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Bringing a 70s fender jazz bass back to life

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by garmenteros, Sep 13, 2010.


  1. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I recently got what I believe to be 70s jazz bass for dirt cheap. One owner only whose had it for 30 plus years of abuse. Well the only thing that was worth while on this bass were the neck and tuners. The body was non original and trashed beyond salvageable. It was like 5 or 6 pieces of wood glued together plus a plywood top. I'm guessing it was probably a piece of furniture before a bass. The pickups are stamped and date to 1977 but are reading low and probably need some work, and the tuners appear to be german made schallers for fender. The neck was sanded (including the headstock and some of the serial numbers at the heel appear to have suffered the same fate) and refinished (if you can call it that) terribly. They did the same on the fretboard without covering the nut or frets. This is going to take some work. Another excuse to get another project going.

    Here are the specs for the body I'll build to bring the bass back to life:
    One piece brazilian oak "cerejeira" body, Bartolini classic j pickups, Badass original bridge, Passive electroncis with 250k pots and .22mfd cap wired volume volume tone. Im having the neck refinished and decal applied, frets crowned and polished as well.

    Anyways here are the pictures:
    IMG_1394.jpg
    IMG_1395.jpg
    IMG_1392.jpg
    IMG_1423.jpg
    IMG_1425.jpg
     
  2. __HM__

    __HM__

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    ....Ew. That neck makes my skin crawl. Good luck, man.
     
  3. i bet that neck smells as bad as it looks
     
  4. You are to be commended- I would have burned it, buried the ashes & then buried the shovel.
     
  5. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Wait till you see the other side, its a sad thing but it'll make it bringing it to life even more rewarding. Cerejeira is a good tone wood, I've used it before... The neck doesn't smell but feels sticky like if someone played it right after eating hotwings and didnt wipe their hands at all.
     
  6. Supposedly one of the best ways to break in a new set of flats
     
  7. a good wipe down with naptha (maybe a few times) should clean the back of that neck up...
    and disinfect it too :meh:
     
  8. giacomini

    giacomini

    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    That neck looks bad... That's what I call abuse! :D Will you refinish it?

    And regarding the body wood, I'm in the middle of a project and I'm using Cerejeira. You said there that's brazilian oak. Isn't it brazilian cherry? I'm a bit confused about the english translation of Cerejeira, because I found in a couple places that it is a southern kind of cherry, but to me it looks more like oak, like you said!

    I assembled the bass and found that it is reeeeaaly heavy! Is your body heavy too?
     
  9. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    i am planning on refinishing the neck and the bass is going to have a new bill of health once Im done with it. The body alone looks like it is going to be in the 7 to 8 pound range:meh:... WITHOUT hardware and pickups. It is seriously heavy, HOWEVER undingable... I had a fretless that I dropped about 2 feet from the air, and nothing. They use this a lot for flooring for something. Where I worked we sold it mainly for flooring applications.

    http://www.thewoodexplorer.com/maindata/we84.html

    under common names you can see brazilian oak...

    In case you haven't decided for a finish for your project, I strongly suggest natural. Take a look at a fretless I made with a one piece body:

    DSC_3926.jpg
    DSC_3930.jpg
    DSC_3937.jpg
     
  10. giacomini

    giacomini

    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    Yep, I chose natural, and it is looking good! I'll post some pics when I'm done! :hyper:
     
  11. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I didn't take pictures of the front of the neck until now... The horror:

    IMG_1438.jpg
    IMG_1439.jpg
    IMG_1437.jpg

    By wednesday Ill post pics of the cleaning up process of the neck... its already underway...
     
  12. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    You sure that's a Fender? I'm no expert, but I've never seen a neck with an off-centre truss plug, or one that's not made with maple being used. Yours appears to be both...
     
  13. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Its in the center, it just looks like it isnt in the picture because the neck was at an angle... About what wood the plug is... hmmm... I've seen other older fender necks like this... I gave it alot of thought when buying this and I came to the conclusion that I doubt some old dude in the middle of nowhere would sell me a bass with fender 70s tuners and 70s pickups and non original neck... Either way I paid next to nothing for it so...

    Heres a picture of a neck I got for 8 dollars a couple of years ago...
    DSC_7451.jpg
    DSC_7442.jpg
    DSC_7439.jpg
    DSC_7447.jpg
     
    Buchada Azeda likes this.
  14. __HM__

    __HM__

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Jesus. I'll give you $9 for that neck. :D
     
  15. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    The neck is cleaning up quite nicely. There's still a long way to go but I should have the bass setup and sounding in about a week. I like to test things out before applying the finish. Here are the pics:
    IMG_1452.jpg
    IMG_1453.jpg
    IMG_1446.jpg
    IMG_1444.jpg

    This wood is too nice to have a pickguard and a control plate. I'm going the sadowsky route, and going all natural with a back plate for the controls.
     
  16. __HM__

    __HM__

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Looking good. What's that garbage on the 3rd fret down? Looks burnt. (Forgive my wood working ignorance!)

    Edit: Or, rather, 3rd fret up. :p
     
  17. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I dont remember what brand, but its some kind of chemical paint remover... to get all that gunk of the fretboard.
     
  18. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    The bass was assembled today and the intonation and action is spot on. I still need a whole lot of sanding and a few contours tweaked. Im not done cleaning the neck or fretboard either. The bass really sings and as it turns out, is a whole lot lighter than I expected, it seems its going to be in the 10 pound give or take range.
    Enjoy:
    IMG_1506.jpg
    IMG_1508.jpg
    IMG_1503.jpg
     
  19. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    The bass is done. I'm not good at taking pictures and it looks much better in person. It sounds great and I really like the neck. I don't know why more builders don't use cerejeira in building instruments. Considering how I got it, it turned out really well. Anyways enjoy and let me know what you think.

    IMG_1604.jpg
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    IMG_1609.jpg
    IMG_1605.jpg
    IMG_1596.jpg
     
  20. That looks great man! clean and simple :bassist:
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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