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I 'found' a Telecaster Bass in my workshop today

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Joth, Jun 2, 2007.


  1. Joth

    Joth

    Apr 22, 2007
    A friend of mine dropped off two guitars to 'see what I can do with them' a few months ago, one was some junky small metal style guitar we didnt bother with, and the other was 'his grandfathers old bass', I took a look at it, and it appeared to me to be some home made piece of junk, a slapped on walnut stain finish over a slab body, rusty hardware, and the neck looked like the Fender tele style headstock, but all of it had the walnut stain on it, with the exception of the logo itself, which was the Fender logo, with 'Telecaster' below... I thought to myself 'how lame that someone would put a fender tele logo on a homemade bass, so silly'. I really didnt pay any further attention to it and I parked it up in a corner of the shop and its been collecting dust for months, I even told him this week I dont think we should bother to do anything with those guitars and he should take them back.

    Thanks to my recent reading of talkbass, starting to play bass, and my recent new love affair with a lefthanded 76 pbass, I picked it up again today in the shop with a little more openmindedness, I noticed the neck did indeed have fender tuners and the 'F' neckplate, so I thought 'maybe someone really cannibalized a fender to use the parts on their homemade effort, hell besides this silly logo, maybe it really is a fender neck'...
    Lo and behold, the darn neck has a stamp on the end, aug68, its real... I looked the stain surrounded logo again and noticed for the first time that there was a 'B...' after 'Telecaster', meaning Telecaster Bass, its not a fake logo, its not a fake neck. I honestly did not know that there was ever a bass marketed as the Telecaster Bass, I always thought that any 'telecaster' reference meant the early style Pbass, and wa not an actual model name.
    So now I started to look the body over, and realized it too was real and not homemade, but it had been badly sanded down prior to the awful walnut stain finish, the bridge was broken up with saddles missing, but the pickup cover and control plate and knobs were present but very rusted. There was no pickguard, but I noticed that there are indeed filled screwholes for the large pickguard, the bridge pickup is the single coil style unit, but broken and missing, all that remains is the bottom piece flatwork in the cavity.

    Now, I have to reevaluate things, I am suddenly willing to restore this bass to a semblance of originality, the difficulty is in removing the stain on the neck without killing the original finish below, and sanding and refinishing the body, hopefully an examination of the control cavities and neck pocket can tell me what the original finish was, lastly the decision to restore or replace the very rusted chrome parts and a new pickup.

    Horrible pics to follow!
     
  2. Joth

    Joth

    Apr 22, 2007
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  3. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Nice find. Good luck on the restore. keep us posted.
     
  4. eleonn

    eleonn

    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    Why would someone let that happened to a Fender!!??
     
  5. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Probably because whenever they did that it wasnt worth any where near what its worth now. That thing has some serious mojo even on the latter finish job.
     
  6. You are pretty lucky that the logo wasn't covered over. You're going to have to take this one really slow if you want to keep the logo, and think the original finish is still lurking underneath the neck.

    Back in them days, it was all nitro. I think sometime in '69 they started transitioning over to polyester or polyurethane, so you see queer things like poly bodies with nitro necks.

    I'd start on the body, and see if you can locate someplace where the original finish may not have been removed, neck pocket-control cavity-pickup cavity-under the bridge. Start there and see if the main part of the body had the finish actually removed, or if it might still be under there, by just going at it gently with sandpaper. If the original nitro is gone, then just have at it with whatever sandpaper or chemical stripper you choose.

    Same with the neck, but you'll have to baby it around the logo. Don't let any chemical stripper on the logo itself, it may be covered with only the thinnest of nitro layers. Same with the date stamp, you don't want to dissolve away what little remains of the authenticity.
     
  7. Joth

    Joth

    Apr 22, 2007
    Yes, I was actually hoping the poly was under there instead of the nitro, I dont know yet how to approach the removal of finish on the neck, you know how this could have had the finish scratched/checked/worm before they added on this black/brown paint and that could have seeped thru the nitro down to the wood. The body definitely needs a full strip/sand because they sanded down adn thru the original finish for sure, from the little bit of translucence in the current finish it seems that it MAY have been a sunburst sanded down, there are darker streaks and areas around the perimiter. in the pickup/control/neck cavities however, the original finish is uncovered and is very light, the top photo, the lightest colored flakes in the neck pocket are the original finish, to me it looks there like it was either natural or butterscotch, do you guys think that the appearance of the neck pocket rules out sunburst?
    This is definitely karma, calling me to make amends for doing a similar bad refinish of my first bass, a 64P, but no i didnt make a mess like this, and it had already been refinished, i just didnt do as good a job as i could do now.

    By the way , I live in Trinidad in the Caribbean, and 'vintage' is still just 'old' here, it is mostly the case to see valuable old guitars badly refinished or cheesily modified to whatever was the rage at the time. Until i got into the scene there was no one to guide owners to stick with originality and integrity with mods. The amps survive better for originality, but suffer more rust and cab rot from the climate.
     
  8. Someone either didn't know and certainly didn't care about what they were doing. At least they didn't manage to multilate the stamp on the neck (small wonder :meh: )

    I also hope you can get the crap off the wood. Post back when you have gained the upper hand on that awful stain.
     
  9. ryco

    ryco

    Apr 24, 2005
    97465
    A guitar buddy of mine gave me his old bass back in the early 70's. It was a Telecaster Bass. The headstock had busted off. We put it back together using some type of wood glue and I painted it white with Rustoleum spray paint. The frets were actually built into the neck itself = no fretboard and it had one large chome humbucker pup. We changed the logo slightly and renamed it the Fender B*ttf*ck*r. We were young, dumb and didn't know what we had.

    He asked for it back a few years later and he wound up giving it to a girlfriend. Not long ago I asked him to get it back. She said she wouldn't give it back unless he went out with her again. Unfortunately he's now married.

    I asked if he would consider a divorce.
     
  10. Joth

    Joth

    Apr 22, 2007
    Ok well, if this isn't the ultimate thread revival.. you tell me.
    I just posted about finding an Ampeg B15 and looked thru my old threads on here, totally forgotten I'd ever posted about this... so... here's an update!
    A friend of mine decided to buy this bass over and fund it's restoration, we both lost our momentum about it until mid 2017 when he decided it would be the right bass for upcoming projects.
    So what we have here is a full sand down, refretting, all new hardware electronics amd finish, there was nothing to be salvaged from the original thing but the wood, but oh what wood! The ash body was featherweight and gives this thing a great resonance, I did my best to give it a good semi transparent blonde, with some ambering over the neck wood too to make it look right, all in nitro.
    So it's already back into a life of gigging and recording, and there aren't any other basses like this locally so it drops jaws and we tell its revival story every time. Our friend who we first got it from in the first place (mentioned in the thread ten yrs ago), is ecstatic that we went so far into reviving his grandfathers old bass.
    Phew, now we have some closure!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    afa3, joeypee, jhb138 and 5 others like this.
  11. 10 years, 7 months, and 8 days!!!! That may be a record for thread revivals.

    Nice job on the restoration!
     
    reverendrally and JMacBass65 like this.
  12. Looks awesome!!
     
  13. RobTheRiot

    RobTheRiot

    Aug 31, 2016
    las Vegas, nv
    Great job, and yeah, a really beautiful piece of wood!
    May have taken a while, but I’m sure that bass is happy to be back to its former glory!
     
    reverendrally likes this.
  14. Nicey done!
    Great save.
     
  15. RNG1

    RNG1 Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2015
    That’s amazing,cool story and nice job!
     
  16. 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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