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Custom job, help needed

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Jobiebass, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    I put this in luthers corner but I guess its in the wrong place.

    Ive had my first "propper" bass for a while sat there not doing anything after I got my Fretless Jazz and after I took my scratch plate off my Jazz and got it sprayed by my dad whos an excelent car body man and painter into a metalic metal flake silver, it got me thinking about my old bass.

    So far ive stripped it, and thats as far as ive got, now I need a few pointers where to go from here, its a £200 P-Bass looking thing in metalic turquiose with matching headstock.

    1: is it worth spending time/money making a cheap bass look pretty and possibly make it sound better if I buy new electronics and get it set up right?

    2: Ive yet to pick the colour, ive got some paint charts from my dad which are all pearlesent two tones, Im stuck between the
    dirty pearl/blue
    Deep Purple/kinda brown
    blue/teal green
    They all look really good and look great when they move in the light.

    3: is it worth getting new pickups? and whats the chances of being able to get some p-bass pups that are the same size as the ones on it so I dont have to mess about with the scratchplate size? Im sure new pups would sound better though, its cheap pups in it, and the wires are cheap, but once again.. how far do I take it money wise?

    4: neck, its pretty sticky and looks really dark, Im thinking about sanding it down to bare wood, then starting it again, might leave it natural but what lacker do I put on it? is there diffrent lacker to make the neck faster? do I need to rub the neck down with some gunstock oil whatever, If i could find some somewhere??

    so thats it really, after the rebuild im gonna take it to my local bass shop and get them to set it up nice for me to get rid of any fret buzz and sort the action out ect. Im not really fussy how much I spend making it play/look nice BUUUUT Im not gonna throw loads of money at it if at the end of it, its just a crappy bass. As you can tell.. im a propper noob when it comes to all this, so any help/advice would be great.
    If anyones interested in the build ill put some pics up and show you how its going.
  2. Incognitus

    Incognitus Amen!

    Mar 25, 2006
    Eagle River, Alaska
    To be honest with you, it's your bass, you do what you feel would make it worth it to you. That's the point of modding isn't it? Taking something less and making it into something more by your own hands.

    As for the other questions, I can't really help you there. But I would go with the blue/teal green color personally.
  3. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    The question you must ask yourself is "does it FEEL good?"

    Much can be done to improve the looks and tone of any bass, imho. But the feel is hard to tweak, so that must be innate first.
  4. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    good point well presented!
    well ive got a Fretless Jazz and a MM Stingray so I have all the tone I really need. I suppose this bass will be more costmetic then practical.
  5. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    You might consider taking it to a good tech first and getting it set up properly with a new set of good strings. That'll give you an idea of if it's something you'll want to keep or not.

    I wouldn't paint up a bass just to make it look prettier if it wasn't something I'd want to keep to play a lot. It can cost a fair bit of money and is a lot of work to get a good looking finish. With no experience you'll have a tougher time doing a good job.

    If the P pickups in the bass now are standard P size, any replacement P pickups should fit right in. If the ones it it are really bad sounding replacement pickups will help the sound.

    You can carefully sand down the neck and give it a tung oil finish or gunstock oil if you want. That'll probably make it feel better.

    The frets might be so bad that you could spend a lot getting them all sorted out. Or you could buy the tools yourself, do a bit of study and use the bass to practice your fret work on. No loss if it's a cheap bass not worth playing and you'll get some experience. Your first job probably won't be all that good so it may not help the bass.

    In the end you can easily throw in hundreds of dollars. It can be worth it if the bass is decent to start with and you enjoy playing it. On resale you'll lose money so it's not an investment that way.

    It would help to have some really good pictures of your bass to make a better decision. Myself, I prefer to check out the bass in person and play it a bit before I would advise anyone on what to do.

    You can buy some very nice basses in good shape used really cheap. Just look here on Talkbass and you can find some real bargains. You may find some in your country too.
  6. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    well the painting is the easyist bit, my dad is an amazing sprayer, only gonna cost me about £15 for the paint ($30) and hes got the rest of the equipment anyways.

    you just gave me a good idea!!! instead of messing about with the frets, I might get rid of them all together. My Jazz has fretlines and id love a bass without the painted on lines. So I might make this one fretless, ive seen in the forums somewhere people talking about how to do that, so ill give it a go maybe, depending on how hard it is. which thinking about it.. sounds pretty hard. off the top of my head im guessing sand it down so you cant see the fret indentations anymore and drop the nut more im guessing too. or just use fine sawdust+glue to get rid of the holes but I guess that will leave a line which I dont really want.

    I should never have registered for TB, ive ended up spending a fortune on Bass stuff and it gives me far too many ideas.
    Ill take some pics this weekend of the bass and put them up here.
  7. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I should never have registered for TB, ive ended up spending a fortune on Bass stuff and it gives me far too many ideas.

