Building custom P Bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rick Martin, Jul 25, 2001.

  1. I posted this under the Dr. Frankenbass subject line and it got no response. I figured this to be an interesting thread and I hoped to get some input on the project. Maybe the Frankenbass thing was too weird. Here it is again with a more mainstream subject title.

    I'm accumulating the parts to build myself a custom P bass. I've got one of those Maple/maple necks from Magic Dragon that are on ebay all the time, a swamp ash top routed P body from the Warmoth thrift shop ($149). A Gotoh 201 which came today (NICE for $20). A Seymour D Quarter P'er. Some cheap ass looking tuners from ebay which may have been a mistake. A somewhat cheap looking pearloid pickguard from the same place. Pots already wired together. Some cool black metal control knobs. A neck plate and screws and strap buttons from Warmoth. D'Addario XL strings and a custom made decal for the headstock from one of those computer sign shops. I'm flummoxed about what to do about finishing this beast. Originally I was thinking Ice Blue metallic with matching headstock. I figure that would be cool with the maple fret board and white pearl pg. I've studied the Guitar Reranch web site and had two phone conversations with the guy and I'm not anxious to spend over $60 on materials and about five days or more to do the work. When the body gets here, I'm gonna wanna slap tha bitch together and play er. Maybe I'll play it unfinished for a little while and then take er apart and do the finish thing correctly.
  2. kezekiel


    Sep 24, 2000
    As far as the finish is concerned, one thing you might do is use an automotive color that you really like. My project bass is going to be a jazz with a cool mint orange color that Mitsubishi was using a few years ago. I'm going to get cream colored covers for the pickups and a pearloid cream pickguard. I'll paint the headstock to match. Hardware will be gold, with matching gold J-Retro preamp. Ka-zing!
  3. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I think Ice Blue metallic would look great with a matching headstock. One thing I would suggest is to try a mint green pickguard. I bet it would look snazzy with the maple board. I've got one on my MIA sunburst Jazz w/ maple board, and it looks nice. PIcked it up from Warmoth for $20.
    If the pickguard you have now looks cheap, just something to consider.

    Sounds like it'll be a monster. Don't delay in replacing those tuners if they turn out to be crap.
  4. The tuners look like a cheap knock off of Fender style. I guess I'll try them and if they stay in tune, they're OK. Could cheap tuners affect the sound of the bass?
  5. I am planning to build a custom precision also , and check out my plans.
    First, I want this bass passive and I want it to have either a fender
    replacement neck or a vintage fender p neck. I think I can get a neck off
    of e-bay. Second, I want to use a pair of Ken Smith soap bars that I have
    been saving for the longest. (they have the word "Smiths" on them)
    Third, I would like to use a mahogony p-body by Warmoth, and last
    but not least, slap on a Gotoh 201 bridge. I would also consider the
    use of black hardware and the use of a custom made brown pic-guard.
    (the plastic gold fake iodized would be a perfect pic-guard)

    That would be my custom p-bass.
  6. Cheap tuners shoulden't affect the sound, and if they keep tune faily well you shoulden't have a problem. Now if they don't keep tune, you have a problem and you need to get new tuners.
  7. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    To get a good finish there is really no way to avoid the time and work it takes to properly prepare and paint a body. Many people try to shortcut this process and end up with poor results.

    After all your hard work and effort getting parts and putting them together to make your custom project, don't skimp on finish or you will never be happy.

    The Guitar ReRanch stuff works well IF you do the prep correctly and follow there instructions. Also you can't beat the cost when you consider most guitar finish guys start at about $250.00 for a refin.
  8. I realize this about the finish. I'll put the bass together. Play it a little bit, decide between the blue and the natural and then get the stuff from the Reranch and do it right.
  9. kustomculture


    Oct 28, 2008
    Hi Rick.... Id like to offer a few words on custom painting/ restoring/relicing guitars.. First so you believe me, heres a link to my adverts under craigslist in Detroit, search Elvis under musical instruments for all my adds, also the same under motorcycles and scooters, there are many ive been painting cars, bikes, guitars and furniture for over 20 years professionally .. i play fender P's and love em! I enjoy the luxury of making any bass/ guitar i want due to my ability's w refinishing. if you really want a nice job you might want to consider a pro. Some things just aren't within our abilities and i have people bring me butchered home projects all the time. BUT.. if anyone wants or needs guidance or advice or technical help id be happy to provide it. Yes refinishing guitars can get pricey, and the equipment and experience is expensive and time consuming but i want the guy w no cash and a big love to get what the guys with the money get.. an instrument to be proud of.... So anyone w any questions please feel free to ask... to all my 4 string brothers out there......Elvis P.S. re ranch stuff will work, especially for necks, but for bodies it seriously requires allot of exp and procedure technique... good luck and don't hesitate to ask.....
  10. squashsquash


    May 31, 2010
    i wanted to rebuild my squier p bass. it was my first bass so i dont have the heart to get rid of it and it got pretty mangled in a house fire. So i wanna sand it down til all the burnt surface is gone than cut it in to 3 peices so i could make it a neck thru. cause i bought a 24 jumbo fret ebony fretboard through warmoth i am sure it was just a swamp ash wood but i want to make it neck thru and have the body painted satin white from top to bottom. get the gotoh 3 bridge and a just a nut lll from warwick or something like it. the pcik ups i am torn on. i love bartolini pick ups butg i am leaning toward toward two of those open nickle humbuckars like on the musicman basses. chrome hardware. and as for the pickgaurd it is the one thing i already have finished its a chrome diamond plate pickgaurd. i think that would make a mean p bass
  11. I found an old beater on CL and got it for $15.00 complete with bashes and what looks like it was pinstriped by concertina wire.

    I've got the 2-part Urethane from a Porsche 'Arrest-Me-Red" crunch job left over from painting my boss's daughter's Bathtub Porkie a few years ago - so I guess it's about time to use it before it turrns into pretty red jello.

    But it's hard to explain to people just how to hold a HVLP gun and what pressures and mixes to use - so, yeah - it's better left to a pro to do the job right. Besides the fumes are killer and I've got the bad lungs to prove it.

    Without the correct organic respirator, you are in danger of some serious kidney attacks too.

    Let a pro do it.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    All this is on target and worth repeating - and it's worth emphasizing that ALL finishes require patience and thoroughness. You cannot rush it and get a first class result. The prep - including sealing and sanding - determines more than half of the final result.

    All the Dupli-Color auto paints are acrylic lacquer - you can pick them up at your convenience and have tons of color choices. But they all require careful prep.
  13. ponticat

    ponticat Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Is this a new age record for a zombie thread???
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    DANG!! Just looked at the dates.......mebbeso.