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I've been busy!!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by embellisher, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I am proud of myself, and I would like to thank all of the great people in the Setup forum for all of the great advice.

    I had two basses with problems, so I worked on them today. I used Setup as a resource, and despite the fact that I have never done this kind of work before, both 'tuneup' projects went great.:)[​IMG]

    I will tell about each of the basses and the work I did on them in the next two posts.
  2. Yeah please post up. We get so many users post up with "i cant do this!" type thing. Its good to see/hear people are doing this for themselves.

    Setup is a invaluable resource.


  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    My Hamer 12 string is a great sounding bass, but it had several problems.

    First, the blend pot was very loose. I had tried tightening it in the past, but didn't have much luck.

    So I removed the preamp from the bass to make room in the cavity(luckily the preamp was wired up with a plug in harness. wish everybody did that!) and unbundled the wires so that I could get at the pot. Then I removed the knob from the top of the pot and removed the nut and washer that held it to the top.

    When I pulled the pot out, it became apparent that the wood around the hole on the inside of the control cavity was unevenly routed. I replaced the washer on the inside of the cavity with a larger diameter one so that it would 'bite' more surface area inside the cavity. I didn't want to try to build up the area, because it is well shielded with paint, and I don't think that wood filler will stick to shielding paint.

    The larger washer did the trick.:) I was worried that the excess turning of the pot might have damaged the wiring, but I checked all of the wires and solder joints(6!) on the pot and everything looks good. When I tightened the top nut back down, the pot proved to be rock solid. 1st problem solved.

    The second problem is the main one that I was concerned with. The first batch of CH12's that were made had a production flaw. They were assembled with a standard mono 1/4" jack, instead of a TRS jack. As a result, the active circuit is engaged 100% of the time, and they run the battery down in about 2 days. Since they do not have a passive mode, this is a real pain in the arse. You have to either replace the battery every time you play, or remove the control cavity cover and unplug/plug in the battery to keep it from running down.

    I have left the cavity cover off of the bass since the second week I bought it, and it got stolen when my amp and bag did. It was in the bag.:( I have also worn out the 9v battery plug, and pulled loose the ground wire from the connector, so the black wire has to go between the battery terminal and the plug. I have lived with this for over a year, and finally today I did something about it.

    Went to Radio Shack and bought a soldering iron, tin/silver solder, and all of the goodies that you need to get the job done. Also bought a pack of TRS jacks.

    I have never soldered a thing in my life, but I figured that it couldn't be that hard.

    So, I removed the jack from the bass and had to desolder the wires from the terminals. This proved to be a problem, because I bought a 15 watt iron, but it wasn't hot enough for the job.

    Once I went back and got a 25 watt iron, things went pretty smoothly. I learned how to solder, and got the job finished. Hooked the preamp up and tested the bass to make sure I didn't screw anything else up, and it worked like a champ!:D I didn't screw it up! I was relieved.

    The third problem was something that has bugged me since I bought the bass, but never had figured out how to fix.

    The bass has a strat style jack holder mounted on the end of the body. I love this because it keeps the cord out of the way. I wish more basses were made like this. The problem was that the holder was 'loose'. It looks as if the wood is a little too curved for it to seat against the body properly. Recessing the holder a couple of millimeters would solve the problem, but you can't expect that on a Korean bass.

    I am not very good with woodwork, so I wasn't going to attempt to recess it myself.

    What I wound up doing was making a gasket out of heavy card stock and putting it between the holder and the body.

    Voila! That did the trick. The holder is now tight as a drum, no more rattles!

    The only thing left to fix on the bass is making a new control cavity cover. Anybody have any advice on that?:D
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    This is my P bass. Not bad at all for $99. It sounds like a good P bass, the paint is very good(3 color sunburst) and the neck is solid and stable.

    The one problem, and the reason I don't play it much, is that the fret ends are sharp and stick out past the ends of the fingerboard. Every time I do play it, it chews my left hand up.

    So, I got out the masking tape and masked off the spaces between the frets, all the way around the neck.

    Then, I got out my small triangular file and proceeded to dress the fret ends. Now I have never done anything like this in my life, so I was sure that it would be a disaster. But this is my beater bass, and at the moment, it was unplayable anyway, so what the heck.:D

    Well, an hour later, I removed the masking tape. I dinged the side of the fingerboard in two or three places, but the dings are very small(almost invisible) and more importantly, the bass doesn't make hamburger meat out of me hands any more. I played it for an hour after I cleaned the residue off of the neck. Very nice!!!:cool:

    So, these posts are just to show you that you can do work on your own basses, as long as you are careful, take it very slow, and use the resources on Talkbass and elsewhere on the web.

