Mistreated Squier P-Bass, Under New Management!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by solatidoebass, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Play it until it breaks: It works as-is, leave it. It's been through enough already!

  2. Fix it: (please comment with strategy ideas!)

  3. Take the risk and take it apart for learning's sake!

  4. Keep some parts for a frankenbass

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    20180409_162636.jpg 20180412_205540.jpg 20180412_205548.jpg 20180412_205556.jpg 20180412_205614.jpg 20180412_205619.jpg
    This is my first post but I've been recently reading through a lot of threads on this forum because I'm trying to figure out my next move with this bass guitar I got. (see pics)

    Please let me know if this should be posted to a separate/more specific forum.

    First things first:

    - I did not pay for this bass, nor would I likely pay for a bass in its condition.
    - The previous owner abandoned it in someone's studio and then after many years of it sitting dusty and alone, it was given to me to see if I could make it work.
    - It actually plays nicely, holds decent tune, the pickups have a nice tone (against all odds.)
    -From what I know it's a MIJ Squier P-Bass, and it's been beat up. Likely has the same strings on it that it came from Japan with.

    Things to notice (I tried my best to make the pictures show these issues off):
    - The duct-tape and stickers turned out to be band-aids. Lots of cracks/near breaks throughout the body where it's been taped over, painted, but surprisingly never glued.
    - The nut is busted at the g-string (but surprisingly the crack is AFTER the slot the string sits in, and therefor the G can be restrung, tuned, and play.
    - There's a crack on the back of the neck right near the nut, and it looks like it goes up through almost half of the headstock.
    - There are some smaller, matching cracks on the top of the headstock.
    - The electronics work, still and after tightening the input jack a bit, I'm getting uninterrupted clean signal.
    - Likely this guitar was dropped or thrown a lot as some sort of stage business...

    The surprising thing to me is, as-is, it still functions, feels nice, and sounds nice.

    I would like to clean it up, and take this as an opportunity to learn some skills around fixing/restoring/rejuvenating instruments that "need a bit of love."

    I've already kind of gone shop-to-shop in my city asking guitar techs what they would do. Ideas ranged from:
    "Don't take the strings off, the string tension is probably the only thing keeping it from crumbling to dust"
    to near-tears with "I wouldn't want to see anyone put time or money into this instrument" to "Awesome! It's a warrior. Put some epoxy in it, clamp the hell out of it and treat it like an experiment!"

    So that's why I've turned to this forum! I've done some research and pricing on new parts for it, but honestly I don't want to buy parts for this bass, as I've even having a hard time identifying the model and I don't want to get stuck with misfit parts...

    But I don't mind putting time and effort in!

    What would you do with this Squier P-Bass?? I want my first priority to be fixing the cracks in the neck/headstock but I also don't want to risk taking the strings off, in case that guitar tech was right that it would come apart without string tension.


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    Thanks for reading!

    craigie likes this.
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    It seems like a good instrument to learn/practice to make repairs on. That nut is going to be a problem sooner than later, but nuts are inexpensive. I would replace the nut, put on some new strings, and go from there...

    Also, replace that missing tuner screw if it’s not broken off in the headstock.
    craigie and Joedog like this.
  3. blastoff


    Sep 5, 2007
    way out west
    It's got a compass! most basses don't even have one of those. so theres that
    saabfender and Linnin like this.
  4. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    I'm just concerned that once the strings are off, the cracks might get worse. Can you think of anything I can do to treat the cracks (even just a minor thing) before I put the new nut and strings on?

    Is it a bad idea to glue/epoxy it while the current strings are still on? Just to use the string tension as a bit of a clamp (along with actual horizontal clamps)?
  5. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Apparently not a moral compass
    blastoff likes this.
  6. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    That's an interesting relic of punk rock. Purposely Thrashed & Abused. Hang it on the wall as a museum piece, or fix it up. The Made In Japan Squiers actually have some collector interest, but not much. Before you dive in head first, you might find a buyer. I like the notes and words painted on the fretboard. An absurd artifact of history.
  7. I'd rock it.

    With that said, I'm not sure about the thing going to poopie with the strings off. You've clearly taken plenty of photos of the thing, so you've documented the issues, maybe take the strings off, and if it falls apart, you've got some free hardware. If it doesn't but various things shift - you at least have an idea. Maybe detune the strings slowly and observe results as you progress.

    I'd probably start with fixing the neck as much as possible - maybe with epoxy, maybe watered down wood glue and a syringe, and of course a new nut would be good. From there, replacement bodies can be had if it's not fixable. But I'd glue the whole thing back together crack by crack with wood glue. Everything else is just mojo.

