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Hofner custom build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Doctor Intrepid, May 11, 2019.


  1. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I'm not really a luthier, but I've decided to dabble. Maybe that's how it starts?

    Anyway, I love my Hofner 500/1s. I now have five of them - including two German ones - and it all began with the one pictured below. It is an Ignition model, which is their low end Chinese line. I've decided I'm going to customize it. I'm going to convert it to fretless, refinish the top, add German pickups and German rugby tuners. It's my summer project! So I thought I would keep a journal on Talkbass. Hopefully my project sufficiently qualifies putting the thread in Luther's Corner! IMG_20190401_0739572.jpg IMG_20190511_0931014.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    ICM, wraub, Gilmourisgod and 3 others like this.
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Sure, that sounds like a fun project! We'll be watching your progress.

    The grey line is: Projects that are all about swapping parts with hand tools belong in the Hardware, Setup & Repair section. When you move into cutting wood and redoing finishes, then you're Luthier's Corner material! This is where we really have some fun. Welcome!
     
    Willicious, Beej, wraub and 2 others like this.
  3. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    Cool! Thank you for the clarification. Will post as I go!
     
  4. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I made some progress last night. Maybe I should wait until I have all the parts and tools here, but I'm excited and want to get at it. Here are some pics, but I have some questions if anyone is available to answer them.

    1. I'm planning on using a spray can lacquer from StewMac. Do I have to sand off the stain completely of just the lacquer that was on the bass previously?

    2. Should I try and get the lacquer on quickly? As mentioned I excited to get at it and therefore did some sanding last night. Then I did research and found out the finish is important for moisture issues. I know I should have done the research first, but I didn't. I live in a dry climate. How concerned should I be? Should I apply the lacquer ASAP?

    Cheers! IMG_20190511_2237362.jpg IMG_20190511_2237362.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  5. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Regarding your first question, it really depends on the finish you're putting on top. If it's an opaque color, you don't need to get the old color off, just break the old finish well enough with your sanding to give the new finish something to grab on to.

    For your second question - there's no need to rush to get the finish on - having the bare wood exposed isn't going to inherently cause a moisture problem unless it's in a very extreme environment. Ideally, you'll be working on the instrument in a similar atmospheric condition as you'll be storing and using it. So if your "normal" climate is dry, and you're working on it in a dry climate, you're all set. Also, consider that people often have plain old wood boards sitting around for years. Yes, the finish "helps with moisture" but it's really more protecting from brief extremes, exposure to sweat while you're playing, and generally slowing the change in moisture inside the wood if the conditions change seasonally, it's not a requirement that the wood be protected from normal conditions when it's just sitting on the bench.
     
    Beej and wraub like this.
  6. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    Great advice! Thank you!
     
  7. Looks like a cool project, and a great way to get started on customizing basses.

    I may have missed it, but what are planning for the finish?

    -Jake
     
  8. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I was think the vintage amber lacquer from StewMac. I was going to just do the top and leave the bass with the original finish. I want to keep the original finish for posterity and I like the idea of two tone. Plus, it leaves me less to mess up.

    I hope to work on it some more this week and get some hardware and supplies heading my way soon.
     
    RBS_Johnson likes this.
  9. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The burst looks good as is, try not to cut through. Was the original finish laquer? Fun project, but then you are screwed, the Build Addiction takes hold!
     
    RBS_Johnson and Doctor Intrepid like this.
  10. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I don't have too much knowledge, but I'm fairly certain the finish was a lacquer. I already cut through the finish a bit already. The finish looks great, but I still want to change it on the top.
     
  11. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I'm curious how you're going to install the German pickups since they are designed to sit on the top rather than having holes routed for them through the top like the Ignition pickups?
     
  12. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I plan on filling in the pup whole with wood slats. I want to try and make them flat with the surface of the bass and then place the neck pup on top of the slat. Won't be as good as what others could do, but it will be fun and functional.
     
  13. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I just thought of something else. I wonder if the set angle of the neck is sufficient on the Ignition to work with the top load German pickups or would the pickups be too tall?
     
  14. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    That's a great question! I have some German models so I'll do some measurements before I purchase. Cheers!
     
    mongo2 likes this.
  15. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    From your avatar I thought you might. :thumbsup:
     
    Doctor Intrepid likes this.
  16. eSam

    eSam Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2018
    Central Florida
    Doctor Intrepid! Hope this writing finds you well and happy. Wondering if you have any more of an update on your Ignition upgrade project??? Given the fact that I built mine from a Chinese kit, I'm anxious to see what you have been able to do on the finish and how you addressed the German pup height versus the neck angle???
     
  17. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately things are not great and the project has stalled. My wife left me at the end of May, so I'm wary of spending money and lack motivation. Sorry to drop that bomb, but that is why there has been no progress. I hope to come back to it at some point.
     
  18. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    @Doctor Intrepid
    Sorry for your troubles. I won’t even pretend to know how you feel, but I find working on a bass nearly always improves my outlook, when I’m really concentrating on not effing up ( which is all the time when I’m building) everything else recedes to the background. It’s all positive reinforcement and accomplishment, even when the inevitable eff-up happens. That shop time is MINE, I frigging earned it. Best of luck, the build will be there when you want it.
     
    eSam, tbrannon and Doctor Intrepid like this.
  19. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    Yeah, I think the build will definitely have therapeutic value when I muster the motivation for it. Soon!
     
    wraub, Jisch, Gilmourisgod and 2 others like this.
  20. eSam

    eSam Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2018
    Central Florida
    I echo Gilmourisgod's sentiments totally. Clearly you have great passion about your basses. When you are ready, lean into that passion... it will carry you through some tough patches and give you some purpose and sense of accomplishment. And of course you have your low end brothern here to give you support and encouragement!
     
    Doctor Intrepid likes this.
  21. 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.

     
    May 17, 2021

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