Mods gone bad

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wadge, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Hi,

    the thread about the Ebay hacked up fender stu hamm prompted this. Would you care to share stories (and pics would be a bonus) about mods to basses which have gone bad :crying: .

    I'll start with mine: My first bass was a P bass which I bought from a cousin. When I bought it, it had already had home made active electronics installed (a hum machine) and a neck change but the new neck installed was gorgeous. Soon it developed an earth hum which could have easily been sorted with some shielding. I took it to a repair guy who proceeded to drill a hole :crying: in my anodized (bronze) pick-guard and installed a switch, the function of which was to change the sound from a normal P bass sound to an ultra trebly (read no bass) sound when activated.

    I decided to paint the bass but when I took it to another repair guy for painting, when stripping the bass he found out that the body had been severly abused and there were holes filled in with hard metal. He tried to sort it out as best he could but when the paint was later applied, the bass came out in patches. So I decided to completely change the body and pick-ups. When these were on, the bridge was misalligned and the strings run slightly off centre on the neck.

    I finally gave up on that bass. However, recently I put the bass up for sale (for a ridiculously low price - buyer was aware of all the history) and the buyer backed out of the sale at the last moment. I was actually so happy because I discovered that, sentimental being that I am, I could not bear to part with my first bass.

    Any other horror mods you'd like to share?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I decided that my Kramer XL-98 aluminum-neck bass was too neck-heavy. Mind you, it was in excellent, great-playing and nice-looking shape at that point, with some very nice DiMarzios and a great preamp. I happened to have a spare Ovation fretless neck around, so I decided to carve out the neck pocket on the Kramer and fit the Ovation neck on. I am not a luthier. Well, the neck pocket came out pretty decent, and the neck is about 98% straight, but in the process of carving I managed to totally ding and scratch up the rest of the body, chipping the paint in a few places. OK, so I was doing this project out on my driveway, with a chisel and mallet. No, seriously, it made sense at the time. Anyhow, I installed the neck, and strung up the bass, and plugged it in to give it a try. Then this story happened, that I posted last week:
    As you might guess, the active electronics on the bass got fried too. So now I have a chipped and dinged Kramer body with an amateur neck job and bad electronics, bolted to an Ovation neck. The bass originally cost me about $500, and the neck about $100. I'm guessing I'd have to pay somebody to take it off my hands now.
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    This one time, Smash, Jazzbo, and Pacman took me in the alley behind the mall and beat me up. They stole the money out of my wallet and took a few Polaroids of my battered body.
  4. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I'm pretty sure I've done some bad mods to some old basses, but I've completely blocked them from my memory and I do not desire therapy in order to bring those memories back.

    All I can say is: fellas, please, just think before you mod! :D
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yeah, I was expecting something like this, if this were in the OT :D

    As for me:
    I have a cheapo ABG, the neck of which was a bit strange. Sky-high action, and rattle on some frets (and truss-rod was stuck). The frets were not perfectly even. So as I already wanted to try a fretless, I removed the frets, put in maple veneer, etc.
    But then it turns out the fretboard was uneven, with bumps here and there :eek: :meh:
    So far this bass has taken lots of hours of sanding, and it's still not level yet.
    Another, still with this bass: wanted to try the mylar coating on the fretboard. However, I had a very hard time finding thin mylar, so after a lot of searching I was happy to find a big plastic-sheet importer who had some poly-carbonite, which is similarly wear-resistant. Yet this sheet was 3,5 times as thick...
    So when I glued it on and trimmed it, it was still too tough and started unfolding. The surface was so smooth that the glue couldn't hold it to the wood.
    The result: had to sand of the glue, as well... :oops:
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Well, I'll play along just 'cause I'd feel like a smartass if I didn't. ;)

    My MIM fretless jazz has been the "test bass" for all of the mods I've done. When I was learning how to adjust neck relief, I did it on the jazz. When I was learning how to shim a neck, I did it on the jazz. When I was learning how to solder, I did it on the jazz. Electronics overhauls, pickup route mods, fitting pickguards that shouldn't fit, taking it apart to every constituent piece for the heck of it... that poor bass has seen it all. It's one big cluster-blank at this point, but it still plays nice.
  7. xbradx


