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HELP! Need fender bass 'basics' on parts/models!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by willop, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. willop


    Feb 7, 2013
    beaver, pa
    Picked up a 94 fender j-bass, standard MIM, one piece pick guard.

    Got it cheap ($50) and it works...but it's spent time in a dungeon (i mean, basement) I"m guessing from the surface rust on the pickups, bridge, wire 'director' screw on the head.

    It has a rattling tuner, and the pots were a mess and the tone pot isn't coming back to life all that well.

    So...figure why not update/upgrade it? Should be easy enough...

    till I start googling things...Fender made a lot of models of bass' and I'm lost as to what the differences are.

    MIM, MIA, deluxe, std, vintage...

    Since I need tuners I started there...they seem to be the most diverse..vintage, std, squier, deluxe...what fits/works and is cheap (option A) and what is a decent upgrade? Seen prices from $20ish to over $100...

    I don't want to invest a ton in the axe...$200 at most. Figure I can get my money back out of it if needed.

    Replacing the bridge is easy..std or gotoh 201. Don't really want to change the sound or put 1/2 my budget into a badass/babicz.

    Wiring...seems the bid choice is large orange cap or not...what's the diff? (passive and plan to keep it that way). It has 2 'true' jazz pickups, not a humbuckers or P/J. Lots of choice on ebay for $20-35. I can solder but they sell some all set to go and mounted...knobs and all. Not sure what to avoid, or what I"m looking for (specifically) or if it even matters.

    Seems 99% of j-bass' have 2 piece pick guards..except mine of course. I always seem to get some red-headed stepchild thing. :meh: Will any 2-piece fit or is there some kind of 'gotcha' out there I need to watch for? If I opt for the mounted pots I'll need a new pick guard.

    And lastly, it's my son's axe and he's interested in a color change. I've painted cars and bikes so figure i can pull it off. What paint is normally used? I don't think I"m after a vintage nitro finish.
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I would grab some 250K pots, output jack, caps, and rewire it.
    Orange drop caps have a tighter tolerance that standard caps, but I highly doubt would would notice a difference if A/Bing them.
    Tuners should be any MIM standard tuners. If you wanted something aftermarket, Hipshot HB7's should be a drop in.
    I would stick with the standard bent plate bridge personally. I'm not a fan of the Gotoh 201 since the barrels are so large.

    As for a refin, it has a poly finish. It's a PITA to get off, so I'd probably just leave it unless he really hated it.

    You mean to say that the current pots are mounted directly to the pickguard?
    Most J's have a 1 piece pickguard and a control plate. I assume the control plate is what you're referring to as the 2nd piece.
  3. T-birdfan


    Jan 29, 2001
    Ontario, Canada
    I'd do something about that rusty wire director screw too.
  4. sxaxsx


    May 23, 2012
    Harrisburg PA
    I assume by one piece pickguard you mean that it dosen't have the separate metal control plate. Kind of like a P-bass. I remember Fender doing those but can't remember when or what series those were. If you want to put a standard guard and plate on I assume the standard plates will fit: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender-Jazz-Bass-Control-Plate-100119739-i1130089.gc

    I'm not sure but there might have been certain years and models of Fenders that had different pickguard screw number and spacing. I would take it to a shop that sells pickguards and plates and see if they fit before buying.

    If you want to swap out stuff and fix it up and it were me I would get this: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electro...ng_kits/Premium_Wiring_Kit_for_Jazz_Bass.html

    And this: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender-P-Bass-J-Bass-Vintage-Bridge-Assembly-101291169-i1130128.gc

    And these: http://www.amazon.com/DiMarzio-DP14...4&sr=8-2&keywords=dimarzio+ultra+bass+pickups

    Tuning heads depends on the diameter of the holes drilled in the headstock on that particular model, so again take it to a shop and see what fits.

    BUT... does any of this stuff really need to be changed? I mean does it work? You may be able to clean up a lot of the surface rust just by taking a scotch brite pad and scrubbing the parts. And you might be able to save the pots with some electrical contact cleaner.
    Another thought is to clean it up as best you can without putting any money into it and then selling it. You said you were willing to put $200 into it, and you already have $50 into it, and you can buy a used MIM Jazz from Craigslist, or guitar center's used section on their website for $250 and then you can choose whatever color you want.
    If you do keep it and want to repaint it, it shouldn't be too hard to remove the neck and everything, wet sand off the finish, hang it up by the neck mounting holes and spray it like you would a car. But you won't change all those components and paint if for less than $200.
  5. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Switching to a two piece guard (pickguard and metal control plate) will require drilling a few more holes for mounting screws. The one piece guards need fewer holes due to them being one piece, so there will be extra holes needed where the control plate meets the pickguard.
    I also recommend re-wiring the entire thing. If you decide to replace the pick ups, beware! Those early MIM basses didn't use standard sized Jazz pick ups. You might have to do a little filing to get them to fit, and/or there might be a gap.
  6. sxaxsx


    May 23, 2012
    Harrisburg PA
    Actually I just google image searched this and the regular "2 piece" guards have 13 screws and the one piece has 14 screws. That being said you are right that drilling will be needed because those screw holes aren't at the same places. But I found this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/about-fender-jazz-bass-pickguard-596175/
    which is helpful someone in it says they called Fender and were told that the conversion can be done, and though drilling will be necessary the new guards will cover all the unused screw holes so you will still have a clean finished look.
  7. willop


    Feb 7, 2013
    beaver, pa
    Trading the bass in on another color gets me...another used bass and I'm guessing will run me $150-200. (if they gimme 100-150 for mine and I get a 'better' one for 300).

    I know this one is sound at least. straight neck, holds tune, etc.

    Elec and new pickguard is $40ish. Tuners worst case $65, bridge $35. $140 and I can probably knock 20 off that.

    Could the bridge be cleaned up? Probably with a lot of time. $35 is cheap and no rusty allen heads (they're not gonna polish up). And my experience wiith rusty chome is it never cleans up all that great -some humidity and the spots come back.

    Pickups are fine. See no reason to change them.
    And I'm not interested in painting it...I think I'm talking him out of that, at least for now. He loves green day and mike dirnt plays a black fender, although not a jazz.