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Can it be saved?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tom0Blam0, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Hey TBers,

    I just got a Jay Turser MM copy bass from my cousin for free. The tuning keys are complete junk and i'm not sure if the pickup works. I would like to try and salvage this bass just so I can have something with a humbucker in it (I will try to find an inexpensive used replacement pup eventually).

    The neck was covered in duct tape residue (my cousin used it as a prop for a broken lamp for some reason), but I got it all cleaned with some WD40. The body is incredibly light. I played it a long time ago and it has some serious neck dive, so I was planning to route a hole in the body and fill it with some metal beads, which I have seen some people use to address this issue.

    Here are questions I was hoping to get some insight on:
    1) the body is really crappy wood. Is it something I should try to fix or should I replace it entirely? I was thinking of routing a hole to fill with beads to add weight, then repaint it. Is there a way to fill the grain of the wood which is really porous? Does anyone have any thoughts or recommendations for improving the body?

    2) the neck appears to be in good shape, but as I said, I need to replace the keys. I was thinking about these: http://www.guitarfetish.com/Fender-Style-Elephant-Ear-Tuners-Black_p_809.html. Are there any other brands I should look at, or are these okay for now (again, this doesn't need to become a money pit of a bass, just something to mess around with, so I don't want to drop a lot of cash into it).

    3) In your honest opinion(s), should i bother with this bass? My main goal was to use this as a practice body to learn how to apply my own finish and learn how to do setups and the like with, but it would also be cool if i could play it, at home at least, as well. Thoughts?

    Attached Files:

  2. What needs "fixed" on the body? You don't mention anything broken.

    What's the problem with the tuners? You don't say. I've used Turser basses and their tuners worked fine when the strings were installed properly.

    Your picture doesn't show the bridge and any bridge cover. Without drilling holes in the bass, you can add tape weight under a bridge cover, which is what I did with my Turser p-copy. Worked great!

    I think it's well worth messing with. Just don't take the approach that it's a crap bass and assume everything on it sucks. Assume it's a budget bass and that your goal is to make it perform to its best ability.

    Here are photos of the tape weight trick. If you don't have a bridge cover, ADD one - that gives you a place for weights and dresses up the bass. Tape weights are cheap at a tire store, and you can change the weights easily.


    Here's the result:

  3. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    I'd fix it up. Can't go too wrong with a free bass. You could look into lighter tuners for the neck dive.
    Where's the confounded bridge?
    abemo likes this.
  4. Mudcat35


    Feb 21, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I'm currently in a similar project with a bass I got for free. My recommendation is to first of all evaluate whether the neck is playable. Does the truss rod work? Are the frets badly worn? In my case, I have a good truss rod, a nice neck profile, and very little fret wear. So far, so good. Take a look at the tuners, I mean a good, close look. Mine were corroded all to hell, so I took them completely apart, cleaned them thoroughly, lubricated them with some good graphite powder, put them back on and adjusted them. They now work properly. If you can do the same, you now have a good neck with $0 invested. If you're really just worried about playing this bass at home, and want to learn how to paint anyway, do you really care about the crappy wood in the body? Once you get the finish off, you can seal the grain with some sanding sealer. Seal, sand, paint.

    Check and see if the pickup works. You don't even have to string it up; plug in a cord and tap gently with a screwdriver on the polepieces. You should hear a pretty good "clunk" (oh yeah, turn down your amp before you do this). If your pick up works, decide if you want to replace any electrical components like pots. I replaced my pots because it looked like they had been underwater for a few years and were a failure waiting to happen. If you don't get the "clunk", you get to get out the multimeter and start troubleshooting. It might be something simple like a loose connection. Personally, I wouldn't replace the pickup unless I really liked the bass. If it's a practice bass, there are other places you can spend your money.

    Bottom line, I don't think there is any point in putting a lot of money into this particular bass, unless you're emotionally attached. If you ARE emotionally attached, then all the rules go out the window. Only you can make that call. Plus, there are LOTS of practice bass options out there for not a lot of money.

    Good luck, and have fun!
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If the neck is ok, then you have more of your non-electronic issues solved. I know people who have used GF tuners - not too bad. What's wrong with the ones you have?

    They make grain filler for the body (what you use to level and smooth a body before painting) - any place that sells refinishing supplies, like Guitar ReRanch, would have it.

    Just some thoughts.
  6. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    keep it fix it paint it play it
    vmabus likes this.
  7. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    The body isn't broken, per se. There are just some dents here and there that need filled and since it has been sanded down to the wood and refinished, I was hoping there would be a way to get a nice, smooth surface on the body before I apply primer and paint. I'm not sure what type of wood is on the bass, but the finish currently has very deep grain on the wood, so if I were to paint it, I'm afraid the grain will show and the finish won't be very good.

    The tuners are missing the bushings (or whatever the little metal rings on the front of the neck are called) and my cousin said they couldn't hold a tune, so I assumed they needed replacing, but i could be wrong. Where could I get new bushings that will fit? They seem larger than those that are on my fender.

    I attached a picture of the bridge. I'm not sure if there is a bridge cover that will fit over this guy, so I don't know if that's an option for me there.

    Attached Files:

  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Grain filler is what you need.
  9. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    I'll post pics once I get the body sanded, grain filled, primed and painted. Thanks for the feedback!
  10. If there is any room in your control cavity you could mount some weights in there, that should weigh the body down enough to at least alleviate some of the neck dive, if not completely get rid of it.

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