NBD Epiphone by Gibson Rock Bass from ‘86-88

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gene Doctor, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Gene Doctor

    Gene Doctor

    Jan 14, 2014
    Malvern, PA
    I bought a beat up Epiphone by Gibson Rock Bass from ‘86-88 (no serial number is on the bass) as it has the Explorer style headstock for $45 on Facebook Marketplace. It needed a lot of work to bring it back to life. The back of it was covered in stickers, which thankfully came off without too much effort and cleaned up nicely with some naphtha.

    It has a P bass body shape, high mass brass bridge, 34” scale, passive Jazz style pickups and 2 volume & 1 tone controls. Neck is straight and bass was set up to Fender specifications. A few scratches and dings but overall in really good shape. Plays and sounds great - very punchy.

    I put in a new Graphtech nut, new Dunlop roundwound strings strung through the body, new thumb rest, cleaned up the pots with contact cleaner, oiled the rosewood fretboard and polished the frets. The neck pickup was missing the cover when I got it, and I couldn’t find a replacement cover (the standard Fender Jazz cover is too large for the pole pieces). I moved the bridge pickup to the neck (it’s also smaller than a traditional Fender pickup - I had to dremel the pickguard to make it fit) and put a Yamaha BB350F Jazz bridge pickup I had in the bridge position. Looks a little off but sounds great.

    Before and after pics below. I always assumed Epiphone basses weren’t that great but this one is a real player.
    46541F5E-2CF7-4382-939D-0A5E6F85F161.png 136C0A3F-B91C-44D1-97B0-C327B95D6B6D.jpeg C2F04A82-CBEB-4905-A38E-B6B14C816934.jpeg 533B6F0C-3E7E-4E2A-9118-E4951437EF55.jpeg 57829207-C873-43B4-8850-185171FB43CD.jpeg
  2. Robert Thurman

    Robert Thurman

    Dec 3, 2020
    Mine matches your. But I can't seem to lower the bridge enough, the bridge is off center and the pickups are difficult to adjust (they will go down but not up). Also my pick guard is warped and will not fit. Also the frets are too low on the edges and high in the middle. I does sound nice though. Trying to decide if it's worth the money to fix everything.

    Attached Files:

  3. Gene Doctor

    Gene Doctor

    Jan 14, 2014
    Malvern, PA
    Sounds like a project! Get the frets leveled, shim the neck, put some new foam under the pickups, and recenter the bridge (would require drilling some new holes - hopefully the old ones would be covered by the bridge). Not sure what to do about the pick guard - try heating it up with a hair dryer to bend it back? Finding a replacement won’t be easy. Good luck!
  4. Robert Thurman

    Robert Thurman

    Dec 3, 2020
    I decided to just get another bass. I ordered an upgraded Glarry J-bass. But it has some issues and I think it will get sent back.

    The frets are too thin on the edges, they need to be replaced, $$. It would be quicker and cheaper to install another bridge that does not need to pass through the body. The pickups have had the screw holes drilled at an angle that creates a bind, I put more sponge under the pickups but they stick at a certain spot and won't go any higher even if the screws are above the pickup holes. Will have to realign and drill new holes after filling in the old ones. I found a place that sells pick guards but for this model they recommend sending it in to them or tracing it because they were somewhat inconsistent with QA at the time. Most likely as you recommended heat and flatten and redrill the holes where needed rather than forcing it in place. This will take a while to sort out.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  5. SurfingBass


    Mar 26, 2022
    The Beach
    Any update on the Epiphone project Robert?
  6. WillyW

    WillyW l’art pour l’art, fonction de baise

    Dec 10, 2019
    I kept the stickers mine came with..

    Rewired it and got about $135 tied up in it.

    SurfingBass likes this.
  7. Robert Thurman

    Robert Thurman

    Dec 3, 2020
    It's on hold. Money is tight right now. I'll just work around the Epiphones issues as I can. (Let's say it has a personality all its own and leave it at that). The Glarry went back, I got a refund.
    SurfingBass likes this.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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