My wife's father passed away this week. I played in a band with him for a while - I play drums. He was a kind gentle man who suffered a lot of disappointments in his life but was not bitter. His best groove was the Ray Charles big walking four and he rocked at it. He died in a fire. His most recent bass was a Spectre, which to me looks pretty trashed (very black and crusty). The other was a P bass - about 1975. It is really only blackened on the headstock - the rest of the bass is in fair to worn condition. My question is: I want to restore this bass for my wife and want to know if it's ok to take off the neck and try to get the smoke off the tuning pegs and head. I suppose it's nitrocellulose? Is it safe to strip it myself? I want to take the neck to a luthier and get it set up correctly but I guess I'm wondering if it's ok to begin a careful dismantle myself. Any tips or websites - look I'd really appreciate it. He was a good musician and I want to do this right. He was planning to sell this bass and I see it as a good sign that it survived at all. Cheers, trout.