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3 novice P Bass finishing questions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by zeronyne, Jan 25, 2006.


  1. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Like some others on this forum, I am in the process of assembling a P bass bodied (Mighty Mite), J necked (black blocks and binding...All Parts) P Bass.

    I'm a complete beginner at putting a bass together,but I think this will be a great learning experience. I've done a ton of reading, but I'd appreciate some advice on 3 issues I'm having.

    1) The All Parts neck is completely finished and new, but the person I bought it from put a Fender decal on it and clearcoated over it (It actually looks pretty damn good). I want to paint the headstock solid black and finish it with poly. Do I need to sand off ALL the clearcoat, or can I just sand down to removing the decal layer? And any grit recommendations for removing the existing finish (if I need to)?

    2) If there are no screw holes at all, can I use any P-pickguard designed for an import P Bass (14 screw)? I've written to Mighty Mite several times with no response. Can I use an American-style PG (13 screw)?

    3) Does anyone have a good source for black cloverleaf tuners that are an exact replacement for Fender tuners? Maybe ones that weigh a little less?

    Thanks, and sorry if this is not in the right forum.

    3)
     
  2. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    If it were me, I would sand off the finish on the headstock, BUT THATS JUST ME. You don't have to. If the existing finish is lacquer, there's the possibility that it hasn't fully cured, meaning the solvent hasn't completely evaporated from the lacquer. This solvent will cause the poly to bubble or not dry right. As for grit, I'd use 300+ to get the existing finish off, and then use 1500 to smooth your new finish. After than, hit it with 2000 and some rubbing compound. Hold the neck at an angle, in direct light to check spots you may have missed.

    If there are no pre-drilled screw holes in the body, I suppose you could use any pickguard you want, as long as it aligns with the neck, pickup, and control cavities.

    Tuning keys: I'd check eBay for some black Mighty Mite tuners. I've never used any, myself, but I know they exist, and Mighty Mite claims to be a direct replacement for Fender stuff, so......
     
  3. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Thanks for the answers, teej!

    I guess my question should then be: Is there any difference between American P Bass and non-American P Bass pickguards apart from the screwholes?
     
  4. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Not really. Some basses may have a slightly smaller or larger neck heel, so you may have to modify the pickguard to accomodate the different sized neck.
     
  5. Depending on the original coating, you might not have to sand that much off. If your neck has been lacquered, you can't put poly over that - trust me!:rolleyes: If it's poly, IMO you've got a choice - sand with something like 600 wet to rough up the surface and then coat again with a poly OR remove all of the factory finish with 80 grit and then sand smooth up to 600 for coating with either lacquer, poly, oil, or even a mixture of both - poly on the fretboard and oil on the back of the neck.
     
  6. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Thanks, Hambone! Since I don'tknow if it's lacquer or poly (although I'm 90% sure it's poly), I think I'll go with taking it all off.
     
  7. I put black Schaller cloverleafs on my P-bass project...definitely NOT light...but I dig a slightly neck heavy P-bass...it feels like a p-bass :)