My 5er will be getting cosmetic surgery for xmas

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Jughead6, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. For years I have been hanging my basses in the wardrobe in our spare bedroom. That way, they are readily accessible but out of direct sunlight and not taking up floor space.

    I won't blame anyone in particular, but over the years my wife and I seem to have collected more and more clothes. As a result, I have had to hang some of my clothes in the wardrobe in the spare bedroom.

    This morning, rushing to get dressed for the last working day before Christmas, I was rummaging in the aforementioned wardrobe and accidentally drop a heavy wooden clothes hanger on my old Fender MIM Jazz 5 string. The hanger bounces off the body at the base of the neck and... well, a picture is worth a thousand words (see attached).

    I love green basses and, despite her many flaws, I have a lot of love for my old sage green metallic 5er. So there were a few minutes of anger, frustration and disbelief. After a few deep breaths (and some cussing), I start to see an opportunity: I have always wanted a bass with a natural finish, so this just might be the perfect excuse to give my old green bass some cosmetic surgery.

    Long story short - I have a Christmas bass repair project!!!

    P.S. Polyurethane coatings are really brittle!!!

    Attached Files:

  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Since the chipping seems to be just one large chip and one smaller chip, have you considered slathering them with watery superglue and simply gluing that large paint chip and the smaller paint chip back on the bass? That would be almost unnoticeable since they seem to be clean chips.
    Jughead6 likes this.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    ^^Motion seconded!
  4. Thanks :) I guess that's the obvious thing to do (so why didn't I think of that?). I'll have a good long think about my options before I commit.

    This is my beater bass, and has already had a few major surgeries. The rest of the finish is far from perfect. It's faded a bit and there are a bunch of screw holes from old bridges, thumbrests etc. that I would like to have a good close look at.

    I'm half tempted to go for the natural finish, like giving it a clean slate.

    Watch this space...
  5. JustForSport

    JustForSport Guest

    Nov 17, 2011
    First, I'd see how cleanly those chips fit back where they came from- could be an easy, nice fix.
    Second, you never know what the wood under an opaque finish will look like until you strip it. Sometimes it's a nice surprise, othertimes, not.
    Jughead6 likes this.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Glue the chips back on man, there is a very good chance that your bass has a multiple piece body with veneers on the top and back of the body. I haven't seen a case where a stripped down solid color Fender looked good in a natural finish. If you take your time that chip can be glued back on where it is totally unnoticeable.
  7. Yeah, you are probably right. I'm really interested to know what the wood underneath looks like, but I understand that it may not be worth the risk.
  8. Especially considering how cheaply you can get a natural wood unfinished replacement body.
  9. Hmm, it's actually not that easy to get replacement parts in Australia. Postage and handling tends to make prices very high. There's no Warmoth over here!

    You northern hemisphereans are so lucky ;)
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    That's what you get for hanging your clothes in a closet / wardrobe instead of draping them over the chair, bedframe, etc. like I do.


    Jughead6 likes this.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Yeah, don't you know you're supposed to have an old unused elliptical exercise machine sitting in the bedroom to hang clothes on?? :woot:
    old spice likes this.
  12. LOL. Yeah, the life of freedom all changed when I got married.
  13. So, against all sensible advice given above, I stripped the paint off my 5er yesterday. I am pleasantly surprised that the wood is in such good condition, considering all the abuse I have subjected this bass to over the years. Besides general mistreatment and rough handling, I have drilled holes to convert it into a string-through-body, installed a thumbrest, replaced the bridge twice, filled and re-tapped a few pickguard holes etc. etc.

    I'm prettty good at woodwork, but I am no luthier. I know a lot of you guys are very good at this stuff, so I won't bore you with a running commentary of the strip-down and re-coat. Instead I will probably just post some before and after pictures in a month or two when all the work is done to close out this thread.

    But, for those that don't know and are considering stripping their bass, polyurethane is like freaking glass (wear safety glasses!). It was messy but actually pretty easy to get the stuff off with my wife's hair dryer and a spatula. Now that the poly has been removed, the body is about 500g lighter - seriously!

    Underneath, it's a typical MIM multi-piece body with a veneer on the front and back. The front and back veneers actually look pretty good, and will look even better with a nice dark stain and a lacquer clear coating. I think this thing will have a bit of mojo when it's finished.

    My green bass is now nekkid, but she still looks pretty good!
  14. Aww, are you not going to at least show us a photo of it now, before you get the work done?
  15. Can't do that now! I completely forgot to take photos after I had stripped the poly off!

    Oh boy this is fun! Staining the wood has highlighted every little scratch mark that I made when removing the poly. I've slapped on 3 coats of lacquer (one coat every 24 hours with a light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats). The body now has this distressed walnut look. It doesn't really look road worn, more "ye olde".

    I can't resist posting this photo of preliminary assembly.

    Attached Files:

  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    If your happy with it, that's all that matters but IMHO those veneers need to be hidden with either a sunburst or solid color. That's just my opinion.
  17. I certainly respect your opinion, in fact it's probably the consensus opinion. Before this I'd never seen a multi-piece veneered body stripped down to bare wood, so it's all a big learning experience for me.

    Although I try to keep my other basses in pristine condition, it is cathartic for me to have a beater bass that I can do major surgery on without qualms. This one looks more like a beater than ever before, and the "rough and tumble" appearance is kind of appealing. I would never want to sell it (who would buy it anyway?) and I will never throw it away. I will probably play this bass more than ever now.

    But I would never do this on a Custom Shop!