Labor of Love: '73 Jazz Woody

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by xrisj, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
    Howdy all.

    I've set out to recover a 1973 Jazz bass from the barn. It belonged to a friend who passed away some years ago. We played together in several bands over the years since high school. His sister was clearing out his stuff from an old storage area, and asked me if I wanted the bass. I of course said yes.

    Well, it's in pretty rough shape. Missing a number of things such as pick-guard, finger rest, string and bridge guards and all of the vol/tone knobs. I think it likely had some of these parts, but I'm not sure (guards?). Anyway, I was able to establish the year via serial, I'm pretty sure a 73.

    Back in the day, I helped him install a Kahler trem bridge. No plans to restore that to original, as we had a lot of fun putting that in. That said, if it's ruined, I may consider blocking the body up for an original bridge.

    Most all screws are rusted, some have broken off. The binding on the neck towards the nut near the B string has started to come unglued, but is still in one piece. The clear coat on the fretboard is really blistered in many spots.

    The guitar is a natural wood, and I don't think it was ever painted.

    I don't plan to sell the bass. It's going to get restored to playability and hang in my home project studio so it can make music again. I've joined here in the hopes of asking some questions, and perhaps getting pointers and help finding parts, repair work etc. along the way.

    Thank you for reading. When I can, I'll post some pictures.

    xrisj
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  2. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
    First question: Is is possible to learn how the bass was originally configured from the factory?
     
  3. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    Perhaps not with certainty, but a lot of folks here are familiar with '73 Fenders and can offer guidance and good guesses. There weren't a ton of options back then and natural finish was pretty common. But they'll need some pictures of the bass to do that.
     
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  4. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
    Thanks Tom. Here's the J in it's current condition. IMG_9971.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. Cool! Well for starters those are dimarzio pickups and the pots look like they have plastic shafts, so they aren’t original.
    The body looks like it’s been refinished.
    Please post some more pics. Folks will want to see the neck cavity, the heel of the neck, the tuners and the front of the headstock.
    How does it play?
    My inclination would be to bring it back to a playable state the way it was when you guys customized it.
     
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  6. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
    At some point, I'd love a recommendation for what strings to put on it. I'm a guitarist...no clue on bass strings :) . But I've got a while before it's ready.

    I'm thinking the following work for sure:
    • R/R pots as needed
    • Neck binding repair
    • Replace the tuners (2 are shot)
    • Clean/setup the bridge
    • Clean pickups. Possible NOS replacement
    • New Strings with setup (neck/intonation, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  7. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    Your choice on strings. I don’t recall what Fender used stock then - probably Fender flats. But any set of 40-100 or 45-105 strings, round or flat, can get you up & running.

    I agree the finish is tough to judge from just that photo whether original or not. There’s evidence of a refin (filled holes) but natural with a 3-ply black pick guard was very common in ‘73. Of course original would have been thick poly so you should be able to tell with close inspection.

    I’d at least photograph the headstock and the back of the bass for our info. Any other detailed shots are useful.

    I agree with Engle on the electronics - definitely changed. But I think I’d pick up a set of strings and find out if it works. Dimarzios can be great-sounding and replacing jazz knobs is easy - you could have a player in short order with a little TLC. ...assuming that bridge is viable and the tuners work.
     
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  8. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
    More IMG_9976.JPG
    IMG_9979.JPG
    IMG_9980.JPG
     
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  9. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
    Some more pics. Sorry - have to get the hang of posting images. IMG_9981.JPG IMG_9982.JPG IMG_9983.JPG IMG_9984.JPG
     
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  10. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    What a cool project! Unless the neck is just twisted and warped beyond help, everything is replaceable/fixable and will be a super old Jazz. I'd love to rehab it.
     
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  11. xrisj

    xrisj

    Mar 10, 2018
  12. Picton

    Picton

    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    Wow.

    I think it’s a two-piece body, but with one of the pieces being really narrow? Down by the lower treble bout? Could be one-piece, too; that’s a nice piece of timber, anyway.

    Cool project. That’s quite a bridge.
     
  13. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    That's a good-looking list. IME it takes a lot to kill a tuner - soak them in solvent maybe and see. In the cold light of morning I'd agree that's a refinish. Your photos are just fine. Good luck and please keep us posted!
     
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    I would do everything possible to preserve its history as well as well as the bass itself. To that end I would try to put it back in playing condition with as many of the parts as found. Honour both the bass and your friend.
     
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