Are used parts worth it?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Psycho, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    I'm fixing up an old bass, my Hondo 880, and am replacing most of the major parts and pieces, new neck, new pickups, new machine heads, new bridge... Lots.

    Now, are any used parts actually worth it? Or are these things i'd be better off buying brand new? Trying to save money, since i'm a bit tight on it.
  2. You can buy the entire bass for about $50 near mint on ebay or C.l . Why would you do a fix up and waste the money?
  3. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    Well, it was my first bass. I got it from my now late grandpa, and still want to play it. I'd just like it to be "renewed" so to say. If that makes sense. :b
  4. Makes sense but would uber costly for everything you listed new or used
  5. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    But, are they worth it being used?
  6. Functionally im sure you can find plenty in good shape. Im just saying literally buy the same bass complete otherwise you'll be spending 10x the amount just for parts.
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Are used parts worth it? Rather broad question. Worth what? The time? The trouble? Existential angst? Impossible to answer without more information.

    Let's try to narrow it by switching some of the words around.

    What are used parts worth? Do they function? Do they add mojo tone? Still too philosophical.

    How about: How much should I pay for used parts?

    The answer is, it depends.

    If the parts are clean and ready to install, a fair price is somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of current market value. If they are ugly or dirty, much less.

    As far as your project goes, it is the only way to go. Functionally they should be fine.

    A guitar that belonged to a loved one is sometimes worth far more to you than anyone else. Do what you need to do to complete the restoration. The caveat is that you spend more money than the value of the instrument restore. Value and worth are two different things.
  8. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008

    I meant in terms of functionality. Are there any parts I should keep my eyes out for, in terms of risks in buying used?
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Risk? Always. How much? Not much.

    Metal parts pose little risk. They either work or they don't. Make sure all the component parts (screws, springs, saddles, etc) are either included or easily obtainable.

    Pickups either work or they don't. They usually do. Ask the seller to state the resistance in ohms. Ask if they will refund your money on return if the pickups are DOA. If they say no do the same.

    A neck is a big honking piece of wood, usually maple. The truss rod is the only question mark here. It may or not be effective. They usually are. Ask for the same guarantee as pickups.

    Ebay is a good resource. A better resource is the local music store. The best resource is a local tech. They have bins full of inexpensive stuff they've collected over the years. They are usually happy to let some of their collection go for some cash.

    Or you could post on TB under Wanted: Bass Guitars, Amps, and Accessories . Chances are you'll find what you're looking for.
  10. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    Thank you very much! This restoration means a lot to me, and this will help very much.

    But about your suggestions for pickups. What are "ohms"? What is "good" and "bad"?
  11. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Ohms are a measure of resistance. If it reads zero, the pickup is not functional. It will need to be repaired.

    Good and bad are impossible to translate. The higher resistance tends to have more output. For practical purposes, look for resistances between 2K and 6k ohms.
  12. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    Just my $.02: used parts are always worth it. When you talk about a whole bass, there's a lot that could go wrong. With one part, usually it's good to go or it isn't. If you buy on the TB classifieds, chances are you won't get jacked or misinformed (and if you do, go heavy on their feedback!), and any quality hardware that's not abused could well last a lifetime.

    In this case, I do wonder a bit about the restoration. After all's said and done and replaced, is it only the body of the original instrument that will remain? Because at that point, you've replaced most of the soul of the original anyway. Just a thought.
  13. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
    only parts i dont think used is good on are pots, jacks, and wiring. Ive bought 2 sets and both had problems, better off buying new kits for $20
  14. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    To me, it's the body that's gone, and the soul that stays. This was my first bass, first instrument and my reason for beggining to play bass.

    Sure, the most of the phyiscal parts will be replaced. But the idea for me is that playing bass has led me to grow and improve as a person, through others, through music, through the whole experience. I kind of felt it fitting my first instrument should come along, and not sit in a corner. I wanted my grandpa to be with me in a way, and to never forget what he's done for me.
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i'm with wideyes here.

    on bolt-ons, most of the feel and "character" of the instrument is in the neck, not the body.

    if it has sentimental value to you, why not keep it intact and fix it up, rather than removing a large part of what it was in the first place?

    that means keeping the neck and body, and just cleaning up the parts that still work (like the keys and bridge?) and upgrading what should be upgraded, probably the pickups and electronics.

    besides, until you get to the point where you really know the difference, it would be really easy for you to spend money on parts that either don't fit or are no better than what you already have.
  16. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Good points.

    Restoration implies using original parts.

    How much of the original instrument is in your possession or can be re-purchased? Are they functional?
  17. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    Maybe restoration was the totally wrong term for me to use... :oops:

    I'm trying to upgrade it, so to say. Improve it, like i've improved myself. But still try to keep some part of it intact as a personal reminder.

    And walterw, I have a few other things of my grandpa's to keep intact and such. ;)

    The bridge is not factory, and has had some parts on it replaced it appears. Some rusted bits too, so the action is extremely hard to fix. The piece adjusting the E string is actually stuck being very low, so it might as well be laying on the fret board. :meh:

    The neck is also very heavy, to be blunt.
  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    it might just be the keys that are heavy, in which case there are lightweight keys you can buy.

    the real point is that changing the neck is a big deal; a replacement could cost well more than another bass by the time you get it installed and working (unless you buy something that's not even as good as what's on there now :spit:), and standard replacements may not even fit on that hondo at all.

    and like i said, with a new neck, it won't be the same bass anymore.

    if you do just want a new bass with the old body, i'd take it in to a good tech first to see if any modern parts are compatible.

    it may end up being easier (cheaper) to buy another bass and just trade out the body.

    i still think the first thing to do is get it set up by a pro; you may find that it plays and sounds great just like it is!
  19. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    Thanks. :D

    There's a few good guys who legitimately know their stuff around here. I'll talk to them. One thing I noted, was that not only are the strings body-through, but the holes are alligned differently. To clarify, the hole in both the bridge and body for the E string, is further back than the one for the A string, which is further back than the one for the D string and so on.

    Most basses and bridges I see are a straight line. o_O
  20. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG! Commercial User

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    QC technician for WMDevices
    Question, does your bridge look anything like this?
    If so it’s most likely the original. The one you see in the pic looked terrible when I got it.
    It was rendered useless do to all the built up crud and rust. So I soaked it in wd-40 over night, then pulled it completely apart and cleaned it up with a wire brush and steel wool. I gave the tuners the same treatment as they where pretty bad as well. This might be something to consider as the tuners and bridge on these things really aren’t all that shabby when there functioning properly.

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