Fender Precision Refinished Before and After Pics...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sundogue, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Here are the before and after pics of my P-Bass refinishing job.

    Before, as purchased...
    Sunburst with white pickguard...

    And after refinishing...
    Natural with Fender '62 P-Bass Tort pickguard...

    Close-up... The pickguard was so glossy that the weird haze you see near the pickups is just something reflecting off it when I took the pic.
  2. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Sweet! :D :cool:
  3. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Looks so much better. Is that a Pro job or did you do it yourself?
  4. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks. I did it myself. It took about four days, with about 2 hours or so a day.

    The body wood is obviously nothing special and you can plainly see the pieces are edge glued. But I still think it is a vast improvement over what it looked like when I bought it.

    I only paid $300 for it, and I even got the '62 pickguard thrown into the deal (though I had to wait for about two months to get the tort pickguard from Fender). I already had all the refinishng materials lying around. The screw holes in the pickguard matched up perfectly. I also stained the rosewood fingerboard in ebony.

    What I like most about it is it looks uniquely mine, whereas the way it was when I bought it, looked like any other P-Bass out there.

    It sounds great, plays great, feels great...and now it looks great too. You can't beat that for $300.
  5. Chad Michael

    Chad Michael Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Excellent- what a difference!!!

    I love the new look, you couldn't have picked a better combination for that bass. A successful makeover if we've ever seen one. :cool: :hyper: :bassist:
  6. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Looks really good. How did you remove the original finish, and what did you re-finish with?

    "I also stained the rosewood fingerboard in ebony"... what exactly did you do here...?
  7. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Ditto: this is a major prob with old basses that are the **wrong** color.....
  8. This looks AWSOME!!! I have a 92 Jazz deluxe I have been tossing the idea around of doin the same thing to it..Could ya give me some tips on what to use and how to remove the old finish and grits of sandpaper etc? If ya dont mind...I love the Natural look.......
  9. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Well I have a 92 TRB-6P that has a flame maple top and is ORANGE!! I so badly want to phase out the prawn/shrimp look. Maybe a gross lime green...
  10. Wow, huge improvement !
    It looks about ten times classier now.

    Great job Sundogue.
  11. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks all.

    I sanded it off with a belt sander and an orbital sander. After I got through the finish, I realized that they had put a thin veneer of ash over the alder body. The black paint on the outer edge of the sunburst covered where the veneer joined the alder body. It was only about a 1/16 or a 1/32 of an inch thick and I sanded through it all easily. Sanding is the easiest method as some finishes do not respond well, even to the most caustic of strippers. The sanding is tedious but effective. A belt sander will get you through quicker but you have to be careful not to go through too far, too fast with it.

    After using the power sanders, I hand sanded using 100, 150 and 200 grit papers. Then I did a final pre-finish sanding with 400 grit. I used 600 grit wet/dry paper and wet sanded the polyurethane between coats.

    I reshaped the body contours. I rounded them off more and I also rounded the body edges all the way around so there are no "sharp" edges on the bass. The front and back body contours are now very gradual and smooth.

    You may want to reconsider refinishing if you care about matching woods. The grain on the alder does not match up on mine and it is doubtful that any painted bass, even sunburst ones will have a great grain pattern. I didn't care that much as I still prefer the natural finish over the painted one.

    I stained the body with a natural stain (almost clear, but just dark enough to bring out the grain on the alder). Then I finished with five thin coats of polyurethane.

    I could not find any true ebony dye, so I used an ebony stain on the fingerboard. I just wiped it on and let it soak in, then wiped off the excess. Then after it dried I rubbed it in and buffed it.

    You can find the stain and poly at any hardware store (Home Depot's, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, etc.). I used Minwax that I had in my workshop. I do a lot of woodworking and so I have tons of things available to me.

    But as far as woodworking projects go, this is a very easy one (if you are prepared to do alot of sanding). But it's very well worth it.
  12. Good job. Your bass looks alot better now, and you really do have a one of a kind.
  13. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Your work looks really nice in those pictures. I think you should have left it painted though. It looks like a homemade bass now. Since you sanded some of it down, and adjusted the contours, it no longer is an original Fender. It's a Sundogue.

    Good idea putting out the warning about stripping painted basses. Some guys may not like the look of the mismatched grain.

  14. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Well, it's a $300 original MIM Fender. I would never have done anything like this to a true vintage instrument, but I didn't have to worry about any value other than what it means to me.

    And yes, most painted basses are painted for a reason...to cover woods not good enough for natural finishes. That's not always the case, but it is for the great majority.
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    That is a good point. You got yourself a nice bass, and it looks good. Nice job bro.

  16. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Very nice!
  17. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Very nice. That bass is screaming "Vintage refinished Fender". Looks awesome

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Very Nice, the sunburst it first had seemed a littel unnatural maybe it is just the picture.Keep Rockin. :bassist:
  19. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Nice makeover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Me likes.
  20. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks all.

    Funny thing is, I owned an original '62 P-Bass with a sunburst finish and I've always been partial to sunbursts.

    However, after I took a few pics of it (after I first got it) and then saw subsequent pics from some of our gigs, I noticed that sunbursts do not have a decent gradation from light to dark. There always appears to be a distinct "outline of red".

    It's something I just never noticed before and now I can't look at a sunburst without seeing that red outline...so now I don't like them! :meh: My pic of the sunburst is pretty bad, but all pics of it look bad to me now.

    I think part of what I don't like, is that they use black as the final outer color. Now, if they used different body woods (instead of veneers) and made the gradation from light to dark a little smoother, or subtle, and used a very dark reddish brown as the outer color, I might like sunbursts more.

    I was thinking of spraying a darker reddish brown around the outside and make it transition gradually from the natural to that, it might look cool. But, after I got it done I really like the way it looks as is.

    Thanks again. That is precisely why I left it all natural and didn't do any gradation. It's got that old Fender P-Bass look where others have just stripped off the 'burst and left it natural, ala Queen's John Deacon.

    For $300 bucks and a little work, I think I got a great bass. It plays great and the sound is just awesome. I took it to a practice last night with some guys (my first band is getting back together for a rock'n'roll revival party in the spring where bands from Central Wisconsin get together for a two day music festival showcasing bands from the area from the 50's thru today) and they all commented on how good it sounds.

    There is just something about that P-Bass sound!
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