NBD: Peavey Foundation project

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ATLbassist, May 25, 2018.

  1. I should probably finish my other projects before picking up a new one, but this popped up on the Goodwill site and I couldn't resist.

    27461228227_6a8be07c32.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    If I'm reading the serial number correctly, it's a 1983. It's missing a tuner and the truss rod cover, but I'm really getting it for a couple of parts. Why? This guy:

    34819999753_3a1836634e.jpg Peavey Foundation FL fretless bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Last year I picked up a 1985 Peavey Foundation FL on the cheap when my BL said our next recording would need some fretless. It was nice, but the knobs were ill-fitting replacements and a corner of the control cover on the back was broken. I figured one day I'd find the original knobs - not knowing how expensive they were (about $20-30 each).

    So, my plan is to swap the knobs and plate from the '83 to my '85, then clean the '83 up and flip it / release it back into the wild (depending on your point of view). Fortunately, it has very few issues outside of the missing parts - the pickups still work and are quiet, and the neck doesn't seem warped. Let's dig in:

    A few paint chips on the front and sides. Nothing serious, just real relicing / patina.

    41429029595_6bd7069237.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    The area behind the bridge is a little gnarly.

    41429029395_acc7ab7dc1.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Pitting on the back. It doesn't seem like buckle rash; it's more like someone dropped it on gravel.

    41608063714_f8fe51003a.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Surprisingly, the frets are corrosion-free and don't appear to have any wear; just a little dirt in a few places. None of the frets are popping out and the wood has only a few small bits of wear.

    41429018895_3151158ae8.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    A little scraping on the back - nothing that affects feel or playability.

    27461243167_d502505ea0.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    This looked odd. The truss rod access on my fretless is perfectly square. Maybe a previous owner took a dremel to it, or maybe early Foundations had a larger hole.

    41429024585_1dcdd8b9e8.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    And the current challenge: Missing tuner and bushing.

    41429029155_734d6a4d4e.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    27461243017_03819fe85d.jpg 1983 Peavey Foundation Bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    So far I haven't had much luck finding an exact replacement tuner that's not ridiculously expensive. I have a set of lightweight Wilkinsons that I could swap in, but I haven't checked the fit yet. I also need to get my truss rod tool back from a buddy who was adjusting his T-40. Since I'm taking the knobs, I'll need to find a new set. The pots are solid shaft, so it will need to be something with a set screw.

    But overall, it looks like a basic cleanup job - get the grime off, set up and ready to go! I'd love to hear any suggestions for replacement parts.
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  2. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    Check your PMs.
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  3. Templar

    Templar Rythm Wrangler Supporting Member

    Liking that '83, nice find. Looks like Frost Blue, kinda an uncommon finish on Foundations.

    I bet someone carved out the truss rod access port to allow extra room to get a nut driver or socket onto the adjuster nut.

    Those tuners are great, I like them more than the optional Titans. (have you noticed the little hex screw on the bottom of the shaft for lash adjustment?....nice) But they're next to impossible to find used, especially a single unit. I'm surprised you located any at all, regardless of price. Truss rod covers are floating around for not too much money, might not cover the carved out area though. Or you can make your own.

    Even though project basses are a PITA, I'd be tempted to restore it if the neck is still good. I have a soft spot for old Foundations, especially ones in offbeat colors. :thumbsup:

    Edit; Oh, and your '85 FL probably came stock with black ice cube knobs.
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  4. Big fan of the Foundation I hope you get the parts you need :thumbsup::cool:.
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  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    congrats on your new instrument and good luck on your project! :thumbsup:
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  6. I finished the teardown and cleanup, and this Foundation is looking much better. After some Simple Green, a microfiber cloth and some elbow grease, the body is looking much better.

    27784202827_7d0df50b7c.jpg Peavey Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    I'm not sure the neck has ever been off before - that neck pocket is pristine.

    28779396208_5c7c68caf8.jpg Peavey Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    41935204514_4645517a38.jpg Peavey Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Without the grime, the pockmarks on the back look much better.

    27784201267_9ae4409dc4.jpg Peavey Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    The control cavity looks pretty nice, too.

    27784197937_9e163be113.jpg Peavey Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    I polished up the frets with steel wool and used naptha to clean up what little gunk was there. It's feeling much smoother now.

    40847422230_ca9e6b143a.jpg Peavey Foundation neck by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    There is a small crack in the middle of the board at the 20th fret. A previous owner filled it with something; doesn't seem like it will be a problem.

    40847422180_e591d4193d.jpg Peavey Foundation neck by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr
  7. I also noticed this - a small round piece of metal off-center in the neck pocket. It looks like a broken-off screw, but what would one be doing there?

    42622955662_1b260385dd.jpg Peavey Foundation neck pocket by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    The overall surface is flat, so it doesn't seem like playabiltiy would be affected. I'm just curious what it is.

    Attached Files:

  8. Templar

    Templar Rythm Wrangler Supporting Member

    That should be your neck tilt adjustment screw, or what's left of it if it's broken off. The indentation in the paint is from the opposing metal disc on the neck butt pressing down. Use a hex wrench from the rear, and remove/inspect the screw if you're curious. Chances are you won't need it anyway.

