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MIM P-Bass, Natural Refinish???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 72LML, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    I have a 2001 MIM P-Bass that is painted a dark purple/blue. It's a rather rare color but is also not one that too many want. I've always liked the natural finish look on a bass, but I'm just worried that if I removed the finish from it it's going to be some crappy plain looking chunk of wood under the finish.

    Does anybody know what the MIM basses were made of? I've read that they are either Poplar, Alder, or Basswood but and way to find out without removing the paint? If it's Poplar or Basswood how are those going to look stained?
  2. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    I've heard that most MIM solid color basses were ugly under the finish. Even the Sunburst one are sometimes strange looking. But they're is only one solution to be sure...
  3. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    That's what I've heard as well. I could look in the control cavity to maybe get some sort of an idea of what might be under it but I think that's painted as well. I suppose that if it looks horrible I could always repaint it.
  4. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    You could try to remove some paint under the pickguard to get an idea.
  5. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Check out my items for sale in the classifieds! Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    +1. not a bad idea if youre serious about wanting to redo it.
  6. jonathanhughes

    jonathanhughes Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    What about just swapping the body? You could get an unfinished body from Warmoth or USACG, and then you'd know it would be decent looking wood. It would also save you the trouble of stripping the body only to find out the wood is ugly. Then put the purple body on ebay or in the classifieds here.

    The only downside would be that you technically don;t have a true Fender anymore.
  7. 72LML

    72LML Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Burnsville, MN
    That's not a bad idea, maybe I'll try removing the paint under the pickguard and see what it looks like.

  8. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    You can get a Mighty Mite body for about $100. You can make a finish with Tu-oil, which is pretty cheap and simple to do.
  9. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    I love that color of MIM.

    But yeah usually the bodies are 4+ pieces of wood. Alder usually although for awhile , i think while your color was offered they were made of poplar, which is not the prettiest wood out there.
  10. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Check out my items for sale in the classifieds! Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    getting ready to purchase an sx p bass, and i kinda want to do this to it now.
    maybe like a natural blonde finish though...just worried what it looks like under that paint.
  11. __HM__


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Ha! I used to have a strat in that color. It's called Midnight Blue, and I think it's goooorgeous. :) Plus, I got it for a $100 Parts tele. So I couldn't complain. ;) I'd be happy with that thing if I was you!
  12. It's really interesting that I found this thread. Just last weekend I stripped the finish off of a 2001 MIM P bass that was the exact same color as yours. Here's a few pics of the process. You wouldn't believe how thick the finish is. It's amazing that the body resonates at all. I'm pretty sure the body is 3 pieces of alder with a laminate on front and back, which would explain the difference in colors on the contours. Not a pretty piece of wood by many standards but it's functional.

    After some sanding the wood cleaned up nicely. I'll try and post some pics tomorrow. My plan is to oil finish it and leave it as is. This bass is going to be my work horse/beater and I'm not worried about it being pretty.
  13. Here's the final product. It's easy to see the top and bottom laminate in these pics. I used Howard's Feed n' Wax to finish the bass. You can clearly see a few places where I got greedy with the heat gun and burned the wood. Kinda gives it character though.
  14. If you look at the bass at just the right angle, you should be able to see how many pieces the body is. If there's a lot or the join lines have bad placement, it may look pretty ugly if left natural.
  15. Yes, after a second look I believe the body is actually 4 pieces of alder with still-to-be-determined laminates. I know the bass is kinda ugly, but my reasoning is that a bass with no finish will resonate more and should in theory sound better. As I said before, this bass is going to be my beater/back-up and I don't care what it looks like. In fact I think it will look kinda cool because it looks like hell. A few well-placed stickers and it'll be rockin'.
  16. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010

    No offense to you, you have done an excellent job stripping that guy, but what a pile Fender threw together! Hell, if SX can do much better for 1/3rd the price, I dont know where that leaves Fender
  17. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Some quick research would have shown you that your resonance theory will prove the null hypothesis...
  18. cmarko


    Jul 11, 2012
    Manchester UK

    I know this is a long time after the event, but I have a mim p bass that was the same colour , which is now stripped and finished with beeswax looked identical to yours, but turned out well in the end. now with vintage dimarzio pups and a pickgaurd I imported from somewhere in Arizona (I'm in the UK)

  19. That really saddens me. I think that was a really cool finish. Oh well. Obviously, tastes vary.
  20. cmarko


    Jul 11, 2012
    Manchester UK
    Hey Gringo,

    You dont like my Mexican ?