jigsaw. :eek:
     
  18. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that? Supporting Member

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    I want to stain the fingerboard with Fiebing's black leader stain, which I got from Stewmac as a great way to "ebonize" woods. But I also want to stain the side of the fingerboard and then install dot inlays on the side to mark the actual 3-5-7-9-**12**-15-17-19 positions (right now the dots are where they would be on a fretted bass...) So, depending on how black this stain makes the fingerboard, it'll end up as an unlined fingerboard.

    Reading Engine207's Fender Imprecision process, the neck was applied several layers of lacquer.

    So here's a question for you guys: Should I mask the neck leaving the fingerboard and side and apply the stain, and then install the side dots, mask the top of the fingerboard only, and apply the lacquer? I want the dots covered/protected with the lacquer, as the epoxy will be only on the fingerboard surface (I'll be using the tape dam technique).

    Or should I mask the fingerboard and side first, then spray the lacquer over the back of the neck and headstock, then mask the back and stain the fingerboard and sides, apply the dots, and then the epoxy?

    Does this make sense? Thx!
     
  19. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Supporting Member

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    lacquer usually last but there are no rules.
     
  20. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time. Supporting Member

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    I'm wonder if Brian Lewis would have some thoughts on this...
     
  21. wild4oldcars

    wild4oldcars

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    are you staining the sides of the neck where the fingerboard is too? or no?
     

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