    Oct 25, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    I had a sweet Fender CIJ Marcus Miller that i had routed out the bridge PU for a SD Musicman humbucker using the existing route as the spot for the bridge coil of the MM. That actually worked out pretty well, due to the '70's pickup spacing on the Marcus, the musicman PU was about 3/4 of an inch too close to the bridge to get a good "solo" stingray sound, but sounded great with it switched to series(had a series/single/parallel switch) and mixed with the neck PU. The only problem being that with the stock, single-coil neck PU, there was too much noise. Especially when using my distortion/OD pedal live. So instead of just getting a Duncan Hot Stack and leaving it be, i, for some reason, decided that since one MM HB worked out so well, i'd just go ahead and do the neck PU too(sorta my own G&L2000/Sabre mod). but unfortunately, while the pickup routing worked well enough, it just didn't sound right after that, i even put the original neck PU back(hadn't modded the PG yet), but it still didn't sound right after all that. so i kept the neck and other parts and tossed the body :crying: .
    What really sucked the most, was that i picked this Marcus up like a couple of weeks before the prices went up to what they are now(got it at GC for like $500) and hadn't really paid much attention to SX's at the time or else i would have gotten one of those for my routing experiments :crying:
  8. Some of you guys frighten me...shades of Dr. Frankenstein and science gone mad! :D
  9. Well one time I had this Single H Bongo and Ken (HeavyDuty) took it and would never return it. It couldnt belive I was seeing this behavior from a TB mod. Sad huh?

    Actually, he bought the bass after I sold it to another forum member, and I miss it. But hes not parting with it. :p
  10. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I buy and rehab/fix a lot of older (late '60's, early '70's) japanese basses. The very first bass I ever bought to rehab was a Tokai J copy that had neck problems (this was about 6 years ago).

    I bought a neck from AllParts (I think) to replace the twisted Tokai. The holes didn't match up 100% perfectly, but I figured that they were "close enough". I also didn't have any neck screws (threw out the ones from the Tokai neck :scowl: ) so I went to Home Depot and bought some off the shelf wood screws. When I tried to jam the screws into the improperly-aligned holes, the screws snapped leaving the bottom half of two screws stuck in the neck pocket.

    I tried to dig them out but that didn't work. Re-drilled new holes (crooked, didn't use a drill press) too close to the old ones, split the neck pocket wood. Put Elmers wood glue on the split, re-drilled new holes and installed the neck and new wood screws ...... as soon as I put tension on the neck from installing the strings, the screws pried loose .... :mad:

    The only saving grace from all of this is that I learned a bunch of valuable lessons. This first project was a disaster, but there have been a lot of very succesful ones since. It also gave me a whole new level of respect for the amazingly talented luthiers who build these basses for a living ..... :cool:
  11. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    You know it's against the TOS to question the mods in public. Please conduct your business by PM, either with the mods in question, or Paul, the administrator.

  12. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    My first bass, a sunburst violin-style one, was one I despised the color of. I wanted it black, so I bought some DAP (the varnish remover) and went to work. I never finished the project and it sat in my dad's garage for a few years, a reminder of my almost never being able to finish what I started.
  13. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    That's the kinda thing I'd do. I've never got the courage up to refinish something, but if I ever do, I'll probably leave it half done. :meh: ;)
  14. goatrider


    Mar 7, 2005
    I had an early 80's p/j that was a hideous silver with black neck and headstock. Totally 80's. Not even sure why I bought it. Anyway, it sat around for a long time. One day, I decided I would refinish it. In my infinite teenage wisdom I took off all the hardware and took an electric planer to the top of the bass. Needless to say, it was pretty messed up after that. I did draw all over it and put the hardware back on. It still played. I think I lent it to my cousin about 15 years ago. Maybe he still has it.
  15. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    No, that's Mods Gone Wild!

    Did they ever find out who left that thing in the hallway? :eek:

    Never did many mods myself. One time I had a local repair guy install a Bart TCT pre in a Peavey TL-5 I had. Spent about $300 altogether, then sold the bass for $80 more than I paid for it. Never again. :scowl:
  16. hmmmm, well as far as modding in general, the first and mor horrible account was with my old Ibanez 6 string, it was the sparkle green color, which i liked when i first saw it, but then i got the urge to get a blue stain for it...........lets just say i wasnt to smart about how i went about stripping it...sandpaper doesnt work too well
    log story short, the guitar got put back together finally, but it was long gone.......i 'shaped' the headstock a little too close to the #1 string tuner and it kinda broke.......just bad things

    as far as modding basses, ive been pretty successful, not very good at the cosmetic stuff, but ive replaced all the electrocins in my MIM P with no problems, and im about to replace mose of the hardware (thinking a badass bass bridge and some sealed tuners)
  17. I once coated a cheap bass entirely in that rubberized tool dip stuff. It sounded just like you'd expect a rubberized bass to sound, not so good.
  18. Spray-on (pick-up truck) bed liner is a much better option! :D
  19. well it seems that most of the bad modifications to basses were made by the owners/players themselves. What about people purporting to be luithers who irreversably damage your bass?