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Did a little make-over on an 80s Fender J

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by natrab, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    My dad has had this bass since the 80s when he bought it new. It's always been his only electric bass and he's been playing it for years. Just recently, he bought me my new fender RI which you can view here.

    Since it was obvious we both loved my new bass and only one of us could have it, I decided to give him a little surprise. He wanted to use my bass to go record with his band, so I switched him for his bass so I could still practice with my band. I asked him if he'd mind if I gave it a little makeover and he said of course as he hasn't been very happy with it as of late (both in looks and in playing).

    This is his bass before I got my hands on it:


    It has one of those one piece pickguards from the 80s that I hated so I had to get a new one. I ended up going all the way and switching to the traditional J bass look. I had to redrill the holes for the new pickguard as the old ones were all about an inch away from where I needed them. However even if I replaced the old pickguard, none of the new holes would be visable. I found a control plate and some vintage knobs, and went to work replacing the parts. After about an hour of work I was done. I put on a new set of D'addario XLs which sound so much brighter than his old ones (and he loves them too from trying them on my bass) and set the intonation and it now plays great!

    Here's how it turned out:


    I also cleaned it up and did a major gunk removal on the fretboard as it hadn't been cleaned in 20 years. After a bit of work with lemon oil and fine steel wool, I noticed the grain in the wood really starting to show. It was absolutely beatiful and I couldn't believe it:


    Overall I was really impressed with how well this bass cleaned up. I played it for several hours after it's make-over and I must say it almost is as nice as my reissue (*almost*). I had bought black pickup covers for the pickups but after trying a couple different combos I ended up liking the aged whites on it better.

    Anyway, my dad's coming down on Sunday and I'm going to surprise him with his new old bass. This is how we expand our music gear collection without getting in trouble with mom: excessive gifts :p

    Next thing I'm buying him is a pickup for his upright bass and he's buying me a gig bag. Gotta love family :)
  2. nice, i think it looks much nicer now. i especially like the way the white pickups look, though those arent new, they are sweet none the less.
  3. Very nice! I'm sure he'll love it!
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I like it. I think ashtray pickup covers would look killer but they might get in his way depending if he anchors on the pickups or not.
  5. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I thought about that, since I still have the covers from my 75 RI that I never put on (personally I don't like the look). If he wants them I'll put em on, though I'd rather not drill more holes in the bass.

    I think this bass was also a reissue though I'm not sure. I forgot to check the neck for the actual build date. Anyone have a good link to a site that will give you info on serial numbers?

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