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Damaged Scratchplate - Other Issues?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eis_Nine, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Eis_Nine


    Nov 26, 2018
    I've had my eye on a Fender 50s precision bass, but couldn't find it locally so I bought it online and it arrived today. I got it all tuned and took it for a test ride and I am really enjoying it. However, upon closer inspection I noticed that the anodized scratch plate is already gouged at the truss rod! I'm thinking someone must have made a last minute truss adjustment without taking the neck off.

    Does this seem unusual? Or perhaps more significantly, could this be indicative of any other or bigger issue with the bass? It has fret buzz from the 12th fret up on E and A strings. I'm a relatively new bassist so I have to admit I don't know exactly what to look for in a "good" bass and I've heard MIMs vary.

    It's from Guitar Center, so I could return or exchange it for any reason. Would love to get some other perspectives!

    The scratch plate:

    The bass:
  2. LkS


    Oct 30, 2013
    EU, Slovakia
    A scratch on a scratch plate!? I'd return it!
    jk :) It shouldn't really indicate any issue with the bass. Measure and adjust neck relief, string height and intonation the way it's supposed to be done and you'll see if anything's wrong. If you don't know how, have some one else take a look at it.
    LowActionHero and gebass6 like this.
  3. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    If you bought it used, I wouldn't worry at all about the scratch on the plate- no biggie. If you bought it new...well....you can ask for a bit of a discount as someone obviously adjusted it. In terms of the buzzing, check to see if the neck is straight, sounds like the E and A strings may just have to be raised a little. If you're new to the instrument, I highly suggest taking it to a guitar store to get set up but watch them do it so you'll know how to do it yourself in the future and what to watch out for.
    Meghans Dad likes this.
  4. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unless you hang it on a wall and never play it, it will happen eventually. At least they tried to set the action. See if they will give you some credit, or a proper setup, if they have a real tech there.
    Helix likes this.
  5. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Three people might have put that ding in the pickguard. The assembler in Mexico, QC in Mexico, and some stores give new basses a once over. You have the right to send it back, but it's just a war wound. Every bass, including some exotics, and customs will probably need a set up upon arrival. Just the way of the world.
  6. Eis_Nine


    Nov 26, 2018
    Thanks! I did buy it new, which is what concerned me a little. I'll admit I might have let it spoil my first moments with the bass and leave a sour taste about the bass as a whole. I played it for a few hours after that and really warmed up to it.

    I figured it was just superficial, and I'm sure I'll put my own scratches on it with time, so not a huge deal.

    I definitely want to take it for a set up, as I have no idea how to make those adjustments. In the past I've had to just drop my guitars off for adjustment, do you think if I ask to watch that might be possible?
    jackn1202 likes this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    of course. and if they try to deny you that: be sure to ask why. good luck! :thumbsup:
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i forgot to post that you have a real nice looking instrument there ---congrats! ;)
    LowActionHero and Helix like this.
  9. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    It could have also been the floor model at a particular GC store and someone there tried to adjust it without removing the pickguard. Question that would be on the back of my mind is how was the neck was like before they adjusted it and why is it still buzzing? Sort of a half assed job and wouldn't take it for a set up at that particular GC store. lol....
    As long as there are no other issues and the neck can be adjusted and set up correctly, I wouldn't have a problem keeping the bass.

    Very nice bass though OP and congrats.
  10. jackn1202


    Feb 14, 2018
    Austin, TX
    Excellent looking bass. I can see why you'd be a little bummed about the scratch, but I'm glad to hear you're not letting it get in the way of you enjoying your nice new bass.

    Also, welcome to TalkBass!
  11. Eis_Nine


    Nov 26, 2018
    Yeah, I wondered that too. It would have to have been adjusted by the sender GC because I unpacked it at my local GC when I picked it up.

    There's a local small music shop near me I've bought from in the past. I think I may take it over there to have him look at it and set it up, just because like I said I don't really know what I'm looking for as far as potential issues.
  12. Eis_Nine


    Nov 26, 2018
    Thanks! I had never seen this model in person, and it seems like it's everything I was hoping for. I was surprised that I could see the wood grain on the body beneath the finish--beautiful. I've only ever played on a clear satin neck before, so I was wondering how the poly would feel, and I really like that too. I'm really looking for that Donald "Duck" Dunn and Stax thump, so I'm planning on switching to flats when I get it set up.

    TalkBass has been a super helpful resource for me these past few months as I've gotten more and more hooked on bass. It was only a matter of time before I joined!
    jackn1202 likes this.
  13. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Exactly, take it to someone you know who is experienced and highly regarded. Good to learn and watch the process from someone who knows what they're doing. I was at a pawn store recently and happened to watch their guy setting up a bass guitar. I was cringing the whole time because he wasn't as thorough or doing it the way I've seen it done many times by competent luthiers and repair people. Needless to say, the action on all their instruments at the store was pretty bad.
    Especially on your particular instrument, with the truss rod adjustment at the heel as opposed to the headstock, it's good to watch how they tweak it and by how much-how they check the neck and how much to turn the truss rod. Also how they check the fret leveling. Learning to do it correctly yourself is helped immensely by watching someone doing it correctly.
    When they switch over to flats, they will probably make an adjustment to the truss rod because the tension is going to change if not at once, over time as most flats have a higher tension than roundwounds.
  14. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    There are lots of videos - Fender's own site has one. It's good to be able to at least check the truss rod. Unless you change strings, there shouldn't be any reason to have to do anything but this.
  15. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    Scratched up scratch plate? I would say the bass is now worthless. I'll PM you my address. Send it to me and I'll make sure to dispose of it properly. jkjk, Sounds like no big issues other than maybe a good setup. Nice bass BTW.
  16. Eis_Nine


    Nov 26, 2018
    Are there any particular flatwounds you'd recommend? I've only played flats on one bass before and though I liked the feel and tone I don't know much about the different brands. I've heard good things about La Bella, but none of the local shops stock those.
  17. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I'd take a file to the scratchplate and gnaw out better access to the truss rod myself.
  18. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I'm not familiar with flatwounds as much - I've only had a few sets on my basses in 30 years of playing, primarily on the fretless basses I've owned throughout the years. La Bella being the best I've tried, I've also tried D'Addario which was okay - most recently I've had one of the more inexpensive fretless strings on the market I put on both my Squier VM Fretless and MIM Fretless Jazz I had at the time, Fender 9050L - actually pretty decent and had a little less tension than LaBella, I liked them.
    This thread and others here might be able to help. Flatwound string tension comparisons?
  19. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    If your going to a tech for a set-up, it may be a great idea to have him Dremmel / Router out a notch for the truss rod adjustment. He should be able to make it look good and no more un-bolting necks or scratch plates.
    gln1955 and JohnnyBottom like this.
  20. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    I'd personally be fine with it as a used bass, or as a new bass with a discount.

    Otherwise, I'd be unhappy. Fortunately a new unblemished pickguard is easy to find and install.

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