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NBBD (new bass build day!): Jazz handstained sonic blue-ish, P/J pickups (two big pics, mobile guys)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thedude77md, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. So I wrapped up my first build last night and am super happy with the results. Thought I would share and ask for some TB feedback. This is the first time I have even finished wood at all, be it guitar, furniture, etc., and first time with a soldering iron. Or sandpaper even since middle school shop class 25 years ago.

    First the pics, then the details after:



    The body is from Warmoth and I purchased it unfinished, routed P/J. The finish was by far the most difficult part.

    First I tried a product called Wudtone. Don't ever waste your time. Overpriced junk, rude salespeople at their lone US distributor, and it ends up costing a fortune (one order of the stuff wasn't enough to even finish the top of the body). Sanded it off back to bare wood beyond the stain.

    Back to square one and I found this guy on YouTube. Bingo. How to paint your guitar by hand - YouTube

    Following the technique in the video series, I used Varathane wood stain from Home Depot in Vintage Aqua. Works beautifully and on the second try, I was almost done and botched the clear coat in a spot. Tried to sand to fix it and touch-up, but nope, no dice. Sand back to nothing again.

    Third time's a charm. Applied the Varathane again and good to go. I used three coats to achieve a close to solid color. Clear coated with Minwax wipe-on poly (two coats, second one quite thin), and then went to town with Turtle Wax compound followed by Turtle Wax polish). I am extremely pleased. There are a couple not perfect spots on the back but it's damn nice looking for a first build. There are also a couple little dings here and there from when I was sanding in a very cramped space (I've since set up a full work station).

    The pickups are Delanos, obviously, and I bought a pre-wired harness from Best Bass Gear (vol/blend/tone). I shielded the cavities with copper tape, soldered the pickups, and assembled. Bridge is a Gotoh 201.

    I bought the neck in the TB classifieds a week ago. It is a Warmoth J nut width, slip taper profile, made of quarter sawn maple with a super figured ziricote board, bound in white with MOP dot inlays. Gorgeous. I prefer P widths but as the drool quickly formed when I saw the neck, I figured I'd suck it up and deal with the J. We'll see if I end up swapping down the line. Tuners are Hipshot HB2s with lollipop keys.

    Anyway, I assembled everything else, set it up, and boom! It SMOKES. Dead quiet too.

    Time to start the next one... 8 string or bass VI style is the question....

    I will get some pics of my little screw ups on the back so if anyone ever tries this method, maybe they can learn from my mistakes.
  2. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    Thats a hawt bass. Kudos for persevering where I would have just gotten a finished body from the outset :) I like the subtle grain showing through.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
  4. Thanks, guys. I like the wood grain showing as well. I believe there are some grain fillers that will take stain, but I like the grain, and that was kind of why I went this route- solid color but still has visible grain.
  5. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Nice work, she's a beauty!
  6. Nice!

    Looks like the Precision pickup is in the P-bass 'sweet spot' rather than moved towards the neck, as in a lot of PJ Jazz's. Am I right in thinking that?
  7. Yup. Warmoth routes them correctly!
  8. That's good to know, I always avoid looking at their site, as I know I'd end up having to buy something - and shipping to the UK isn't cheap!

    Enjoy the bass, I've got a Delano Precision pickup in my Squier PJ, and it's the best I've used, bar none.
  9. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    +1 on the still-visible-finish!

    @thedude77md; I've been thinking of hand-staining my next parts bass too, so thanks for the Varathane recommendation. Your work is a testament to your far-superior-to-my-own sense of perseverance. :thumbsup:
  10. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    Dude, that is sick. GORGEOUS.

    I want to make myself one of those. Maybe not those pups, though. Big poles like that sends shivers of shudder down my spine.

    Also, it's not a PJ, really? It's in a Jazz bass format, shouldn't it be a JP?
  11. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    That is seriously cool. Between you and Malak the Mad I am now gearing up to putting together my own basses. This is great encouragement for me.
  12. Wow, surprised to see so much positive feedback here! Thanks, guys.

    Go for it. I had a lot of fun and it really wasn't that much work. YouTube has made projects like this so much easier. I will say that I will be buying a sander attachment for my drill- sanding down stain was one thing, but sanding through 2 coats of poly is a whole other story. Bout 8 hours of sanding over the course of a week.

    There are tons of stains out there- Minwax has a whole line of standard stains and white based stains like the Varathane I used. Funny thing is I intended on a Minwax stain that I couldn't find at my Home Depot and spotted the Varathane. They have a few shades available with the white base, but strangely, there aren't on Varathane's site (but are at all the major retailers).

    I followed the steps from Brad Angrove in his YouTube series that I mentioned above pretty much to the "t" (these- How to paint your guitar by hand - YouTube Brad shows a sunburst there which I may try with the next one. They only place that I strayed from his instructions was in adding a couple extra coats of stain b/c I wanted a close to solid effect.

    I also will add that I have learned that properly and precisely sanding to prep is the absolute most important step in order to ensure the stain penetrates evenly. I partially attribute my initial failure with the Wudtone to that, but it was mostly the product.

    Thanks, man. I suppose JP would be correct, but I was thinking more in terms of pickup placement! To add further debate there, as I said in the original post, I intended a P width neck and can see that happening in the future. Would that be a JPP or PJP?! :p

    Totally go for building one! I had a lot of fun and it really wasn't that much work- wiring, drilling for pickguards, full assembly, and setup was only an afternoon. I was also not pressed to finish it, and went into it thinking "I might not even finish this, jus something to muck about with." I started it over the holidays.

    I bought the pickups just because of those huge honkin' poles. I wanted something hot and ballsy along the lines of my Reverend Decision which has a similar P and a dual rail J. The Decision is timid compared to the Delanos!!! The J is a split coil too, BTW. They sound like QPs with StingRay bite and a touch of the MM zing, and then ballsier.
  13. Go for it!!!!
  14. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    What a fantastic effort! I love the colour. I know things often look different in the flesh but in your pics it reminds me of my '62 Daphne Blue Stratocaster. I think the semi-transparent looks beautiful, especially in combination with the pearl guard and white fingerboard binding. With the addition of the Delano oversize poles and the 'vintage' lollipops you have, IMO, put a genuine modern spin on a real vintage vibe in a very original way - perfectly understated elegance is how I would describe it. Kudos to you. I bet that Delano P/J setup sounds killer?
  15. Nic.


    Aug 28, 2009
    The colour combination is beautiful. It looks like a classic keeper. If you ever swap the neck, please do get one with this same coloured binding!
  16. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    I was looking at the Minwax wipe-ons. I'm thinking of going "Transparent Black" with a minuscule amount of greenish-blue-mix to give it a faint teal edge, but not so much to turn it opaque.

    Y'hear that, dude? We're trendsetters! :smug:
    (…he said with all humility!)
    thedude77md and christle like this.
  17. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    That is so awesome. If I could wave a magic wand that would be almost the exact same thing I would do except for I have a slight preference for Daphne Blue. Nice job!
    SteveCS likes this.
  18. Ol' Dub

    Ol' Dub

    Nov 6, 2014
    Wow! Before I opened the thread, I didn't know what to expect. I love that bass. The finish is my favorite part. As others have said, that wood grain showing through is a real winner. It makes me want to try my hand at a build. Keep up the good work!
  19. Thanks again, guys. Amazed this is such a hit! Will respond to the comments Re: minwax colors when not on my phone. I've got some other ideas too...
  20. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    The bottom line it that you have created a COOL instrument. If there was a TB 'COOL WALL' (Top Gear fans will know what I mean), this bass would have a place on it...

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