    You're absolutely right. :)

    If you can get your dad to do the paint job, that's great. That saves a lot of work.

    I hate seeing guys go the fretless route without knowing what they're getting into. Still, it's your bass and you might like the end result.
  8. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    Ive just had a look over the forums and had a look how to do it. It looks like a right ball ache, the epoxy route looks pretty stright forward though and my dad always has a lot of that hanging about so I think I might go down that route. At least it will stop fret buzz lol. But it'll never be as nice as my Fender fretless so er....

    I think I might give it ago anyways, I love fretless and it'll give me something to do over the easter weekend other then stroking my new Stringray looking how beautiful it is. :hyper::hyper::hyper:
  9. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    My 2cents:

    ltt: yes. I'm coming to believe, more and more, that just about any bass can be turned into something very playable with a little work. But the question is HOW MUCH is it worth. Is a Squier worth a $300 paint job? Not in my book. Is it worth me spending 3 weeks learning how to paint it -- maybe. Is it worth $15 to get a professional quality paint job because I know someone who can do it -- I'd go that route in a heartbeat. it's not often that you can cheaply try out different colors that YOU like. Spending money on labor to improve a cheap bass might not be sensible. Buying upgrades is more reasonable because you can always reuse those upgrades elsewhere or resell them if you are unhappy with the result. Compare that, though, with something like getting a professional refret job. Spending $300 to refret a Squier neck would be an utter waste of money when you can buy a newer, MUCH higher quality neck for that much. Along those same lines, see my comments below about the neck on your bass...

    ltt: I'd favor the blue/teal too...

    ltt: Buy USED higher-quality pickups -- then you're probably going to be closer to the resale value of them. Then if you hate them, or hate the bass, you can resell the pickups and get most of your money back. But like someone else said, get the bass set up first -- if you can get it to be comfortable enough that you like playing it, then upgrading the pickups will surely make you like it even more. Heck, go the whole nine and put in a preamp too -- but AFTER you are sure you can get the fit and feel to your liking.

    This is something you should dive right in on. I wouldn't pay a tech to scrape the neck down, but I'd go ahead and give it a shot. Sand it lightly until the stickiness is gone, then use 0000 steel wool to buff it...there are surely DIY walkthroughs that discuss sanding a neck down. Then try it out for a while before you worry about putting a new finish on it -- you might like it without one. If you DO want it finished, check out the forums here, or guitar reranch for some detailed info on possible finishes.

    As suggested by others -- do this BEFORE you spend money on anything else. Go ahead and get it painted, sand the neck, etc. but don't put a penny into upgrades until you're sure that you like playing it when it's set up well.

    My whole approach is to use cheap instruments as a way to experiment and learn. I rarely spend serious money on project guitars -- my goal is to get $1,000 playability out of a $50 instrument. I'd even suggest you try setting up that cheap bass yourself -- read up on how to do it, and give it a shot. If you can't get a good result, you can always pay a tech to do it. But if you get it figured out, you have a skill that will pay off on every instrument you own!

    Best of luck!

  10. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    wow, nice reply, (sorry im pretty drunk and couldnt think of anything else to write, free bar last night)

    Ive desided to keep this bass, Im never going to sell it so I may as well throw money at it. gonna get it sprayed up this weekend (still not sure on the colour, the blue/teal is very nice BUT its already metalic turquoise. then think about the neck and pups after. A pre amp sounds good actually, definatly gonna get a new scratch plate too, Might steal someones idea of getting a metal one, although im not sure on the tone changes it may have if its not fitted great and the echos it may create.

    Just to point out, its not a squire, Its a "Ferdinand" although ive never heard of them before. neck pocket/joint looks well made though.

    Oh yeah, had a look about and seen people with custom fret boards, if im making it fretless I may as well put some kinda pattern on there or something. Not got any ideas for it yet, but the glow in the dark exit sign bass from the bass bit of TB gave me ideas to change it.

    Started out with a respray and now im pretty much creating a new bass. where will it end? lol
    started work at 8, its now 9:45 and ive not done any work yet.
    *passes out on desk drunk*:help::ninja:
  11. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    got some pics for ya, they are off my phone so you cant really see them all that great, but you get the general idea.



    the pearl/blue doesnt show up well at all. apologies.

  12. Jobiebass


    Feb 25, 2008
    few updates,
    I think ive figured out everything thats to be done to it.

    Still not sure on the colour, blue/teal or purple/blue
    Badass ii bridge in chrome
    chrome scratchplate
    the neck is to be sanded down and left bare, as close to a stingray neck as I can get it.
    New pups are a must and new pots, which the guitar center is looking for me this week.

    What colour?? its getting done this weekend so I need to know and I cant make my mind up.

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