Cracked my bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Aldon, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. Aldon


    Apr 27, 2020
    Hey everyone, let me start of by saying that i'm a beginner bassist and this is my first post, so please correct me if i did anything wrong.

    I dropped my jazz bass the other day and this afternoon suddenly a chunk of the coating fell off. Is there any way to repair this bass/should i bring it to a workshop? Thanks beforehand. :)

    Attached Files:

  2. colicchio


    Jun 24, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    Hey Aldon,

    Looks like you posted in the correct category. Sorry to hear about the drop - this can happen to anyone and unfortunately it happens all the time. My advice would be to look at it in one of two ways:

    1. It's your first bass, don't sweat it. You're going to pick up some damage and after that first drop, you'll be more careful. And now you're beyond that awkward stage where you stress about every little swirl or imperfection. This is a tool and you're learning.

    2. Get creative. It looks like the chip is near the forearm rest? You could look into sanding that down and smoothing it out for a cool "Relic" look. Lots of guides for this online or you could find a local luthier willing to take a look to make an assessment. If the piece that broke off is still intact, you may be able to glue it back on there as well.

    Damage like this will hurt resell value, but looking back I wish I had held onto my first bass, so take that into consideration as well. Just my 2 cents.
    David McIntire and Guild B301 like this.
  3. Aldon


    Apr 27, 2020
    Heya thanks a lot for the reply and advices! :) I've got a couple of questions
    1. Won't sanding it down create a dent in the overall shape of the bass? The finish looks quite thick to me
    2. Is it not possible to fill it up and refinish it? Or do i have to get everything stripped down for that? I did try searching for the part that broke off but weirdly enough i can't find it for dear life even after turning every single piece of my room.
    I am trying to contact my local luthier but have not gotten any response yet. Thank you! I will hold on to this bass dearly and do my best to keep it safe from now on, this accident has left me feeling frustrated and sad.
  4. colicchio


    Jun 24, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    #1 - The paint and finish look thick in your picture but it's hard to tell without seeing exactly where it is on the bass. You may be able to sand it down without it looking too weird but I would rely on a luthier to make that call. I'm sure there are online tutorials for doing this but you don't want to make it worse by using the wrong process or sandpaper grit.

    #2 - That's why I asked if the piece that fell off is still intact. If you can get that back on there then you might be able to glue it back. Filling it in with some kind of polyurethane filler or epoxy might do the trick. Do some Googling and see what other folks in similar situations have done.

    Don't be frustrated and sad, just stay focused and keep playing!
  5. There are people who purposely do that to their equipment. They pay to have the ‘relic’ damage. I suppose they think it will make their gear look old, and prove that they themselves are experienced players. You’ve just taken the first step in real experience. Sand the edges and make it smooth. You really can find a lot of ‘how to’ info on this site. Also, check the YouTube videos on guitar finishing or sanding. Keep on playing. You’re now one step further away from being a beginner.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
    colicchio likes this.
  6. Aldon


    Apr 27, 2020
    Sorry about the unclear image, i'll upload a couple clearer ones. I still find the fact that the piece went missing really weird... I suppose for now best thing i can do is be patient and wait for the luthier to reply :) Thanks a lot!

    Attached Files:

  7. Aldon


    Apr 27, 2020
    I see, that's good to know! Though i don't think i am a relic fan myself :) I will try contacting a luthier for now, and try to relic it if necessary. Thanks for the advice, i will keep practicing so i can keep getting better!
  8. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Amazing. Guy asks for help when he breaks his guitar. People tell him to leave it broken.

    On a repair forum, no less!

    "Relic" means worn. "Mojo" means damaged.

    OP: Search this forum for "drop fill." There are plenty of threads on the subject. Even if you decide not to do it yourself you'll be able to talk to a tech about it.

    Drop filling is a technique that uses CA glue to fill in the missing finish. Color can be applied under or over the drop fill.
    petrus61, Bassdirty and Lownote38 like this.
  9. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    ^^^ This, and I will add to that. When you break a piece of poly finish off, it's like cracking a windshield in that the flaking off will continue just like the crack in a windshield doesn't just stop. The crack will grow. So, it's better to get this fixed before you lose more paint.
    gebass6 likes this.
  10. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Well, that sucks. You could either leave it be, or chip the paint off and see the extent of the damage. Then you could fill it and paint it again. But, if it's not affecting anything but your mood, hit it with some spray primer and black paint.

    At least it was a Jazz bass
  11. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010

    I love it!! :thumbsup:
  12. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    In that 3rd pic it looks like there is some glue in there already.

    Are my eyes truthful?
  13. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    You can't drop fill a chipped thick poly finish, it would take a 100 coats. Drop filling works well on thin laquer, and very thin poly finishes. Over my 40+ years repairing guitars I've tried almost everything on these thick finishes. Sadly, none are easy or cheap. I've used body filler, and touched up the paint, and tinted epoxy, both worked ok. In this case, and without spending 100's of dollars, I would use black epoxy from Home Depot. Spread it on as carefully as possible, following the original contours, sand it flush starting around 120 grit, then 600, then wet sand with 1200 grit. and finally polishing compound (I use McGuires from any body shop supplier). This will be a pretty major job for a novice, but not impossible. Use the minimum epoxy you can to lessen the amount of sanding. If you have a 'pit' where the epoxy is not as high as the original surface you can add more. Keep the sanding area within about an inch and a half all around (but don't mask it off, that will leave a permanent line) to minimize how large an area you will have to polish.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Sorry you feel that way.

    Done a ton of them.

    Two, three, maybe four fills. Medium viscosity CA and a lot of accelerator. Of course, the curve is challenging.

    You have to want to make it work and be willing to commit the time. Multiple fills, and multiple accelerator applications, requires down time for the residue to flash off. Plus, it takes some time wait for the center of the fill to cure. That's the reason for multiple fills. Too thick and it really never cures right. Takes a couple of hours and an extra bench in the shop or a wall hanger that is free. Fit it in where you can while fixing other stuff.

    By the way, the epoxy at the home center out on the four lane is gummy. Not that CA isn't, but cheap epoxy doesn't scrape well. Sanding is frustrating because it loads the sand paper quickly.

    Not recommended.
    petrus61 likes this.
  15. Jim85IROC


    Mar 26, 2020
    if I was repairing that, I'd wick some thin CA under the piece that's still attached and make sure it's firmly pressed back into place while the CA hardens. If you have the missing chip, I'd glue that back in with CA too, then use more CA to build up the seams between the broken poly, then scrape it smooth with a razor, followed by wetsanding & polishing. If that big chunk is missing, then I'd color the wood with black nail polish, then fill the entire crater with medium CA, and follow through with the same finishing process I already mentioned. It may not produce 100% new results, but if you take your time and work carefully, it can make it hard to find the repair. There are a lot of videos & articles out there that detail the repair of cracked poly finishes using CA.

    Of course, if you're not familiar with these procedures, I wouldn't suggest learning on a high end instrument, but since you're a beginner, I'm assuming this isn't a high end instrument.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  16. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I've had decent luck with black epoxy, I would only use it on the black edges of a burst like this one. I assumed he didn't want to spend a fortune with taking it to a good tech. I did the edge of a black Spector a few weeks back and it came out invisible, but I also clear coated over the epoxy.
  17. brushfirewolf


    Nov 12, 2016
    Battle scar!

    Leave it and love it.