    Edit: Oh wait....I see what you're referring to now, the off-center screw. Dunno for sure, but I'd guess that's a broken off screw from whatever type of paint stick was used when they painted the body at the factory. Sorry for confusing things.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  9. That makes sense. Now that I look at it again, there's a hole lined up a half-inch below the metal piece, and both are within a rectangle of bare wood surface - right where a paint stick would have been.

    Also, the tilt screw is working fine. I backed it all the way down so I can start the setup from a blank slate when I put everything back together. Not looking forward to that part; adjusting the tilt on my fretless - all of the unscrewing and re-screwing the neck bolts after each adjustment - was a royal PITA.
  10. Looking good :thumbsup: carry on :cool:.
  11. Good news - we have parts and assembly!

    41820169495_4cef2afaa1.jpg Peavey Foundation bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Thanks to some parts trading (thanks, @mech), I have a replacement tuner, the correct knobs for my fretless and a new set of strap buttons. The stock P-knobs will go on to serve another restoration, so I now have another set of knobs for this Peavey. (Those knobs look more at home on the T-series than the Foundation; I think they really need a pickguard to set them off.)

    42671113062_6861f9d838.jpg Peavey Foundation bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Meh news: I went ahead and strung up the bass with a spare set of rounds. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a ski jump.

    42671108492_9cdd0154be.jpg Peavey Foundation bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    With the saddles set at an average height, we also have sky-high action.

    42671113712_d24fbcb187.jpg Peavey Foundation bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Since my adjustment wrench is still in Athens, it will be a couple of weeks before you see further progress. Cross your fingers that the truss rod isn't maxed out; nothing is rattling inside, so at least it's not broken.
  12. Landsharks


    Jul 24, 2009
    Oxford, MS
    I have a Foundation s that I recently bought. Broke it down last night and it appears the bodies are made of the same wood from what I can tell from the neck pocket. Do you happen to know what kind of wood yours Is? I'm thinking it's either poplar or maple, if it's maple I'm going to strip and refinish natural. If it's poplar, I will probably paint over the existing color. Thanks, i really like the color of yours.
  13. Everything I've read / seen says the body is maple. It would explain why it's thin yet weighty.
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  14. Landsharks


    Jul 24, 2009
    Oxford, MS
    I might try and get some more paint off and check. I hope it is maple, because it will be getting the strip job!
  15. Here's what the 1983 Peavey Foundation manual says:

    "The body of the instrument is constructed from the finest maple (gloss finish) and southern ash (satin finish)"

    But you have a Foundation S... here's what they said in 1988:

    "The body of the Foundation S is constructed from the finest select hardwood..."

    I'd recommend posting some pictures and asking the experts over here:

    U.S. Peavey Club
  16. You've done a good job bringing it back to a playing condition (the neck will be fine when you get the TR tool) :thumbsup:
    I wish Peavey had kept the headstock decal with Peavey first, it just looks better to me.
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  17. bassmachine2112


    Mar 23, 2008
    Hiho well done great basses are Foundations.Lovely colour as well.
    Look after it and it will look after you.
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  18. Landsharks


    Jul 24, 2009
    Oxford, MS
    I will get a picture of the neck pocket tonight. The grain looks just like your pic. I'm pretty sure it' maple. The wife isn't going to be pleased...another bass refinishing project. If the finish wasn' so beat up, I would leave it be, maybe have my daughter paint something cool on it. Who knows.
  19. I got my truss rod tool back over the weekend - one of the Gibson 5/16 wrenches w/ stabby accessory:

    43000302481_1267067b96.jpg Gibson truss wrench for Peavey by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    While I was able add some relief to the '85 fretless, this tool can't fully access the cavity on the '83. The cavity - and thus the nut - seems about a half-inch deeper and the handle prevents the socket from going all the way in.

    Here's the '83:

    42098428795_e4a0daa330.jpg Peavey truss nut - 1983 Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    And here's the '85:

    42281399354_f444805573.jpg Peavey truss nut - 1985 Foundation FL by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    I'll have to track down a thin-walled 5/16 socket and try to go at it with a screwdriver + adapter. Any suggestions that won't break the bank?
  20. Still slow progress here. After a few attempts with different combos of tools, I cashed in an Amazon gift card and got the StewMac 5/16 wrench. It fits! I was able to tighten the nut about a half-turn, but then it started slipping back. That didn't seem right, so I stopped futzing with it.

    After consulting with a long-time luthier buddy, I'm going to remove the nut entirely, put in some washers, lubricate the rod and nut with graphite and re-tighten. Hopefully that will get it where it needs to be.

    In the meantime, I can satisfy my vintage Peavey cravings with a 1984 Foundation I found the other weekend for cheap. This is from the day I got it, but as of this morning it's all cleaned up, set up and ready to go.

    43253627642_523f371ff7.jpg 1984 Peavey Foundation by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr
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