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New birthday bass day - help with restoration ideas

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Belka, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Belka


    Dec 10, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
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    Tomorrow is my 35th birthday so I spent a fairly relaxing day at work which involved a walk to a second hand guitar shop where I found the bass pictured above (I know they're really bad shots - sorry).

    It's a custom made fretless bass by a local Ukrainian luthier who worked at one time at Fodera, hence the kind of fauxdera look going on. It must be about 10 years old.

    I tried it out. It is really heavy - Northern Ash wings and maple neck, ebony fretboard. must be around 13lbs. It has a really, really low grade birdseye maple top and back - it might as well be plain as there really is very little actual birdseye. Electronics are Bartolini dual coils wound for Fodera ages ago with an NTMB preamp.

    It's not in good condition. Scratches and chips all over the body, high action (I tested the truss rod and managed to get the neck straight - good sign), bridge pickup volume know missing. The strings are ancient and the fretboard is not clean. The truss rod cover is missing, (presumed dead as the screw which held it is still in the headstock).

    The coil tap switch (it's a three way so I presume series, parallel and outer single coils) doesn't work. The thing is stuck in single coil mode all the time.

    However, even with those ancient rusted strings it sounded awesome. Huge sound. I also prefer the sound of heavy basses for some reason.

    It was on sale for about $800. I thought 'why not?'.

    This thing will need quite a bit of work. First of all I don't need another fretless and with that heavy ash body it had practically zero mwah anyway. So - it's going to be fretted. The bridge is in terrible condition and will be swapped for a Hipshot A style.

    obviously the coil tap needs to be fixed but otherwise I'm not touching the electronics. Wouldn't mind a new bridge pickup knob though.

    The main thing is this - like I said, the top is really nothing special and the thing is really scratched and dented. I'm seriously thinking about refinishing it. Here are some ideas:

    sonic blue with a tort pickguard
    shell pink with white pickguard
    pearl white with a white pickguard
    sunburst with tort
    pink paisley (yes, I'm serious!)
    shoreline gold with a tort guard
    burgundy mist with a white guard
    any other ideas?

    What do you guys think? As a neck through it would be painted all over apart from the fretboard and I would need to get the luthier to make a custom pickguard and a new trussrod cover made from the same material (that would be cool) but I really think a classic look would set thing thing apart and look really special.
  2. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    Well, Happy Birthday.

    Not sure I would refinish that in a solid color, but it is your bass. Maybe you can raise the dents and scratches with steam and sand and refinish clear?

    Everything should be easy except the fretting. Good luck!
  3. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Translucent purple. I know you are not fond of the top- but I never like to see even decent wood covered by a solid color. Looks like a nice find!
  4. Belka


    Dec 10, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    I should say I won't attempt any of the work myself - will get a professional to do all the re-wiring, painting and fretting. Would be nice to try to do something myself but I have zero experienceso I know it's not going to happen.
  5. Belka


    Dec 10, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Good idea - a translucent purple, blue, or orange would look really nice I think - would allow all those mahogony stringers / accent lines to remain visible.