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My first set-up that I have done on someone else's bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassman_al, Jan 26, 2012.


  1. Well I took a bit of a plunge and decided to help the sax player in my jazz group. He also plays some bass and has a 1999 Fender Jazz V (MIA) that has been in need of some TLC for some time now. I told Joey (the sax player) that I would clean it up for him and do a set up, using some new tools I got over the holidays. He said that sounded great and brought his bass to our next gig. It was worse than I thought. Seemed like years since anyone had touched it. Green gunk on all the frets, finger board looked more like my light colored khakis than a rosewood finger board. Tone knob cut all the volume out. Neck had relief out the wazoo so the action was really high.

    So for some like me, relatively new to set-up and repair, I had my work cut out for me. I utilized a lot of help I got on TB from several threads, and particularly from my friend Dave (Thunderritter) who lives closeby and is always willing to contribute generously to my projects, with his time, advice and spare parts that he stocks from his own bass-building projects. Thanks Dave!

    The truss rod seemed stuck, but after doing some research, I learned about the "over-the-knee" back-bow technique for assisting truss-rods in removing relief from the neck. That worked once I actually removed the neck in order to get a better angle on the truss rod.

    At that point I had already cleaned and oiled the fretboard and polished the frets with 0000 steel wool. So the gunk was gone and the bass was looking better. I had also re-soldered the tone knob and replaced the capacitor for good measure.

    Spent some time taking the bridge apart (while still attached to the body) and cleaning it up. it was grungy too!

    Also I glued the nut in the slot with wood glue since the nut was sliding off center resulting in the G string falling off the fretboard too easily.

    The last thing I had to do was to install the brand new tort pick guard. All I had to do was file a truss rod notch where the heel of the neck meets the guard. Measure twice cut once. I thought I know that the truss rod nut was dead center. So I measured using the guard without actually placing teh guard in its spot on the body. I thought I knew where the notch needed to be without actually placing the guard on the body. Wrong! I made a decent looking notch that was off-center! Ack! A brand new guard. I "fixed" it by shaving off the other side of the nut so as to create symmetry, but it resulted in an over-sized notch. Could look worse, I guess, and he was fine with it. Live and learn. Anyway, here are some pics:

    6755270103_9191de0de5_b.
    Untitled by alanpachter, on Flickr

    6755262981_e294d4bdc7_b.
    Untitled by alanpachter, on Flickr

    This pic was taken before I glued the nut:
    6755267221_f3f50e49df_b.
    Untitled by alanpachter, on Flickr

    6755268853_25b0f9ac43_b.
    Untitled by alanpachter, on Flickr

    Hope you enjoy!
     
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Nice Job!
     
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Nicely done. You'd never guess somebody hated it one time, it's a shame you have to give it back.
     
  4. Thanks guys. I thought it would be hard to give back, but I played it some and I prefer 4 string basses.
     
  5. Luv2Pla4U

    Luv2Pla4U

    Feb 18, 2011
    Richmond, VA
    I'd say you did a superb job... I'd also say tell him to stick to the sax until he can appreciate such a nice instrument:p
     
  6. :)
    I think he appreciates it, I just think he doesnt have the time or knowledge to do the upkeep himself, and can't afford to really put the money into what would have cost him a lot of $ to have done professionally.

    You know, he is a full time sax player. Broke as a joke!
     
  7. Fantastic job! Great bringing new life into old (or neglected) instruments!
     
  8. Thanks Jrush! It was fun, I got a little bit of payment out of it, and I really enjoyed playing it. It is a great bass and had a fantastic neck on it, other than the sticky truss rod.
     
  9. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    USA
    Great job Al. Happy to help and by the way your going you'll be building your own before you know it!!
     
  10. Growly Lytes

    Growly Lytes

    Dec 4, 2009
    Downunder Oz
    Bass player
    Getting down to the heart of it,great job.
     
  11. agrover

    agrover

    Oct 7, 2010
    NE Portland, OR
    great job. any before pics?
     
  12. Thanks guys! I am kicking myself that I didn't take any before pics! I have one pic of the frets that I had cleaned next to ones that I had not cleaned yet. Not that dramatic but maybe I'll post it anyway..,
     
  13. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    Looks like it came out nice. I hope you also showed the guy how to do basic truss rod adjustment and bridge saddle adjustments for tweaking to taste for action. Along with intonation adjustment how to.
     
  14. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Reno/Tahoe
    Really good job, man.
    Since your first job for someone else was a challenge and came out so well, your next ones should be easier.
     
  15. I see him at least once a month at gigs do I'm sure I'll be talking to him about upkeep, but I think he is just not the adventurous type. It was his repair job that screwed up his tone cap. Plus his truss rod is a bit of a bear, not for the faint of heart! But I'll show him whatever he wants.
     
  16. Thanks Tangent!
     
  17. Dug2

    Dug2 Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    chicago
    very good man! joeys lucky to have access to yer knowledge.
     
  18. Good looking stuff. If you've learned how to adjust for intonation, then you've got a priceless skill on tap.
     
  19. I priced the work today by going to a website of my former bass tech. Labor would have cost Joey at least $150 for the work I did!
     
  20. pflash4001

    pflash4001

    Dec 2, 2011
    Cool that you found the confidence to work on someone else's bass. As far as cleaning the fretboard, I recently started using Gorgomyte. The stuff is great! Worth the $20. Always take before/after pics to compare and assess your work.
     

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