    Also, are some of the tuner screws up there Robertson head screws?
    RSBBass likes this.
  8. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I would slowly detune the strings and watch to see if the cracks open up. If the cracks open up, retune the bass until you’re ready to repair them. If the cracks hold, go ahead with your next intentions.
  9. To my thinking, if the cracks do open up without string tension, you want them as apart as they are going to be before you start gluing.
    RSBBass, craigie and Pilgrim like this.
  10. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Yes, you will want glue in the deepest recesses of the crack for the best repair.
  11. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    I've purchased 4 craigslist Squier basses in the last few years. All were in very good condition.
    2 Precisions Affinity - $85 & $100
    1 Jazz Standard - $125
    1 P-bass Special mid 90's - $90

    If you have the time, money and ambition to refurbish that bass, go for the challenge.
    Unfortunately the only thing salvageable from your Squier are the tuning pegs. If I had that bass, I'd keep it in as-is derelict condition and use it as a wall hanger. Be a great conversation piece.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Exactly. To glue the cracks you'll have to get them at least far enough open to use a syringe to inject glue. Probably better if you can get them open wider, because you want to get enough glue in there the FIRST time. You actually need to get anything apart that's willing to come apart.

    Titebond is a strongly recommended glue for headstock or body cracks. Given the condition of the body, you don't need to be super careful about clamping it, as it already has dents.

    There is a great deal of info on TB about these repairs - please search around and see what you find. The stickies at the top of this forum are a good place to start.
    RobTheRiot likes this.
  13. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    as others have said, MIJ P basses are fantastic instruments. i'd give that bass a full restoration if i were lucky enough to have it.
  14. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    Well, I know it's been about 10 months, but I ended up doing some work on it. Since it was pretty much relic-by-default, I kind of embraced that aesthetic but did some work to clean it up/be intentional about the scary parts of it.

    I carefully sanded off most of the writing on the fretboard, I CA-glued and clamped the headstock and epoxied and clamped the neck. Scraped and sanded off the duct tape, stickers and grime. It turns out the duct was actually acting as a bracing system, and most of the body had a break almost all the way through it. I epoxied the crack that runs through the body.

    I also replaced the nut (even though that black one with a broken G slot still miraculously worked).

    The pickups are covered in rust and spraypaint but still work. I can't tell if there's a faulty connection/component somewhere but I also haven't spent much time with the thing plugged in.

    Will post some before/after/progress pictures if anyone is interested (have to get them onto the computer first.)
    RobTheRiot and craigie like this.
  15. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    Update with pictures! Learned a bunch while doing this. Before pics at bottom for reference.

    Thanks for checking it out. Last stop is deciding if I want to ditch the pickguard and just have a smokey sanded black finish. Might also want to replace the pickups, pots and input jack.
    IMG-20190104-WA0001.jpg IMG-20190104-WA0002.jpg IMG-20190104-WA0003.jpg IMG-20190104-WA0004.jpg IMG-20190104-WA0005.jpg IMG-20190104-WA0006.jpg IMG-20190104-WA0007.jpg IMG-20190105-WA0008.jpg IMG-20190105-WA0005.jpg IMG-20190105-WA0006.jpg
    saabfender likes this.
  16. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    I liked it the way it was!
  17. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Good for you for fixing it and keeping it in use instead of as a wall hanging museum piece. Do t change the things you like about it: pickups, hardware etc.

    I would try and do something about the headstock shape to see if you can round it out to be more tele like.

    Since you’ve gone this far with the body I’d scrape and sand down the epoxy body joint to be flush and sand the body down to a matte black finish. Not really aggressive but progressively finer car paint sandpaper grits starting at maybe 600. Leave all the dents, chips etc. They’re hard-earned. Probably leave the pickguard as is too. Leave the pickup pole pieces rusty.

    The back of the neck looks great. You have something nice to work with here. If they can repair the bass of doom, you can repair this one. I dub thee Bass of doom junior (bodji)

    I bet the frets are pretty worn down. You could use this to practice fret work. I’ve had great results with one big flat diamond leveling file and one fret crowning file from stew Mac along with car sandpaper and 0000 steel wool. Or, you could make it a de-fretting project. I’ve had good success with that too.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
    saabfender and RobTheRiot like this.
  18. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    A lot of people did like the look of it as-was, but a lot of it was really gross and risky. The duct-tape was peeling and sticky so you would end up with old tape glue on your shirt, the rounded headstock edge actually did crack off when I took the tuner out... I think it was only a matter of time before more pieces fully snapped off. As badass as it looked, it was totally unsustainable in its shape.

    Not saying it *looks* cooler now than it did, but I know for sure it's a bit more trustworthy!
    Joedog likes this.
  19. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    I've already done a few de-fretting projects (posts to come, including an acoustic guitar-neck turned mini upright bass with a briefcase body) and a mini strat I converted to a de-fretted 26ish" scale microbass...) so I'd likely want to practice fretwork more...

    And I don't think I'll be messing with the headstock at all. A piece did come clean apart when I took the tuner off (wish I grabbed a pic, but you can see the glue joint where the rounded part begins). I'd say I'm probably beyond making any major cuts or shape changes and the work ahead of me is making it "pretty."
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
    saabfender likes this.
  20. solatidoebass


    Apr 12, 2018
    And i should also add, this bass plays amazingly. Super light to hold, great action, really good tone. So that would be another reason I wouldn't risk any major mods at this point.
    saabfender likes this.

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