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NBD - 60s Kawai Teisco Cameo w/mods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by aekisz, Nov 5, 2018.


  1. aekisz

    aekisz

    Jul 4, 2006
    So this started as a body and neck bought on ebay for $75, no hardware or electronics. It also had a 1/4" rout hole under where the bridge is now. First thing I did was patch the route hole with a piece of hard ash. I filled the tuner screw holes with toothpicks and re-drilled. Ferrules needed widening with electrical tape. The bridge and tuners come from a Squier CV 70s P bass that I had upgraded. Pickguard was hand cut with tin snips, coping saw and files. It could use a little more fine shaping as there isn't much bevel on the edges. I was also a little too conservative counter-sinking the holes for the screws. I cut a smaller than usual pickguard to show off more of the woodgrain (body seems to be 4 pieces of hard ash). It's very heavy (10.8 lbs) but I don't mind (I'm heavy too!).

    Pots (500k Bourns minis) and cap (0.022) were wired from scratch (first time ever soldering!). Volume pot was a little scratchy for a day or two but now it's fine. Pickup is a bridge DiMarzio Model J. I was worried about the neck and truss rod as it wouldn't budge when I first tried it, but a couple of drops of penetrating oil over a week freed the nut and I was able to give it a quarter turn of tightening. It can use a little more but I'm going to go slow and let it settle before I try again. Neck seems to be C profile, relatively large radius with 1.625" at the nut.

    Frets are decent. I get a bit of clack, especially from the A string, but overall every position is playable and musical as is. Action is a bit high but I play upright a lot so I'm using to pulling hard. What's really nice and unexpected is the nasty growl I get from the DiMarzios. I first heard it on the E string, but raised the pole pieces on the other strings to match. I can keep it mellow by playing soft, but when I dig it really snarls. It's a nice effect to have in my arsenal. I'm using light gauge Dunlop Super Bright Nickels (0.040 - 0.100) to start to keep the tension low.

    All in all, for a first time experiment, this turned out way better than I expected and I'm thrilled to have this beast in my collection.
    View attachment 3204870
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
    metron, Mark76, scottm and 2 others like this.
  2. Nice. I would be interested to hear what that sounds like.
     
    aekisz likes this.
  3. aekisz

    aekisz

    Jul 4, 2006
    I'll add some clips after my next band practice. Maybe some solo ones before.
     
  4. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    This is a new one on me. My previous knowledge of Cameos is limited to f-hole hollow bodies.
     
    aekisz likes this.
  5. Word Up!
     
    aekisz and Mark76 like this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    way to go! very nice job --- looks great. congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
     
    aekisz likes this.
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    That came out well.
    Is there more routing under the pickguard or did you just want a larger guard?
     
    aekisz likes this.
  8. aekisz

    aekisz

    Jul 4, 2006
    There's a huge rectangular rout under the pickguard that the jazz pickup kind of floats in so the pickguard is kind of necessary to hide the swimming pool. Otherwise I would have exposed even more of the wood. On the plus side, I could probably fit almost anything under there, humbucker, whatever. I only did the DiMarzio single jazz because I had one hanging around for a PJ I had intended to upgrade.

    I'm not the first one to mod this thing. The thing I don't get is the routing under the bridge. Maybe someone had an original Badass bridge? Tremolo? (doubtful). Lowering action the hard way?
     
  9. Nice resurrection of that Cameo. :thumbsup:
     
    aekisz likes this.
  10. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Kind of cool that you have the option of trying out completely different pickups in that thing.

    Sounds like it was more of a "what you had around, but the Dimarzio model J is a good choice. I've got a pair in my Jazz. About the closest thing you can get to P-bass in a J-size and they sound good soloed too.

    My guess is that the route was for a bridge of some kind. Maybe a previous owner didn't realize that if the bridge is bottomed out it's usually better to shim the neck than dig a hole for the bridge?
     
    aekisz likes this.
  11. aekisz

    aekisz

    Jul 4, 2006
    Yeah, I love those adjustable pole pieces. I have it set pretty aggressively right now just to distinguish it from my other basses. Lots of bite and attack when I dig. Should sound pretty good playing some hard-edged rock. The only problem is, that bridge Model J is a little bit too wide for the position I have it mounted. No big deal. The strings all pass over pole pieces, just not perfectly.

    I'm thinking the same about that bridge rout. It was an easy patch. The rout was almost exactly 1/4" deep and 2" wide so I just had to cut a strip of ash and sand it down a bit. My bridge overhangs the hole on three sides. Only about 1/8" of the patch is visible at the bottom.

    I was worried that I might have to shim this neck but the truss rod works well enough to give me the relief I needed to lower the saddles a bit more. Good thing, because one of the screws attaching the neck is heavily stripped. It doesn't buzz on the lower frets now (or any for that matter) though I had to file a few high spots. This was so much fun I want to do it again. I'll be cruising for wrecks.
     
  12. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    As long as the output across the strings is balanced I wouldn't worry about the imperfect alignment of pole pieces.

    Shimming the neck is an easy process and nothing to be afraid of but it not being necessary is certainly a good thing. What I definitely would do is replace the stripped screw (I assume you mean the screw is loose because the hole is now bigger than it should be) with one that is slightly wider (but no longer). It's not good to have the other screws taking on more strain. This is especially true if it's one of the screws that is closer to the headstock.

    Good to hear that the action is working out too.
     
  13. aekisz

    aekisz

    Jul 4, 2006
    So I missed this response when it was posted, but the screws in the neck are actually quite tight, it's just that the Phillips X indentations of two of the screws are all chewed away so there is no place for a screwdriver to grab. I know there are extractors and such that could be used to remove such screws, but I'm actually pretty pleased with where the action is now so I think I'll leave it. The action is intermediate between my other basses and my upright so practicing on this one eases the transition to upright. I can also play way more aggressively which is fun on some tunes. I do have the pole pieces up a little too high though, as I'm occasionally bottoming out.

    For round 2 of my Japanese PBass copy restoration campaign, I have the battered hulk of a Memphis PBass body (badly routed, holes punched through the back) on the way in the mail that I am going to turn into a fretless. I found a nice 1.75" (at the nut) rosewood neck that I'm going to try to make fit.

    So round 2 coming up.
     

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