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Heavily Modified Ibanez ATK810E

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thedaivisch, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. Thedaivisch


    Sep 3, 2009
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    I thought I'd share my experience taking an Ibanez ATK810E and heavily modifying it. My wife nearly divorced me over it (or at least made me move into the shed) so thought I'd share it with some people who might appreciate my efforts!

    I refinished it with a hand applied/hand rubbed Cyanoacrylate finishing glue and replaced all of the electrics. Why? Because the ATK800 series is a combo of great build quality, lovely wood, perfect pickup combo and neck, but suffering from a finish too easily damaged which is a little too "flat"/matte for my taste and average electrics that didn't fully realise the potential of the wood. Also I'm a glutton for punishment/Like a challenge/subconsciously enjoy p*ssing my wife off.

    Having tried TruOil (lovely finish and great to work with, but not tough enough) wipe on Poly (too soft, drying time too long) Polyurethane glue (surprisingly nice to work with, nice finish, not quite tough enough) on previous attempts, I settled on superglue (CA) having seen people do it on YouTube successfully. It provides a very quick to apply very hard and very easily polished finish.

    After trying a bunch of CA brands, I found StarbondSemi-flexible Thin Adhesive SBEM0250 to be the best. It was hand applied using kitchen roll applying in straight lines with the grain, using accelerator. I then used 600 grit wet and dry on rough/uneven spots with a polishing block on flat areas, then 1200 grit wet/dry followed by 4000 grade Micromesh for final finish. The finish is effectively a thin top coat on the existing poly, as I found stripping off the existing thin poly coat on the ATK800 to be unnecessary work having also tried that previously. On other thicker coats, that will likely be a different story. The finish isn't full on mirror gloss (I didn't want that) has a very slight organic grained texture to it and retains the open non-filled grain of the previous finish, which to me is perfect compromise and I now have a finish I can relatively easily repair. In the pics you can see the difference in the finish, from matt to gloss.

    For the electrics I replaced the pickups with a Nordstrand MM4.4 and Nordstrand NJ4SV for completely hum free operation in all coil combos. It's a traditional vol-vol arrangement on the passive side with a *bridge coil*-*both in parallel*-*neck coil* switchsetup for the humbucker (the same switching as the original bar the treble filter on the neck coil of the bucker). The switch is a Dimarzio EP1111. The pots are CTS; 500k for the big buck and 250k for the Jazz,wired in parallel. This is all screwed into a lovely John East SPM-02 preamp. John is an absolute gent providing outstanding very personal customer service (dunno how he does it..) Selectable frequency points on the pre mean I can get then exactly right for thepickups and bass. I went with a star grounding design (I've heard arguments for and against, but decided either way, I liked how it took the layout of the wiring).

    The bass had been well gigged and the poly on the fretboard noticeably a little worn, so I stripped it (Stanley blades, nail files and wire wool) and refinishedit in buffed TruOil.

    The scratchplate is custom made by Jacks Instrument Services.
    I also improved shielding, including by running a drinking straw with foil applied through the routing for the neck pickup wires (can be seen covered with heat shrink top left of control cavity).

    Lots of trial and error on previous basses, stress, arguments, late nights in the shed and learning from forums and YouTube but I'm proud of this and it sounds absolutely fantastic. Real powerful organic rich bass tone with excellent impressions of Stingray, active Jazz and some unique tones all of its own.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2020
  2. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Excellent results on that finish! I'd like to give it a try.
    One question: you said you applied the CA using a "kitchen roll?"
  3. Thedaivisch


    Sep 3, 2009
    I think that's a Britishism. AKA paper towel?
  4. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    :laugh: wifey said get those toxic fumes out of my kitchen:roflmao:

    Seriously though, good work:thumbsup:
    Thedaivisch likes this.
  5. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Well I love it. I wanna play it!!!
    Thedaivisch likes this.
  6. mudhoney7


    Aug 30, 2019
    Looks great! I also own the ATK 810 and plan to throw in the Nordstrand MM 4.4 to replace the CAP humbucker. For me, the CAP sounds too polite, I am going for a more Stingrayish tone with bigger low bottom and crispy highs. Does the Nordstrand MM go in this direction tonally and do the pickup dimensions fit w/o modification? Thanks :)
  7. Thedaivisch


    Sep 3, 2009
    Hi and thanks! The Nordy definitely has brighter crisper, more detailed highs and more of that organic alnico harmonic content than the politer Ceramic CAP. I'm not sure it has bigger lows though. Stingray pickups in the Stingray position dont tend to have huge lows simply because of their position close to the bridge, as would be the case with most pickups there. Stingrays often have bass boosted so what you probably want is a preamp you're happy to boost the bass on - one that is a good match in terms of frequency point for the pickup. Otherwise you might get a pickup with a little more bottom but probably a muted top end.

    The pickup screw holes match up, however the pickup casing is a few mm short on the bottom and slightly less on the top leaving a little gap. I overcame this by sticking black adhesive foam pads to the walls of the cavity filling the gaps. The poles are also slightly out of alignment with the strings, however that is easily corrected by angling the saddles to compensate. Dave
  8. mudhoney7


    Aug 30, 2019
    Thank you very much for the details, highly appreciated
    For the preamp, I plan to replace the existing one by a Nordstrand 3 band EQ pre. Hope this matches well with the MM 4.4 and the J pickup.
  9. Bassdirty

    Bassdirty Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2010

    Loves me some ATKs.
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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