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Is it possible to replace the top wood on a bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by C5DEMON, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. C5DEMON


    Mar 20, 2011
    Clovis, NM
    If i have a bass that is perfect in shape, feel, electronics etc.. except for the top, is it possible to have just the top wood replaced? If so, what would something like that cost? Thanks!

  2. Seph Cameron

    Seph Cameron

    Jan 17, 2012
    Stroud, UK
    You could always veneer it.
  3. theretheyare


    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    If you are going to do it yourself: you can take it to a wood shop and ask them to put it through their wood shop planer-if the back of the body has enough flat surface for stability.

    I did that to thin down a heavy maple body and shave of 1/6 of an inch. Took him 2 minutes in his lunch break and cost me $5.

    The cost/work is in the rest of the project; remove finish from the body, sand, glue on new top, do the routing, sand for re-finishing, re-finish.
  4. C5DEMON


    Mar 20, 2011
    Clovis, NM
    I'd like to take it to a professional for the work to be done and where i live in new mexico.. I really don't trust anyone to do the simplest things correctly, so I'll be finding a reputible luthier in TX. To give you the story, I want to get one of the new Ibanez SR1206 just released at NAMM. I can't stand the look of the ovagnkol tops but everything else is perfect. But, just to be clear, replacing the top wood is possible?
  5. Philonius

    Philonius Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    2k W of the Duwamsh
    Possible? Sure. Then it's a simple matter of what a Luthier is going to charge vs. what you're willing to pay. If you're paying for disassembly, new top, refinish and re-asembly, it won't be real cheap.
  6. C5DEMON


    Mar 20, 2011
    Clovis, NM
    I can disassemble/ reassemble, no problem. but the work for replacing the top and the refin would be all done by the luthier. With this in mind can anyone maybe shoot me a ballpark number? even as simple as +/-$500? If less than or around $500, I'll do it in a heartbeat! If more than that, I'd probably just get it professionally painted to cover it up.
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    How is the neck joined to the body? Bolt-on would be easiest by a wide margin. I would hazard to guess that some would not be interested in trying to fit a new top to a set-neck or neck-through bass, but nothing real scary about doing a bolt-on
  8. C5DEMON


    Mar 20, 2011
    Clovis, NM
    Yes Bolt on. It's got a carved top as well, mainly a gradual curve from the top to the sides, nothing complex like a PRS guitar carved top.
  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Yes it can be done, removing the arched top will be the worst part of it, replacing it and doing an arch is no problem for someone with the proper woodworking skill, it is rather easy but very involved. The 500 ball park would be the area to look but nobody could really quote you an accurate price without knowing what it looks like. If the body is a Spector degree of curve, it can become very laborious just to rerout the pickup routs. If it's to a lesser degree of curve than a Spector, it could be easier. I would figure between 400 and 700 depending on the luthier, and the top selected
  10. C5DEMON


    Mar 20, 2011
    Clovis, NM
    Thank you so much for the info! In that case, I'll probably purchase the bass when it's released in a few months and begin my inquiry into luthiers that will perform such a task. i just wanted to find out if this was possible before i make a decision on purchasing the bass. Thank you all for your help and information.

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