My 1960 Fender Precision got refinished. Feels almost like NBD

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Real Soon, Jun 11, 2021.

  1. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    A handful of folks have seen my acquisition and then quest to get repaired to working order a '60 P that got sold, in terrible shape, to a MusicGoRound in the Atlanta area. I wish I'd taken pics of when I first saw it! Cheap black paint on the tuners & pup covers, a really amateur-hour clearcoat "finish", chewed frets, no decal, and a totally wrecked truss rod nut.

    After investing time and money into both cleaning it up and getting it to stage-ready condition, I had it looking thus:


    The obnoxiously awesome chickenhead knobs and rather crappy but usable pickguard were aftermarket, as were the flathead screws in place everywhere. Electronics-wise, I've got the original stuff but put a fresh harness and an incredible-sounding Curtis Novak PB-V in.

    Well, my stepfather, Michael Ellis, lead singer and guitarist of the Radio Ramblers and 20-year dj of WRFG Atlanta's Good Morning Blues Progam, who trucked me up to Nashville twice in getting the bass refretted, and who was a giant of a man in character and passion for music, passed away in February. Shortly after, I decided to take the last planned step for the bass that he'd helped get to working shape.

    So I found Holland Musical Instruments in Acworth, GA via a bassist friend. Jonathan took the bass, and after consulting and deciding on the direction, he got to work.

    Three months later....

    Full Body corrected.jpg IMG_20210604_225659_491.jpg IMG_20210604_225659_496.jpg IMG_20210604_225659_479.jpg IMG_20210604_225659_522.jpg

    It had already been refinished a good three or four times, by our estimate. Gruhn Guitars and Jonathan both verified the bass's authenticity, and the choice of the refinish job was to both be a little outlandish while just partially restoring the instrument and also reflecting its there's a light relic done along with the aged sonic blue.

    Personally, and my opinion is the one I'm listening to... I wish my stepfather had gotten to see the restored instrument. He got to hear it, as I gigged the dogsnot out of it with him when he was still playing, so that means a lot, but I think it's now exactly how I want it. Aged, quirky, modded a bit, but still holding to its original character.
  2. Energy


    Jun 20, 2006
    Really cool. Great job with the finish, especially the matching hs. The J bridge cover looks a little bit funny to me, but it definitely contributes to the "quirky, modded" part. ;)
    zie, P Cheen and Real Soon like this.
  3. Bass4ThePublic

    Bass4ThePublic Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    Kansas City
    Very cool! However, that logo is not correct for 1960, a 1960 logo wouldnt have a patent number.
    nattiep, Lownote38 and Real Soon like this.
  4. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    Not how I would have went with it, yet an AWESOME end result and thanks for sharing it with us!
    Real Soon likes this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    your refinished ax looks great, OP! nice! :thumbsup:
    Real Soon likes this.
  6. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Love it!!! Rock it
    Real Soon likes this.
  7. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks! & yeah, that J bridge cover was on it when I bought it; I didn't even know it had that wear till I cleaned it up. It's part of the bass's mysterious story!

    Thanks! I wondered about that and will ask Jonathan. He may have had limited sources on the decal, but may also be willing to replace it. It's on top of the finish, which I understand is accurate to the times, so maybe it's not impossible to get a period-correct one in place?

    Hey, we're all individuals and in a different year, I'd go a different route. This one is very, very connected to the story of how I found it and where I played it, so it's become unique to me. And also haha: thankya! Also, for discussion's sake, what would you have done?

    Thank you! Thus far, I'm looking at it and finding nothing I'd do differently (aside from maybe a more period-correct decal per above haha) :roflmao:

    Thankya! It's been gigged once already and is a hit with some older ladies at a brewery in north Georgia lol... and it just feels great to hold. I'm finna play the living crap out of it in good health!
    LBS-bass, Tbone76, Lowbrow and 2 others like this.
  8. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    Oh I’m a square and would probably have gone either black or Aged Oly White with standard headstock. I did have a black ‘61 hack job for a spell and similarly it had about every type of screw that would fit securing the pickguard. It got a nice re-fret, but I always left those as-is cause it made me smile.
    Real Soon likes this.
  9. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Olympic White was very very high on the short list. The sonic blue & headstock job were both "life is short" decisions, and every time I look at the bass I get excited about the very thought of wielding it, so I know I did right by me haha... but honestly, I sorta kinda a bit wished my guy aged and kept the existing screws, as they had a ton of character! Authenticity to me is, first and foremost, honesty, and that goes for both a "period-accurate" refinish and also acknowledging change over time. He did great by highlighting the dings that were already on the body, so not at all trying to erase the age of the thing.

    All that notwithstanding, my luthier's process is just another step in the bass's story. What comes next is entirely up to me.
    Ricky Rioli, Lowbrow and Barry Vestal like this.
  10. Barry Vestal

    Barry Vestal

    Nov 24, 2015
    Looks fantastic to me!! What a transformation:bassist::bassist:
  11. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Love that color, recently did a 93' MIM P bass refin in the same blue, not sure what to call it, i didnt use a named Fender color. Seeing the matching headstock makes me want to do the same. Nice restoration there. Hows the neck? Mine has a bit of the dreaded Fender Ski Jump, which seems almost standard for older necks. It buzzes in the "dusty end"....... so I dont play up there on that bass. :D
    zie likes this.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Looks AWESOME! And now it's part of YOUR story... which is all that really matters.
  13. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Looks good in Sonic Blue, especially with the matching headstock.
    Sure, some people would never dream of refinishing a vintage bass, but hey, it's yours, and I have a feeling you're not going to sell it, so...
    villegastx likes this.
  14. Looks good to me.
    Whatever you did would have to look better than it was and be just as not original as before, just looking like it might have been. :thumbsup:
  15. Ruknrole

    Ruknrole Professional Amateur

    Sep 21, 2018
    Looks great! Enjoy!
  16. Fantastic end result, love the color.

    Really, really, nice work!
  17. villegastx


    Jul 22, 2016
    Garland Texas
    I love it, I have a P bass I want to refinish. I love matching headstock.
    There's a guy selling a "normal wear" RELIC stratocaster in the Dallas area. Im sure he could help me with my next project for cheap.
    Funny he wants to trade his strat for another strat.
    Screenshot_20211026-125608_OfferUp.jpg Screenshot_20211026-125613_OfferUp.jpg Screenshot_20211026-125620_OfferUp.jpg Screenshot_20211026-125631_OfferUp.jpg Screenshot_20211026-125646_OfferUp.jpg

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  18. slagbass


    Apr 5, 2005
    I think there is a distinction between refinishing a vintage bass that still has its' original finish and refinishing a vintage bass that has been (badly, in this case) refinished. Personally, I love seeing these old basses being brought back to their former glory.
    LBS-bass likes this.


    Feb 10, 2016
    Michigan USA
    Nice bass! Great story.
  20. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Chickenheads FTW!
    slagbass and LBS-bass like this.