I have about $1500 (total for the bass, shipping and repairs) invested in a 1977 5/8 size carved Mathias Thoma ex-public-school bass that I received in about the condition you'd expect after 20-plus years in a junior high. It was pretty much unplayable and seemed to have not been played for quite some time. Now after a new brige, new post, board dressing, strings, tail gut and set up, it still has a slow response and a fairly weak, nasal sound. Although it is opening up noticeably with improvement almost daily. The tuning gears are slipping and the endpin is starting to pull forward so it needs some more work soon. The body of the bass is sound although a patch on the lower bout is made of plywood. It's very easy to navigate on this bass though due to the short string length and it makes it fun to play and never fatiguing. Dump this bass at any price I can get and move up, or if I invested say, another $1000, would the bass even be worth that much? Is it worth having it refinished? The entire instrument is a network of scratches and bald spots, and it has an inventory number deeply scratched into the ribs on both sides. It looks terrible and it's fairly embarrassing to bring it to gigs. At least it sounds better than it looks, and that ain't saying much. What can I do to get more bottom end and a quicker response? There are Corelli strings on it, but I don't think they are really the best choice for this bass. Do these Thomas have any potential, or am I just putting lipstick on a pig here? Is there a fix for slipping tuning gears, or do they need replacing? I'm motivated to replace them since they look cheap and are in poor condition anyway, but is there anything I can do in the meantime to keep the bass in tune? One more question: would it just be stupid to put an extension on such a small bass? I am shopping for a better bass, but I may be playing on the Thoma for a few months yet until I meet the bass of my dreams.