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Can This Bass Be Restored By A Novice?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Pulverizor, May 23, 2019.


  1. Pulverizor

    Pulverizor

    Jun 14, 2018
    New Zealand
    I'm thinking of buying this bass as a project, a budget range Ibanez from the early nineties but it's really speaking to me.
    I have not seen it in person and won't be able to before purchase.
    The bass has been in storage for a couple of years with some other equipment that was abandoned at a church.
    I'm confident I could strip back the body, paint it and reinstall the electronics, what I'm worried about is the fingerboard. Is in possible to restore that if it's dry/cracked from neglect?
    Here's all the photos I can get, kinda last minute urge lol.
    1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
     
    rollie 55 likes this.
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I wouldn't worry much about the fingerboard being dry and cracked...Unless it's shrunken enough that the frets have loosened up. You might have to refret it.

    To me, the bigger worry is if the neck has become warped or twisted from being in long storage without strings. That will require you to learn some real Luthier skills. Nothing wrong with that, if you have some fun and end up with a cool bass that you can be proud of.
     
    craigie, pcake, rollie 55 and 5 others like this.
  3. Pulverizor

    Pulverizor

    Jun 14, 2018
    New Zealand
    Abandon all hope!

    This has been bid on by someone who arranged to inspect the bass, maybe a good sign.
     
  4. Pulverizor

    Pulverizor

    Jun 14, 2018
    New Zealand
    Well I bought it, I'll keep this thread up to date so you can tell me what I've done wrong lol.
     
  5. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    The way the finish on the body has failed is crazy. Either that thing was stored in an oven, or someone attempted to relic it with crackle paint! And I wonder if it was stored with strings - you can see shadows on the faded frretboard along the string paths. Maybe it was sitting in direct sunlight or something?

    I can't wait to see this unfold.
     
    Pulverizor likes this.
  6. You're only a novice once :D
     
  7. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Removing a poly finish is one of life's least rewarding tasks. Attempt at your own peril.
     
    Toptube, shodan, cmcbass and 7 others like this.
  8. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    I think that finish is fantastic as is, maybe clear coat it? The fingerboard will love some lemon oil, that will come back nicely.
    Seriously people would pay good money for a finish like that, quite cool what time does to basses. That is an honest relic, go with it.

    Good luck,
    Dirk
     
  9. In my experience, Ibanez necks are thin but very stable. I have a SR405 and a SR500FL fretless of similar age that have no neck issues. I’d choose Gorgomite to clean the fretboard. It looks to me as though it was stored without a case or a gig bag in a dusty environment rather than in direct sunlight, but I could easily be wrong.

    I actually like the body’s finish. I’m not a fan of relicing , but that is naturally occurring.

    That control setup looks like Ibanez’s passive pickup control array. I hope so, because any active bass that has suffered that neglect might have a control route full of leaked battery chemicals. If so, cleanup is tedious.

    Good luck! It seems like an interesting find.
     
    Pulverizor likes this.
  10. Pulverizor

    Pulverizor

    Jun 14, 2018
    New Zealand
    I didn't consider that, a great idea I think. How would I go about prepping the body for clearcoat?
     
    davec and Bass Man Dan like this.
  11. Is it actually flaking off? If not, I would leave it as is. More true-to-life.
     
  12. I’d do this:
    • Clean the entire bass, without strings, with Ronsonol (benzene/naphtha) on all surfaces. Do this outdoors if possible, or in a VERY well-ventilated area. Allow to dry.
    • Use Gorgomite as the package directs to clean the fretboard only. This will also clean the frets.
    • See what you’ve got. If the body finish is cracked but stable, I’d leave it alone.
    • Examine frets for damage. If no damage, polish frets. I use Dunlop 65 fret polishing cloth (about 8000 grit, IIRC).
    • String her up, and set up to your preference.
    • Play the crap out of ‘er!
     
    Ian McLaughlin and Pulverizor like this.
  13. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    I am also a fan of the finish. I’d clean it and use it.
     
    Pulverizor likes this.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah it's kinda quirky cool. But I would be more worried about neck warp than the fretboard.
     
    Pulverizor and Jon McBass like this.
  15. As far as the fret board being dry, I use the Dunlop fret board 65 ultimate lemon oil on all my basses an it works wonders
     
    Pulverizor likes this.
  16. Cutter8

    Cutter8 Admittedly in need of adult supervision... Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2018
    Georgia
    Leave the finish as is, it's "naturally reliced" and looks cool. Clean the bass and fingerboard with Naptha, hit the fretboard with some Howard's Feed-n-Wax and 0000 steel wool, and you should be good to go...
     
    Pulverizor likes this.
  17. According to the serial, it's a 2002 model
    Ibanez Guitars Serial Number Decoder - GuitarInsite
    Serial Number: 2110239 (7 characters)
    Built: November 2002. serial: 0239
    (factory: Cort Guitars, Incheon or Daejeon, Korea)

    And as far as I can determine they were only made in red, white, blue, and black. That one looks like a repainted red, which might account for the finish crazing the way it has.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    Pulverizor likes this.
  18. Its actually kinda cool. I wouldn't strip it. Id just clean it up and play it.
     
    Pulverizor and stigbeve like this.
  19. Lardass5000

    Lardass5000 Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2016
    Kentucky
    Of course. In fact these are the perfect kind of basses to start restoring for a novice.
    It's a perfect base because it's not a million-dollar beauty queen so if you mess it up you're not out a whole lot secondly if you mess it up you can just start over again. I remember one particular bass giving me a hassle when I was young I must have refinishec that thing six or seven times before I got it the way I wanted. This is a greatbass that. Good luck
     
  20. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    I think Slinger nailed it. Rattle can orange or yellow over red.

    I’d string it up with your favorite strings and see if it will take a set up. See if the truss rod works and if there’s any neck issues.

    Deal with any electronic issues.

    That’ll keep you busy for a couple hours. If all is good, spend time with the cleaning and whatever you decide to do with the finish.

    If the neck is not happening, if it’s twisted, warped or won’t set up, I think I’d call it a day.

    Strip off any usable parts and be done.

    If it is playable, and you want a project, you have many happy hours of stripping, sanding, spraying, sanding, spraying, sanding, .....you get the picture.

    Have fun!
     
    Pulverizor likes this.

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