    Big thanks go out to Merlin, Hambone, Pkr2 and other who frequent Setup.

    I wouldn't recommend dressing your own fret ends on your Fodera, but if you have an inexpensive bass that needs a little work, I say go for it!:)
  5. Stuck for all to read.

    Excellent posts Embellisher.

    Let this thread be an incentive to other users who see themselves as "newbies" (young and old alike) and need that confidence to have a go.


  6. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Wow! Thats like going straight to college from third grade, Jeff. :)

    Glad for your success. There is just a certain satisfaction that comes from doing it yourself that's not there when you have someone else do it.

    Thanks for the mention, and you are very welcome.

  7. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL

    hey, jeff...have you ever seen those engraved name tags? like black name tags with white writing? well, the plastic stock they use to make that stuff is pretty cheap and comes in square sheets. it would be pretty simple to get some of the flimsier stuff and cut it to fit. it can usually be had at trophy shops for peanuts. i imagine one of the guys at a local music store could remove a cavity cover so you can trace it out on some paper for a template.
  8. Embellisher, that is freakin' awesome! Finally, after 6 years of playing, I think I'm confident enough to do my own work and repair on my basses...well, I do have an issue right now with my nuts (on my Jazz and P-basses!) but hopefully that will get corrected soon.

    So far, I've replaced all the guts in my SX Fretless Jazz, and popped in a pair of Bartolini j-p/ups and on my P-bass, I've added a Bad Ass II bridge and an A & D strings-string retainers to both basses, and am currently adding adjustable brass nuts to both basses. I'm also thinking of adding Bartolini 2-Band preamps to both basses, too!
  9. Here's how I do it if I don't have the original pattern for the cover plate. First, get a piece of cardstock or heavy paper large enough to cover the opening. Now, get your hands dirty doing just about anything grimy. Trust me, you'll see where I'm going in a minute. Then, tightly tape the paper over the cavity and run your fingers around the lip of the cavity making a dark crease with your dirty finger tip. This will become your pattern. Cut it out and check it to make sure of the fit. When it fits just right, you can mark your screw holes and transfer the pattern to your final material.

    A big word of WARNING here...Mark the sides of the pattern showing the inside and outside of the cover. Also do the same with your raw material. As you begin to work with the 2 in your hands you'll see how easy it is to get the orientation wrong and wind up cutting the cover backwards.

    Don't ask how I know this so well...:rolleyes:
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    You sound as if you speak from experience.:D

    What is the best way to cut the plastic?
  11. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Just posting to subscribe. Neat-o thread. :)
  12. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL

    dremel ;)
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Darn! I guess I have to buy one of those, too!:D
  14. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL

    hey, man...use any excuse you can to get a dremel ;) they rock
  15. Great thread embellisher! Good to hear we can all do some of the basics if we do a bit of research. I'm now ready to attack the intonation issues with my MIA Jazz V. This is certainly a way simpler thing than what you have done with your first tech efforts, but it is a start.....
  16. The best way to get perfect shapes is to rough cut the laminate with a jigsaw just outside of your line and then use a drum sanding fixture on your drill press the shape it to perfection.

    I've got to contradict Netoon here...Dremels aren't the best for this. Unless you are using it as a router with a patterning bit, you won't be able to follow a contour very well by hand. They have a tendency to wander and drive themselves. Don't get me wrong, these things are great for inlay and other tasks, just not following a curve precisely.

    Should I mention any more tools so that you can go by them?;)
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    No! Please stop!:D
  18. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    A coping saw with a fine blade works well. You just have to support the plastic so it doesn't flex too much. You have to finish up with sandpaper.

  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    That sounds like a winner to me, not having a drill press. But I still want to get a Dremel. Those things are cool.:)
  20. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Way to go Jeff!

    I was going to mention the plastic from the trophy shop but someone beat me to it. I think they call that stuff "lamacoid." Or at least when you get name tags and labels made from it they call them "lamacoid labels."

    Plexiglass works well. If you don't want it clear, paint the inside black. That makes for a black with a very thick "clear coat."

    I've seen people make covers out of wood that matches the bodies of their basses too.

    I've never attacked my frets. I'm trying to work up the courage to slot a nut. One of my basses has the nut slots cut too deep. I'll have to replace the nut and re-slot it. (Or, I'm told I can put some type of epoxy in the existing slots to build them up, and then file them down to where they should be.)